"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."
Come see Paul's Garden!
Join us for the 16th annual "Private Gardens of the Kennebunks" Garden Tour, July 17, 2010 from 10:00 - 4:00. SHINE OR RAIN. All proceeds benefit the prevention programs of the Child Abuse Prevention Council of York County, Maine. Tour nine lovely gardens throughout Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. Advance tickets are $15.00 before July 1st; $20.00 July 1st through day of the event. Please call (207) 985-5975 or visit http://www.kidsfreetogrow.org for more information!
Introducing the world's first Close-Focusing MacroScope.
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The Brunton MacroScope is both a revolution and a revelation in optical instruments. With its innovative and unique side-mounted focus wheel you can now view all the way from "infinity" to an unbelievably close 18 inches and everything in between. There is simply nothing else like the Brunton MacroScope on the market!
We promise you have never, ever seen anything like what you will see through your Brunton MacroScope. Everyone, from birders to engineers, geologists, archeologists, forensic scientists, butterfly watchers, hikers, naturalists, and just about everyone else will surely appreciate the new view in town!
Tired of hunting for ties and barbeques? The Brunton MacroScope would make a great gift for Father's Day!
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on this wonderful invention.
It seems that everyone is not only talking about growing their own Victory gardens, they are doing it! Vegetable gardens are sprouting up everywhere, yielding fresher taste, healthier foods, and brighter colors on your dinner table than anything you can find in your local supermarkets, not to mention the self-satisfaction you'll experience in having produced your own food.
After deciding what veggies to grow, and planting them, the nascent gardener may be feeling a bit overwhelmed as the tiny plants become big plants that obviously need help to remain upright! Here are some suggestions that both serve a functional purpose, and are also attractive additions to your vegetable garden.
Experienced gardeners may have included heavy supports prior to planting in anticipation of their garden's fruition, but take heart; there are many ways to support your growing plants. Stakes can be bought in many heights from the garden center. Lightweight trellises make vining vegetables a vertically visual delight, while also providing a privacy screen.
Some vining veggies have tendrils (also known as "holdfasts") that wind around the support you've provided, thus supporting their stem's weight. Other plants will need your assistance; carefully wind the vines and stalks around the supports as they grow, loosely tying them in place with twine, plastic-coated ties, or stretchy plastic plant tape. Whichever you use, remember to allow for flexibility as your plant grows.
Let's talk now about what is probably the single most popular vegetable to plant--the tomato. (Although most of these can be used adapted to other vegetables as well.) If you've done a large planting, place sturdy 4 by 4 supports in the ground. Run a 9-gauge wire from anchors beyond each end over the top and ensure that it's tight. Run twine from the base of each plant up to the wire, and tie the stems to grow up the wire. This is an English-style trellis known as the Long Row. This method can also be applied to a smaller scale planting; it provides excellent air circulation for your plants.
A quadrapod is similar to the methods used in the Far East and the Caribbean. Simply lash four ¾ inch, 8 foot long bamboo stakes together at the top with twine. Set the canes 2 feet apart in every direction and then lean them together. This method is simple to build, easy to break down in the autumn, and adaptable to both large and small tomato gardens.
One of the most common supports for your tomatoes is tomato cages. These are best used for individual plants in small-space gardens. Choose a wire cage at least 4 feet tall, measured from the bottom ring. Center the cage on your young tomato plant, and carefully push the wire prongs into the soil until the bottom ring is about 4 inches above the soil. Hammer three stakes alongside the cage, parallel with the wire uprights. Then secure the stakes to the wire uprights with wire ties. Remember to wear heavy gloves, or even better, to use pliers to attach the ties, so as to avoid any finger cuts!
The stakes lend added support to the wire cage, thus better supporting your plant as it grows. If vines begin to extend outside of the cage, train them back into its center, tying them, or pruning the excess growth. Tomato cages are inexpensive, readily available at the garden center, and are best for determinate varieties.
Here's a fun fact; if you are growing heavy fruit such as pumpkin or winter squash, use solid vertical supports--in appreciation, the plants will develop thick, strong stems that are self-supporting. You can further aid them by loosely wrapping the fruit in a stretch nylon net, tying the net to the supports. Visitors to your garden will love seeing your melons, gourds, and squash just dangling in mid-air from your supporting frames!
Another plus? Vertical supports hold vines above the soil's moisture, keeping burrowing and crawling insects at bay, along with any fungal disease spores. And by growing vertically, you're giving yourself more space in which to plant.
Peppers can be broken down into four major categories: bell peppers, sweet peppers, mild chile peppers and hot chile peppers.
Here's how to choose the best varieties for color, shape, and flavor:
Bell peppers have the thickest flesh of all peppers and a mild and fruity flavor. They come in a rainbow of colors including the traditional green, red, orange, yellow, and purple. The green and yellow tend to have the sweetest flavor, while the orange, red and purple have a zestier flavor. Most start out green and then turn color as they mature.
These peppers pack a lot of flavor without a lot of heat. They are usually thin-walled and less juicy than other pepper types but exceptional for cooking. They vary in shape from elongated and pointed to heart-shaped or rounded. These include the apple, banana, 'Carmen', cherry, 'Corno di Toro,' 'Gypsy,' 'Italian,' 'Marconi,' pepperoncini, pimento and 'Santa Fe. '
Mild Chile Peppers
These peppers have a mildly hot and spicy flavor and can be used to spice up dishes where a little heat is needed. They can be dried or be eaten fresh or roasted and added to salads, salsas or dips. Varieties in this category include Anaheim, ancho poblano (perfect for chiles rellenos), cascabel, española, 'Fooled You' (a no-heat jalapeño hybrid), mariachi, mulato and sandia.
Hot Chile Peppers
If you want some heat, then these are the peppers for you! These guys pack a punch and are not for the meek of heart. They're loaded with flavor and tend to be thin skinned and smaller in size than other peppers. We recommend handling these with gloves (it's hard to get pepper juice off your hands). If you aren't sure of a variety, remove the seeds and veins from them before cooking and eating; then do a lot of taste-testing. It's easier to add more heat to a dish than to take it out. These hotties include cayenne, chipotle, habanero, hot cherry, Hungarian yellow, jalapeño, pasilla, pequin, serrano, Scotch bonnet, tabasco and Thai dragon.
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Snails and slugs are a real challenge to a gardener's patience, but there are many choices for dealing with them which you might not have been aware of. The good news is that most of these solutions to the snail and slug problem are non-toxic!
Here are some ideas:
1. Coax them out of the garden by laying a flat board on the ground. They will crawl under it to get away from the heat of the sun, then you just swish them off into the trash.
2. Put out a saucer of stale beer at night--they are attracted to the scent of it and will crawl in and drown!
3. Apply a copper band around flower pots. Snails cannot tolerate copper and they will not cross it.
4. Put down scratchy things (snails don't like doing the equivalent of walking across broken glass in bare feet). Finely crushed eggshells and diatomaceous earth (this will need replacing if it gets wet) work well.
5. Get friendly with the larger neighborhood predators. Ducks, turtles, tortoises, rats, some birds, and snakes (and even dogs) will prey on snails and slugs.
6. If these all fail, try a pet-safe snail bait. If you have a really bad problem, as a final resort, go to real poison baits. Use either type of baits weekly for at least three weeks to get all generations.
A word of caution if you have been using a pelleted form of snail bait--it can be dangerous around pets, as it looks like food to them. The finer granule type is much safer--but please be careful; read the label and use only as directed.
Powdery mildew is a common fungus disease characterized by spots or patches of white to grayish, talcum-powder-like growth. Although it can attack many types of plants, certain varieties of crape myrtles, bee balm, hydrangeas, roses, zinnias and types of cucumbers and squash are the most susceptible.
Fortunately, powdery mildew is usually more of an effect than a problem itself. In other words, in addition to treating the plant, you'll probably want to take a look at the surrounding conditions and make some adjustments. Bear in mind, it is most prevalent in moist and humid conditions.
First and foremost is to make sure you give plants plenty of room. Most plants require good air circulation. Trim plants that have gotten crowded or bushy. Avoid overhead watering, and don't make late summer applications of nitrogen fertilizer, as powdery mildew loves to attack the newest plant growth which, of course, nitrogen encourages. Also make sure your sun-loving plants are getting enough sunlight.
To halt the fungus in its tracks, spray with a good fungicide. We recommend at least one repeat application 7-10 days later and then only as needed if weather conditions persist.
This Week's Question:
What pain-relieving plant was aspirin developed from?
This Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Potting Mix
- Contains Myco-tone® mycorrhizae
- For all indoor and outdoor containers.
- In 4, 8, 16 qt., 1 and 2 cu. ft. bags.
Last Week's Question:
When harvested young, what vegetable could Queen Anne's Lace replace in your salad?
Last Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Potting Mix
Last Week's Winner:
Last Week's Answer:
The carrot - When picked young, but they rapidly become too woody to eat.
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- 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 (26 ounce) jar meatless spaghetti sauce
- 1 (16 ounce) can garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, undrained
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Step by Step:
Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the onion, celery and garlic powder in oil until tender.
Add the spaghetti sauce, beans, tomatoes, sugar, salt, oregano and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove and discard bay leaf.
Drain spaghetti; top with sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Yield: 6 servings