Wilton High School Plant Sale (click to order)

Our spring native wildflower sale was such a success that we’ve partnered with Planters’ Choice Nursery again for a bigger and better fall sale! These aren’t just any native wildflowers, they’re from CT NOFA’s Ecotype Project, which means that they have a genetic heritage native to Connecticut and can’t be found anywhere else. When you purchase and install these plants, you are reintroducing biodiversity into our landscapes and therefore supporting the ecosystem services that sustain us. There’s nothing more fulfilling.

Fall 2020 Sale Details

These plants are available by preorder only- order online then pick up on Saturday, September 12.

Plants come as plugs approximately 2.5″ wide x 5″ deep and must be ordered in groups of 4 per species.

Cost per plant: $2.50 with $1 going directly to support WHS Organic Garden’s programs and initiatives.

ORDERS ARE DUE BY Wednesday, September 2 at 11:59 pm   

Pick up will be Saturday, September 12 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm at The Hickories Farm (136 Lounsbury Rd, Ridgefield, CT 06877). All pickup procedures will be strictly aligned with Connecticut’s COVID-19 safety guidelines and restrictions.

Payment Instructions

We take payment in the form of Cash or Check:

Checks must be made out to WHS ACTIVITY FUND
In the note on the bottom of the check please write “Plant Plugs”

Orders can be dropped off at the main entrance of Wilton High School with Kim Ely or mailed to Jim Hunter / Wilton High School 395 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT. 06897

 

Aspetuck Plant Sale (click to order)

Order by September 17th
-while supplies last-

Curbside pickup or delivery on September 26th and 27th!

To help homeowners plant ‘Native Plants’ in our local area we are happy to provide the tools listed below. We hope you are inspired!

  • Garden planting plans, kits, and plants for a variety of sun and soil conditions.

  • Delivery to your home is optional, a suggested donation of $20 is requested to cover costs.

  • Four of Aspetuck Land Trust’s Landscape Partners are standing ready to provide planting services for you, call one of them for a free estimate. Landscape Partners Link: HERE!

  • 50% of your purchase is tax-deductible and a tax receipt is provided.

Please note: The plants are native, locally grown at Planter’s Choice in Newtown. They are native to our region and have been carefully selected to attract our local pollinators and wildlife.

Native Garden Plans & Kits

$48 – $464

Garden kits include a detailed garden plan and every plant you’ll need to plant a beautiful native garden in a variation of sizes, sun types, and soil types – find the perfect garden plan for your yard! VIEW HERE!

Native Shrubs and Trees

Prices ranging from $8 – $76

Each shrub and tree is sold in a 1, 2, 3, or 6 gallon pot. There are 15 varieties of trees and 33 varieties of shrubs.

VIEW HERE!

Ecotype Project.jpg

Native Perennials

$24 for 8 plugs

These perennials are native to the area and have been carefully selected to attract our local pollinators and wildlife. The majority of the perennials are from the Ecotype Project! These plugs are sold in increments of 8 (16, 24.. etc).

VIEW HERE!


Instructions to process your purchase:

  1. Open an empty shopping cart; keep one shopping cart open and add to it as you navigate our site and find plants you’d like to buy!

  2. Enter all items you’d like to purchase.

  3. Be sure to include a ticket for either curbside pickup or delivery.

    • Curbside pickup on September 25th or 26th at Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane, Westport, CT.
      Directions and a map will be provided in the lower right corner of your page during checkout.

    • Delivery to your home on September 25th or 26th suggested donation $20.
      A four-hour delivery window will be provided for your delivery.

  4. Follow the “Purchase” button at the bottom of the shopping cart when all items have been entered. The next page “Review your order” will open on your screen, please review your order in this screen to ensure that plants and quantities are correct. Quantities can be edited in this location prior to processing your payment.

  5. Your order total is summarized in the lower right hand of the “Review your order” page. If everything is correct click on “Continue to Your Info”.

  6. Follow the instructions in your confirmation email and receipt.

  • Those picking up will need to follow the link provided to Signup Genius and choose one available curbside pickup between 10 AM and 3:30 PM on September 26th & 27th. Pickup will be at Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane, Westport, CT. Only one pickup time is needed per customer.

  • Those choosing delivery will need to follow the link provided to Signup Genius Delivery and provide the necessary delivery details. You will be provided with a four-hour delivery window via email the week of September 26th. Deliveries will be made between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM.

Please Note: A separate email will be sent for each item chosen (each ticket item purchased).

50% of your purchase price will be a tax-deductible gift to the Aspetuck Land Trust.
Delivery donations are fully tax-deductible. A tax receipt will be provided.

Your support is needed more than ever! Donate today!

Making Farms Centers of Justice and Fairness https://www.agriculturaljusticeproject.org/en/donate/

The COVID -19 crisis has exposed minor cracks and deep craters in the US food supply chain, food security, and local food systems reliance, and resiliency. Farmers and farmworkers are “essential,” yet there is no requirement or financial support to provide them with masks, protective care, paid leave if they get sick, and safe, transportation, and housing with room for social distancing. Farms that adopt AJP Food Justice Certification have health and safety plans with training for all employees that are verified by third-party certifiers and farm operators with fair farm work policies. Since 1999, farmer and farmworker advocacy organizations; the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), the Farm Worker Support Committee (CATA), and the Rural Advancement Foundation International USA (RAFI-USA) have been working together to keep the flame of fairness alive in the domestic food system, to empower workers and farmers, build capacity, educate the public, and create lasting partnerships across sectors. The not-for-profit organization, the Agricultural Justice Project, agriculturaljusticeproject.org emerged from this collaborative effort. A major part of our work is the creation and management of the Food Justice Certified (FJC) program, which allows consumers to connect with organic farms and food businesses that engage in high bar fair labor and trade practices, and sets this high bar against which other claims of fairness must measure themselves. AJP also offers farm operators cost-share for applying to be AJP Certified through our social fund.

Please make a difference today and donate to AJP! As a member of the large and diverse NOFA community across 7 states, your donation today will help where it is needed most, on the farm. Continue our dedicated efforts and accomplishments, please go to: https://www.agriculturaljusticeproject.org/en/donate/ And thank you for donating any amount!

On June 6th and 7th, the Aspetuck Land Trust hosted their first native plant sale pickup at Gilbertie’s Organic Farm in Easton, Connecticut. This sale marks the culmination of two years worth of partnership and careful curating among botanists, farmers, nursery growers, and conservationists.  The Ecotype Project of CT NOFA (The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut)  is delighted to announce that their first round of “wild-collected seed, locally grown plants” was sold out at this event in just five days.  Many thanks go to Ecotype Project partners, Planter’s Choice Nursery and Highstead Arboretum.*   

 

There are now 176 more ecotype pollinator habitat “way-stations” along Aspetuck’s  Green Corridor.  3700 ecotype plugs and 371 native shrubs and trees were distributed to native plant stewards across Ecoregion-59

 

Each ecotype species sold was the offspring of seed wild-collected by expert botanists from our region and represents the local genetics of the native plants from our region.  Being truly “from here” means these plants have the best chance of persisting in our environment and adding resilience to our local ecosystem for years to come.  Aspetuck Land Trust’s sale followed two weeks after the Wilton High School championed the Ecotype Project with the sale and distribution of over 5,000 ecotypes into backyards and conservation sites across Connecticut and Massachusetts.

 

A single species of plant will have different genetic information based on the environment it evolved in.  These plants are from seeds harvested from local native plants. By planting these gardens, you will help these local plants thrive- not to mention, our lovely pollinators!

Simply plant, and watch the magic unfold.” – Mary Ellen Lemay- Director of Landowner Engagement – Aspetuck Land Trust

 

To help the customers understand how many plugs to purchase as well as how to implement, The Aspetuck Land Trust devised a plug-and-plant system complete with planting plans and directions of how to implement ecotypes on your landscape. Two of the offered packages for the ecotypes were the Pollinator Garden Kit and the Mailbox Garden Kit. ** To support gardeners who are unfamiliar with “plug planting,” Planter’s Choice Nursery worked with the Ecotype Project to create how-to instructions for gardeners.

 

The Pollinator Garden Kit 

Designed for a 5’ x 10’ space and included one flat of 32 plugs. 

 

The Mailbox Garden Kit 

Designed for 4’ x 4’ space as a perfect fit for the Aspetuck Land Trusts Green Corridor Partner mailbox signs and included half a flat of 16 plugs.

 

This plant sale directly supported the efforts of the Green Corridor Initiative of the Aspetuck Land Trust, which is creating  “a 40,000-acre Green Corridor that will extend through Fairfield, Westport, Weston, Easton, Wilton, and Redding. “The Green Corridor will protect, connect, and improve the ecological health of our region for all people and wildlife.” To all that purchased plants at this sale, thank you for helping to fortify our collective ecological corridor! 

 

CT NOFA is following in the footsteps of some leading conservation and farming organizations across the country championing “local ecotypes” in nursery crops and is proud to bring this forward-thinking movement to fruition in Connecticut. Join the Ecotype Project here and stay apprised of future Ecotype Project plant sales and events. 

 

*Funding for the Ecotype Project has been provided by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program of the Agricultural Marketing Service, US Dept of Agriculture, awarded and administered by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.  

 

**Drawings, planting plans & tables from Paige Lyons of Aspetuck Land Trust.  

 

PHOTOS:

The Aspetuck Land Trust 

Native/ Ecotype Plant Sale at Gilbertie’s Organic Farm in Easton, Connecticut

June 6th and 7th 2020

Check out more of this series and other videos on our YouTube channel

Join us throughout the season for updates from the Square Foot Garden project at The Hickories’ Farm in Ridgefield, CT. Each week Jean Linville gives us a tour of what food is growing, what we should be doing in the garden now, and how to plan for the next crop. This week’s ‘tour’ features spring harvest and summer plans.

 

On May 15th and May 16th, Wilton High School, a partner of The Ecotype Project of CT NOFA, successfully sold the first batch of ecotype native pollinator plants to one hundred and thirty-nine people.  5,526 plants were distributed and will be planted in the soils throughout ecoregion 59- fortifying our green corridor and pollinator pathways with the right plants in the right place!  The distribution of these special plants was the culmination of two years of coordinated work among botanists, farmers, nursery growers, and conservation groups across Connecticut.  

The plant sale, coordinated by Jim Hunter and Brett Gilman of the Wilton High School Garden Club, consisted of the seven ecotype species grown by Ecotype Project partner Darryl Newman and his team at Planters Choice Nursery.  Customers included farmers, conservation groups, and backyard gardeners coming from Connecticut, New York, and even as far as Plymouth, MA.

 

Each species sold was the offspring of seed wild-collected by expert botanists from our region and represents an ecotype, or the local genetics, of the native plants from our region.  Being truly “from here” means these plants have the best chance of persisting in our environment.  CT NOFA is following in the footsteps of some leading conservation and farming organizations across the country championing “local ecotypes” in nursery crops and is proud to bring this forward-thinking movement to fruition in Connecticut.  The most popular choice was Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) a very important pollinator plant that has a long bloom time and is attractive to many varieties of bees.  By supporting the native plants, we support native pollinators, and by supporting pollinators, we support our farms and food system – an effort being championed from the home landscape to large scale restoration habitats.  

Due to the COVID pandemic, Wilton High School was closed so CT NOFA was able to support its partner by offering The Hickories, an organic farm in neighboring Ridgefield, as a site for the sale.  “The partnership between arboretums, high schools, farms, nurseries, conservation groups, garden clubs, – the list goes on and on – showcases a wide community coming together to support habitat restoration and innovative farming efforts in Connecticut. We at CT NOFA are so proud to see the culmination of the Ecotype Project’s efforts,” said Dina Brewster, Executive Director of CT NOFA.  

“The fact that the Wilton HS Organic Garden Club was able to pull off this impressive fundraiser during a pandemic was remarkable!  The website was organized and easy to follow, and the communication with the club and the Hickories was clear and helpful. My pollinator plugs are settled in their new home and ready to attract pollinators!  Thank you, WHS Organic Garden!” – Jean Brey of Redding, CT

Thank you to all that traveled to support this initiative, even in the face of this pandemic. Your local pollinators will be delighted by the wild-collected, locally grown feast you have just introduced back into your local habitats! 

Where people traveled from to pick up Native Ecotype plugs

 

Stay tuned for the upcoming Ecotype Project Plant Sales! 

 

From Mr. Hunter

 

“It’s amazing. This is the first time any student group has ever done something like this and Wilton High School is leading the way. We need to thank Brett Gilman, the Wilton High School Organic Garden Club. […] Let’s keep supporting Wilton and it’s biodiversity!”

 

Quotes

 

“I had the wonderful experience of buying and picking up some important native plants from the Wilton High plant sale! I was very excited to be able to purchase native plants for my garden, and they were perfect size and condition for planting. I’m very happy with the results, thanks, guys!” – Taylor Lynne Matzke of Millstone Farm in Wilton

 

Funding for The Ecotype Project has been provided by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program of the Agricultural Marketing Service, US Dept of Agriculture, awarded and administered by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture

Download this document to use as a reference when establishing Ecotype Project seedlings from one of our nursery and plant sale partners. 

How to Effectively Establish Native Plant Plugs

See below for a more detailed description with links for to further resources.

Special thanks to John Campanelli for creating this document for our farmers, gardeners and conservation partners.

 

How to Effectively Establish Native Plant Plugs

Native herbaceous plants are frequently sold as plugs because their compact size allows for the creation of masses and drifts to better emulate how they grow in nature. Once the plants leave the constraints of the plug tray and their roots can expand more freely in the soil, they rapidly grow taller and wider, filling in the space between plugs. However, achieving dense stands of each species requires planning and preparation. 

Landscaping with Native Plants (A comprehensive guide for landscaping with native plants. However, as part of site preparation, this guide mentions the use of herbicides, which we at NOFA discourage.)

A Guide to Native Plant Gardening – Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

7 Ways to Use Drifts and Masses In Your Garden

WHY LOCAL GENETICS?

 

Site Selection and Assessment

Decide how and where you want to use plugs, whether for new border gardens, massing among shrubs in existing foundation beds, pollinator or other wildlife habitats, or replacing portions of lawn with small meadows.  Assess the space where you will be planting to determine the quality of sunlight, moisture, and soil. Survey existing vegetation to determine what does and does not thrive. In particular, identify the type and number of existing weeds. 

Site Preparation

Successful establishment requires that the plugs not get outcompeted by existing weeds and their seed banks. We suggest keeping any soil tilling to a minimum since doing so results in the germination of previously dormant weed seeds. However, if choosing a site overrun by weeds and invasive plants, plan appropriate site preparation weeks – if not months – before planting, especially when using organic methods for killing existing vegetation. 

Sheet Mulching: How to Smother Weeds, Build Soil & Conserve Water the Easy Way

Map the Area to Be Planted

Outline the area to be planted whether with rope, hose, or stakes. Since most planting spaces have round, irregular edges, measure the length and width as best you can to determine the rough square footage. While each species spreads at different rates, an easy rule of thumb for estimating the number of plugs needed to achieve dense stands within a year is one plug per square foot. 

Native Plant Garden Designs For Small Spaces

Estimating Irregularly Shaped Areas 

Calculate the size of your garden bed

Preparing to Plant

Plugs require planting a greater number of plants than most landscaping projects. Therefore, it’s important to develop an easy, uniform, and effective planting method. 

  • Keep plugs moist before planting

Because their compact roots leave them susceptible to drying out, it’s important that plug trays be kept well-watered and out of direct sun from the moment they’re brought home up until they’re planted. Make sure to thoroughly water them two to three hours before planting. This makes it easier to remove them from their trays and loosen their roots before putting them in the ground.  In addition, by deeply watering the plugs just before planting, they can be removed from their trays and laid in the spots they will be planted without drying out, thus saving time. 

  • Recommended tools, starting with those we deem most convenient to use, include:
  1. ProPlugger 5-IN-1 Lawn Tool and Garden Tool, Bulb Planter, Weeder, Sod Plugger, Annual Planter, Soil Test (available through Amazon)
  2. 3″ bulb & bedding plant auger drill attachment 
  3. Bulb planter tool
  4. Small spade
  5. Hand trowel

Planting Plugs: Putting Tools to the Test

ProPlugger 5-IN-1 Lawn Tool and Garden Tool, Bulb Planter, Weeder, Sod Plugger, Annual Planter, Soil Test (ProPlugger demonstration video)

Power Planter 100% USA Made 3″x7″ Bulb & Bedding Plant Auger

  • Determining spacing and groupings

Taking time before planting to determine the spacing of the plugs will ensure uniform density and that your supply of plugs cover the desired area. When planting larger areas, use a grid pattern with plants 12” off center from each other.

If you’re creating smaller groups of a variety of species, be aware of the differences in mature heights when arranging each group. If planting against a structure, make sure the tallest species are in the back along the structure to ensure shorter species receive proper light. 

Planting in the Ground

Plant plugs to a depth that allows the plant’s crown to lie at soil level. Backfill soil between the plug and the hole.   

Water in plugs immediately after installation to fill soil air holes around root systems. During the first three weeks, water plantings for about 60 minutes every four days on mild spring days or every three days on hot summer days. A one-hour watering will soak more deeply than 15-minute ones.

Mulch helps conserve soil moisture and reduces weed pressure. We recommend immediately after planting 2-4” of mulch. Preferred mulches include weed-free wheat straw, dried grass clippings, cocoa bean hulls, or dried shredded leaves. Avoid cocoa bean hulls on heavy or wet soils or in dense shade to prevent fungus build-up. Avoid using bark mulch, especially large pieces.

Sweet Peet Mulch

WeedGuardPlus Organic Paper Mulch 

      Proactive Weed Prevention

Vigilant weed control the first year will ensure effective establishment over the long term. By preventing weeds from outcompeting herbaceous native plants, the plugs will fill in the spaces between plants, resulting in dense stands and few weeds the following years. 

Taking care of natives in your home garden

 

Funding has been provided by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program of the Agricultural Marketing Service, US Department of Agriculture, awarded and administered by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.

Thanks to the hard work of those advocating for agriculture, the EIDL loan program is now accepting applications from farmers.

Farmers: Click here to apply.

 

 

By Monique Bosch

I took a visit to a composting business that prides itself on utilizing local food waste to create a special blend of highly nutritious compost. ‘Diverting food waste’ and ‘highly nutritious’ were key words for me, so I jumped in the car to check it out. Driving into an unassuming backyard along a residential street in Danbury, I was surprised to see the orderly piles of compost and mulch, along with heavy equipment, neatly organized.

Below: Jeff stands in front of his composting facility, neatly tucked away, with no smell or mess.

 

I met Jeff, taking a break from moving piles and loading trucks. First question; “how did all this come about?”

“I was working in the landscaping industry when I met Don Taylor from Taylor farm, the property I’m on right now. He had woodchips, logs, and brush and I had a desire to compost. I cleaned up the site, brought in leaves, and started producing a high carbon, wood-based compost. Then the horse manure started coming in.”

In 2014, Connecticut’s legislature enacted a law that requires businesses that produce 1 ton or more of food waste to recycle it, if they’re within 20 miles of a facility that’s licensed to handle it. This new law made it feasible for Jeff to alter his permit to include food waste.

Jeff then took the formula further, adding other waste products that were locally available.

“There are some unique feedstocks out there that make for unique compost,” Jeff explained. He increased his inputs to include waste from several local businesses:  Bigelow Tea (tea and botanical waste), Ideal Fish in Waterbury (whole fish, fish manure), Sunset Hill Farm (horse manure) and Lesser Evil Snack (organic popcorn). The end result was a high-quality compost product with diverse and complex sets of nutrients.

 

Jeff makes his compost in small batches, with great attention to detail and quality. His Thermophilic compost system is unique in that it uses a 100% solar-powered aeration system. Jeff mixes his feedstocks to correct ratios, then places the mixture on perforated pipes. Using a 1½ horsepower blower, he runs air under the rows, 2 minutes on, 28 minutes off, for 30 days. He can tweak the amount of time the blower is on, depending on the density of the pile, and temperature. This control over air and temperature ensures that the rows never go ‘anaerobic’, which leads to a higher quality finished compost.

 

Below: Jeff stands beside perforated pipes ready for the next load of waste materials.

The thermometer is visible in the active pile to the right, solar panels generating energy to run the aeration system on the left.

 

Jeff keeps the row temperature at 140-150 degrees for 30 days.

After 30 days he’ll flip the row and put it back on the air for an additional 14 days, to guarantee pathogen/weed/parasite destruction. He’ll then cure the pile for 90-120 days.

The most satisfying aspect of composting all of these local waste products is the knowledge that all of these feedstocks were destined for either landfill or would have been burned at a waste incineration plant. Instead, they are part of a unique recipe that makes Jeff’s New England Compost product highly nutritious for plants. We took a look under the microscope to examine the life in the compost:

 

Below: Video of finished New England Compost. Plenty of diverse bacteria & soil aggregates.

Jeff is starting to see more people wanting to do their own composting, but says the biggest stumbling block is keeping the food waste free of contaminants.

“Those who are saving food waste for pickup should lookout to produce ‘stickers’ and bags.  Keep in mind ‘if you can eat it, I can compost it’.” Haulers are educating consumers on best practices and it’s starting to be evident in the food waste Jeff receives from households. “4 years ago the volume of contamination meant that I just couldn’t use it. It was too expensive to cleanout. Now more people are gardening and thinking about compost as a key ingredient in their garden soil. The importance of high-quality compost is starting to be noticed and appreciated.”

The State of CT and the Connecticut Business Association are preparing to distribute free face masks to essential small businesses (farms!) that have fewer than 50 employees.  The masks should be distributed in the coming week by the municipality in which the business is located.
(Thank you to CT NOFA member Susan Mitchell for sharing this great opportunity with us.)