Buy a stake in a farm and get local veggies

Garden Q&A

April 12, 2008|By Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld

I want to support our local farms by purchasing Maryland-grown produce that's fresh and hasn't added to pollution by being hauled long distances. Isn't there some kind of program that partners people with farms?

Community Supported Agriculture is a new idea in farming. Members, or "share holders," choose a farm in the program, pay for a stake and share in the farm's bounty of produce for the growing season from spring through fall. Many of these farms are certified organic. Go to marylandagricul ture.info and click on "farms" to find a farm, or call us.

We weren't notified that our oaks will be sprayed for gypsy moths by the state, so I need to know how to protect them myself.

Because of dry springs, which favor gypsy moth caterpillar survival, we expect tremendous damage from those pests this year. All homeowners need to attend to their vulnerable trees. Scrape off the flat, fuzzy egg masses you can reach on trees, log piles and nearby structures before egg-hatch begins late this month or early next month. Band trees with sticky bands and/or burlap bands.

Neighbors can contract for private spraying. In preparation for the onslaught, we at the Maryland Cooperative Extension have updated our gypsy moth publications. Click on "Gypsy Moth" on our home page or call for copies.

Checklist

Avoid the temptation to set out warm-season vegetable crops before all danger of late frosts has passed. This would be late May in Western Maryland, May 10-15 in Central Maryland and April 25-May 5 in Southern Maryland and on the Eastern Shore.

Help save the Chesapeake Bay by keeping fertilizer off driveways, streets and sidewalks. It washes into waterways. Prohibit your lawn service from the practice of leaving fertilizer on hard surfaces to prove they have fertilized.

Ellen Nibali, a horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and Jon Traunfeld is the director of the Home and Garden Information Center. The center offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's help line at 800-342-2507 or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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