Local farms gearing up for busy gardening season
AGAWAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — With snow and a blast of arctic air in the forecast this week, it appears as though the depths of winter are finally among us, but thankfully, there are also signs of spring!
Farmers are gearing up for what is expected to be yet another active growing season, with many taking up gardening during the pandemic.
The days are slowly getting longer and with off season maintenance complete, E. Cecchi Farm in Agawam said they’re gearing up for what is expected to be another busy season.
“All our orders are in. The seeds have been coming in for the last few weeks. We probably have 90 percent of the seeds are here…The supplies have been coming in, the pots and everything and the first plants came in last week, and we’re going to start planting today,” said farm owner Michael Cecchi.
They’ll begin with hanging baskets and will start seeding some of the earlier crops, such as greenhouse tomatoes, onions, and lettuce.
Between Easter and Mother’s Day, blooming will begin, but here in New England, it’s not until May 1 that it’s safe to begin transferring to the ground.
“The heartier stuff, the lettuces and cabbages, onions, first of May, and then each week, you know, different things kind of become available, like you don’t want to put tomatoes out until like…the middle of May, peppers a little later because they’re a little more susceptible to frost and the fluctuation in temperatures…You can cheat a little bit, you know, if you’re already in May and it’s pretty warm, you can cheat a little bit, but you’ve gotta keep an eye to the weather and you know, cover them if they’re going to need it,” Cecchi added.
Last season, supplies sold out quickly with many first-time gardeners in the pandemic. Cecchi has this advice to avoid frustration again this year.
“The best thing to do is to shop early. Some people know what they’re doing, buy early, and put it in the garage at night, so it doesn’t get too cold and put it out during the day. If you have the time, you can do that. If you’re planting seeds, get them as early as you can… you know, they’ll keep until it’s time to seed them,” Cecchi explained.
Speaking of seeds, many farmers are reporting a shortage in seed supply, but not at Cecchi’s.
Despite coronavirus-related shipping delays, the Cecchi family told Western Mass News they’ve got plenty of supply in stock. In fact, they’ve ordered a little bit extra this season, all to ensure that come growing season the inventory is in place for both new and experienced gardeners alike.