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Showing posts from May, 2011

French Breakfast Radish

During the height of winter I was digging through my Seed Savers Exchange catalog and putting some of my picks to vote. Among the many radishes I put forth the vote overwhelmingly went to the French Breakfast Radish, also known as Radis Demi-long Rose a Bout Blanc. As you can probably tell we live in the fast lane in this home spending our winters casting votes on vegetable seeds.

Radishes are part of the brassica family, which includes Brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli just to name a few. This particular veggie is among the group of new comers that I am going to attempt to save seed from this year. The process really sounds pretty easy from everything I have read. Basically keep the three healthiest specimens and let them flower and ripen, of course you want to use heirlooms, not those nasty GMO's!

At first I was kind of surprised how healthy a radish could be but then when I took a moment to think about it I remembered that brassica's in general are really amazing f…


One of the goals of this years garden adventure was to start getting into edible flowers. I had read that lilacs were edible and we have a ton of them on our property. The problem to this point has been the overabundance of rain and the flowers were never really able to stand up to the damp weather and quickly died out.

Our nasturtiums on the other hand are just beginning to bloom! This is the first time we are attempting to grow these beautiful little treats. Doing a little research on these edibles I have found some interesting information. Most herbs and garnishes originally made their way over to the Americas via the Mediterranean nasturtiums were already being widely used by the natives of Peru. They used these hardy flowers to treat coughs and colds as well as menstrual and respiratory issues. They were also used for minor cuts and scratches thus early English herbalist used to refer to the plant as "Indian Cress".

Nasturtiums contain Vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, as well a…

Book Review (Garden by Robert Maass)

"Children are born naturalists. They explore the world with all of their senses, experiment in the environment, and communicate their discoveries to those around them." The Audubon Nature Preschool

Yesterday my three year old son went to the library and brought home the book Garden by Robert Maass. It is a nice book for children that outlines the process of growing a garden from seed to the following snow storms long after the final harvest. Aside from having some really nice photos throughout the book it talks about things like composting and caring for the soil and plants in terms that are very easy to understand. So if you happen to have a young child who has an interest in gardening it certainly would be worth their time to check out Garden.

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead  https:/…

Counting Cost

We've been busy here on Orchard St. of late. Creating new gardens, extending older gardens and planting an array of seeds and starter plants. For anyone who may be curious here is a little list of what has been put into the ground at this point, in no particular order.

Spinach, garlic, two varieties of lettuce, red onions, white onions, shallots, three varieties of carrots (Danvers, Dragon, St. Valery), kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, pop corn, three varieties of bush beans, two varieties of peas, Lima beans, Swiss chard, strawberries, pumpkins, sunflowers, nasturtium, black raspberry, rhubarb, four varieties of potatoes, cabbage, six different heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers. The only thing left is to put in the egg plants.

This year one of the things that I am doing differently is that I am keeping reasonably accurate records on how much of an investment has been made and in turn will do my best to get a decent figure on the harvest to see what sort of retur…


~The Earth is my church
I kneel in prayer
while I pull back grass
and root
plantain and dandelion
heavy with stone
in search of a precious body of soil
I will feed my family
from this sacred ground
in return for each precious gift, the fruit of my labor
I will worship her storms and her sun
as the temple of divine insight

Something New Every Year. . . .

"When the student is ready, the master appears." ~Buddhist Proverb

I learn something new every year that I garden. Mother Nature tends to casually send a lesson my way as soon as I employee my hand with soil, water and seed.

I spent the majority of the winter planning the layout of what would become my largest vegetable garden(s) to date. While snow covered the garden site I carefully mapped out a companion gardening technique that seemed reasonable. When it came time to finally plant I started by putting in spinach seed followed by two varieties of lettuce seed. I admired my work and went in for the night. Hours later the winds picked up as New York started to feel some of the distant effects of the southern storms and eventually my infant garden was being pounded by sheets of rain.

Historically in April my little corner of the Earth gets about 3.5 inches of rain. This year we got just under 9 inches. I never really noticed the slight slant of my lawn until it became a sour…