Friday, October 30, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Redback (?) Salamander (Plethedon or Plethodon cinereus)

Using The Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of New Jersey from the NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, I tried to identify this little fellow we found among some of the garden clippings. He looked reddish brown with very small white spots all over his body. The belly was the same color. As you can see in the picture, he didn't want to sit still for a photograph, so we quickly snapped these pictures and then let him go into the Egg Garden. Interestingly, it also looked like he may have recently lost his tail. If someone more knowledgeable can verify or correct the identification, leave a comment.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Photo Contest: Abundant Harvest

I just squeezed in my entry at the last minute for this month's Picture This Photo Contest at Gardening Gone Wild. The subject is Abundant Harvest and you can see my entry here.

End of Season Roses: Cecil Brunner on Goldberry Hill

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Locally Raised Organic Turkeys for Thanksgiving

Do you like to eat fresh, organic meats? Do you serve Turkey for Thanksgiving? Do you like supporting local farms? If yes and you live in northern New Jersey, I highly recommend pre-ordering your Turkey for Thanksgiving from Vacchiano Farms. They just started taking orders last Sunday at the Summit Farmers' Market. We tried their turkey last year and it was the best we ever had.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coping with Slopes - Gardening Gone Wild's Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop

This month's Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop at Gardening Gone Wild is on Coping with Slopes. Given that my whole property is one big downward slope, I look forward to reading others' posts.
When we were house hunting back in 2001, I was only a beginning gardener. I had dabbled with gardening in Brooklyn, but wasn't so serious that how I would garden on this property's slope wasn't even a consideration. Once I got more serious about gardening, I wished for a flat property, but worked with what I had.
Here are a few prior posts about my experiences:
1. Five Ideas for the Downward Sloping Front Yard
2. Creating the Egg Garden on my Front Slope
3. Goldberry Hill Last Summer (pictured above)
4. Goldberry Hill Last Spring
5. How to Build Raised (Vegetable) Beds on a Slope
6. How to Build a Children's Playhouse (Fort) on a Slope
For a map of how the gardens are situated on the property, click here. If I have more time, I'll write some additional posts about a few more of the sloped areas: Lilac Hill and the new stone staircase to the backyard.

End of Season Roses: Ballerina on Goldberry Hill

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

WSJ: Canning Makes A Combeack

Our vegetable garden isn't big enough to produces excess for canning, but the children do love making pickles from the cucumbers at the farmers' market. From Ana Campoy's article in The Wall Street Journal:

"The worst recession in decades and a trend toward healthier eating are inspiring many Americans to grow their own food. Now the harvest season is turning many of these gardeners into canners looking to stretch the bounty of the garden into the winter...

At Jarden Corp.'s Jarden Home Brands—the maker of Kerr and Ball brand jars—sales of canning equipment are up 30% this year through mid-September, over the same period in 2008. And canning classes from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Boise, Idaho, report seeing skyrocketing enrollments this year.

Canning has been around since the dawn of the 19th century, when, at Napoleon's behest, a Frenchman developed a method of sealing food in bottles to prevent spoilage on long military campaigns. The process was later adapted to factory-sealed metal cans, but at home, "canning" is still practiced in thick glass jars..."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Harvard Yard is making the move to organic lawn care

Good news from Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ann Raver in The New York Times reports that Harvard is following in Heirloom Gardener's footsteps (just kidding) and moving to organic lawn care. One part of the article that I found particularly interesting was the positive impact on the trees. Read the full article here.

"THERE is an underground revolution spreading across Harvard University this fall. It’s occurring under the soil and involves fungi, bacteria, microbes and roots, which are now fed with compost and compost tea rather than pesticides and synthetic nitrogen. The results have so astounded university administrators that what started as a one-acre pilot project in Harvard Yard has spread organic practices through 25 acres on the campus...The organically grown grass on campus is now green from the microbes that feed the soil, eliminating the use of synthetic nitrogen, the base of most commercial fertilizers. No herbicides or pesticides are used, either. Roots reach eight inches into soil that was once so compacted the trees planted in it were dying."

Celine Forestier (1842), Noisette Rose, on the Arbor to the Children's Garden

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