Thursday, October 27, 2011

weather envy

As I hinted the other day, I just got back from a little vacation in a place where they grow this....


and this...

The upcoming weather forecast, chance of snow tonight and Saturday makes me seriously wonder why I came back.

NB-Want to see more of my photos?  You can check them out on Flickr.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

back from a little vacation

I'm admittedly still a little jet lagged, but wanted to share this video with you straight away.  Filmed at one of the recent TEDx conferences, featured is Roger Doiron of Kitchen Gardeners International.  Think the White House vegetable garden was a good idea?  This guy is pretty much the force behind it happening.  I'm not just sharing this with you as an obvious play for an invite to the upcoming TEDx Manhattan (although every little bit helps, right?) but because I think Roger has a really important message to share.  I'd love to know what you think - and when you'll be ready to start gardening!

ps - I think I kinda like feeling subversive...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

to feed or not to feed, that is the question...

I was having lunch today with a friend and colleague, and she recounted to me the story of a neighbor who was fertilizing her shrubs this week.  Nothing earth shattering right?  Except both of us learned in horticulture school that one should not fertilize a plant when it's about to go dormant.  When she inquired as to why her neighbor was fertilizing now, she replied "because that's what it says on the bag."

We were both perplexed, especially because we are always advising friends, clients, etc to follow the instructions on the bag (since many people tend to think more is better - not often the case with fertilizer, organic or synthetic).  I came home and did a little research on the product in question, you'll probably recognize it...

Well known, organic and widely available, Holly-tone made by the Espoma company is a great product. In reading the fact sheet for this product it does indeed recommend a late fall feeding.  That might be great if you still have a long growing season to go, but here in the northeast (we had frost last night people) not so much.  Do you really want to encourage more growth exactly when the plant is in shut down mode? So if you are in zone 7 or lower (don't know your zone, check here) you may as well hold off until the spring, because you will either do more harm than good, or just be wasting product.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Well I was impressed with my 94 pounds of cucumbers this season, maybe I should've weighed and measured them individually though?  All in good fun, these giant veggies usually don't taste great, but they sure are impressive.

Now The Guardian is well known for it's gardening coverage - much better than the top US newspapers.  When I saw this on their front page I couldn't resist sharing.  

Asking advice from a man who grew a 85 pound rutabaga - you can't make up stuff like this.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

thoughts about the future...

Apologies if posting has been rather light lately.  I wish I could say it was because I'm spending so much time working out in the garden that I don't have the time to write.  Unfortunately I've been nursing a nagging shoulder injury which leaves me unable to work in the garden at all (or one handed).  I won't bother you with the details, but basically my left hand is barely working as a result of something with the nerves in my shoulder and my neck.  It's getting frustrating to say the least, but I'm being very vigilant about the exercises prescribed by my physical therapist so I can get out there soon (hopefully)!  I guess all those years of lifting shrubs, bags of compost and other things that are way too heavy may not have been the best idea to tackle all on my own. I'd love to say that I will learn from this mistake, but you and I both know that's not true - I'm way too stubborn.

The time off, so to speak, has given me a lot of time to think about whether or not to continue with this blog and if so where it's going.  In the beginning, I had two goals in mind.  One, to keep track of what was going on year to year in my garden - like a gardening journal, but virtual. Two, was to satisfy my own curiosity. Several people told me I should consider writing a book after having "coaching"sessions with me where I taught them how to take care of their gardens.  I doubted that I had the skills to actually do that, plus with the home gardening movement on the verge of explosion, the rate of gardening books being published was unusually high.  Did I actually have anything different to contribute to the conversation? I mean somebody already wrote Organic Gardening for Dummies, which is probably a very good book (don't know haven't read it).  I'm still not convinced that I have what it takes to make this happen.

In return, I learned several very important lessons on the way to building a blog with a small but very steady readership.  Most importantly, I realized that teaching people how to take care of their gardens still remains my favorite thing to do in the garden.  I need to be more active in creating situations where that happens.  In addition, it's great fodder for blog topics.  The secondary benefit has been meeting all kinds of cool people - and there is nothing like the feeling of someone you don't know coming up to you and saying, "I love your blog, I read it all the time," it's ridiculously gratifying.   I've also learned that I'm a terrible salesperson (okay this wasn't exactly a revelation) and don't do enough to spread the word around about my blog.  While I have no shortage of things to say, as those who know me in person can attest, I'm really bad about sharing this experience with others.  Hence the lack of a facebook page which every successful blogger has told me is a must.  I just can't do it.

So the journey is continuing for the time being... we'll see where it takes me.