Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Juneberry Research Nursery Planned For Willsboro

juneberry in New York (photo 2)The farmer-led Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted a new report on establishing New York’s first Juneberry research nursery. The planting at the Cornell Willsboro Research Farm in Willsboro, NY, will be one of the largest nurseries of its kind for studying this ‘superfruit.’

Juneberry, scientifically known as Amelanchier, has the potential to be a major novel fruit crop in northern New York, and perhaps the Northeast, say researchers Michael H. Davis, Cornell Willsboro Research Farm Manager, and botanist Michael B. Burgess of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Community Gardens Gaining Ground in Northern New York

communitygardenphotodigThis is a revival of a column I wrote a few years ago about community gardens. I couldn’t resist digging it out of the mothballs because, like other local food and gardening efforts it’s gaining momentum with wide interest.

When I last encouraged folks to look into community gardens there were just a handful in the North Country.  Last summer, when Adirondack Harvest published its annual local food guide, we listed 21 community and school gardens, just in Essex County!

My introduction to community gardens took place 25 years ago when my husband and I, devout gardeners and homesteaders, abruptly moved from the rural green of Vermont to Minneapolis and St. Paul (yes, we started out in one city and a year later moved to the other one).

While we adored the Twin Cities, there were no backyard gardens for us. And so there entered a new concept in my life: community gardens.  We discovered that plots of land had been cordoned off in, among other places, parks and vacant lots.  Each area was divided into many 20’ by 20’ plots with water access.  For a small fee, we were able to secure a space, tilled for us at the beginning of the season. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tree Pruning Time: Six Weeks Before Buds Open

Proper-Tree-PruningSo far as tree health is concerned, the optimal pruning time is the six weeks or so before buds open. We should still have ample time to prune, as spring appears to be in no hurry to get here.

Pruning is a skill that can be readily learned, and, if you practice it enough, you’ll enter into the art of it. It requires the application of a few basic principals using the right equipment. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hops Growing Talk Planned in Warrensburg

Franklin County hop-pickers c 1900With the ever increasing interest in locally produced foods and homesteading skills, the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District is presenting a series of informational talks in Warrensburg on agricultural topics.  The presentations are free and open to anyone with an interest.  For reservations contact Nick Rowell at (518)623-3119 or nrowell123@nycap.rr.com, as seating is limited.

The next two talks, on hops growing and soil health, will be Friday, March 28th from 6 pm to 8 pm at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Warrensburg Office at 232 Golf Course Road. Future talks are planned for May.

Hops was once a staple crop of New York farmers, but production ended about 50 years ago and the last beer made with all New York hops was produced in the 1950s.  That is until 2004 when the first new beer was brewed with all New York hops. Today a small amount of hops are being grown in Washington and Warren counties for use in the Adirondack and Paradox breweries. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring: Starting Seeds Indoors

starting-seeds-indoorsEven while we remain snowbound, the days are growing longer and the sun is getting higher; robins are singing, and there’s a good chance spring will come sometime in 2014. For those who still believe in spring, late March is the time to start planting vegetable and flower seeds indoors.

Raising your own plants gives you the option to pick unusual varieties not available commercially in the spring, and it’s a lot cheaper than buying transplants. For kids it can be a fun activity, and for the rest of us it’s at least in part about seeds of change; a sign we believe growth and change are possible despite a bleak forecast. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Avoiding Vegetable Garden Problems

MarketVegsWith temperatures remaining below normal during the first week of March, the spring planting season is still a long ways off. Gardeners are itching to get busy but have to wait while March and April drag by, teasing us with spring-like spells that are inevitably followed by cold snaps.

To put some of that pent-up energy to good use, gardeners would be wise to spend a good chunk of time now planning out their gardens. Perennial flower gardeners can creatively rearrange their plants and search for particular colors or bloom times to fill in gaps. Planning ahead can also help reduce some disease problems for vegetable gardeners. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ordering Seed? Consider Growing Potatoes

A small pile of potatoes freshly dug from the ground.In spite of how miserable the weather has been lately, I still think it’s a good thing we have winter. It gives us gardeners a chance to spend some time indoors, reading up on our favorite plants, learning about new varieties, crops, or methods we might want to try out this year, and planning this summer’s gardens.

One vegetable crop that is not often grown in home gardens is potatoes. I’ve been growing them for a couple of years now and I really enjoy it. The plants are good-sized and robust without too much fussing and are well suited to our climate. » Continue Reading.



Friday, January 3, 2014

Coping With Trees and Landscape Winter And Salt Damage

20131223BPWIcyPines4003crop(1)Each year the Northern New York region gets a half-dozen or more freezing rain events, and every few years we might see an actual ice storm (technically at least 0.25 inches ice accumulation). But the storm that froze the North Country in up to two inches of glaze between December 21 and 23, 2013, was exceptional.

It didn’t have quite the punch of “The Great Ice Storm of 1998” in which freezing rain tumbled for 80 solid hours, but in some locations damage was extensive.

Ice storms happen when a warm, moisture-laden front slides up and over a cold air mass, and then lets loose the water works. Cumulus clouds billow up (occasionally spawning winter lightning), and when cloud air temperature is between 25 and 30F, the resulting subcooled rain freezes to cold surfaces. Warmer than 30, it rains; colder than 25, it sleets. If the warm front is slow-moving—or worse yet, stalls—the ice really builds up. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Eating Well from the Root Cellar

USDAScottBauerSweetPotatok9231-1(1)Late November is the time of year I generally like to write about two things: winter storage crops and eating locally for the holidays. This year is no exception because I love the root vegetables we’re able to grow and store here in the North Country. Hopefully you were able to visit the farmers’ markets and stock up before the markets closed. It’s not too late – some markets are open through the holiday season or even through the winter.

So, what’s available now for root vegetables? » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Amy Ivy: The Last of the Fall Chores

unnamedWe had such a long spell of nice weather this fall that I should have no excuse for not having gotten all my fall outdoor chores finished by now. But I suspect I’m not the only one with a few more to-do items on my list. Here are some tips and suggestions:

We are at the very end of the limit for getting spring flowering bulbs planted. Check your sheds and closets for any lingering bulbs that you bought earlier but still haven’t gotten in the ground. I have a little more garlic to plant as well. It’s late, but I’m optimistic the bulbs will have time to root in before winter. Dig up any tender bulbs that can’t survive the winter. This includes gladioulus, canna lilies and dahlias. » Continue Reading.



Monday, November 18, 2013

Ed Kanze: Serf ‘n’ Turf

ed_kanze_pumpkinEver feel like a serf when you’re down on the turf in your vegetable garden? Listen to my thoughts on the hard work and servitude of the backyard veggie gardener in this week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze.

The podcast is produced by Josh Clement. “All Things Natural” has been published continuously since 1987 and approaches its one-millionth published word. It currently appears in the Bedford, NY Record-Review. Listen to past episodes by visiting Mountain Lake PBS’s Borderless North webpage at mountainlake.org/bn.


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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Training Planned

image003(1)Cornell Cooperative Extension in Warren County is now accepting applications for the new 2014 Master Gardener Training Program. Space is limited, so contact the office soon for more information and an application.

After enrolling in the course, the participants are provided with a binder of information that supplements the weekly presentations from Cornell University faculty, Cooperative Extension staff, and local experts on a wide range of horticultural topics. The topics include basic botany, entomology, soils, home lawn care, vegetable and fruit gardening, composting, organic gardening and other practical and interesting subject matter. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Community Gardens: How Did Your Garden Grow?

Gardeners diningHow did your garden grow? In Keene, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Paul Smiths, Minerva, Bolton Landing, and an increasing number of other Adirondack villages and hamlets residents are coming together to create community gardens. Keene has a very rugged landscape and many residents simply do not have relatively flat and sunny backyards for individual gardens, but the hamlet does own a large flat field where its airport, farmer’s market, and various community festivals are based.

Several years ago under the leadership of Jim Herman and Dave Mason, and with support of the town board, most especially Paul Martin, a plot of land was set aside near the community-owed Holt House, tilled, and laid out to form eight foot by eight foot plots that were made available for individuals to rent for a modest fee while being given the option of renting more than one on a space available basis. » Continue Reading.



Monday, October 28, 2013

Local Corn That Pops, Preserves Cultural Traditions

IndianCornBPW724As winter edges closer, sweet corn is but a distant memory and field corn is fast disappearing into the insatiable headers of roaring combines. But here and there a few market growers and gardeners are bringing in some less common types of corn. While not very significant to the regional economy, locally raised popcorn and decorative “Indian” corn have emotional and cultural value that goes beyond their monetary worth.

In recent years, US farmers in the Midwest have been producing around 200 million pounds of popcorn annually, which translates to something like $70 million. (It also equals roughly a billion kernels, in case that fact comes in handy for you someday.) » Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Strangle-Vine: Invasive Swallow-Wort

swallow-wort1The invasive plant sometimes called dog-strangling vine doesn’t harm pets, but it lives up to its name as a strangler, choking out native wildflowers as well as Christmas tree plantations and fields of prime alfalfa. In Northern New York, in Jefferson County, a nearly 1,000-acre tract on an island lies blanketed under this perennial Eurasian vine.

Dog-strangling vine grows in almost any soil type, has a prodigious root system, and is particularly good at making and dispersing seeds. It is so toxic that no North American bird, mammal or insect will eat it, and it bounces back from the most powerful herbicides. No wonder biologists and agronomists have been losing sleep over it. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Prep Raised Beds Now for 2014 Spring Planting

5554AmyIvyRaisedBed3004Raised beds are a great way to grow, and now is the ideal time to get them set up so you’ll be ready to plant early next spring. If you’re new to gardening, start with just one, you’ll be amazed by how much it will produce, and how much easier it is to manage.

There are many ways to build raised beds, so let’s cover some basics that you can adapt to suit your own site and needs. Gardening in raised beds lets you concentrate your efforts into a smaller area that makes weeding, watering, and tending a lot easier.

An ideal size is 3-4 feet wide by 8 feet long. You don’t want to walk in these beds, so this size is easy to reach across and walk around. The sides are made with 2×6” or better yet, 2×8” lumber.  White cedar and hemlock are preferred since they are slower to rot, but they may be hard to find. Rough-cut pine is your next best choice, but if all you can find is common pine that’s okay, it just won’t last as long. Use wood screws to build a simple box. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Growing the Great Pumpkin in Northern New York

PumpkinsIn the Peanuts comic strip, the precocious, blanket-toting Linus waited faithfully for The Great Pumpkin all night on Halloween in spite of being disappointed every year. Perhaps his unwavering belief in the mythical pumpkin was spurred on by the fact that almost every year brings the world a bigger “great pumpkin” of the sort one can measure and—at least potentially—eat.

Of the approximately 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins grown annually in the U.S., only a very few are grown for size. Primarily within the last thirty years, giant pumpkin enthusiasts (that’s regular-size people, giant produce) have developed varieties that attain jaw-dropping proportions. From a nearly 500-lb. world record in 1981 to a half-ton in 1996 and a 2,000-lb. record in 2012, today’s giant pumpkins would be a dream come true for Linus. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gardening: Food Grown Right, in Your Backyard

Food Grown RightAs the founders behind the Seattle Urban Farm Company, Colin McCrate and Brad Halm have heard it all: My backyard is too small; how can I make space for a garden? Do I really need to buy fertilizer? What on earth is that creature crawling on the tomatoes? My crops took off and the zucchini is out of control — who has time to harvest it all!

Food Grown Right, in Your Backyard (Slipstone, 2012) is a primer for these questions and more. In response to the rising interest in homegrown foods, the Seattle Urban Farm Co. builds vegetable gardens for everyone from busy families to restaurants. Along the way, Colin and Brad teach beginner growers from all walks of life the techniques of organic food production. » Continue Reading.



Monday, September 9, 2013

Adirondack Harvest Local Food Events Planned

adirondack harvest logoAdirondack Harvest, the community-based farm and local food development and promotion program, is celebrating the fall harvest season with several food events in Essex County.  The events provide consumers with opportunities to meet farmers, visit farms, taste local food products and become Adirondack Harvest members. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cabin Life: Summer Accomplishments

The ScytheI’m sitting at the table on Saturday morning, looking out the big window at the layer of frost covering everything.  The car has a white windshield and the chicken coop has a good layer of frozen dew on it as well.  I guess now that it’s September, there are going to be more and more days like this.

Now that fall is almost here, I’ve been thinking back on the summer.  At the beginning, I was worried that this would be the summer that never was, what with snow until early June and then nothing but rain for quite a while too.  Then there was the heat wave, followed by more rain.  August was nice though.  It was hot but not crazy hot, with some rain here and there.  Of course, it rained almost exclusively on my days off each week, but what can you do? » Continue Reading.



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