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  • Published
    February 8, 2013

    New book of herbal remedy recipes

    Stephanie Tourles of Orland is a prolific writer and engaging presenter about healthful foods and herbs. Her most recent work, “Hands-On Healing Remedies – 150 Recipes for Herbal Balms, Salves, Oils, Liniments & Other Topical Therapies” (Storey, 2012; $18.95), is a must-have for the bookshelf. Beautifully designed and printed, with delightful watercolors by Samantha Hahn throughout, the book is a treasure to hold …

  • Published
    January 25, 2013

    Apples for the home garden

    Growing apples in the home landscape can satisfy many desires: culinary, aesthetic, historic preservation (of heirloom varieties), the satisfaction of producing something for yourself, and the chance to save a little money. Picking the right site, cultivating quality soil and selecting good varieties are keys to success, said two fruit enthusiasts who spoke at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show recently. C.J. …

  • Published
    January 4, 2013

    A new year, a new commitment to local and organic

    The last time I heard Russell Libby speak — at the Farmer to Farmer Conference in Northport, put on by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association in November — he talked about building our local, organic food system. A month later, this renowned leader in the organic movement, and MOFGA’s executive director, died. It’s up to us to build that local, organic system, Libby said at Farmer to Farmer, “because …

  • Published
    December 20, 2012

    Last-minute gifts for gardeners

    Local is always a great way to shop, and with one weekend to go before Christmas, local is also convenient for last-minute gifts. Avena Botanicals has several boxed gift, available at ~ or by visiting Avena’s shop at 219 Mill St. in Rockport Mondays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. — although the shop will be closing for the holidays on Dec. 21 and reopening on Jan . 2. I put my own gift sets together for friends, …

  • Published
    December 7, 2012

    The epigenetics of eating

    The holidays give us plenty of opportunity to give and get foods that may not be so good for us but taste wonderful. Christmas cookies, gifts of chocolate, pies galore… At the same time, we’re all exposed to potentially harmful environmental chemicals. Can we eat our way to health, given the temptations and contaminations in our world? We can try. According to Washington State University professor Gary Meadows, …

  • Published
    November 23, 2012

    The A and P of favorite herbs

    So many herbs can be used medicinally that it can be difficult to narrow down the choices. Here are ten that I find especially useful. Some, such as elderberry and echinacea, can be tinctured now and given as holiday gifts. Aloe vera: Every kitchen windowsill should have a pot of this plant, to help skin heal quickly after you burn yourself on the oven racks or other kitchen equipment — although Lorie Costigan of …

  • Published
    November 9, 2012

    Witch hazel for landscape and health

    What a treat to encounter fragrant witch hazel flowers in the autumn woods. The narrow yellow flower petals, miniature streamers, warm the landscape just before winter. Yankee Magazine featured this useful native plant, Hamamelis virginiana, in its Nov./Dec. 2008 issue ~ Hampton, Conn., is “the heart of witch hazel country,” said writer Steve Kemper. In central and eastern Connecticut, from November to April, a …

  • Published
    October 26, 2012

    Bringing in, covering up the crops

    The frost has zapped the tomatoes but the cool season crops are still going — as are a few pepper plants that I dug, potted and brought indoors to keep going until their fruits ripen. How long can those outdoor spinach, lettuce, carrot, celery, kale and chard plants go? Some, if protected, should last through winter, not really growing but not dying either during the coldest parts of December to February. Come …

  • Published
    October 12, 2012

    Planning the edible landscape for high yield

    Nursery catalogs for the 2013 planting season are coming out now, so this is a good time to plan and order. If you’re thinking of increasing the amount of food your landscape produces, the Fedco Trees catalog has a useful table on pages 50 and 51 (at ~ showing which of its offerings produce edible or medicinal parts – and which are native, which tolerate wet, dry or shady places, and other characteristics. …

  • Published
    September 13, 2012

    Calorie gardening

    Discussions about whether we can feed the burgeoning population expected in 2050 or 2100 usually use average crop yields per acre in their calculations. This is misleading, said Jonathan Foley, professor of ecology at the University of Minnesota, speaking at the Sustainable Foods Institute 2012 in Monterey, Calif. He noted that crops such as corn and soybeans that are fed to livestock or cars are an inefficient …

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