Hands-On Gardener

Hands-On Gardener: Can You Grow a Radish?

by Miriam Hansen It’s been challenging to get super excited about starting seeds with this much snow on the ground. Still, April is the month to plant most of the seeds that need to be started indoors. With the exception of the squash family, I’ll be starting all the flowers and annual herbs, brassicas, tomatoes, […]

Hands-On Gardener: Cover Up

by Miriam Hansen Do you wonder why your neighbor’s garden is covered in white billowing material? Have you been wondering what that stuff is, and why more and more people are using it? The “stuff” is variously called row cover, floating row cover, frost barrier, garden or frost blanket, or Reemay. The latter is a […]

Hands-On Gardener January 23, 2014

by Miriam Hansen January is the month for ordering seeds, and this year is no exception. I’ve been ordering from catalogs as long as I’ve been gardening—about 35 years. The catalogs have changed from Gurney’s and Stoke’s to Fedco and Johnny’s, but the basic process has remained the same. Go through my seed box and […]

Salsa Verde Lime Beets and Carrot Pickles

by Miriam Hansen November is a good time to talk about recipes; Thanksgiving is coming after all. And though I realize a recipe that calls for tomatillos is hardly timely, I just can’t resist. If you are not familiar with the tomatillo, it is well worth making its acquaintance. Along with ground cherries, the tomatillo […]

Putting Perennial Gardens to Bed

by Miriam Hansen This is a busy time of year in the vegetable garden. We have to cut out last year’s raspberry canes; weed and fertilize raspberries, blueberries and asparagus; till and plant winter rye where crops have been harvested; weed fall beds of carrots and beets; get a plot clean and ready for garlic; […]

A Challenging Season

by Miriam Hansen Most growers in the region agree: This has been a very difficult gardening year. Snow until the end of April, a drought for most of May and torrential rain and hot muggy conditions from June to mid-July made for some stressed-out plants. In addition, milder winters have brought infestations of pests we […]

Can You Spare a Zucchini?

by Miriam Hansen When a friend who’s been growing her own food for decades recently asked me if I had any zucchini to spare, I knew we were not “in Kansas” anymore. Some thing is seriously amiss. A host of insect pests we don’t ordinarily encounter are plaguing our gardens. In the past few weeks, […]

Snails and Slugs and Couch Grass, Oh My!

by Miriam Hansen   D on’t be misled by the dire title. Things really are starting to look up in the vegetable garden. The onions are looking perky. Garlic is a couple of weeks from harvest. We’ve been eating and freezing peas, kale and chard for a couple of weeks and thinning beets and carrots […]

Stress and Recovery

by Miriam Hansen   Well, I was wrong about the onion seedlings. They did not come back. They died. After a back and forth with the state agronomist, we concluded they just got too stressed. The month of May was—in quick succession—too hot, too dry, too cold and, finally, too wet. In 35 years of […]

The Farmer is the Man (or Woman)

by Miriam Hansen When I was a kid my mother used to break into soulful renditions of “The Farmer is the Man” at seemingly random intervals. Looking back, I suspect her singing had something to do with preparing meals for eight to ten people, but what stuck with me is the idea that the men […]