By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
The opening month of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s outdoor season is like a debut to summer: Several vendors are offering seasonal flowers, herbs, and vegetable seedlings. These items make ideal Mothers’ Day gifts. They also offer fast doses of color and character to fledgling gardens and promises of great harvests to come.
Look this weekend and next Wednesday for bright bunches of daffodils, branches of lilacs, and sweet-smelling hyacinths. Such flowers are available as bouquets. With them are pots of geraniums and packs of bedding plants, the horticultural term for fast-growing seasonal flowers and ornamental plants that can be transplanted into gardens immediately.
On Wednesdays, you can find such plants at the Butternut Ridge and Burger Farm stalls on the south end of the High Rock Park pavilion. And, at the end of May, Goode Farm will bring floral arrangements, dried flowers, and cut flowers. On Saturdays, look for flowers and plants at the Scotch Ridge Tree & Berries and Balet Flowers & Design. Also on Saturdays, the Wild Things Rescue Nursery is on hand with a variety of plants native plants that can help build bee and butterfly gardens. And, cut flower bouquets from Lot 32 Flower Farm will return in early June.
If growing food is your goal, many market vendors also offer a wide array of vegetable and herb seedlings. Some can go into the ground immediately; others are best nurtured in sunny windows until soil temperatures have warmed to about 65-70 degrees.
At the Burger Farm stall, tomato plants already are flowering and bearing small fruits. Andy Burger, who operates the farm with his parents, said that they started the plants at the end of January, raising them with heat and light in a greenhouse. The tomatoes are available for purchase now along with such summer plants as peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, zucchini and
summer squash. Burger recommends bringing such seedlings indoors at night and on chillier May days.
For immediate transplanting, try lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale, and other greens, along with such herbs as cilantro, oregano, marjoram, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, and oregano. Other vendors who offer vegetable and herb seedlings include Butternut Ridge, Scotch Ridge, Balet, and Otrembiak Farm.
Most vendors will offer planting advice. Master gardeners with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Services are at both the Wednesday and Saturday markets, as well.