Two Boots Farm

A family run farm and floral design studio in Hampstead, Maryland. We grow a wide variety of cut flowers and produce. We also have over 100 cultivated pawpaw fruit trees. We use ecologically sustainable practices so that future generations can continue to grow in healthy soil.

Sunny Days Ahead

Hello!

It’s so nice to have some sunshine again.  We’ve been anxiously awaiting harvesting more flowers-- as soon as we have a few days of sun, they’ll take off.   We’ve been in a lull for the past week or so, as the tulips are done and the ranunculus are beginning to fizzle out.  The fields and high tunnels are brimming with flowers that are so close to opening, and we’re getting impatient! Still, we’re harvesting a few new flowers every day, and soon we’ll have so many that we won’t know what to do.

Thanks to all who came out for our Mother’s Day Market. We were blown away by how many bouquets we made!

We can’t get enough of these poppies.  These sunny blooms just exude joy.

We can’t get enough of these poppies. These sunny blooms just exude joy.


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Over the next several weeks I’ll be introducing you to this year’s farm crew and sharing some gardening tips.  I’m Amelia, and I write the newsletter each week, along with being the assistant manager here at Two Boots Farm.  I’ve worked at the farm since October of 2017, and I feel immensely grateful to work alongside Elisa and our fantastic crew.  This month marks my tenth year of working on farms, and I’ve done a little bit of everything! My past experience includes working with livestock, urban farming, and diversified vegetable farming. I really enjoy the work I do at Two Boots, and I’m loving the opportunity to learn about flowers and pawpaws.  I love farming because it offers endless learning and plenty of time outdoors playing in the soil. When I’m not working with plants, I’m usually sewing, wandering through the woods, or hanging out in my kitchen.


Tomatoes are in the ground!   Elisa and Samantha knocked out the tomato planting in no time on Thursday.

Tomatoes are in the ground! Elisa and Samantha knocked out the tomato planting in no time on Thursday.

Enough about me, here are some gardening tips!

 If you haven’t already planted your summer crops, now is the time.  One thing we always like to emphasize is that it’s a great idea to buy your seedlings from farmers in your area.  We sell what we know and what we grow. This means that what you’ll buy from a farmer is most likely a plant that’s delicious, a good producer, and well-suited to your area’s growing conditions.  We’re always happy to tell you what our favorite varieties are!

Don’t bother growing things you’re not going to eat!  If you don’t like squash, there’s no reason you should feel obligated to grow it when you could be growing tomatoes!  

Use compost and mulch!  It’s always good to add organic matter to your soil.  Using compost will help you increase the water holding capacity of your soil and add nutrients.  Mulching also helps hold in water, and keeps the soil covered, which is excellent for promoting the life of microbes that live in the soil.  

Elisa and Amelia consulting with one another during the weekly field walk.

Elisa and Amelia consulting with one another during the weekly field walk.


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This week at the JFX market we will have Cherriette radishes, gorgeous hakurei turnips, head lettuce, spring mix, and mixed bouquets. We’ll also be bringing flower, veggie, and herb seedlings!

Save the Date

Saturday, June 29th - Two Boots Farm Open House and Potluck - We’ll show you around the farm, share a meal, have activities for kids, and an opportunity to build your own bouquet to take home.

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.

Mother's Day, Cover Crops, and the sweet gifts of May

Greetings,

It’s nearly Mother’s Day, which, for us flower farmers, this is one of our biggest weeks of the year. We’ve spent most of the week preparing, and today we’re sending out 50 bouquets to businesses that pre-ordered our blooms. Arranging flowers for Mother’s Day is quite lovely— it’s so nice to know that each of these bouquets is going to someone special who will really love them and appreciate them, and we get to share our work with so many families! We’re endlessly grateful for the parents and caregivers in our lives who share their love and work hard to make the world a better place.

We’re moving into peak spring flower time, so long as we get some sun soon! Right now we’re still pulling abundant ranunculus from the high tunnels, with peonies, poppies, bachelors buttons, agrostemma, and snapdragons all beginning to show their faces. Soon we’ll have more flowers than we know what to do with! Our spring vegetable crops are really shining right now— especially lettuce! Make sure to pick some up from the market this weekend. As boring as lettuce may seem, it’s not easy to grow in a climate where we have such extended periods of hot weather, and the temperature and moisture levels lately have made for some fantastic greens.

Mother’s Day flowers headed out into the world!

Mother’s Day flowers headed out into the world!

In the moments that we’re not fretting over flowers, we’ve been thinking a lot about cover crops! It’s time to mow down some of our overwintered cover crops, and we’re preparimg to seed some buckwheat in other places. Right now, our crimson clover cover crop is in bloom, and above ground, the beautiful sea of red flowers is attracting pollinators, while below ground, it’s working as a nitrogen fixer, which means that it is converting nitrogen in the atmosphere to nitrogen that is available for plants to use. When we mow the clover and other cover crops in the field, we’re provided with a good source of of organic matter that will break down in the fields.

We generally seed a mix of things when we seed our cover crops, as different cover crops have different benefits. These benefits include enhancing soil health by reducing compaction, adding organic matter to soil, which in turn feeds soil microbes, improving water infiltration, preventing soil erosion, and scavenging nitrogen. Cover crops aren’t generally harvested for food or floral use, but cover cropping is profitable on a small farm because of the cumulative benefits it provides to the soil and our cash crops.

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This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, French Breakfast and cherriette radishes, hakurei turnips, head lettuce, spring mix, and mixed bouquets. We’ll also be bringing flower, veggie, and herb seedlings!

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Save the Date

Saturday, May 11th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class

Saturday, June 29th - Two Boots Farm Open House and Potluck - We’ll show you around the farm, share a meal, have activities for kids, and an opportunity to build your own bouquet to take home.

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.

We’ve been seeing lots of fledgling birds on the farm recently!  Pictured here is one of a family that’s made a home in the birdhouse next to our greenhouse.  As they learn to fly, their sweet mama is never far behind.      There’s also an indigo bunting who’s been making daily appearances near the compost pile- his vibrant blues have been a real standout sight throughout this grey week.

We’ve been seeing lots of fledgling birds on the farm recently! Pictured here is one of a family that’s made a home in the birdhouse next to our greenhouse. As they learn to fly, their sweet mama is never far behind.

There’s also an indigo bunting who’s been making daily appearances near the compost pile- his vibrant blues have been a real standout sight throughout this grey week.

Seedling Sales and Mother's Day Bouquets

Happy May!

With the arrival of May, the farm has really kicked into full gear. We’re headed into one of the busiest times of the season, and we’re hard at work in the fields. In the coming weeks, we’ll plant tomatoes, peppers, dahlias, zinnias, sunflowers, marigolds, and more! After scrambling to get all of our tender crops tucked under row cover in preparation for a frost this past Sunday evening, we’re hoping that the threat of frost has passed. After hitting 85 degrees on Thursday, it sure feels like we’re moving towards summer weather!

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We know that this is also a busy time for home gardeners, and we’re thrilled to be hosting our first ever on farm plant sales this weekend. We’ll have a wide array of seedlings available for you to take home to plant in your gardens, including many varieties of tomatoes and peppers, a selection of cut flowers, herbs, and much, much more. The sale will be this Saturday, May 4, beginning at 8:00 a.m. At 9:00, we will offer a free gardening 101 class, and at 10:00, there will be a farm tour. We’ll have another seedling sale at the farm on May 11th.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12th, and we’ve opened up our preorders for holiday flowers. This year we are offering two options, Mama’s jar of flowers and a wrapped bouquet. Pickup is available on farm and at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market. We sell out of arrangements at the market every Mother’s Day, so preordering is the best way to ensure that you’ll be able to give your mother flowers.

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This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, French Breakfast and cherriette radishes, hakurei turnips, spring mix, tulips, ranunculus, and mixed bouquets. We’ll also be bringing flower, veggie, and herb seedlings!


Save the Date

Saturday, May 4th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class

Saturday, May 11th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class

Saturday, June 29th - Two Boots Farm Open House and Potluck - We’ll show you around the farm, share a meal, have activities for kids, and an opportunity to build your own bouquet to take home.

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.


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No-Till the Two Boots way

Whew! We’ve been planting up a storm all week long. What a joy it’s been to spend our days under the sun getting our tender plant babies in the ground. We can’t wait to see the flowers they pump out come Summer! We’re continuing to pull loads of tulips from the field, and have started to harvest the first of our ranunculus. It’s been a beautiful Spring in Maryland, and we’re feeling lucky to have had such a pleasant start to the season.


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Most of our time over the past month has been spent working to prepare our fields for planting. Because we try to do this without tilling the soil, bed preparation looks a bit different for us than it does at a lot of other farms. We use several different methods to kill of cover crops before planting. Our favorite method is occultation, or using large plastic silage tarps to cover beds for about a month before we are ready to plant into them. As the tarps sit on the beds, they heat the soil to high temperatures and smother the existing plants in the field, while also causing any weed seeds to germinate and die off. Occultation allows us to leave organic matter in the field and gives us a clean slate to plant into. Once we remove the tarps from the field, we generally broadfork the beds to aerate the soil if needed, spread compost and amendments, and rake them in. Once that’s done, we often lay landscape fabric on top of the beds and will plant into that. This helps us keep weeds at bay, which gives us more time to focus on growing even more flowers and veggies!

Another no-till method we’re trying out this year probably seems a little nutty to most people. We’re experimenting with cutting out cover crops by hand at the base of the plant, so that the roots can stay in the ground to feed the soil microbes. The green material from the cover crops is then spread on top of the bed and left to break down. After we’ve cut down the cover crops, we’ll gently aerate the soil with a broadfork or digging fork, and again, spread our amendments and compost, and possibly cover with landscape fabric.

We’re enjoying learning more about no-till farming. It’s gentler on the Earth, allows us to sequester carbon, and supports the life within the soil. The cherry on top? We’re finding that using no-till methods is easier on our own bodies!


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This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, radishes, hakurei turnips, shiitake mushrooms, spring mix, tulips, daffodils, ranunculus, and mixed bouquets. We’ll also be bringing an abundance of flower, veggie, and herb seedlings to sell!


We’ve been harvesting gorgeous shiitakes off of our logs for several weeks now, with no end in sight!

We’ve been harvesting gorgeous shiitakes off of our logs for several weeks now, with no end in sight!


Save the Date

Saturday, May 4th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class

Saturday, May 11th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class

Saturday, June 29th - Two Boots Farm Open House and Potluck - We’ll show you around the farm, share a meal, have activities for kids, and an opportunity to build your own bouquet to take home.

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.


We spent some time this week seeding our swale to prevent erosion. Prior to the flooding of 2018, there was no stream here! This stream is fed by the spring that flooded our fields last season, and now flows constantly.

We spent some time this week seeding our swale to prevent erosion. Prior to the flooding of 2018, there was no stream here! This stream is fed by the spring that flooded our fields last season, and now flows constantly.

Springing Forth

The god of dirt

came up to me many times

and said so many wise and delectable things
— Mary Oliver, One or Two Things

As the days become longer and the temperatures climb, we find ourselves amazed by how quickly we’ve transitioned from hiding out in the greenhouse for hours on end to rushing through the fields, preparing the soil and planting as much as we are able. Just as our earliest overwintered flowers begin to bloom, we’re working double time to get our first summer flowers into the fields!

At times, it can feel like a never-ending grind, but we love what we do, and we’re constantly learning and trying new things. Recently, we’ve been particularly excited about trying out more no-till methods on the farm. We’ve always worked hard to minimize tillage, so as to avoid disturbing the soil biology on the farm. This year, we’ve been experimenting with new ways of killing our cover crops and preparing our beds in hopes that we’ll be able to build our organic matter and sustain a healthy soil food web. We also frequently find toads, snakes, and lots of other critters in our gardens when we’re doing bed prep, and when we’re gentle on the soil, it means we’re more likely to support the life of these creatures as well!

We’ve been finding lots of toad eggs in wet areas on the farm.

We’ve been finding lots of toad eggs in wet areas on the farm.

This week we’ll be bringing arugula, radishes, hakurei turnips, shiitake mushrooms, tulips, and daffodils to the JFX market. We’ll also have an abundance of flower, veggie, and herb seedlings for sale!

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Save the Date

Saturday, May 4th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class

Saturday, May 11th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class

Saturday, June 29th - Two Boots Farm Open House and Potluck - We’ll show you around the farm, share a meal, have activities for kids, and an opportunity to build your own bouquet to take home.

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.

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Spring Fever

What a beautiful week we’re enjoying! Now that Spring is in full swing, we farmers are busy as can be. It feels so good to be back outside and working hard.

Farmer’s market season is upon us!

As we enter the frenzy of planting and harvesting, we’re looking forward to the opportunities we have to share the fruits of our labor with you. We’ll be at the JFX Market this and every Sunday throughout the season, in the same spot as last year. This week we’ll be bringing tulips, daffodils, arugula, radishes, shiitakes, and tons of herb, veggie, and flower seedlings. Come on down to visit!

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We’re excited to announce that after a year of paperwork and planning, Two Boots Farm is officially Certified Organic! We’ve been using organic practices all along, so not much has changed, but it sure is nice to be able to say to the world that we’re an organic cut flower and vegetable farm.

Farm Events

One of the things we’re really looking forward to this season is taking the time to share the farm with our community more often than we have in the past. In addition to the on-farm plant sales in May, our open house in June, and our centerpiece workshop in July, we’re excited to announce that we’ll be hosting a dinner with Wilde Thyme on Saturday, August 10th! Escape the heat of the city for an evening and enjoy wandering the farm, share a delicious meal and cocktail, and gather around the fire for s’mores after dinner.

Enjoy this gorgeous Spring weather!

Save the Date

Saturday, May 4th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class

Saturday, May 11th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class

Saturday, June 29th - Two Boots Farm Open House and Potluck - We’ll show you around the farm, share a meal, have activities for kids, and an opportunity to build your own bouquet to take home.

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.


Spring is on the Horizon! Time to start planning your garden.

We’ve nearly made it through the coldest days of winter and are looking forward to Spring.  In the high tunnels, our tulips are nearly ready to harvest, and the greenhouse is quickly filling up with seedlings.

Hillary and Andy ‘18  Photo: Ann-Marie Van Tassell  .

Hillary and Andy ‘18 Photo: Ann-Marie Van Tassell .

Changes for 2019

As you’re probably aware, Two Boots has been shifting in the direction of growing more and more flowers over the past few years, and this year, we’re really cutting back on vegetable production.  We’ve chosen to grow a selection of our best performing and best-selling produce crops for market this year- arugula, lettuce, tomatoes, shishito peppers, radishes, turnips, and ginger. And, of course, we’ll still have pawpaws and shiitake mushrooms.  Over the years, we’ve realized that our bread and butter really is cut flower production and floral design, and so we’re primarily going to focus on the flowers this year.

For past Market CSA members who are still interested in purchasing a CSA from us, know that you’re still welcome to do so, but our produce selection will be more limited than you are used to.

Get your garden seedings at our farmers’ market or at our on farm plant sale.

Get your garden seedings at our farmers’ market or at our on farm plant sale.

Garden Planning

If you’re a home gardener, or dreaming of starting your first garden, we will be hosting two Plant Sales and gardening 101 classes on the farm this Spring! The farm will be open to visitors on Saturday, May 4th, and Saturday, May 11. Stop by to purchase seedlings, tour the farm, and learn a thing or two about growing. You can also purchase our seedlings at our farmers’ market every Sunday mid- April thru May. We will have lots and lots of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, greens, and even flower seedlings for your cutting garden!

Save the Date

Saturday, May 4th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class

Saturday, May 11th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class

Saturday, June 29th - Two Boots Farm Open House and Potluck - We’ll show you around the farm, share a meal, have activities for kids, and an opportunity to build your own bouquet to take home.

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

We look forward to seeing you all in the coming months. Now back to planting!

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