Category Archives: Sustainable Living

Maine promotes native pollinators

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somerset beekeepers

Tuesday night the Somerset Beekeepers met for their monthly meeting, and were joined by a number of the county’s master gardeners in welcoming Dr. Sam Hanes and Eric Venturini, a masters degree student, both of whom came over from the University of Maine at Orono to speak with us. I’ve mentioned before the good work Maine’s academics are doing in… Read more »

Harvesting garlic

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curing garlic

Since this was my first time growing garlic, I was pretty stoked to go and dig up the bulbs earlier this week.  I’d planted the garlic cloves back in October (you can read about that endeavor here).  I mulched them heavily with dry leaves and watched over them all winter. This spring I pulled up about two-thirds of the mulch,… Read more »

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 »

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 »

How to make your own laundry soap

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diy laundry soap

If you’ve never made your own laundry soap you don’t know what you’re missing.  The laundry soaps that are available commercially are expensive, and filled with ingredients that I’m not even going to attempt to pronounce. This laundry soap is very economical and simple to make.  It works just as well as anything you’ll buy at the store, with the… Read more »

What are the benefits of using beeswax?

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what are the benefits of beeswax

  Since man first began robbing bee-trees for honey, beeswax has been a highly prized commodity treasured for it’s many uses and healthful benefits.  Beeswax is utilitarian, medicinal, and beautifying. Beeswax through the ages Both ancient Egyptians and Persians used beeswax when embalming the dead.  When they conquered Corsica in 181 BC, the Romans demanded beeswax as tribute.  And in… Read more »