Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Amy Ivy: Appreciating Our Local Vegetable Producers

NCGrownPepperMan30033.25Gardening, especially growing your own food, is one of the number one pastimes across the country. But ask anyone who has actually tended a garden and they will also admit it is a humbling experience! You don’t just drop a seed in the ground and ‘Voila!’ a basket of tomatoes appears. There are bugs, diseases, fertility, too much or too little water, and then there are weeds, weeds, and more weeds to contend with.

Supermarket shelves brim with perfect produce, and farmers markets and roadside stands have beautiful piles of all sorts of vegetables; they make it look so easy. Home gardeners might be content with having enough for a few meals but our North Country commercial growers are in this is as a business. If they don’t make a profit, they aren’t going to keep farming. Today, I hope to increase your appreciation of the work and innovations our growers use to produce all that beautiful food. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Snails: Slime is Sublime

TOS_snailOnce, hiking on the west coast, I picked up a big, bright yellow banana slug from the forest floor and brought it to my wife. She remembers that too – vividly.

Ok, ok, I know, snails and slugs have a high yuck factor. But take a moment and really watch one. You’ll see an intricately evolved creature of almost fluid grace.

Snails and slugs ­­– basically a slug is a snail without a shell – are gastropods, meaning “belly-footed.” There are tens of thousands of species worldwide. And while there are no banana slugs in this part of the country, ninety-plus species of snails ooze across northern fields and forests. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Training Set on Controlling Common Invasive Plants

Terrestrial-Training-North-CreekThe growing season is underway and with it comes troublesome invasive plants. The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) is hosting a free training session that provides landowners with instruction on how to control unwanted infestations of invading plants, such as Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard.

Participants will learn how to identify common invasive terrestrial plants and how to apply effective management techniques on their own lands. The training will include presentations and in-field demonstrations. Landowners, landscapers, gardeners, resource managers and highway department staff are encouraged to attend. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Mini Maple Forest In Your Lawn

0836MapleSeedlingLawn3003BPWMy lawn is a vast Lilliputian forest of two-inch tall trees, a carpet of closed-canopy maple seedlings punctuated by dandelions. It’s hard to tell, but a few blades of grass may have survived. Anyone with large maple trees in their yard probably has a lawn in similar condition. So what happened?

It all comes down to stress. Not the stress you feel trying to figure out what to do with 10,000 tree seedlings per acre (a fair estimation, by the way), but rather stress the trees felt when they ran out of water in 2012. That summer saw the driest soil conditions on record in northern NY, and trees really felt it. » Continue Reading.



Friday, May 30, 2014

Laurie Davis: Connecting Local Farms And Schools

School to Farm InitativeMany North Country schools are exploring the various scenarios of incorporating locally grown food into their menus.

Can you remember what your favorite school cafeteria meal was? Maybe you didn’t have a favorite meal. Maybe you dreaded finding out what was going to turn up on the steam table each day. It’s a common story, complaining about institution food, and the barbs are often undeservedly thrown at the cafeteria staff.

Fact is it is only in recent history that schools have started to realize the importance of not only good nutrition for kids, but food that is fresh, local, tasty, and visually appealing. Seems like a no-brainer, right? That sort of food is what we all want and deserve to eat. Our farmers are looking for local sales outlets, too. So why isn’t this just happening everywhere? The challenges are numerous, but not completely prohibitive. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Trade In Adirondack Invasives for Native Plants

My backyard has a mixture of wildflowers and cultivated plants with an eye toward native perennials. I gently move the spring foamflowers, bunchberries and bluets that always manage to pop up in the middle of my kids’ baseball field. I protect the trillium from the puppy and neighborhood kids while making sure nothing invasive has traveled perhaps by squirrel, bird or child. Yes, my child.

I’ve had to educate my daughter that picking roadside plants, (which sometimes includes the roots, which is not a good way of keeping our garden and property safe from Adirondack invasives). Since she is also a fan of gardening, I’ve limited her transplanting to items already located to our property. » Continue Reading.



Friday, May 23, 2014

Green Thumb Perennial Swap in Warrensburg Saturday

Garden Plant SwapThe sixteenth annual Green Thumb Perennial Swap sponsored by Warrensburgh Beautification Inc. will take place on Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 24, 2013 from 8 am to noon on the banks of the Schroon River in the Warrensburgh Mills Historic District, Route 418 (River Street) across from Curtis Lumber.

Bring your plants in any size or shape container, and exchange for ones of equal size or value. If you are just starting your garden, participants will share and answer questions regarding your soil and light conditions, and hardiness zone. Master Gardeners from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County will be on hand to test the pH of your soil and provide informational handouts on various gardening topics and reference materials to help identify any mystery species. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Seed Dispersal: Sneaky Plants and Gullible Ants

EliasomesI don’t trust flowers.

There are grounds for my suspicion; flowering plants are proven masters of deception. For instance, the sundew uses sparkling droplets of sticky “faux dew” to ensnare and digest curious flies; bee orchids dupe male wasps into wasting their copulatory efforts on floral structures that look and smell like a female wasp. And what about humans? As I labor on behalf of flowers, fertilizing, tilling, watering and sweating, I sometimes wonder if I’m being led down the proverbial garden path. Exactly who’s cultivating whom? » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lake George Community Garden Club’s Perennial Plant Sale

Shepard Park Sale Photo 5 14The Lake George Community Garden Club’s Annual Perennial Plant Sale will be held in Shepard Park, Lake George Village, this Saturday, May 17th, from 9 am to 2 pm.

The Perennial Plant Sale is one of the largest plant sale in the area, and the Garden Club’s major fundraiser for the year. The sale offers hundreds of high-quality perennial plants grown and dug from their member’s zone 4 and 5 gardens. Garden club members will be available to share planting instructions, tips for successful gardening, and other information. Special features of the sale include a Tag Sale of good quality, gently-used items and a collection of hand-made garden art objects and tempting creations by talented Garden Club Members. » Continue Reading.



Monday, May 12, 2014

New Event Begins Fort Ticonderoga’s King’s Garden Season

birdbath iris king and poppiesFort Ticonderoga’s King’s Garden will present a new spring event “Friendship & Flowers” on May 17, 2014. This pre-season event for gardeners and their friends offers continental breakfast, a horticultural talk, giveaways, a garden tour, and plants to take home. Attendees will get a first look at the King’s Garden which opens to the public on May 24.

“Early season blooms of lilac, crabapple, columbine and forget-me-not will tempt your senses,” Heidi Karkoski, Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Horticulture, says adding that the event will be an opportunity to “learn about plans for the season and what new annuals and perennials will be added to our designs.” » Continue Reading.



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dandelions: Make Salad, Not War

DandelionFlower-Photo-by-Greg-HumeThere’s no arguing spring with the dandelions. When they bloom, I know that winter’s finally outta here. By May, my fields and yard are dusted with that mellow dandelion yellow. I don’t mind. I keep honeybees, and dandelions are one of the more reliable sources of early spring nectar and pollen.

Dandelion is a poetic name. Derived from the French phrase, dent de leon, it refers to the deep serrations of the leaves, which, at least to the French, resemble the teeth (dent) of a lion (leon). The flower heads are packed with innumerable tiny florets. The heads open during the day and close at night. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Shoreline Landscaping Event in Lake George

plant_sale_3Vendors, exhibits, speakers and other activities to inspire attractive low impact shoreline landscaping will be featured at the “Stewardship with Style: A Lakescape Event” on Saturday May 10, 2014, from 9 am until 2 pm at Shepard Park in Lake George Village. Displays on rain gardens, shoreline buffers, permeable pavers, invasive species, and native plants, along with kids “make and take” crafts, and the Em2 River Model. There will also be prizes and giveaways. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Amy Ivy On When To Plant The Garden

springfrostlgGardeners across the North Country have had a stressful winter, wondering what the sheets of ice, endless snow and sub-zero temperatures are doing to their perennials, berries, trees and shrubs. All we can do is wait and see how things get through. The next biggest stressor for gardeners is going to be deciding how early you can start planting your garden.

I’ve learned to not even try to make predictions related to the weather, especially as it relates to plants. Luckily many plants are quite resilient, so even if they get off to a slow start in spring they often catch up by summer. I have no idea what May is going to be like, and therefore no idea if you should make any adjustments to your usual gardening practices.

Just last year we had a killing frost in early May followed by those endless days of pouring rain that lasted into early July. All I can do is advise you to be ready for anything. Go ahead and plant your peas and spinach at the end of April if that’s what you usually do, but save a few seeds for replanting in case those don’t make it. When possible, plan to make successive plantings and hope that the timing works out for at least one of them. » Continue Reading.



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.



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