Does Severely Pruning Concord Grapes Kill Them?

I love my Concord grapes. I love the way they look as a live privacy screen on my fence. I love getting to eat them off the vine in the fall.

So when I had to severely prune them back last fall in order to make repairs to my fence, I worried that I might have killed them. Over-pruning can really impact grape production.

You can see the hatchet job I did on this poor vine. Because all the canes had twined through the fence, I had to lop them all off. Not looking good…

Here, you can see a few leaves have sprouted and a few more buds are underway. Phew. This vine […]

2016-10-24T09:56:34-04:00May 29th, 2011|My Garden / Recipes|3 Comments

My Article in New Homesteading Magazine

Flagship issue of New Homesteading MagazineIt’s no secret that I’ve been working toward producing most of my family’s food for the past several years. And while I don’t even come close to qualifying as a real homesteader, I do seem to represent a rapidly growing segment of the gardening population: people who have become extremely conscientious about where and how they get their food. Think locavore on organic fertilizer. You know, those of us who’ve rediscovered the wisdom of the “Victory Garden” of yore and supplement the rest of our food needs with local shopping.

So imagine my delight at being asked to contribute to the first issue […]

2016-10-24T09:56:34-04:00May 1st, 2011|My Garden / Recipes, On Writing|2 Comments

Zucchinis or Squashes Setting Small Fruit? Absence of Bees May Require Hand Pollinating

More than the economy is falling on hard times these days. A potentially huge problem is looming for gardeners and food growers everywhere.

Zucchini FlowerI just had a friend share with me that, in her area, zucchinis aren’t setting full fruits. So I checked my plants and , lo and behold, found some developmentally challenged zukes in my own garden. Confirmed in newspapers and online sources, many zucchini and squash plants are setting miniature or quickly rotting fruits.

The reason? The decline of the honeybees is limiting the number of pollinated zucchini. This is because all squash plants (having a male and female flower) require outside aid for pollination […]

2016-10-24T09:56:35-04:00July 9th, 2010|My Garden / Recipes|3 Comments

One of My Favorite Recipes — Orange Salad

With all the anticipation of getting ready for my gardening season, I’ve been cooking up a storm testing new recipes.  Cait is always very happy when this happens.  As she was munching and I was preparing, we got to talking about favorite childhood tastes.  For me, hands down, it’s my mother’s Orange Salad recipe.  It’s so simple and refreshing.

Orange Salad Recipe

  1. Peel skin off several oranges, leaving a fair amount of pith (the white inner skin).
  2. Slice and cut into bite-size pieces
  3. Drizzle with a light oil of your choosing
  4. Sprinkle with sugar
  5. Chill for 1 hour
  6. Enjoy!

Do you have favorite childhood food?

2016-10-24T09:56:36-04:00March 14th, 2010|My Garden / Recipes|7 Comments

Garden Experiment 2009

It’s that time of year; hard frosts herald the end of my gardening year.  As I work to put my garden to bed until next spring, it’s a good time to take stock of the growing season. This year, with summer weather more typical of Ireland than upstate NY, and less time available for gardening chores than I like, my garden was more under Mother Nature’s charge than mine. The results were mixed.

As I review the different veggies that provided bounties or busts, I plan for what seeds I’ll keep and plant again, and what varieties I probably won’t add back in. In part, this decision is always aided by my annual garden experiment.

Every year, I conduct a garden experiment […]

2016-10-24T09:56:39-04:00October 25th, 2009|My Garden / Recipes|9 Comments

How to Grow Great Garlic

I’ve been growing my own garlic for about 15 years — all from my own bulbs that I harvest from year to year.  I don’t remember what possessed me to order my first bulbs from Seeds of Change way back when.

After all, garlic seems a slightly peculiar item to grow when they’re so plentiful and cheap at the grocery store. And even more peculiar to fall in love with. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I get a bigger kick out of growing my garlic than nearly all my other plants put together — and that’s saying something.

garlicscapes Maybe it’s because they are such strikingly graceful plants with their swan-like […]

2016-10-24T09:56:39-04:00October 11th, 2009|My Garden / Recipes|10 Comments

Stick THAT in Your Happy Box!

Having recently gone through a growth spurt, Cait was in need of some new clothes. So off to the Mall we went.  We always concentrate our efforts in this one particular store, because we always have good luck finding cloths that fit and that Cait will actually wear.

The tradition is to make our way around each department — shoes, pants, tops, etc.– until, at the very end, we come to the fancy dress section.  This is where the fun begins.

You see, Cait has always loved playing dress-up and still does.  So the first time we came upon the glittering racks of evening wear, she thought she’d died and gone to heaven. When it didn’t occur to her that there was […]

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