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  • Published
    September 27, 2012

    Storing saved seeds

    Many garden seeds can be collected now and stored for planting in spring. Echinacea seeds are drying on their seed heads –– at least those that the goldfinches aren’t eating. ‘Jimmy Nardello’ sweet peppers are long and red; it’s time to eat the flesh and save the scraped-away seeds. ‘Chateau Rose’ tomato seeds are ripe for the taking (i.e., for the fermenting). How long can seeds last in storage? There are tales ...

  • Published
    September 6, 2012

    Growing raspberries is easier than you might think

    One of the most decadent of desserts has to be homemade raspberry pie. Considering that it takes five or more cups of the luscious berries to make one, a raspberry pie is indeed a luxury and pure pleasure. And if you have ever tasted fresh raspberry jam, you know what a treat it is. Not only are they delicious and nutritious too, raspberries are one of the priciest of berries. But if you are growing raspberries ...

  • Published
    August 30, 2012

    Gather ye organic matter while ye may

    The tomato, bean, zucchini, blueberry, etc. harvest is in full swing now — and so is the organic matter harvest. If you want to depend as little as possible on outside sources to add nutrients and organic matter to your soil, start saving… Grass clippings — A mower that collects grass clippings can add an abundance of organic matter to your garden quickly. Each time you mow your lawn — assuming you don’t use ...

  • Published
    August 23, 2012

    A hydrangea is a hydrangea, is a hydrangea, is a hydrangea…

    Hydrangeas, those great flowering shrubs, were thrust into the headlines a while back when singing celebrity Madonna publicly dissed a fan’s gift of a bouquet of beautiful blue blooms. While the “material girl” may “…hate hydrangeas,” a whole lot more of us are simply gaga over them. I know that for a fact because I see blooming hydrangeas everywhere, and they’ve been especially pretty this summer. What’s not to ...

  • Published
    August 16, 2012

    Tomato tips

    A day-long workshop on tomatoes at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association last spring brought up some tips that should help plantings produce more and longer, and with less disease. These tips came from MOFGA and Cooperative Extension staff and a few growers.• Plant tomatoes in a well-drained, non-compacted soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.8 – ideally closer to 6.8, for better taste. Try to have 4 to ...

  • Published
    August 9, 2012

    Roses, the crowning touch for every garden

    Love ‘em or hate ‘em, roses are the queens of the garden. My romance with roses began early via my Hoosier grandmother who prized her hybrid teas. Like most growers of roses, Grandmother Reba attended her roses as if they were visiting royalty. She taught me the importance of giving roses the best soil and supplements and plenty of sunshine. Of course she gardened during that era of those big-guns rose chemicals ...

  • Published
    August 2, 2012

    Avena Botanicals’ tranquil and productive gardens thrive

    Avena Botanicals on Mill Street in West Rockport has been a favorite site for gardeners and herbal enthusiasts to visit for decades. Now in its 28th year, the business, started and owned by Deb Soule, features a three-acre garden where visitors are enveloped by lush plants grown according to organic and biodynamic standards, and by the buzz of bees enjoying those plants, the darting of hummingbirds, the dances of ...

  • Published
    July 19, 2012

    Garden giant mushrooms

    The wet spring was tough on vine crops but good for at least one crop: mushrooms. Not that I am an expert à la Greg Marley or David Spahr, Mainers whose books I highly recommend. But I did get “The Garden Giant Mushroom Patch” kit from Fungi Perfecti ( in Olympia, Wash., for Christmas last winter, and now we are reaping the benefits — in omelets, on pizza, over rice, with organic hamburgers. The ...

  • Published
    July 5, 2012

    An abundance of chard — and some recipes

    Swiss chard is a workhorse in the garden. Easy to grow and prolific, it thrives almost regardless of conditions — even in the downpours we’ve had this growing season. Last year I planted chard in August and covered it in November with low hoops and plastic. It was sitting there waiting for us in March. Now the March-sown crop is thriving in an open garden bed, and there’s no shortage of greens to accompany almost ...

  • Published
    June 28, 2012

    The power of parsley: A heavy-hitter on the plate and in the garden

    Betcha have a clump of it growing by the kitchen door, or maybe a pot bristling with a topknot of its deep green frills on a sunny windowsill, ready to snip to color-up and season most any dish. But there’s a lot more to parsley than just a pretty green “face.” Colorful, healthful and almost universal in its use, parsley deserves a closer look — both on the plate and in the garden. In my search for information on ...

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