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August 29, 2014
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recreation

Gardening & Landscaping

Knotweed is more than a nuisance. It’s an epidemic in these parts. Dense stands of this noxious, invasive species crowd along roadsides and waterways, affecting ecosystems by pushing out native plants and limiting plant and animal species diversity. Along streams and rivers, it overwhelms native plants that help stabilize riverbanks, increasing the risk of erosion and flooding.

The joy of seed saving

Gardeners and small farmers are the guardians of disappearing seed varieties. We have the ultimate freedom to decide what to grow in our gardens. Whereas commercial growers need to give consideration to yield, mechanical harvest and transport, we can select our varieties based on excellent taste, tenderness and eye appeal.  Read more

The gentleman farmer; Nice outfit!

I woke up thinking about mowing. Again. This happens a lot between May through October. In my dreams, I find myself having spent what feels like several hours of mowing only to find that I have etched into the field in front of my house what looks like a UFO crop circle. Other times I have an out-of-body experience, and like a Bugs Bunny cartoon I do a “snap focus” high above my property to realize that I have spelled out “Eat at Joe’s” in the meadow in some crazy Etch-a-Sketch pattern.  Read more

Tips from a professional: Plan, plant, persist & be pleased with yourself

Landscaper Ed Gavalla of Jesse G’s Nursery in Glen Spey, NY is in the business of helping people create special outdoor spaces. His eyes twinkle and his passion for his line of work shows when he talks about the pleasure of creating a backyard dream oasis—a peaceful zone where a person can sit quietly and appreciate the birds, the bees, the flowers and the endless palette of nature’s colors, no matter what the season. In Gavalla’s world, spring should pop with color, summer should be lush and green, and autumn should be awesome.  Read more

The green, green grass of home; Sowing, growing & eating asparagus

After enduring a punishing winter, there is nothing more welcome than the first signs of spring poking up from the impossibly barren earth. Out in nature, knotweed, ferns and nettles are among the first things to appear. In my garden, it is the incipient tender green of sorrel, rhubarb and angelica. This year, I hope to be adding asparagus to that list, because we planted a patch last spring.  Read more

Diggin’ the seeds

In some years, the weather is warm enough in March that the fence around my garden can be inspected and repaired in anticipation of the upcoming gardening season. But this year, with snow still piled high, the garden gate has not even been opened yet, so garden activities thus far have been limited to starting seeds indoors.

The biggest challenge with starting seeds indoors is getting enough light to the seedlings once they emerge. A bright sunny window will sometimes do, but most windows aren’t sunny enough for a long enough time, and space in front of them is limited.  Read more

Flowers for a summer wedding

The region boasts many talented floral designers and florists who work creatively and diligently to make your wedding flowers stand out. However, there is another option for those of you who take a hands-on approach and/or have a strict budget. You can grow, pick and arrange your own wedding flowers, or choose some combination of the above.  Read more

How to kill weeds without herbicides

At this point in the growing season just about everyone who grows a garden or tends a flower bed has a common nemesis: the common garden weed. Of course, this common weed is not just one measly pest. Instead, it is a compilation of many different plants that all want the same thing: to invade our space. There is dandelion, sow thistle, carpet weed and crabgrass to name a few of the more intrusive varieties. While we all wish that our gardens were tame and beautiful from all angles, we must realize that this is the way it works. Growing a garden means you will be growing weeds as well.  Read more

Plants behaving badly; Love that ‘ornamental’ plant? Not so fast, please

NARROWSBURG, NY — Non-native plants sometimes behave badly; when they do, it’s no laughing matter.  Read more

Tastemaker: Katharine Brown; From hobbyist to flower professional

Katharine Brown has been gardening all her life, growing up in Colorado (with its short growing season); later, working in a nursery in New Hampshire; and then, after moving to Oregon Township, Wayne County, PA, turning her yard into a large and ever-expanding flower garden. Her personal passion for growing flowers now flourishes as a successful small business—selling cut flowers; making arrangements and bouquets for all occasions; and offering consulting on garden design, plus helping with installation and construction. It’s part of a larger business named Fox Hill Farm Experience, Inc.  Read more

Agritourism blossoms in Sullivan County; Local farms schedule summertime tours

Sean Zigmund and Cheyenne Miller are already deep into the 2013 spring and summer growing season, rising at dawn and working till dusk and still never quite finishing all that needs to be done. But offered the choice, they wouldn’t want to have any other job.

On a beautiful spring Sunday, I visited their farm, Root n’ Roost Farm (www.rootnroost.com) in White Sulphur Springs, NY. While Sean was busy working, Cheyenne kindly gave me a tour of their two-and-a-half-acre farm, complete with chickens, pigs, veggies and more.  Read more

If I can build a raised bed garden plot, you can, too!

If I’d known how easy it is to build a raised bed garden plot, I’d have done it years ago instead of having a patchwork, haphazard home kitchen garden.

So, you may ask: Why not just turn over the soil in my backyard? Well, we tried that one, and here’s the thing…  Read more

Breakfast in Bed with Catskill Harvest Market

The Catskill Harvest Market (2758 State Route 52, Liberty, NY, 845/292-3838, www.catskillharvestmarket.com) is celebrating its second birthday this spring, and in just two years, it has gained renown and recognition as a top-notch garden center and local foods market.

Says co-founder and manager Daniel Duttinger, “It always seemed a bit odd that this kind of farm market was readily available in surrounding areas, particularly Ulster County—but not here.” So, he and co-founder Will Foster went to the drawing board and began the research, and the market was born.  Read more