Category Archives: Gardening

Do NOT buy ladybugs; attract native species to your garden instead

ladybugs as predators

Ladybugs are often touted as a safe solution to aphid problems in the garden because their use doesn’t involve harmful pesticides.  The little spotted beetles are popular all over the world, and in ancient times they were thought to be indicators of good fortune and a bountiful harvest. However commercially available ladybugs are not native to the US, and pose… Read more »

Home gardeners beware of pesticides in potting soils & nursery plants

This past Tuesday at the monthly meeting of the Somerset Beekeepers, we hosted Gary Fish from the Maine Board of Pesticide Control to talk with us about “Pesticides and Pollinators”.  We are a small group, so I’m always grateful that any knowledgeable speaker should come to Skowhegan to share their knowledge with us, and I know that our beekeepers are… Read more »

Growin’ good!

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These are the lettuces I planted a few weeks back.  They’re looking really great.  Here you can see the soaker hose I’d laid in this bed for the day, to give everything a good watering.  And if you look closely, you can see the new lettuce sprouts I planted between these heads to ensure a successive harvest.  We love our… Read more »

Hardening seedlings in a mini hoop-house

After the devastation of last year’s seedling fiasco (read about that here), I was more than a little anxious about hardening off my seedlings this year. My mini hoop-houses (more about that here) have been working so well this spring that I decided to construct something similar to protect my tender tomato and pepper seedlings during their hardening off period. … Read more »

Sustainability through the family garden

I managed to set up 2 mini hoop-houses and planted a number of lettuce seedlings, yet April was a cold and windy start to the gardening season that left me longing for more.  So far May has made up for it in spades!  I’ve been out in the garden practically every day for the last week, working on preparing one… Read more »

23 early spring vegetable crops

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Many American gardeners cling fast to the idea that the growing season doesn’t begin until Memorial Day weekend. Yet in Europe gardeners use a variety of methods to extend their season and increase their garden’s harvest. Thanks to Elliot Coleman’s book Four Season Harvest, more and more Americans are discovering the possibilities.  Even in Maine you can get a jump… Read more »

How to build a mini hoop-house

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I’m a big fan of season extenders like cold-frames and mini hoop-houses for the family garden. Last year I managed to erect a mini greenhouse of sorts, using PVC and plastic, and with that I hardened off my seedlings in anticipation of the growing season.  This year I not only want to use that method to protect tender seedlings, but… Read more »

Managing beetles in the organic garden

If you miss the chance to take preventative action, such as in applying neem oil to the leaves and stems of your tomato plants–all in not lost.  In the organic garden, keeping up with the pests who would make a meal of your crops is a never-ending chore.  I go to great lengths to avoid having to cause harm to… Read more »

The beetles are coming! the beetles are coming!

japanese beetles

Now that the  bulk of the spring planting is behind us, I’ve turned my eye to the up-keep of the gardens.  That includes all of the weeding that comes with gardening, as well as combating the insects that would make a meal of my tender seedlings and vegetables.  With the arrival of the summertime heat comes the onslaught of the… Read more »

Pollinator Conservation at MOFGA

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hoverfly

Keith said I had a glazed look in my eyes as we sat in the conference room at the MOFGA educational facility in Unity yesterday. I was high on the excitement and pure joy of participating in the Pollinator Conservation Planning Short-Course offered by the Xerces Society. I first learned about the course last year when I was up to… Read more »

Growin’ Good

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Things are growing good here at the Runamuk micro-farm and the spring garden is well on it’s way. Our first delivery of “super-loam” from Lynch Landscaping in Skowhegan, Maine arrived Monday evening and I was so happy I could have rolled around in that beautiful stuff!  And wouldn’t you know it–the man who delivered the soil was one of my… Read more »

When disaster strikes

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Disaster struck Runamuk yesterday. There had been a hard frost Saturday night.  When I went out Sunday morning to check on my tomato and pepper seedlings in the second grow house, every muscle in my body turned to jell-o, and I began to tingle all over. All of those precious seedlings were damaged by the frost. Limp, wet leaves and… Read more »