From the category archives:

Virginia Farm Tidbits

You might be surprised to learn that farms are spending more on fertilizer and pesticides than fuel.  The USDA Economic Research Service and the Agricultural Resource Management Survey found that the highest energy expenses come from indirect energy sources such as fertilizers and pesticides.  The agricultural farm’s share of indirect expenses is about 17.1%.  Whereas, direct energy’s share of expenses, such as fuel and electricity, is about 8.5%. This data is throughout all farm sizes in U.S. farm businesses.

When looking at all farm sizes, the survey found that small farm businesses highest production expense comes from about 12% of direct energy expenditure.   Medium-sized farm businesses highest energy expense is around 22% of indirect energy expenditure.  The large farm businesses have a higher labor expense which thereby reduces the total energy based expenses. 

The chart below is found in the September 2014 Amber Waves data feature, “Agricultural Energy Use and the Proposed Clean Power Plan.”

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Winterizing your garden

by Staff on November 21, 2014

The leaves have fallen off the trees, the air is cold and the holidays are fast approaching. Homeowners take a lot of time to winterize and protect their home from the long, cold winter. But what about your garden? Taking some simple steps now will help make a tremendous difference next spring!

Remove weeds, dead leaves and any plants that have died. When in doubt- pull it up, roots too! Insects lay eggs on old plants which can survive the winter months. Cut back any old and dead foliage.
Virginia Plant IdentificationNow might be a good time to record in a journal- what you planted, did it grow and any techniques you used that worked or didn’t work. Chances are- you won’t remember in 6 months!

Dig up your summer bulbs like begonias and store them in a paper bag in your cellar. These bulbs won’t survive the winter. Also, late fall is the time you can plant spring bulbs. However, it needs to be done before the ground is too frozen to work with.

Protect your garden by spreading mulch everywhere. It will help protect the roots. Don’t forget to water your trees and shrubs. They need water during the winter months. You can also continue to water them when it’s warm in the winter, typically above freezing.

If possible, bring potted plants inside or wrap them in insulating material.

A little extra effort and time now will help you have vibrant, colorful and healthy garden in the spring.

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Bats!

by Staff November 3, 2014

When you think of bats, images come to mind of a crazy animal that attacks you at night. The truth is, bats are a forgotten animal that helps everyone, especially farmers. They come out at night, working while we sleep. They eat a tremendous amount of bugs, ranging from mosquitoes, to moths and beetles. They [...]

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Virginia Pumpkin Growers

by Staff October 10, 2014

This is great news for Virginia.  CNN has reported that sales of pumpkins nationally has risen 34% just in the past 5 years.  Not coincidentally this is the same time frame since Starbucks introduced its pumpkin spice latte plus other pumpkin drinks and pastries. A professor at Virginia Tech’s Agricultural  school says that the southwest portion of VA went from zero acres [...]

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Virginia’s 2014 Apple Crop

by Staff October 2, 2014

We may be heavy but don’t call us fat.  Can you guess what in Virginia weighs 180 million pounds?  If you answered ‘Virginia’s 2014 apple crop‘… you’d get a gold star. It’s been a great year for Virginia’s famed apples.  Because our Central Virginia area sits primarily east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, our orchards benefit [...]

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Organic Farming 101 in Virginia

by Staff October 1, 2014

The US Dep’t of Agriculture has published a very convenient site for farmers who’re looking for resources and advice for successful organic farming.  The link will take you to other really helpful information about how to become Certified Organic (did you know that you could get reimbursed for some of your certification costs?) … as well as [...]

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