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  • Published
    September 19, 2011

    Plan now to extend the growing season

    With a little planning and perhaps some construction now, you can have greens from your own garden all winter and spring. A cold frame; some low hoops covered with row cover and, later, with plastic; a low-tech hoop house, or even windowsills full of potted greens can keep the crops coming. A cold frame is a bottomless box that sits on garden soil. It can be as long as you want; four-feet by eight-feet is a …

  • Published
    September 5, 2011

    Inclined to garden

    An article called “Ending the Hunger Season” by Fred Brahnson, in the Energy Bulletin ~ discusses SALT: Sloping Agricultural Land Technology. The growing technique is fascinating and promising. SALT alternates rows of perennial crops with rows of annual cash crops growing on hillsides. Trials at ECHO — the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization in Fort Myers, Fla. — show that the SALT system produces more …

  • Published
    August 20, 2011

    Japanese beetle management: Daily shakedowns work best

    Japanese beetles are such party animals. They like to congregate on the tops of leaves or inside flowers, chowing down on the tissues and skeletonizing leaves, and they copulate like crazy. The adults show up in mid-June in Maine and carouse through September. Among their favorite feasts are roses, grapes, plums, raspberries, linden, crab apples (although some varieties are resistant), apples, Japanese maples, …

  • Published
    August 6, 2011

    Permablitz in Belfast creates edible landscape

    “Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you dream of.” Alice Walker’s quote is one of several on the Belfast Area Transition Initiative’s website ( A “permablitz” that BATI organized and helped implement on July 20 fulfilled a dream for Cedar Street resident Karen Ireland and was a model project for others. A permablitz is like a flash mob …

  • Published
    July 24, 2011

    Infatuated with passionflower

    This spring a couple of Unity College students gave me a blue passionflower plant that they had grown from a cutting. Watching its growth and flowering since then has become a joyful daily practice. This passionflower, Passiflora caerulea, is a fast-growing vine with tendrils as clingly as a 2-year-old wrapped around your leg, and flowers that look like something that might have come from outer space or deep in …

  • Published
    July 9, 2011

    Of swallows, bugs, Christmas trees and bayberries

    Have you ever been dive-bombed by a tree swallow? When I went out to the garden one time, years ago, to harvest greens into a colander, a swallow kept swooping just above me. I put the colander on my head and fled for the house. The greens could wait. This year, a pair of swallows is nesting in a bluebird box alongside our driveway and near our Christmas trees. They don’t seem to mind the moving traffic in the …

  • Published
    June 27, 2011

    Lincolnville herbalist focuses on community

    Kathi (Katheryn) Langelier, now of Lincolnville, grew up in Turner, where she gained a love for farming and for beautiful farmland. As a teenager, she started learning about herbs and making herbal preparations, and she was hooked. Gail Faith Edwards’ book, “Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs,” was Kathi’s text for a while. “I took it with me all over the country while I was working on farms,” she …

  • Published
    June 12, 2011

    Elderberry bounty

    Two elderberry plants now diversify our little home orchard. I have visions of 15 pounds of berries coming from each shrub, to be used in elderberry tincture, syrup, jelly, wine and more. Or of butterflies enjoying the flowers, or birds devouring the fruits. Sambucus canadensis, also called American elder, sweet elder or black-berried elder, grows to be six to 12 feet tall, sometimes even taller, with multiple …

  • Published
    May 31, 2011

    Two new cookbooks feature luscious local fare

    Two new cookbooks by Maine authors will have your mouth watering and your wallet opening at farmers’ markets and other local food venues. They are “How to Fix a Leek and Other Food from Your Farmers’ Market,” Revised Edition, by Sandra Garson (Just Write Books, Topsham) and “The Eat Local Cookbook: Seasonal Recipes from a Maine Farm,” by Lisa Turner (Down East, Rockport). Mainers who have been getting their …

  • Published
    May 20, 2011

    Sweet woodruff: Pretty, potent, maybe aggressive

    I tried to grow sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) once, only to have it die out. Maybe the soil got too dry that summer. Maybe I was lucky and avoided introducing a potentially invasive species that is related to the common spreading weed called bedstraw, and, with its whorled leaves, looks a lot like that plant. Ohio State says sweet woodruff “can be mildly invasive under optimum conditions, especially where …

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