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Schedule for Spring Gardening in Zone 4

Ground Hog Day marked the start of the new growing season,but spring began in earnest the second week in March with a flurry of outdoor activity during a welcome thaw. Maple sap flowed freely in the warm sunshine,the ducks began laying daily eggs,and it was planting time indoors and in the hoop [...]

Wet walks and warming food

Wet woods in May at a patch of wild leeks.

Record-breaking flood levels on Lake Champlain,saturated soils,galloping streams,and days of rain. Depression and complaints about the weather abound. But rain can be beautiful too.

Tromping through dripping,soggy forests can be miserable but with a water proof cap,a rain jacket [...]

Giving thanks for the 2010 harvestGiving thanks for the 2010 harvest

Green tomatoes picked before frost,ripening on trays

We’ll be staying close to home for Thanksgiving so can source the majority of ingredients for the feast from our 2010 harvests. As with every growing season,there were notable ups and downs but thanks to unusually good weather for plants,the successes far exceeded [...]

Oodles of applesOodles of apples

Roadside apples in early October.

Despite the blossom-killing frost last spring,the wild apple crop seems to be as prolific as ever,proving that the feral fruits growing on this hard-scrabble hill are indeed well adapted to harsh conditions. Unlike cultivated varieties that are propagated through grafting (cloning the mother tree) wild [...]

Mushroom hunting conditionsMushroom hunting conditions

Enough chicken of the woods to feed an army. Found near my house today,but too far gone to pick for good eating.

Two weeks ago heavy rains penetrated even the dense canopies of evergreen trees,soaking the ground. Then came a heat wave. A week later our woodsy world erupted in mushrooms. [...]

Stored sunshine - St Johnswort OilStored sunshine –St. John’s wort Oil

St. Johnswort blossoms along the roadside.

St. Johns wort (Hypericum perforatum),was all the rage in the 90′s as a herbal remedy for depression. As is often the case with health fads,people soon lost interest,the effects of this common summer-blooming weed being too subtle for those accustomed to aggressive pharmaceutical solutions.

Since [...]

Flavor of flowersFlavor of flowers

Korean lilac and siberian iris blooming with the chives –late May 2009

A year ago while admiring the mid-day buzz around some profusely blooming chive blossoms in my garden I noticed that none of the pollinators were honey bees. Instead,a multi-cultural throng of pollinating insects ranging in size from the big [...]

Localvore - now the defaultLocalvore –now the default

Late April localvore spread.

“Hey,lets go pick wild leeks and then make a localvore meal.”That welcome invitation from Karen came late last Saturday morning and by evening we had assembled a magnificent feast. The last-minute dinner party was particularly notable for how easy it was to load the table with a wide [...]

Morels!Morels!

Black morel found on April 24

The elusive black morel.

Finding morels,the first gourmet wild mushroom of the season,offers a thrill above all others. As maddeningly elusive as they are delicious,they’ve been a bit of an obsession of mine for the past decade. Despite my enthusiasm and frequent forays in search of them,each spring passed,[...]

What's ready for harvest in mid-April?What’s ready for harvest in mid-April?

Salad of mixed greens from hoop house

Fresh harvests of salad greens,herbs,scallions and even a few spears of asparagus have increasingly supplied our table from the unheated hoop house over the past few weeks. Spinach and lettuces planted in February and March now pump out new leaves for regular picking. Despite bolting [...]