I was so excited to learn that Seed Savers Exchange partnered with Slow Food USA to offer a 6-pack of Ark of Taste seeds. At $14.95, the Ark of Taste Collection is a budget-friendly gift any backyard gardener would love, especially those who will be excited about growing heirloom foods that are delicious enough to be part of Slow Food’s 200 strong (and growing) collection of rare and endangered foods cataloged in the Ark of Taste.
The morning begins with a special visit to Wakeman Town Farm by Lauren Scheuer, illustrator for American Girl and the author of her newly published novel, Once Upon a Flock. Lauren will treat guests to a free chicken keeping workshop and will be available to sign copies of her novel which will be for sale throughout the day.
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.
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.
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!
The kids are back in school and the weather has cooled off a bit, but summer isn’t over yet. Capturing the fleeting days, and tastes, of summer is easy to do in Fairfield County. We are lucky to have abundant farms, farm stands, farmers’ markets and restaurants working hard to make sure that the best of what they have to offer makes its way to our lips. Here’s my “don’t miss” list of things to do before summer’s nothing but a distant, sweet memory.
My love affair with fennel started when I was a child in India. Oh the aroma! The minty, liquorishy, anise flavor that explodes with each burst of the open fennel seed and cannot be described as anything other than “fennel.”
These memories take me back to the hot summer nights when I enjoyed spicy coconut curry meals with my family. Afterwards, we’d cool down with roasted fennel seeds – eaten like an after dinner mint. Go to any Indian restaurant and they serve them with the check. Nothing can cool you down like fennel.
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.