Have you ever considered starting a vegetable garden but have been too intimidated to take the leap? Perhaps you’ve felt that managing the garden is too complicated or that you don’t have enough space in your yard? Wakeman Town Farm helps the most inexperienced beginner to grow a beautiful and productive garden with minimal effort. The solution is called a square foot garden.
I almost forgot that I had expressed interest in trying a Bourbon Spice Rack, the mixed drink that Gretchen Thomas, Barcelona Restaurant Group’s Wine & Spirits Director, had developed to showcase DOC’s USDA Organic Maple Syrup. DOC’s participated in Barcelona’s Farmigo program last year and has become a staple ingredient at the restaurant.
It’s finally Spring. We’ve endured a harsh winter; forty inches of snow, high winds, and bitter cold – a true New England winter some would say, but Spring is finally here! These “real” winters have their benefits, although I’m sure you’d disagree. To me, the most important benefit of a harsh winter is that it prevents harmful bugs from overwintering. Overwintering is the process where bugs find a place to hibernate – in the soil, under leaves, etc. They suspend their growth until the next growing season, and when they wake up, they eat and destroy the crops.
Millstone Farm is a 75-acre working farm in Wilton, CT that is helping to rebuild our food community through small scale agriculture, educational activities, and events. The family-owned farm raises pastured heirloom breed sheep, pigs, and poultry, and grows vegetables for a CSA, local chefs, and family owned retail markets.
The seed catalogs have begun to arrive. Are they exciting you or making you sweat? If this is the year you’ll finally put in your first garden, there’s no need to go it alone. Wakeman Town Farm, Westport’s organic community teaching farm, is offering a “Seed to Harvest” series of gardening workshops to prepare you for success in your own backyard.
As the fall seasons approaches, gardeners and cooks start to prepare for the months and year ahead. It’s the perfect time to learn some practical new skills. How can we preserve bountiful late summer harvests like tomatoes? What do we do with a bonanza of cucumbers to avoid waste and create new taste sensations? What can we do differently in our gardens to grow the most nutritious foods possible? Millstone Farm has workshops to help you become skilled at each!
Whether you are planting a backyard garden or establishing a field, there are two things you must think about – beneficial plants and beneficial insects. Beneficial plants are plants that require minimum care, like spraying, trimming, watering, and otherwise maintaining. Similar to a wild meadow, this assortment of plants creates an appropriate habitat for good insects while also benefiting the environment. Also called insectaries, beneficial plants are varieties that attract and invite a diversity of beneficial insects.
Did the summer garden pass you by? Between running two children back and forth to camps, managing a busy work schedule and taking a late June vacation, my summer garden is purely accidental and a lesson in survival of the fittest. We did plant two varieties of radishes, but the homemade compost sprouted tomatoes that thrived in the blistering early summer heat, leaving the radishes no chance of survival. Imagine our surprise when we returned from vacation to find a bed of tomato plants where we had planted radishes!
Today I walked passed my nasturtiums and noticed they were coated in a layer of black aphids. (See photo.) This made me happy.
Trap crops are a magnet for garden pests, but also attract beneficial bugs.
I was pleased to see the aphids were on my nasturtiums and not on my beans planted in the same bed. The nasturtium plant, with its bi-colored leaf and bright orange flowers, was more attractive to the aphid. Who would not find this plant attractive?
This is what these “attractive” plants do. They attract pests away from the “real crop” you are trying to grow.