With early spring in motion, many people are looking forward to some gardening to wipe off the winter gloom. If you’re one of those people, you may find yourself wondering “What should I plant?”. Well, it’s a good thing that the Storrs Regional FFA is here to help out! According to us, here’s the best things you can plant for this time of the season: beets, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, onions, peas, and spinach. These crops all can make the perfect addition for your garden and when they are ready to harvest they can make a perfect addition to your kitchen as well.
As tempted as you might be, hold off on those tomatoes and peppers until it’s a tad bit warmer! It’s also important to keep in mind that the last frost date in our area still isn’t until later in May, so make sure you have cover ready for all these outdoor crops when the temperature drops. Happy planting!
Maple syrup is a common kitchen ingredient that is served with pancakes and waffles but there are people who don’t actually know how the sweet, golden brown liquid is made.
Maple syrup is made from the sap of a sugar maple tree that is collected and boiled down into the sticky liquid we enjoy. There are only a few weeks each year when these trees can be tapped which is when temperatures are in the 20s at night and reach 40°F-50°F during the day. To collect the sap, a tap must be inserted in the trunk of the tree, then the watery sap drips into a bucket. The sap will flow freely when the conditions are right, and collecting sap demands persistent attention.
Once the sap is collected it can be made into maple syrup simply by boiling the sap down into a syrup once the boiling liquid reaches 219°F. Once it reaches 219°F it is filtered and bottled.
Two of the farms in Mansfield ,CT where local Connecticut maple syrup is sold are the Varga Family Farm and Bailey’s Maple Syrup and Honey. You can also find local syrup at Mansfield Supply, Lisa’s Chocolates, G.M. Thompson & Sons, the Storrs Farmers’ Market and at Stearns Farm Stand.
Contributed by Margaret Prosperie, Storrs Regional FFA Student, Edwin O. Smith High School working with the Mansfield Agriculture Committee
Quinn Hope, Junior. Storrs Regional FFA & Plant Science Student in UCONN ECE Fundamentals of Horticulture Course