March 2010
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Meet Juliet and Cosmonaut VolkovMeet Juliet and Cosmonaut Volkov

In the great,northeastern tomato die-off of 2009,when late blight,riding the cool,moisture-laden air of an exceptionally rainy summer,infected nearly every tomato plant in the region,two tomato varieties emerged as my heroes,enabling us to eat fresh tomatoes until Thanksgiving and even preserve some. Juliet,the blight-resistant ”sweet plum cluster”tomato [...]

First duck egg!

Duck egg laid between two bales of straw.

A month or two ago,feathers began to accumulate in the straw and leaf bedding,deposited by our two duckies who winter in the hoop house. That signalled the start of their spring molt and the promise of eggs. But first they needed to grow out [...]

Perpetually a beginner - especially growing fruitsPerpetually a beginner –especially growing fruits

Yesterday,the warm air inspired me to prune the grape vines and other fruiting vines and trees. While a very pleasant task,pruning these trees and vines always always makes me reflect on my inadequacies as a gardener.

My failures include the 10 year old grape vines that didn’t bother to produce at [...]

Planting outsidePlanting outside

Crumbly soil,ready to be planted.

With daytime temps hitting 60 degrees and an amazing stretch of sunny days,it was clearly time to plant in the bed that has been drying out for the past week. I simply removed the plastic,raked the beds and planted seeds,then covered the bed with a [...]

Clearing out the root cellarClearing out the root cellar

Celeriac,the homely prince of root vegetables

A favorite dish at this time of year features the last of the celeriac stored the root cellar. And in a bit of poetic symetry it’s also time to plant the next season’s celeriac seeds. Each year I grow more of this lovely winter vegetable. [...]

Starting seeds indoorsStarting seeds indoors

As if the on-set of snow melt and warm weather didn’t bring enough garden activity,it’s also the time to start seeds indoors. I used to set up the grow lights and start my first round of seeds in February but now begin a month later. This saves energy (electrical and human) and reduces the [...]

Next steps towards planting outdoorsNext steps towards planting outdoors

After a few sunny days,the snow melted and ground thawed sufficiently to insert hoops. Then covered with plastic and will leave in place until ground dries and can be worked for planting.

Any kind of hoops can be used. These are PVC.

Cover bed fully to keep rain/snow out but leave ends [...]

Do children need Zest?Do children need Zest?

Some thoughts to chew upon from my brother John,a professor of applied linguistics in Tokyo.

“Zest”is an interesting word–arising from citrus peel,but now extended to intentional and energetic living. The Ministry of Education Science and Technology here [in Japan] has translated its current educational ethos for children,ikiru chikara 生きる力 as ‘zest [...]

Start your garden greens now while its cold

Wood ashes melting snow on bed prepared last fall for early spring planting.

To take best advantage of the Zone 4 growing season,get started now —outside. The tenderest spinach,the crispest radishes and nuttiest arugula are grown in the cold. They can survive the inevitable returns to winter over the next couple [...]

Plants that need our helpPlants that need our help

Lindsey with Rosemary Gladstar

If you’ve dabbled in herbalism,you probably recognize Rosemary Gladstone and her role in helping to birth the herbal renaissance that we so benefit from today. My young friend,Lindsey and I heard her speak in Burlington last night,showered with entertaining gems of wisdom from the sprightly [...]