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home : columnists : home & garden
April 2, 2020 


Home & Garden: Berry Season
These few short weeks are the time when all of summer's berries come available at the same time, the strawberry crop tailing off as raspberries and blueberries take their place. Berries are, in my mind, the easiest fruit to preserve and freeze. No peeling or chopping, no blanching is required. Just remove any stems . . .
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Home & Garden: Midsummer Maintenance
Those halcyon days of dips in the pond, sailing, hiking and bonfires for roasting hot dogs and s'mores are upon us at last, after a very prolonged cool and rainy spell. Gardens are yielding the first summer squashes and peas, strawberries and greens, and flower borders and beds are in full bloom. It's hard to remember . . .
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Home & Garden: Prelude to the Harvest
While it's too early to think of harvesting garden staples like onions and potatoes, corn or tomatoes, the harvesting of herbs has already begun. Or should have begun. Somehow, despite the best of intentions, I let a bountiful crop of chive blossoms fade away without making chive vinegar as I had . . .
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Home & Garden: Growing Your Own Strawberries
All over Maine these days roadside stands are posting white signs displaying a single red strawberry, signaling to passing motorists that the sweet berries are in, just in time for the Fourth of July holiday. Local fresh berries are a treat, but many gardeners dream of a bed of one's own, where a bowl of sun-warmed fruit . . .
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Home & Garden: The Imperiled Monarch
Back in March of this year more than half a million people called on the government to protect the monarch butterfly
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Home & Garden: The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
In the all-too-brief lilac days this spring I saw a welcome sight: dozens of yellow swallowtail butterflies darting and floating in and out of the hedge in front my friend's home in Vermont. I can't remember any time in the recent past that I've seen more than one or two butterflies at any given time, so this was a happy . . .
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Home & Garden: Climbing the Walls
With time, avid gardeners run out of space for new additions to their perennial beds. That's when they begin to climb the walls and turn to vertical gardening. Whether it's a flowering clematis or a glossy woodbine, there's almost always room for a new vine in your life. It was a sad day when we had to enclose our . . .
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Home & Garden: Mulch This Paper
On this day of much-needed rain I venture out between showers to check on the garden's progress. During yesterday's heat and humidity we battled gusty winds and aggressive deerflies as we raced to put down mulch on garden paths and borders. For weeks we had at the ready bundles of newspapers, ours for the . . .
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Home & Garden: A Plot of One's Own
A friend asked me if it was worth starting an asparagus bed and I tried to be objective and lay out the pros and cons. Since the asparagus bed in the garden here is now in its third year, with enough stalks to have the delectable spears in one form or another - whether chopped and scrambled with eggs for breakfast . . .
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Home & Garden: Growing Flowers for Weddings and Parties
If you are planning a wedding or party later this summer, this is the time to think about growing your own flowers for the big event. As any prospective bride planning a wedding will tell you, the cost of flowers, for both the bridal party and the location - whether it's a country chapel, garden or function hall - can add a . . .
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Home & Garden: Raised Beds on Steroids
Gardening in raised beds is a well-known technique, with many benefits. In my opinion, the biggest benefit of planting in garden beds rather than rows is eliminating the need for tilling. Once beds are raised up and paths mulched, any future compost or other soil amendments are placed only on top of the areas . . .
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Home & Garden: Gifts for the Gardening Mom
Mother's Day is only three days away, which doesn't leave a lot of time for elaborate DIY gifts, but if Mom is a gardener, there are endless options for personalized gifts that go beyond the same-old bouquet or houseplant. Not that flowers or plants are ever unappreciated. But if you're giving a bouquet . . .
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Home & Garden: Gardens Big and Small
If this is the year you finally decide you'll grow your own vegetables, you have many different kinds of gardens with which to indulge your new passion. I say passion because whether it's a few pots on a patio or a half-acre in the back forty, love of gardening can take over your life. The garden is the place where . . .
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Home & Garden: Tooling Up for the Season
If you're just starting out with your first garden or a veteran of the soil wars, a stroll through the tool section of your local garden center is always educational, if not downright overwhelming. Whether you're buying your first tools or looking to upgrade or add on to your existing batterie de jardin, there are a lot of . . .
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Home & Garden: Early April Gardening Tips
April brings a blizzard of a different kind: a blizzard of yard and garden tasks that threaten to bury us. Just keep reminding yourself that it's all supposed to be fun, and take time to enjoy the warming weather. But what if it's not warming fast enough? If days are still cool, continue pruning fruit trees and shrubs. . . .
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Home & Garden: Field of Bees; Plant It and They Will Come
A late spring is frustrating to the gardener but does give a bit of time to do some last-minute planning for the upcoming season. One of the most popular topics in gardening discussions recently has been the need to attract beneficial insects and pollinators to the garden, be it vegetable or ornamental. Now's the time to . . .
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Home & Garden: Easter Recipes
Good old reliable holidays like Christmas and the Fourth of July always fall on the same date, but Easter slithers around from year to year, as it is celebrated on the first Sunday after (never on) the Paschal full moon - that is, the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox, which falls on March 21. . . .
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Home & Garden: Plants and Insects Sharing the Garden
The 2015 AHS Book Award winners were recently announced and, of the five books selected, one seems especially pertinent as the gardening season oh so slowly approaches. "Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden," written by Jessica Walliser and published by Portland, Oregon's Timber Press, is a fresh look at the . . .
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Home & Garden: New vs. Tried and True
Vegetable gardens often become a patchwork of the tried and true - garlic and potatoes planted from the previous year's yields, volunteer dill or sunflower plants, and perennials such as horseradish and rhubarb - mixed with some experimental new varieties to keep things interesting. Those new varieties have . . .
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Home & Garden: A St. Patrick's Day Dinner
While in the U.S. St. Patrick's Day, March 17, has been celebrated for over a century with parades, green beer and mountains of corned beef and cabbage, until recent decades the holiday honoring Ireland's patron saint was a more solemn occasion on the Emerald Isle. The man for whom St. Patrick's Day is . . .
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Home & Garden: Turning the Page
With relief we turn the calendar page to March and peer ahead, looking for reassurance that spring is on the way, taking heart in the return of Daylight Saving Time on March 8 and the vernal equinox on March 20. On March 5 coastal Maine had 11 hours and 23 minutes of daylight, and by the equinox that . . .
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Home & Garden: A Matter of Degree
While the Midwest and Northeast have been experiencing record low temperatures this winter, southwest Florida has also been hit with record lows. Oh, boo-hoo-hoo, I hear you say: it's cold enough to wear a jacket to work in the morning and pathetic Floridians are scraping frost from their windshields . . .
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Home & Garden: Not the Longest Winter Ever
It may seem like Maine is experiencing the Longest Winter Ever, but people have been feeling this way since long before weather records were kept. Don't believe me? Here's a Paiute Indian Late Winter Song . . .
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Home & Garden: Chocolate and Roses
The Valentine roses for your loved ones are up to you, but the following recipes should cover the chocolate component. The basic recipe, which can be called simply chocolate pudding or by its fancier moniker, chocolate creme Anglaise, can be used in combinations plain or fancy, depending on whether it's for the . . .
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Home & Garden: Peanuts, Anyone?
In the pre-Super Bowl break between blizzards and ice storms we made a mad dash for the Everglades and arrived at the Florida border red-eyed and starving, tired of bad road food and worse road coffee. Driving a two-lane secondary road in north Florida we began to see signs for what turned out to be a serious . . .
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Home & Garden: East/West Super Bowl Eats
It's that time again, the celebration of one of the biggest U.S. holidays, just slightly behind Christmas in popularity. This Sunday, Super Bowl 49 is expected to be viewed by nearly 185 million people, many sitting at home in front of their televisions, munching wings and chips while cheering on their favorite team. . . .
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Home & Garden: Starting Seeds
It's late January, the time to be looking through catalogs and deciding which seeds to order for the coming season. But perhaps we should already be thinking about starting those seeds. I can think of a couple of reasons for this, the primary one being that in the past I've wanted to start certain seeds indoors . . .
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Home & Garden: Old Grain for the New Year
For Christmas dinner I made a new dessert, one I was certain would bring raves, but it was largely disregarded by family members, who went with more familiar choices. The dessert was a pillowy, creamy pudding made with almonds and barley, with a rhubarb-cranberry compote as optional topping. You'd think this . . .
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Home & Garden: Winter Moth Update
Gardening is always a balancing act between joy and despair: fresh vegetables for the table and flowers for arrangements versus aching knees from weeding and frustration with insect predation. Gardeners worry a lot, about early frosts and heat waves, torrential rains and droughts. It's tough out there in gardening . . .
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Home & Garden: Resolutions for a New Year
New Year's resolutions don't have to be of the new-diet-more-exercise-stop-smoking variety. Here are a few suggestions for gardeners' resolutions for 2015. You may remain chubby and possibly a bit flabby, but they'll make you happy. . . .
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Home & Garden: How Lovely Are Thy Branches
As lovely as a fresh tree is on Christmas Eve, lights shimmering, ornaments reflected in their glow, it's a different picture a week or so later when, stripped of its finery, it becomes a sad, twiggy shadow of its former self. Even when water is added to the tree's reservoir base, central heating and the Sahara-like lack of . . .
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Home & Garden: Gift Books for Gardeners
Once the drifts of wrapping paper are cleared away, the dinner leftovers consigned to the refrigerator and guests heading home, the lucky gardener who received a nice fat book - one with pages and that new-book smell - can kick back with a cup of tea and a few choice Christmas cookies and begin to enjoy . . .
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Home & Garden: Rethinking the Cookie Exchange
Exchanging cookie platters is almost mandatory during the holiday season in our area. Filling a festive paper platter with as many as a dozen kinds of cookies - gooey bars with shortbread bases, bourbon balls, nut crescents, mini-brownies - and distributing them to friends and neighbors is fun to do and always . . .
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Home & Garden: Gifts for the Youngest Gardeners
It's getting tougher every year to find Christmas gifts, for children, that aren't (choose one) made of plastic; based on the most recent Disney animation; a junior-grade computer or smartphone; or made up of a thousand tiny pieces. Even when kids are young, by the time they reach age 5 or 6 it seems the need . . .
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Home & Garden: Winter Whites
White is the color of winter: white snow, already covering the land in some areas, white ermine and snowshoe hares, white marshmallows melting on hot chocolate. White is also the color of some of the least used and most flavorful and nutritious winter vegetables, such as celeriac, fennel, purple-top turnips and . . .
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Home & Garden: Taming the Wild Cranberry
There may be a few misguided families who will chow down on lamb with mint jelly for Thanksgiving, but for the rest of us it's inviolable tradition all the way: roast turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and weird stuff like sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, green bean casserole with funky cream of . . .
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Home & Garden: For the Birds
Given the recent snow, it's a bit late to write, as I'd originally planned, about getting bird feeders ready for winter; it's already here. But there will still be time to prepare for a long season of feeding the birds that stay in the north all year round. I missed the storm because we are still pheasant-hunting in Central . . .
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Home & Garden: Prairie Winds
Winds roaring across the Dakota hills are rocking our tiny camper at sunset. We're back in central South Dakota for two weeks of pheasant hunting (pheasant spotting in my case), but I consider the 1,900-mile drive a tour of bigger gardens - the cornfields of Ohio and Iowa, the sunflower, milo and sorghum . . .
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Home & Garden: Time to Plant the Garlic
If you want to know when to plant garlic, just monitor the fall foliage: When most of the leaves are on the ground, it's time to plant. In fact, rake those leaves, grind them up with a chipper or your mower, and you can use them for mulch on your newly planted beds. As I've said in previous columns . . .
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Home & Garden: Bringing the Outside In: Terrariums
It's been a long time since I've made a terrarium, but hanging around in the woods this past week while loading cut firewood brought me into contact with so many perfect woodland specimens that I wanted to bring them all home and preserve them under glass. Mosses, lichen-covered branches, weird fungus on . . .
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Home & Garden: The Big Chill
After our recent protracted Indian summer with its temperatures in the high 70s, more seasonal frosty mornings and chilly evenings are a relief. Cooler temperatures also mean fall cooking can ramp up, with heartier stews and casseroles on the menu. It's appropriate that normally brisk October is officially . . .
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Home & Garden: Alliums: The Other Bulbs
When selecting fall bulbs of daffodils and tulips for spring bloom, why not try adding a few dramatic alliums to the mix? These tall lollipops, with heads that resemble chive blossoms on steroids, are, like chives, members of the garlic family. They're a perfect choice for perking up the perennial border in that . . .
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Home & Garden: Tulip Roulette
There's a remarkable amount of color in the landscape right now. As the foliage yellows and browns, fall blooms stand out more vividly; witness the glowing asters that populate the roadsides. The nasturtiums that are climbing throughout our vegetable garden glow like neon at dusk, as do the morning . . .
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Home & Garden: Apple Season
The deer have been sneaking under their favorite apple tree, the one with clear yellow fruit, for their pre-dawn snacks. Rising early, we can usually see two or three large does gliding in and out under the low-hanging branches, cleaning up all the drops. Because those particular apples are some of my favorites as well . . .
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Home & Garden: The Big Chill
It's coming, that time many gardeners dread, when nights grow cool and frost threatens. It's hard to say goodbye to those huge frilly coleus, the peppers still sprouting dozens of blossoms and tiny fruits, all the herbs that give summer meals an extra burst of flavor. But while nighttime temperatures still hover in . . .
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Home & Garden: Loving the Lawn
As a garden writer I am guilty of giving short shrift to one subject: lawn care. And yet, lawn care is probably the one garden activity practiced by millions of homeowners on any given week during the growing season - this despite their having very little knowledge about how lawns grow. I am one of these millions . . .
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Home & Garden: Putting Food By for Winter
Among the deluge of catalogs that one outdoor outfitter sends our way is one I can't resist poring over, titled "Garden Harvest." If you want a camo-print vacuum sealer for freezing your excess garden produce or a dehydrator with 56 square feet of drying space, or a $600 digital smoker for your pork . . .
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Home & Garden: Christmas Is Coming
Yes, Christmas is coming, in just four months. Why not get a running start on the holiday season and prepare some infused vinegars using herbs from your garden? Basil, parsley, dill, thyme, rosemary and other herbs are at their peak right now, as are berries, and making flavored vinegars is a perfect way to . . .
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Home & Garden: The Harvest Begins: Garlic
Mention harvest time and images of orange pumpkins and haystacks for livestock feed come to mind, but a lot of harvesting and storing of food begins now and continues through the first killing frost. Garlic is already being lifted from the garden and set to dry, green and wax beans are flooding . . .
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Home & Garden: A Berry Fine Time of Year
Raspberries are one of the most prized of summer's fruits, their season brief but glorious. I'm setting out this morning to do battle with the patch of unruly plants that, despite years of neglect, still produce some berries as fat as the tip of my thumb. Last fall I waded into the thicket and took out all debris . . .
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Home & Garden: Fall Vegetable Garden
Parading around the kitchen island one day last week in her new swim flippers, goggles and snorkel, my six-year-old granddaughter suddenly stopped and announced, "Grammie, it's fall." It was a cool and showery day, a brief and somewhat welcome change from a week of hot, humid weather . . .
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Home & Garden: Salad Days
By the time daily temperatures climb into the nineties, most of the early salad greens in the garden have bolted and/or turned bitter. Sometimes it's a bit of a relief to pull the last of them; salads are made primarily with vegetables, but the vegetables don't have to be green and leafy. . . .
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Home & Garden: Garden Notes for Mid-July
Corn isn't yet as high as an elephant's eye, but a month marked by alternating rain showers and hot sunny days has produced some lush-looking gardens in the midcoast. Alas, these hot, humid conditions come with caveats: MOFGA and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension reported that late blight . . .
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Home & Garden: Scape Season
Sometime within the past ten years, garlic scapes began to have their own season, like fiddleheads, or Beaujolais Nouveau. The curly, crane-headed flower stalks of hardneck garlic plants were no longer tossed in the compost, turning up instead in farmers' markets and bags of produce received by . . .
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Home & Garden: Glorious Grilling
Summer has more than one beginning: Memorial Day, when planting is usually in full swing, and Midsummer's Eve, the true summer solstice, are just two. But in chilly northern New England, true summer, with hot days and warm nights, begins (if at all) just in time for the Fourth of July holiday. . . .
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Home & Garden: In Praise of Sunflowers
Thoughts of sunflowers enter my head with the summer solstice. The idea of their cheery heads, turning to follow the sun in its passage across the sky, banishes the less cheerful thought that, from the solstice on, the days get shorter and we head inexorably toward autumn and winter. . . .
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Home & Garden: Perennial Delights
I'm starting a small perennial bed at the home of family members in northern Vermont. No one asked me to do it, but elements already in place - a small white lilac shrub, a small apple tree, and a large stone sculpture with a couple of perennials planted against it and nearly overtaken by weeds and grass - . . .
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Home & Garden: Spring's Finest
Seasons don't actually begin and end on a certain date, despite what the calendar tells us. The vernal equinox has come and gone, as has the traditional Memorial Day start to the summer season, yet nights remain cool and summer's bounty from the garden is yet to come. . . .
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Home & Garden: Bugs; The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
It might seem premature to be talking about insect activity with gardens still in the planting stages but, like rust, bugs never sleep. We've already given up on getting any early greens unless they're grown under hoops covered with floating row cover, its edges tucked snugly into dirt, to foil rampant . . .
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Home & Garden: The Royal Rhubarb
If you'd asked me as a child the best way to eat rhubarb, I'd have said, first, snitch a cup of sugar from your mom's kitchen, then snitch a big stalk of rhubarb. Lick the rhubarb stalk, dip the end in sugar, then eat. Grownups seem to prefer their rhubarb in crisps, chutneys, pies and other . . .
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Home & Garden: Dogwoods
Who wants to write about gardening in the spring? Spring isn't the time to write about gardening; it's the time to be out doing it. I try to sit at the keyboard, but the siren song of purple asparagus nosing out of the soil calls to me. While weeding asparagus I collect a dinner's worth of fresh dandelion . . .
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Home & Garden: Gifts for Gardening (or Non-Gardening) Moms
That special day rolls around again this Sunday - Mother's Day, one of those holidays that has no strictures or huge demands to make of you. Show up at Mom's, have some food or not, give a gift that can be simple or elaborate, or if a visit isn't possible, cards, e-cards, phone calls or Facetime will serve. . . .
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Home & Garden: Mr. Watson's Garden
True confession time: while those near and dear to me in Maine endure 45-degree days and even cooler nights, I'm still in southwest Florida, where spring temperatures are climbing into the high 80s, with humidity that makes it feel even warmer. The water temperature in the bay has reached . . .
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Home & Garden: The Beginner Gardener
Everyone is a neophyte gardener at some time in his or her life. The lucky ones learn at the side of a parent or grandparent at an early age; the rest of us pick it up as we go along. I'm in southwest Florida as I write this, surrounded by Everglades National Park and the Big Cypress Reserve. . . .
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Home & Garden: Not So Cruel, Just Wet
April, far from being the cruelest month, can be a prime planting and planning season in Maine. As soon as the soil dries out, which may take a while this year, trees, shrubs, evergreens and perennials can be put in, as well as vegetables and annuals that can tolerate potential frost . . .
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Home & Garden: Fond of Forsythia
April's weather has been true to form, with cold showers that are said to bring May flowers, but one of the earliest flowers to put in an appearance, along with spring bulbs, are forsythia, whose vibrant yellow flowers actually precede their leaves. Forsythia's signature yellow blooms pop out . . .
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Home & Garden: The Charm of Cherries
It's time to put the harsh winter behind us and think about happier days ahead, to start seeds of warm-weather crops like tomatoes and their boon companions basil and peppers. Or, if you don't plan to grow your own seedlings, it's time to think about what varieties of tomatoes . . .
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Home & Garden: Curb Your Enthusiasm
The official beginning of spring, the day when the sun's path crosses the equator to the north and days become longer than the nights, was March 21. For those living in the Northeast, where this past winter saw a return to temperatures and snowfalls that haven't been seen since the 1970s . . .
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Home & Garden: Death of the Lawn
The worst winter in recent history has just dumped another load of what is now referred to as "a wintery mix" on Maine, so why are we thinking about lawns? Because now is the time to think and dream and plan about next year's gardens and escape, if only in our minds . . .
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Home & Garden: Can Elms Return to the Landscape?
Despite lingering Arctic cold, the trees we observe on early morning dog walks are waking up, responding to the strengthening spring sunlight. Sap has begun to run in tapped maples whenever the temperatures climb above freezing and osier twig glow ruby-red in the snowfields. . . .
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Home & Garden: Purely Pancakes
Call them crepes, latkes, blintzes or just plain pancakes. All are appropriate fare on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Tuesday and more familiarly known as Mardi Gras, which occurred earlier this week. Mardi Gras, literally "Fat Tuesday," is known for its hedonistic celebrations . . .
(1 comments)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Home & Garden: Growing Onions: Seeds, Plants or Sets?
If you're eager to start growing something inside, and who isn't, now is the perfect time to plant onions from seed. Because a gardener can start onions in several ways - from seeds, plants or sets - it can be confusing to decide which method to select. . . .
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Home & Garden: Know Your Seeds
Even though the snow drifts above the windowsills and spring seems very far away, signs of its arrival abound. Branches cut for forcing take very little time before buds poke out and begin to unfurl. The days are once again long enough (10 and a half hours and lengthening daily) to spur plant growth . . .
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Home & Garden: A Valentine's Day Chocolate Fest
On Valentine's Day, chocolate is required for all your loved ones, possibly with a few roses thrown in for added brownie points - wait, did I say brownie? I rest my case. Start your Valentine's Day chocolate fest at breakfast with Chocolate French toast served with chocolate maple syrup. . . .
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Home & Garden: A Return to Our Roots
During the extreme cold and wind of the past few weeks our major source of exercise and amusement has come from tending the home fires: filling stoves, carrying wood inside and ashes outside, stoking the furnace and sweeping up bark and kindling bits. . . .
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Home & Garden: Getting Ready for the Souper Bowl
Unless you are a hermit dwelling in a remote cave, you're either planning or have been invited to a party on February 2 to celebrate the 48th Super Bowl. While any football game technically lasts for only 60 minutes of play, split up into four 15-minute quarters, a game the magnitude of the Super Bowl . . .
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Home & Garden: Relief for Itchy Green Thumbs
Last week's milder temperatures qualified as a genuine January thaw, followed, alas, by a return to arctic temperatures. But warmer, springlike days are bound to recur in the next month, setting gardeners' green thumbs itching and twitching. While it's too soon to be out digging and planting . . .
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Home & Garden: Victims of the Storm
Travel along the back roads and highways of Maine after the recent ice storms was both beautiful and eerie: the ice-bound trees that arched over the roads made a winter wonderland, until you came to areas where the ice had snapped off limbs and entire tops of trees. . . .
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Home & Garden: Books to Liven Up the Winter
The weather outside is frightful, but inside is made more delightful with a good garden-related book. Topping many lists of new publications from the past year is one that's started me dreaming of snowdrops and witch hazel. Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children's Tales . . .
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Home & Garden: To a More Colorful New Year
Black, white, grey - black branches, white snow, grey clouds. Winter in Maine is a monochrome and sometimes our plates are too. The colors of the comfort foods we all love during these cold dark days also tend towards whites - cookies, pastas, breads - and the browns of meaty stews and roasts. . . .
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Home & Garden: The Other 11 Days
We Americans deserve better. The Christmas hoopla begins as soon as the Halloween pumpkins have collapsed on the front steps, and then we work our fingers to the bone for six weeks and get to enjoy the holiday for one measly day? C'mon, man - after all the shopping and baking . . .
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Home & Garden: Gifts for Gardeners, Cooks and Others
It's the week before Christmas and all through the land, shoppers are scrambling, credit cards in hand.... If you believe the media, every human being in the country over the age of two will find either an iPhone or some type of tablet under the tree. . . .
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Home & Garden: Fruitcake Revisited
That story that there is just one fruitcake in the world, which is unwrapped, re-wrapped and regifted each holiday? Urban legend. The idea that everyone hates fruitcake? Balderdash. I know at least two people who admit to liking fruitcake; I am one of them and the other will remain anonymous. . . .
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Home & Garden: Christmas Blooms
Once the turkey frame has been made into soup and the Thanksgiving guests sent home with packages of leftovers, it's time to haul out the Christmas boxes and start decorating, at the very least hanging a wreath or two and an Advent calendar for the children. . . .
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Home & Garden: Disappearing Act
There's no trick to making Thanksgiving leftovers disappear around our house. No, no need to disguise the bird as samosas, enchiladas or turkey pot pie, either. We just make sandwiches: open-faced on toast with turkey and stuffiing topped with hot gravy . . .
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Home & Garden: Not "For a Limited Time Only"
Travel is definitely broadening. After driving across two-thirds of the country and back in the past month, I can say with authority that there are actually people who step up to the Starbucks counter and, without any obvious shame, ask for a pumpkin spice latte with soy milk . . .
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Home & Garden: The Not-So-Lowly Worm
The earthworms inhabiting my compost heap are a source of great pride to me. Roughly the diameter of my little finger and as long as the palm of my hand, they have been turning household garbage, chicken bedding, grass clippings and horse manure into soil at an amazingly rapid rate. Imagine my horror when I read recently that they are considered to be an invasive species . . .
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Home & Garden: Snow on the Prairie
Today, our last day of pheasant hunting in South Dakota, we wake up to a white world, the first snowfall in the area. The campground where we have been staying is also home to many custom cutters, gangs of men who travel from Texas in the spring to North Dakota and into Canada in the fall, cutting the crops as they ripen. . . .
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Home & Garden: Recycling Jack-o'-Lantern
We've been on the road for two weeks now, driving our camper from Pennsylvania to South Dakota and now to Wyoming, to Yellowstone National Park. The weather has veered back and forth from a frosty low 20s to high 60s, not unusual for this shoulder season of late October. Yesterday, driving across Wyoming and Montana, it was sunny and almost 70 degrees, with the . . .
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Home & Garden: Bird Seed and Hedge Balls
You can drive Interstate 90 from Seattle to Boston in 44 hours, but we've taken considerably longer getting to Presho, South Dakota. Bird hunters fill the campground, drawn here for the pheasant hunting, as was my traveling companion; I'm along for the ride and the chance to take a look at a part of the country I've previously just seen from the interstate. . . .
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Home & Garden: Planting the Stinking Bulb
In addition to planting tulips and daffodils in the fall for spring flowerings, we plant that other "stinking" bulb, garlic, now so it will come up in the spring and be ready for midsummer harvesting. Garlic planting is simple: separate the individual cloves from a head of garlic, plant each one in a well-prepared bed about four weeks before the ground freezes, and each clove will give you . . .
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Home & Garden: Fried Green Tomatoes, Etc.
This morning I ate the first of our Yellow Brandywine tomatoes. It was huge, juicy and delicious. It also had been ripening inside for the past two weeks, when we decided that it wasn't going to make it to ripe perfection on the vine. While not quite as perfect as a tomato consumed straight from the garden, it was close, and at this time of year with cooling nights and threats of frost . . .
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Home & Garden: Autumn Colors
Despite what you may have been told as a child, it's not Jack Frost that sets the leaves ablaze during Maine's autumn; the color change actually has nothing to do with frost. Leaves turn color in the fall as trees start shutting down their energy production and withdrawing nutrients into their roots. Throughout the spring and summer, tree leaves are green because of . . .
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Home & Garden: Think Spring
When scents of ripe apples fill the air and displays of orange pumpkins dazzle our eyes, it's time to think spring. Yes, now's the time to think about planting bulbs like daffodils and tulips, the first visible signs of spring in the flower garden. While I love a riot of colorful tulips in a bed, rather than plant them, only to see them become deer candy, I instead rely on daffodils. . . .
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Home & Garden: In Praise of Potatoes
It's been perfect weather for potato harvesting this past week, sunny, warm and dry, save for a few showers here and there. We look forward to finally seeing what lies hidden all summer beneath the potato foliage after wondering whether we'll have runty, blemished spuds or smooth-skinned behemoths. Many home gardeners with somewhat limited space forgo . . .
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Home & Garden: Harvest Time . . .
It's finally arrived, that time of the year when gardens overflow with fruits and vegetables. Visits to farmers' markets or farm stands yield sweet corn, tomatoes of all shapes and varieties, including golden yellow Taxi, the lightly striped oblong Amish paste, Green Cherokee, baskets of orange, yellow and red cherry tomatoes, as well as old standbys like Better Boy and heirloom . . .
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Home & Garden: Enjoy the Late Summer Garden
The colors in the landscape are becoming distinctly autumnal; goldenrod gleams among the fall-blooming asters and mallows along the roadsides and apples take on their red blush, while chokecherry branches droop with their deep purple clusters of fruit. As summer draws to a close, there are garden chores to get to before winter, but some can be postponed until spring . . .
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Home & Garden: Thoughts on a Perennial Border
"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, & no culture comparable to that of the garden. Such a variety of subjects, some one always coming to perfection, the failure of one thing repaired by the success of another, & instead of one harvest a continued one thro' the year. Under a total want of demand except for our family table I am still devoted to the garden. . . .
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Home & Garden: Turning Losers into Winners
The race is on in the vegetable garden to find and pick each summer squash, green bean or cucumber at its peak of perfection, but sometimes they forge past us to become large, ungainly monsters. What to do with the overgrown and less than perfect? There's always the tried-and-true - leaving mammoth squash off in unlocked cars in the library parking lot - but it's also possible . . .
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Home & Garden: Act Two
It used to be that vegetable gardening was a one-act play: plant in the spring, harvest in summer and put it to bed in the fall. But now there's a whole second act appearing on the gardening stage: the fall planting and growing season. It may seem odd, when our vegetable gardens are at peak production, with an abundance of cukes and beans, summer squashes and greens, herbs . . .
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Home & Garden: High Summer
Armed with colander and dish pan, we are about to set out for an afternoon of blueberry picking. The setting is not our customary field studded with granite outcroppings overlooking the bay. Instead we are stripping the low-growing bushes off the end of a small airfield in southern Maine. Our camper is parked in the narrow alley between two blue metal-sided hangars, next to the one . . .
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Home & Garden: In the July Garden
Once the true heat of summer is here it's tempting to kick back and take a break from gardening chores: take a swim, sit in a porch swing with a lemonade and a favorite beach read or just stroll the yard and admire your handiwork. While there's time for all these summer pleasures, there are still some tasks that won't wait. . . .
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Home & Garden: Small Is Beautiful, Too
Although we viewed them through a rain-streaked lens this year, the flowering shrubs of mid-June through early July are one of the joys of summer. I love to drive through the country, where yards of old farmhouses are lavishly draped with flowering beauty bush and bridal wreath, mock orange and hydrangea, quince and rhododendron. Part of their allure is the . . .
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Home & Garden: Saving Summer
The Fourth of July is either the beginning of summer or the end of it, depending on whether you're a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty type. Me? I'm too busy to decide: the garden is coming on, along with weeds, guests start arriving by the ferry load, flowers bloom and fade - poppies followed by delphiniums, iris by roses - and the lovely fruits of summer, the peaches and . . .
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Home & Garden: Buttermilk Skies
Thoughts of buttermilk drift in and out of my mind these days, like clouds in the old Hoagy Carmichael song. When strawberries begin appearing in gardens and farmers' markets I start dreaming of strawberry shortcake made with buttermilk biscuits. Once there's buttermilk in my refrigerator I look for other uses for it, like gelatos and ice creams. . . .
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Home & Garden: Stress-Free Gardens
I'd been away from our garden on Vinalhaven during a very rainy week when the call came. Our entire vegetable garden had been planted before I left and, while I didn't expect a lot of growth in a week, I did expect the stringbeans, cucumbers and potatoes I planted before leaving would soon be up. My daughter and co-gardener called me during an early-Sunday garden patrol . . .
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Home & Garden: Gardening with Children
My philosophy on gardening with children is that it's the same as gardening with adults, but children's hands are smaller. My own children were very interested in everything that went on in the garden, except, of course, weeding, which they viewed as exceedingly tedious (as many adults do). At ages 5 and 8 they could tell the difference between a weed and a carrot . . .
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Home & Garden: Rascally Radishes
Radishes are easy to grow, according to most dispensers of gardening advice, so easy that they're often recommended as a good choice for a children's garden, what with their large seeds, so easy for small fingers to plant, and their three to four weeks until maturity. This leads me to wonder in what alternate universe these advisors live, because I've always found growing . . .
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Home & Garden: The Start of Summer
White is traditionally associated with Memorial Day; in the past, white clothing was acceptable solely from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The only white I saw this recent Memorial Day weekend, which arrived early this year, was surprise snow flurries in the higher elevations, large flakes driven by wind and rain and mixing with falling apple blossoms to create a blizzard of petals that . . .
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Home & Garden: Singing the Blues
We aren't singing the blues yet ­- blues as in blueberries, that is. Two years ago we planted five highbush blueberries and for the first two seasons they squatted there and looked unpromising. Not dead, not diseased, just not doing much. This spring, finally, they have put on some growth and are branching out. Why, some wonder, would Maine gardeners plant highbush . . .
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Home & Garden: Rites of Spring
In honor of the first chorus of spring peepers in northern Vermont, where I am visiting a friend, last night's dinner featured homegrown and foraged foods, including sauteed fiddleheads, uncovered at the bases of already unfurled ones growing near the brook; dandelion greens dug from the shaded slope behind the house and sauteed with chopped onions and garlic from . . .
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Home & Garden: Gifts for Gardening Moms
Mom's special day is fast approaching, and while I don't think being kind to one's mother should be limited to one Sunday in May, it's a great excuse for giving a gift to someone who once kissed your scraped knee and made it all better. (Ah, the power of such healing abilities; if only they lasted forever.) But back to the gifts for the gardening mother. . . .
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Home & Garden: Homeward Bound
While April showers in Maine tended toward the sleety, in southwest Florida they've been tropical monsoons: rain cascades down in sheets for 30 minutes or so, the temperature never drops below 80 degrees, clouds quickly dissipate, the sun returns, and conditions are once again sauna-like. Small wonder most of the snowbirds left for the season weeks ago, returning home . . .
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Home & Garden: Edible Blossoms Span the Seasons
As soon as the first green shoots appear in Maine, chefs and gardeners are on the lookout for edible blossoms to add color, texture, scent and flavor to meals. You may think you've never tasted an edible flower, but most of us have happily eaten the unopened buds of artichokes. The blossoms of many wild and cultivated plants are also edible, with flavors ranging from spicy to sweet. . . .
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Home & Garden: All Hail the King of Spring Vegetables
Having permanent beds of rhubarb and asparagus is like having a lock on spring: as soon as the spears are large enough to eat you have pie and rhubarb compote or brilliantly green spears of the king of vegetables. While a few leafy and highly ornamental rhubarb plants can be tucked away in a corner somewhere, an asparagus bed takes up a lot of garden real estate. . . .
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Home & Garden: Starting Seeds Indoors
It's not too late to start seeds indoors for transplanting into the garden this season. If you jump right on it, you can be setting out young plants of tomatoes, peppers, basil and cole crops that you started yourself in just six weeks. They may be slightly smaller than the six-packs available at nurseries and farmers' markets, but they will quickly catch up if you give them some tender, loving care.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Home & Garden: Notes for Early Spring
Let's face it - gardening in Maine is a real crapshoot. Last year it was 75 degrees on St. Patrick's Day and I was planting peas. This year the first day of spring, March 20, dawned with a fresh foot of snow on the ground and temperatures hovering in the low 20s. Small wonder that I find myself watching videos on how to plant pomegranate trees . . .
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Home & Garden: Latin for Lovers (of Plants)
While often confused and perplexed when trying to decipher a plant label while shopping at a garden center or nursery, I fully acknowledge that the system of using Latin for genus and species identification is a necessity. It's fun to have common names for the plants you live with - "love-in-a-mist" for nigellas or "Black-eyed Susan" for rudbeckias - but these names can vary . . .
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Home & Garden: Easter Eats
Whether you celebrate it as a traditional religious feast day or as a time to acknowledge the pagan rites of spring, some foods are always associated with Easter: eggs, associated with rebirth, rejuvenation and immortality; rich breads and sweet buns and cakes, which contain the eggs and fats forbidden during Lenten fasting; and lamb, which has been the main feature of the . . .
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Home & Garden: Greetings from Planting Zone 10b, Part Two
The road from Everglades City to Immokalee runs north straight as a string through Big Cypress Swamp. Just as in Maine, where certain roads have signs that say "Moose Crossing Next Two Miles," signs saying "Panther Crossing Next Three Miles" are posted all along this section of Florida Route 29. If you look on the map, this part of Florida is heavily settled on the coasts . . .
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Home & Garden: Greetings from Planting Zone 10b
I'm writing this column while sitting on a bench beside a palm-ringed bay in southern Florida, looking up now and then at pelicans perched on old pilings beside the docks. While the glittering resorts of Naples and Marco Island are only about a 45-minute drive away, the cell phone service here on this tiny island perched between 10,000 Islands National Wildlife Refuge and Florida . . .
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Home & Garden: Garden Notes: Marching On
Today is the last day of February, a mercifully short month, given its penchant for blizzards and freezing rains here on the coast. Oh sure, there's Valentine's Day buried in the middle of it, but along with chocolates and cute cards. this year's celebration of Cupid brought the latest flu to our family. As drifts of Kleenex inside kept pace with drifts of blowing snow outside, I drank tea with . . .
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Home & Garden: Planting for Pollinators
It's common knowledge that honeybees and other pollinators are imperiled, with some butterflies and native bees experiencing significant population declines, according to the Xerces Society, a nonprofit that protects wildlife through conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Pollinators are necessary for the reproduction of nearly 70 percent of the world's flowering . . .
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Home & Garden: All About Alliums
By now our winter storage vegetables are in short supply, save for onions. While carrots begin to sprout and squashes soften, the onions remain firm and plentiful, which is felicitous, because they are the base of many soups and sauces and can be a meal or tasty side dish. A friend of mine spent a winter in Armenia once during a time of extreme deprivation: no electricity . . .
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Home & Garden: February Is for Chocolate Lovers
Chocolate and February are made for each other: with Valentine's Day smack in the middle of the month, you have the perfect excuse for trying one chocolate recipe after another in pursuit of the ultimate treat for your loved ones. For the past four years my daughter has created new chocolate recipes to enter in the annual contest of a well-known chocolate company. . . .
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Home & Garden: Gardening Notes
In a new study published by the U.S. Forest Service, the presence of trees was associated with human health (I want to say "duh" here, but won't). For Geoffrey Donovan, a research forester at the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station, and his colleagues, the loss of 100 million trees in the Eastern and Midwestern United States was an opportunity to study the impact . . .
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Home & Garden: Let Them Eat Biofuel
As reported in The Free Press last week, bills to ban the importation of corn-based ethanol in gasoline are being proposed in the upcoming Maine Legislature. One of the bills' sponsors, a farmer, blamed ethanol for driving up the cost of both food and feed. Growing corn for ethanol occupies 10 percent of the total arable land in the U.S., and the effects of this policy are . . .
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Home & Garden: Getting Started
It really does all start now. Although snow, alternating with rain and ice, might make next year's garden seem like a mirage, now is the time to plan, peruse seed catalogs, get tools together and start early seeds. Storey Publishing has a new little book out, designed to help those new to gardening, but one that's also very useful for gardeners of all skill levels because, in one tiny package . . .
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Home & Garden: True Grit(s)
We have family and friends in the South, and in the past a visit to or by them has resulted in a gift of grits - stone ground and packaged in neat little cotton bags. We brought them home with the best intentions of using them, planning grits and eggs for breakfast, but somehow the bag was always relegated to the back of the pantry, only to emerge well after the optimum . . .
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Home & Garden: New Beginnings
If there were one New Year's resolution I'd make on behalf of everyone, it would be "Have More Fun in the New Year." Bearing this in mind, a good place to start would be reading Kiss My Aster: A Graphic Guide to Creating a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You. Author Amanda Thomsen is also a Master Gardener and landscape designer, maintains the blog "Kiss My Aster," . . .
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Home & Garden: Winter in the Garden
Late December is the time to stay inside where it's warm, dreaming about next year's garden while perusing the new seed catalogs, but when warmer daytime temperatures occur, it's possible to spend a little time in the garden or its vicinity. In my own garden, there are still weeds to be dug and stalks of late-harvested Brussels sprouts to be pulled, row covers to be adjusted and . . .
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Home & Garden: Gifts for Gardeners
Dear Santa (you know who you are); This year I'm not even going to pretend that the gifts I suggest for gardeners are for the people on my list. They're for me, me, me, and what pleases me will probably please many others. So break out your pen and listen up. First of all, don't strain yourself seeking out exotica.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Home & Garden: December Garden Notes
Anyone circling the earth's oceans in a submarine or locked deep inside an Antarctic ice cave might be oblivious, but the rest of us are well entrenched in Christmas madness. If you'd like to keep a lower carbon footprint this season, plant biologist Clint Springer, assistant professor of biology at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, says that buying a real Christmas tree may not . . .
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Home & Garden: Rosemary for Remembrance
If you'd like to be remembered for the Christmas gift you give a fellow gardener, a rosemary plant, while not as showy as a poinsettia or amaryllis, is a good choice. Right about now the aromatic herb is appearing in garden centers trimmed up into topiary Christmas trees, which make a fine kitchen Christmas decoration.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Home & Garden: Gardening Books for Christmas Giving
It's contagious. You overhear two neighbors bragging about their near-complete Christmas shopping or a friend appears in the ferry line with a roll of Christmas wrapping paper sticking out of her tote bag, and instantly you contract Christmas fever. Guilt descends like a pall over those of us who have done NO shopping and, should we ever shop, will wrap the gifts in remnants . . .
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Home & Garden: November Gardening Notes
Things are slowing down in the garden now, not just because temperatures are dropping but because of the shortened day length. This year is the first that we've tried using cold frames in our garden to extend the salad greens season and it's interesting to see the results of our experimentation. Because we were late in getting the frames together, I resorted to transplanting . . .
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Home & Garden: An Inclusive Feast
Thanksgiving, that most benign of holidays, requires no house decorating or gift buying, yet while once a low-pressure event, it's not as simple as it formerly was. These days, guests can have a number of dietary requirements that preclude their partaking of turkey, dessert, rolls or stuffing. We're talking gluten-free, no sugar, vegetarian and vegan here, and it can sometimes be . . .
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Home & Garden: A Wild Ride
Havoc reigned over the land last week, with snow in West Virginia and hurricanes along the Eastern Seaboard, but the day before Superstorm Sandy made landfall I was visiting a friend in northern Vermont. There, it was 65 degrees and sunny, with only the slightest evidence that frost had visited their gardens, and my 5-year-old granddaughter ran around barefoot in the grass.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Home & Garden: Post-Pumpkin Procedures
This is an annual column, in which I plead with people to save their jack-o'-lanterns and eat them, right down to the very last morsel. This applies to the smaller pumpkins, especially the Connecticut Field kind, which have sweet, dark-orange flesh, rather than the blander giant pumpkins. If you carved your pumpkin and it still sits unslumped on the doorstep, it is recipe-worthy.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Home & Garden: Fall Garden Notes
After a trip to the higher elevations of the White Mountains this weekend, it's good to be back in the middle of fall foliage again. I drove through Grafton, Dixville and Crawford notches, where the trees have been stripped bare of their leaves, except for the gold of tamaracks and a few umber oaks, and it felt as if winter was close at hand. . . .
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Home & Garden: Massaged Kale, Beet Cake - Not Your Average Fall Veggies
I try to keep up with the latest and greatest food trends, but massaged kale somehow slipped under the radar until my daughter mentioned how good it is. When kale is rubbed, or massaged, its cellulose structure breaks down and wilts, so formerly tough leaves become silky. The kale reduces in volume by over half and the leaves take on a subtle sweetness.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Home & Garden: Reinventing the Garden
Fall is a perfect time to think about changes you'd like to make in the garden. While cleaning beds of spent plants or late weeds or raking leaves, there's time to look at what's there and imagine where you'd like to be in future seasons. And, in less time than you realize, your garden is changing. As a landscape matures, trees get taller and cast deeper shade, bushes outgrow their original shapes and try to take over the border.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Home & Garden: Apple Harvest
Maine is fortunate in having a good apple harvest this year. Those in other areas of the country, Michigan in particular, were not so lucky. Farmers and orchardists there often grow multiple types of fruit trees as insurance against loss, but this year, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, farmers lost 95% of their peaches, 90% of their apples . . .
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Home & Garden: Bugs: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The Bad and the Ugly: It's only natural that gardeners suss out other gardeners - while waiting for a bus, standing in the grocery checkout line, or in my case, sitting in the dentist's chair - and exchange information about the latest triumphs and tribulations. This season many have commiserated about the onslaught of insect pests and mentioned their hopes for a good, cold winter to reduce insect population numbers.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Home & Garden: The Community Table
A new cookbook, created to benefit MCH Meals on Wheels, which serves more than 125 meals a day to Knox County seniors, includes not only recipes, but the stories behind them. Similar in its approach to the blockbuster cookbook One Big Table: 600 Recipes from the Nation's Best Home Cooks, Farmers, Fishermen, Pit-Masters, and Chefs, written by former New York Times . . .
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Home & Garden: Gardening Notes for September
It's time to look ahead to next year's garden, putting in new perennials and spring-flowering bulbs while continuing cleanup in the vegetable garden. If you haven't ordered tulip and daffodil bulbs for the spring yet, you have until September 15 to order through the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Web site and get the bulbs you love while supporting the garden you love (www.mainegardens.org).
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Home & Garden: Enjoying the Harvest, Including Zucchini
The waning days of August are some of the most enjoyable in the garden. Weeds have slowed with the heat and drier weather, as has the need for mowing the lawn, while the vegetable garden overfloweth with bounty. It does become somewhat tricky knowing how to use all that bounty without causing zucchini rebellion at the family dinner table.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Home & Garden: Blue Food
I've always thought blue food was just plain wrong. Why grow a blue potato when you could have a sunny Yukon Gold? Why eat a blue Popsicle if cherry red was available? I even hated blue cheese, although Roaring Forties Blue has converted me. But this week I made blueberry ice cream to accompany a reading of Blueberries for Sal at the library's Saturday story hour . . .
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Home & Garden: Garden Notes for August
With native corn, blueberries and tomatoes for sale in the farm stands and goldenrod and Queen Anne's lace lining the roadsides, can autumn be far behind? Probably not, but there are still gardens just asking to be visited here in the midcoast.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Home & Garden: Garlic Scapes
If you were prepared last fall and planted your own garlic, you probably planted a hardneck variety, which grows well in this area, and are now blessed with a bumper crop of garlic scapes - the long, curly tops that, if left on, will eventually form small bulbils or topsets that can be planted to grow more garlic.
Thursday, August 2, 2012



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