Hands-On Gardener

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 […]

Hands-On Gardener: April 2013: Not for the Faint of Heart!

by Miriam Hansen Despite a spring that has looked more like November than April, I still think we’ll be frost free by the third week of May. I know it’s hard to believe, but a pair of bluebirds has been frequenting the house my husband just built, fresh crocuses keep springing up and the February […]

Hands-On Gardener: Middle of March, People!

by Miriam Hansen I’ve got onions, celery, parsley, dahlias, dianthus, foxgloves and snapdragons, as well as lettuce, arugula and tomatoes for the greenhouses, up and growing under grow lights. With lows around zero and a wallop of snow predicted, even I am feeling a bit ahead of the curve. Last year at this time, we […]