Last Minute Trio of Gift Books for You or a Friend

  • Post published:12/22/2014
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We are not slaves to the calendar at our house. If you cannot buy any of these gift books for delivery before Christmas, who cares? I still want to remind you of three different types of books that would make great gifts. Groundbreaking Food Gardens (Storey $19.95) by Niki Jabbour will indeed give you 73 plans that will change the way you garden. If you have limited space or no land at all you can grow a container…

Indoor Kitchen Gardening by Elizabeth Millard

  • Post published:12/19/2014
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When I first started reading Elizabeth Millard's new book, Indoor Kitchen Gardening: Turn Your Home Into a Year-Round Vegetable Garden, ($24.99) I had some idea about growing herbs and sprouts indoors during the winter, but I wasn't so sure about tomatoes. For that reason I dashed right past all the basic information about getting started to the back of the book, past microgreens and herbs, past the potatoes! and straight to  tomatoes. Millard acknowledges that growing tomatoes, which…

An Incredible Tale of Squash Strength

  • Post published:11/29/2014
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Turkey, squash and pumpkin pie are the Thanksgiving triumvirate. And we will give thanks for all three, as well as the oyster stuffing, creamed onions and all the rest. A groaning board indeed to stand in for all the blessings the year has brought us. Thanksgiving has been a tradition from our founding, but the harvest has been marked with festivities probably since the invention of agriculture. Squash was probably a part of our first thanksgiving meal because…

Earth Day – April 22, 2014

  • Post published:04/22/2014
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  How can we celebrate Earth Day every day? We can grow a garden. Forget the lawn; grow veggies and herbs and berries, trees and flowers. Gardens, ornamental and edible can feed lots of pollinators and other bugs that need different kinds of foliage to nibble on, so that they can be eaten by birds and other wild creatures. Plants are pretty low on the food chain so that makes them especially important. Edible plants feed us healthy…

Companion Planting – Folk Wisdom or Science?

  • Post published:03/29/2014
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When I first learned about companion planting I thought it was a bit of simple folk wisdom. Plant your peas and carrots together, but keep them away from dill. Plant marigolds near the tomatoes, and soybeans with anything. This information, which is available in lists in books and on the Internet, has been my guide every spring when I rotate the vegetables around in my garden. Of course, in my small rotating vegetable garden I am also practicing…

Cabbage – Here and There – Beijing

  • Post published:03/16/2014
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  Cabbage. Such an ordinary vegetable. We don’t give it much thought. We shred it into a salad, dress it into coleslaw, or boil it up with corned beef, but there are many types of cabbage in the world, and many ways of serving it up. Think of corned beef and cabbage!             I began thinking about cabbage this week when, while sorting through some old photographs, my husband and I found a few shots of the ai…

Cellars and Cave Tour with the Heath Agricultural Society

  • Post published:03/11/2014
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The Heath Agricultural Society gave us all a chance to  go exploring the cellars and caves of our neighbors  this past Saturday. Root cellars, cider cellars and a cheese cave. Who could resist this opportunity? Over 50 people signed up for this tour, many of them from towns beyond Heath. Even Springfield! I took one group around beginning with Sheila Litchfield who first explained the basics of cheesemaking. Chemistry. Bacteria. Sheila is a nurse so she knows all…

Indoor Seed Planting Preparation for Microgreens

  • Post published:03/04/2014
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Indoor seed planting preparaation for microgreens - or for any seeds - begins with seeds. Botanical Interests Seeds  are sold at the Greenfield Farmers Coop - as  well as many other brands of veggies and flower seeds. The Farmers Coop also sells all the supplies you will need to start your seeds, planting trays, watering trays and seed starting mix which makes it easy for those seeds to get a good start. I put some of the soilless…

Microgreens for Nutrition and Fun

  • Post published:03/03/2014
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What are microgreens?  You can find microgreen seed mixes in the seed racks. You can find ‘baby’ greens mixed in with salad mixes at the supermarket. Why are these tiny greens becoming more and more popular? The term microgreen is fairly self-explanatory. Microgreens are lettuces, spinach and other green vegetables that are harvested when they are about two weeks old, and hardly more than an inch or two tall. This makes them ideal for winter growing in the…

New Vegetables for 2014

  • Post published:02/21/2014
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What’s new in vegetables? What a question. While I am not aware of any completely new species of vegetables, there are always new varieties which at least purport to be better, have shorter or longer growing season, more disease resistance, be smaller for container growing, larger for those who enjoy the thrill of giant vegetable growing, more flavorful for demanding cooks or more nutritious for the ever more health conscious. Every seed catalog begins with a page or…