It’s Summer – Viewing, Touring and Paddling

  • Post published:07/02/2012
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It's summer and I've been out viewing plants and gardens and then relaxing at a local pond. Summer doesn't get any more perfect than this. I went to the Annual Japanese Iris Show in Shelburne Falls and got to see the best and most beautiful examples of Japanese Iris grown in the area. Japanese iris are the last iris to bloom in our area. After seeing this display of irises, I had to run over to Fox Brook…

Gardening in a Straw Bale

  • Post published:06/02/2012
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When I visited Daniel Botkin of Laughing Dog Farm some time ago, he showed me how he did a lot of planting in goat manure-laced hay. I envied his access to so much bedding because it does provide plants with nutrition and eliminates weeds. No fertilizing. No weeding. He is a lucky man to have manured goat bedding from his barn, as well and old hay bales. He said he doesn’t use the hay bales for planting until…

Two Ways to Stretch the Seasons

  • Post published:05/01/2012
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In March we had May weather, and now we are having March weather. We gardeners know that the weather is always unpredictable but this year Mother Nature is really keeping us on our toes. I confess. I could not resist the lure; I direct-seeded greens in my Early Garden during that March heat wave. Then what? The soil was cool enough that my seeds, radishes and lettuces, did not germinate very quickly. By the time they did the…

My Soil Test Reveals All – Not Bad!

  • Post published:04/27/2012
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I had not yet received the results of my soil test from UMass when my onion sets arrived from Dixondale Farms. I wanted to get them right in the ground, but I was worried about my soil pH. Dixondale says onions prefer a pH between 6.2 and 6.8. I feared my soil might be too acidic for optimum results so I tilled in another couple of handfuls of lime before I planted the onions. Two days later I…

Welcome Rain – Welcome Book by Charlie Nardozzi

  • Post published:04/23/2012
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After a dry winter and an extremely dry spring we finally have rain - two and a half inches in the last 24 hours.  I've been reading away the rainy hours with Northeast Fruit and Vegetable Gardening by Charlie Nardozzi. It has been a perfect rain. Hours of rain have penetrated the thirsty earth without washing away newly dug and seeded beds. The seeds and seedlings I planted just before the rain are really happy. More rain is…

Wishing for Warm April Showers

  • Post published:04/09/2012
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The weather remains cool and breezy or windy.  And dry. I wish we had some of that early warm weather, and rain.This morning there was spitting rain - and snow flurries. There is very little sense of seasonal progression in the garden. This is the single daffodil in bloom, besides the very early Van Sions, but you can see (if you look closely) that buds are showing some color. Over the weekend my husband got all the little…

Seed Starting

  • Post published:03/31/2012
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It seemed a little early but on March 6th I started some seeds indoors. Now, three weeks later it seems like it might have been totally unnecessary. I have neighbors who tilled sections of their garden and have already planted a number of cold hardy plants: lettuces, spinach, snap peas, carrots and beets. Who can gauge the risks in times like these? I might have been too cautious in starting my seeds, but my neighbors may have been…

Resolutions for a New Spring

  • Post published:03/26/2012
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Yesterday my earliest daffodils began to bloom - just in time for temperatures to plunge from their unseasonable summer highs.  Nothing is certain in a garden. How many times do we have to relearn this lesson?  The following takes me back a couple of weeks  - before we were all boldly planting seeds. Beginning tomorrow days will be brighter longer. The sun will not set until 6:46 pm. It will seem like spring has arrived – even though…

Timber Press and a Spring Giveaway

  • Post published:03/17/2012
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I spent today at a wonderful Spring Symposium organized by our local Master Gardeners who do so much to help us all improve our skills while offering us lots of inspiration. I bought a copy of the Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener's Handbook by Ron Kujawski and his daughter Jennifer, who live near by. I know Ron from his days as a Cooperative Extension educator (and my days on the Extension Board). This sturdy spiral bound book published by Storey Publishing…

Must Have Plants – What Are Yours?

  • Post published:03/10/2012
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When I asked readers to tell me about some of the plants they absolutely had to have in the garden, I got a variety of answers. Linda Tyler said she had to have coral bells, heucheras, in her garden because there is such variety in the foliage color and size. Tyler did not specify which varieties she has in her garden, but a quick look through the garden catalogs like Plant Delights Nursery shows photos of Tiramisu with…