Ask a Farmer

Got a question to ask directly to one of our area farmers? It could be anything from a particular growing issue, marketing question, or the secret ingredients to making the best pie? Old family recipes may be off limits though. We have a rich variety of farmers and farming techniques so you make get more than one answer. Go ahead and ask.

Email FirstYard@TheYardProject.com with your question and we will post the answer here.

Q: Should I let my lettuce bolt?
A: At some point in time your lettuce will start to get more of a bitter taste as it matures. You will see the core stem growing taller (process called bolting). It will eventually flower and produce seed. If you let it bolt, it will reseed itself for next year’s crop. If you do not want lettuce in the same area next year, you should pull it up when it is no longer good for picking.

Q: Why do my grown cucumbers turn yellow?
A: When cucumbers pass their peak of ripeness they start to lose the chemical chlorophyll. It is the same chemical found in maple leaves. Just like the autumn leaves, as chlorophyll leaves the system the underlying color (in this case) yellow is able to appear. A yellow cucumber means it is past its peak and should not be eaten.

Q: Can I get a copy of the Starting Seeds workshop presentation by Master Gardener Jim Ramanek?
A: Click on this link for the PDF download. It is a 6MB file so make sure you have a good connection.

Q: I have expired wheat flour. Can I use this as a soil amendment?
A: (Amy Ouellette from UNH Extension) It certainly won’ t hurt. The microoraganisms in the soil will feed on it and turn it back into soil.

Q: I heard baking soda could be used as a fungicide in the garden. Is this true? If so, how?
A: It has been used by kitchen gardeners for a while before the USDA officially approved it as a fungicide. It is designated for rose black spot, hollyhock rust and general plant powdery mildew. Spray it on as a preventive or treatment every seven days. It will need to be re-applied after a heavy rain. Here is the recipe.

  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tblsp light summer vegetable oil (this helps it stick)
  • 1 Quart of water

Mix thoroughly in a clean spray bottle and apply immediately.

Q:  Is copper spray organic?
A:  Copper, commonly used as a preventative and treatment for blight and powdery mildew, is deemed organic.  However, you should read the label of any pre-mix spray which may contain other ingredients beyond copper and not be considered organic.  Check with your local extension office to determine best times of year and intervals for use.

Q:  How do I store my leafy herbs?
A:  Leafy herbs such as basil, parsley, dill and sage can be difficult to dry. If not dried properly, they will be easily ruined by mold or at the very least lose their bright green color. For best results, put them in loosely in a paper lunch bag, seal with a clothespin and store in the refrigerator. Every time you open the fridge door give the bag a little shake. The dehumidifying action of the fridge will do the rest.