Christmas down on the farm |

Christmas down on the farm

Karen Woodmansee
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

The latest rage in organic gardening will be on display weekends at Custom Gardens Organic Farm in Silver Springs.

Custom Gardens owners Virginia and Ray Johnson are hoping to educate their visitors about hoop houses as well as offer some attractive holiday gift ideas at their Holiday Open House weekends from Saturday through Dec. 21.

Virginia Johnson said they’d like to get more people growing their own vegetables, and hoop houses are another way to do that.

“That’s the freshest, if you do it yourself,” she said. “But if not, there are us farmers ready to do it for you.”

The Johnsons do not sell hoop houses, all they want to do is push the concept.

“There aren’t that many of us organic farmers, and we’re pushing the concept of more hoop houses to help meet the demand for consumers,” she said.

She said hoop houses allow for growing out of season, and improved growing even during the main season.

“Vegetables do so much better without having the wind and summer stresses along with the wind,” she said.

According to, hoop houses are small greenhouses, with plastic stretched over hoops which have each end attached to the ground. Hoop houses are relatively inexpensive and allow for longer growing seasons and increased production. It also offers protection from wildlife and inclement weather.

At the weekend open houses, the Johnsons will teach visitors about what will grow in Northwestern Nevada during the off-season, what the challenges and benefits are to organic farming.

There won’t be an overabundance of produce at the farm the first weekend, thanks to delivering 137 pounds of fresh produce to the Northern Nevada Food Bank, but there will be a large variety of hoop-house grown greens and roots, snow peas for soups, salads, stews and stir-frying. Next month herb starts, wheat grass and micro-greens will be available, plus floral gifts.

Visitors and shoppers are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items or make a cash donation to the food-bank basket, with proceeds going to a community food program that puts together holiday meal baskets for low-income residents.

Information on the farm’s subscription programs will also be available.

– Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or call 881-7351.