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Millis/Medway - Local Town Pages

Ask Your Local Farmer, a monthly column by Medway Community Farm

The following are a few questions we have been asked quite a bit lately.

1.Should you mulch a vegetable garden and if so, what should I use?
That’s a great question. So much of the answer, as with many things, is “it depends”. It depends on what you have available, your watering situation, your weed management ability as well as what crops you’re growing. We have tried various mulches at the farm from plastic to crushed leaves. Given the organic nature, the weeds love to grow as much as the veggies do. Some crops really don’t like the heat generated by the plastic mulch such as your cooler weather crops, while others love the additional heat it provides, such as eggplant. We water with overhead sprinklers, but you need to think about how the crops will be watered. If you cover the crops with plastic, you may need to use a watering system underneath the plastic it to ensure your crops are getting sufficient water. On the other hand, straw and leaves will allow water through but if not sufficiently layered, may either blow away or create another issue with seed heads if the straw isn’t clean. If you can get out there and weed on a regular basis, and ensure your crops are watered sufficiently, you may not need any at all.

2. How long can you harvest young leaves from greens before the plant is done?
The “cut and cut again” method of harvesting greens is a wonderful way to lengthen your growing season. Greens could be categorized into a couple of categories: baby greens and headed greens. The best way to keep your greens growing is to start harvesting them when they’re not fully mature, which is still in the baby stage, about 3-4” tall. The plant will then continue to push out new leaves allowing you to have greens for quite a lengthy season. The headed greens, like lettuces, escaroles, and radicchios, can have the outer leaves harvested while still producing from the center. At some point, your plants will no longer produce new leaves and will try to go to seed. After all, that’s really what the plant is supposed to do. It’s then time to plant some more.

3.What is your favorite early vegetable?
By the time the spring arrives, I’m craving fresh greens. So, all the greens fall in that category but especially mustard greens and arugula. I love the spiciness these greens provide and in the spring they are so tender and fresh that it makes me crave salads and pizza topped with them.
For the complete article, including tips on watering your vegetable garden, visit us on Facebook at Medway & Millis Town News.
For more information on the farm, including events such as a Family BBQ with DJ BISHOFF on June 27 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., visit