As evidence that the winter of 2014 has been long and unusually cold, today is April 1 and I just planted peas this morning.  As I have written in the past, my rule of thumb is to start the season by getting peas in the ground on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) and harvesting on Independence Day.  That means that we are two weeks behind schedule.  Better late than never and hopefully the local northeast weather forecasters will be correct...average highs for the next 10 days are supposed to be in the 50s and 60s. Continue reading...

Worm Castings

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 / Leave A Comment

Too many gardeners focus on what is happening above the soil rather than what is going on beneath the soil.  This is where the real action is taking place and the major players are worms. I don’t think anyone really knows when the benefits of composting were discovered or when worms wiggled their way into the picture, but it was a very very long time ago.  Certainly, ancient Greeks documented the mixing of straw and animal manures as an effective composting technique, while in Europe, and eventually in the Americas, plant production benefited from the use of fish based fertilizers. Worms however, are the real heroes of the composting scene. Continue reading...

Seed Starting 2014

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 / Leave A Comment

This has been one tough winter for most of America. Whether you live in the great Midwest, anywhere in New England or even parts of the deep south, snowfalls have been enormous and the temperatures have been well below average.  My rule of thumb has always been to start the season by planting peas on St. Patrick's Day and harvest them by July 4th.  Here in Massachusetts in 2014, that just isn't going to happen.  Spring officially begins tomorrow, but my pea box is as hard as a rock.  Maybe I'll call Al Gore and see if he can send some global warming up here to get the season kick started.  After a couple of shots at turning the soil over, this is what your garden fork might look like! Continue reading...

A Nice Cup of Tea

Friday, March 7th, 2014 / Leave A Comment

I have survived 61 years without a single cup of coffee.  It's odd, because I like the smell of coffee.  I like coffee ice cream.  I like chocolate recipes that call for coffee extract.  I just don't like to drink the stuff.  But, when it comes to tea I can't get enough.  I think on average I probably drink about 10 mugs of tea a day…mugs, not little teacups! images-1 Continue reading...

Corn on the Porch?

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 / Leave A Comment

For the suburban vegetable gardener, especially those of you who are into raised beds, there are a few crops that just don't work because of space limitations.  Put a few pumpkin seeds in a 4x10 box and before you know it the vines are covering a 250 square foot area and encroaching on your other boxes.  It's probably easier to just go and buy a couple pumpkins when you need them in the fall. How about corn?  Sweet corn picked an hour before dinner is so delightful that it ranks right up there with juicy red tomatoes as the number one summer treat.  Like pumpkins however, growing a decent supply of corn is difficult to do in small backyard gardens. Not anymore! Unknown-3 Continue reading...

Hints on Buying Seeds

Thursday, January 30th, 2014 / Leave A Comment

As we continue to build and improve our website, I thought it may be a good idea to include a "seed calendar" which would tell you when to start your seeds, when to transplant them and when to harvest.  Of course these dates would vary widely depending upon where  you live, but the calendar would be very helpful.  After sleeping on this idea, I came to the realization that all this information is available to you on every package of seeds you buy. In building an effective web page, the one thing you don't want to do is clutter it up with excess information and meaningless data, thereby making navigation confusing and difficult.  So here are a few ideas to consider when buying seeds for the coming season. Continue reading...

Quote

Monday, January 27th, 2014 / Leave A Comment

"Give the children an opportunity to make a garden.  Let them grow what they will.  It matters less that they grow good plants than that they try for themselves".   Liberty Hyde Bailey American Horticulturist Unknown

I have been baking bread for several years and have actually gotten quite good at it.  At least that is what my friends tell me.  Most of the stuff that comes out of our kitchen, I give away…with type II diabetes, I don't eat much bread , but sure do like to bake it.  My specialties are basic whites, wheats and oatmeal, but I get a lot of calls for cinnamon raisin, multi grain, ryes, sourdough, English muffins, sticky buns, cinnamon buns, etc.  For Christmas, Biz gave me a new bread book called Tartine Bread, by Chad Robertson.  For all you experienced bread bakers out there, I highly recommend this book.  It is not for beginners or the faint of heart.Unknown

Continue reading...


Mid-Winter Planning

Sunday, January 19th, 2014 / Leave A Comment

It is January 19, 2014 and we are enveloped in another snowstorm. Yesterday I heard an ad on the radio about treatments for something called "seasonal affective disorder".  This is a form of depression that can strike people who live in northern climates, spend too much time indoors and don't like winter.  If you are reading this blog, you are probably a gardener and are about as far away from getting "seasonal affective disorder" as can be.  Gardeners, or as my friend Chris Reece calls them, "dirt people" thrive in the depths of winter because now is the time to prepare for the upcoming season.  Just think, the shortest day of the year was a month ago!  Every day since December 21st has been getting longer and lighter and closer to spring. Continue reading...

Cool Smoothies

Monday, January 13th, 2014 / Leave A Comment

I like bacon and eggs as much as the next guy.  Sausage, scrapple, hash and even Irish blood pudding are music to my taste buds, although my heart may disagree.  Just ask my friend Bob Gray.  We occasionally travel around to play a little golf and wherever we go, we rank number one in the class of  "Local Diner Discoveries".  Who needs a menu at a good breakfast spot?  Doesn't it just roll off your tongue, "Two eggs over easy, hash browns, sausage, wheat toast, two pancakes on the side, extra butter."  If it comes with a little slice of orange as a garnish, eat it to so you can justify having SOMETHING that my be good for you. Continue reading...