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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 [...]

Glorious Greens of Fall

A riot of autumn greens –chard and kale.

Between the withering heat of summer and the icy winds of winter comes the season we normally associate with warm colors –orange,red and gold –and later the browns of stick season. But for gardeners,these are the seasons to relish and admire [...]

Home-dried tomatoes

Tomatoes drying in the sun,covered by cheesecloth.

Given the options for preserving the bounty of tomatoes –canning,freezing or drying –I prefer the method that combines the most flavor for the least amount of energy and storage space. Tomatoes dried in the sun (with a little help from a dehydrator) [...]

Summer Cilantro

Home grown coriander seeds with its offspring,a clump of cilantro.

A favorite seasoning of tropical cuisines ought to grow happily in summer but Cilantro just doesn’t. It much prefers the cold. How can an herb featured in Mexican and Southeast Asian dishes have such an aversion to heat? I ponder this mystery each [...]

Addendum

For shy people,finding ourselves prominently displayed in a newspaper can be unnerving. But Phyl Newbeck’s story on our evolving garden in the DYI section of the Burlington Free Press on June 26,2012,treated us gently and gave us a chance to share a bit of what we’ve learned over the years. Here are [...]

Zoned Out

Garlic recovered from its weather-beaten start and grows strong and healthy.

Somehow the mild winter and abnormally early spring of 2012,while extremely pleasant,caused a severe case of writer’s block. Perhaps welcoming the end of the world with a lovely brunch on the deck in March (to paraphrase Peter Segal) created too much [...]

Tromboncino – Zucchini with a Flair

Inspired by Daisy and her flock,the Tromboncino posed as the mother duck and the Zephr zuccs as the ducklings.

Ready for a change from my usual selection of zucchini varieties last year (Zephyr and Costata Romanesca),I was drawn to the description of a vining form requiring a sturdy trellis for its rampant [...]

Ready for Winter

Newly re-designed hoop house.

If winter had arrived in November,as it often has in the past,we’d have been unprepared,crops left un-harvested and poorly protected and the detritus of our not-so-neat outdoor existence,ready to be lost under the snow. But nature was kind this year,bestowing a deliciously pleasant November with [...]

Evergreen Pesto

Fresh basil with bags of frozen pesto

Basil,that indispensible warm-weather herb and best friend of tomatoes has been a gardener’s favorite for years. Yet during my first 25 years,basil was no more than a jar of gray,flavorless flakes in the spice cabinet –a far cry from the verdant and evocatively [...]

Nonstop garlic

A clump of garlic scallions from a bulb left in the ground the previous year.

For anyone who cooks and likes zesty food,garlic is a year-round essential. Doing without just isn’t an option. Happily,garlic is absurdly easy to grow in Zone 4,so my goal is to never buy garlic,especially any [...]