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  • Published
    February 8, 2013

    New book of herbal remedy recipes

    Stephanie Tourles of Orland is a prolific writer and engaging presenter about healthful foods and herbs. Her most recent work, “Hands-On Healing Remedies – 150 Recipes for Herbal Balms, Salves, Oils, Liniments & Other Topical Therapies” (Storey, 2012; $18.95), is a must-have for the bookshelf. Beautifully designed and printed, with delightful watercolors by Samantha Hahn throughout, the book is a treasure to hold …

  • Published
    January 25, 2013

    Apples for the home garden

    Growing apples in the home landscape can satisfy many desires: culinary, aesthetic, historic preservation (of heirloom varieties), the satisfaction of producing something for yourself, and the chance to save a little money. Picking the right site, cultivating quality soil and selecting good varieties are keys to success, said two fruit enthusiasts who spoke at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show recently. C.J. …

  • Published
    December 20, 2012

    Last-minute gifts for gardeners

    Local is always a great way to shop, and with one weekend to go before Christmas, local is also convenient for last-minute gifts. Avena Botanicals has several boxed gift, available at ~ or by visiting Avena’s shop at 219 Mill St. in Rockport Mondays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. — although the shop will be closing for the holidays on Dec. 21 and reopening on Jan . 2. I put my own gift sets together for friends, …

  • Published
    November 23, 2012

    The A and P of favorite herbs

    So many herbs can be used medicinally that it can be difficult to narrow down the choices. Here are ten that I find especially useful. Some, such as elderberry and echinacea, can be tinctured now and given as holiday gifts. Aloe vera: Every kitchen windowsill should have a pot of this plant, to help skin heal quickly after you burn yourself on the oven racks or other kitchen equipment — although Lorie Costigan of …

  • Published
    November 8, 2012

    Witch hazel for landscape and health

    What a treat to encounter fragrant witch hazel flowers in the autumn woods. The narrow yellow flower petals, miniature streamers, warm the landscape just before winter. Yankee Magazine featured this useful native plant, Hamamelis virginiana, in its Nov./Dec. 2008 issue ~ Hampton, Conn., is “the heart of witch hazel country,” said writer Steve Kemper. In central and eastern Connecticut, from November to April, a …

  • Published
    October 26, 2012

    Bringing in, covering up the crops

    The frost has zapped the tomatoes but the cool season crops are still going — as are a few pepper plants that I dug, potted and brought indoors to keep going until their fruits ripen. How long can those outdoor spinach, lettuce, carrot, celery, kale and chard plants go? Some, if protected, should last through winter, not really growing but not dying either during the coldest parts of December to February. Come …

  • Published
    October 12, 2012

    Planning the edible landscape for high yield

    Nursery catalogs for the 2013 planting season are coming out now, so this is a good time to plan and order. If you’re thinking of increasing the amount of food your landscape produces, the Fedco Trees catalog has a useful table on pages 50 and 51 (at ~ showing which of its offerings produce edible or medicinal parts – and which are native, which tolerate wet, dry or shady places, and other characteristics. …

  • Published
    March 3, 2012

    Multi-use mulberry

    Brian Snyder, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, said at MOFGA’s Farmer to Farmer Conference last November that in Costa Rica, mulberry trees are cut back annually, and the green shoots are ground into a feed containing 22 percent protein – good for hog production. The tree trunks also provide posts for single strand electric fencing. “Maybe we don’t need any corn and …

  • Published
    February 4, 2012

    Vermicomposting: Winter project prepares for spring planting

    Tired of trekking out to the compost bin in winter? Consider vermicomposting. Vermicomposts, according to the Soil Ecology Laboratory at the Ohio State University, “are organic materials, broken down by interactions between earthworms and microorganisms, in a mesophilic process (up to 25 C, 77 F), to produce fully-stabilized organic soil amendments with low C:N ratios.” They’re also a convenient way to recycle …

  • Published
    January 21, 2012

    Joe Pye Weed: It’s for the birds (and bees, and butterflies)

    Looking to make a splash in the flower border or perennial garden? Consider planting a mass of the native perennial Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum). Come summer, once the plants are established, great domes of pinkish-purple, vanilla-scented flower heads will seem to float like clouds – usually more than six feet high – in the garden. Up close, you’ll have to look up to see the plant’s fragrant flowers, and …

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