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BARN & GARDEN: Make Sure You Harden Your Tomato Transplants

PHOTO: Rowena McDermott - MoonstruckFarms.com

Tomato Starters: It's time to start your tomato plants and make sure they are hearty enough to survive when it is time to transplant them outside.

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As I am writing this Spring is here in full force with high winds blowing through the High Desert, and when this goes to print, it will be the first of May, allowing even the colder regions to venture out and plant their summer crops.  To protect your transplants from the wind and provide them the best start, plant them all the way to the first set of leaves.  The stem that you just planted deep will send out more roots for a strong wind-proof plant.  As always, a thick layer of mulch does wonders for protection against these drying winds and conserves water.  Pine needles are an excellent mulch for staying power against the wind, but a thick layer of compost on top will provide protection and a healthy dose of nutrition.  

Moonstruck Farms resides high in the foothills of Phelan, so we delay our summer crop planting until May.  We have the largest and healthiest tomato and pepper transplants ever, thanks to the new grow system we have instituted.  It now includes mini-greenhouses within our large greenhouse, boosting the humidity and warmth for perfect growing conditions for the months that tomatoes and peppers take to grow in preparation for the fields.  These transplants plus others are available at the local farmers markets.  We are adding a number of nursery items this year, especially in the flower category for your gardens, so make sure to stop by and see what is new each week.  In the cut flower category at the market, by the time this goes to print. Hopefully, the snapdragons, ranunculus, and more will be at the market, followed shortly by the lilies.  

The farmers markets not only never shut down during the last year; but are thriving thanks to your support.  From all the vendors and farmers, we thank you for making a very difficult year bearable and successful.  We all look forward to rewarding your patronage in the future with ever-expanding services.  If you are new to the area, please stop by and visit the Phelan Certified Farmers Market, Mondays 2pm to 6pm inside the Phelan Community Park at 4128 Warbler Road in Phelan, and the Wrightwood Certified Farmers Market on Fridays from 3:30pm to 6pm at the Wrightwood Community Center Parking lot.

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