Get the Children involved with growing their vegetables
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Holy Mackerel  look what I found


I grew up in Maine, a state recognized for superior potato production. I still live there today and my favorite vegetable is the potato--no matter how you cook them. My mother grew up in Bangor, Maine and she often told stories about her life as a child, and how potatoes affected her life. She told me that every spring when the season was right to plant, all schools were closed for a few days so everyone could get out into the fields and prepare for the planting season. My mother's first job--at age SIX--was to pick the rocks that she claimed grew during the winter in the potato fields. She also said that often there were more rocks in the spring than there were potatoes in the fall some years. The children picked the rocks and placed them in piles so the men could come through the fields with the tractors and pick them up and discard them, making the planting and maintenance easier.

In the fall, when the potatoes were ready to be harvested, all the schools were closed again for a week or more for the potato harvest, and she then picked the potatoes and placed them in barrels for the men to collect. Today, in many areas of Maine a similar process still exists so the farming families can harvest the crops while the weather is favorable-- the work is much easier with the help of new hybrid farming equipment but still a lot of work. Growing up, the first thing my mother did when she came home from work was fix the potatoes for supper and she often said that if she did not eat potatoes every day she would have the shakes. So you had better believe I ate a lot of potatoes growing up!

Many years ago, my parents' families both came from Canada to Maine because of the opportunity in textile mills, shoe shops and farming. Both my parents told stories of friends' families who also came to America because of the big potato famine in Ireland--and also in search of a better life for their families. My dad told me that in the mid 1800s, a terrible blight hit the potato crop in Ireland and over a million people died of starvation in just a year or two. The problem was that Ireland grew only ONE kind of potato and this blight destroyed everything in its path, due to a wet spring after the potatoes were planted, they rotted in the ground. Because the potato was the major source of food and income for most of the people in Ireland, many families lost everything to the great famine. Then social, political and economic problems hit the nation and entire families left Ireland to go to America and other parts of the world. Just a few years after the famine, the population of Ireland dropped by one half due to emigration in an attempt to escape the Great Famine in Ireland.

In America, botanists worked very hard on this problem--trying to stop the disease on the potato and end the starvation for the Irish people. Luther Burbank, a well-known horticulturist and farmer, developed a new potato he called the 'Russet Burbank' potato; his efforts are credited to introducing a blight resistant potato for the people of Ireland. Because the soil in Ireland was so rich and the climate was perfect for the production of potatoes, its people grew most of its land in potatoes. The average family had one acre of land and they were able to feed and generate income enough for a family as large as 10--but the potato blight destroyed everything and entire families died. Now you know a little bit of history about the potato, so let me tell you how to grow them in your garden.

Today's gardener has many varieties of potatoes to choose from: early, mid-season and late harvesting types. Potatoes now come in white, yellow, red or purple flesh or skin color and are used for baking, boiling or frying. With proper care, you should be able to produce one to two pounds of potatoes per each foot of row in your garden. So let's begin with your soil. It should be fertile and well-drained, as a heavy soil that is not well drained will produce fewer potatoes and those potatoes will be misshapen and of poor quality. If your soil is rich, well-drained and lighter, you can plant earlier in the season with increased crop production, and those potatoes will store longer after harvest without spoiling.

Potatoes prefer a soil that is on the acidic side with a pH, of 5.3 to 6. If your pH is higher than 7, your potatoes are more likely to develop "scab," a potato disease that will destroy the crop. A quick soil test in the spring will tell you how to adjust the soil pH to better grow potatoes before you plant. If you cannot lower the pH below 7 and you want to grow potatoes, look for the famous 'Russet Burbank' seed potatoes, as they are scab-resistant.

What is a seed potato and why should you use them? A seed potato is a specially raised potato that will produce a better crop for you. Never use potatoes from the supermarket, as they are treated with a product to help prevent sprouting while in storage. They will eventually germinate but because of the treatment, the production will be less. Look for certified seed potatoes at your local garden center or feed and grain store. When you choose your seed potatoes, select small to medium sized potatoes with at least 1 to 2 eyes or sprouts on them, and plant them whole. If you use large potatoes and cut them into pieces for planting it will take energy to heal the cut surface and produce a protective scab, resulting in less energy for growth of your crop. Dip the cut side of the seed in garden sulfur to help with the healing process to prevent rotting once planted.

Plant your seed potatoes when your soil reaches 50 degrees for the best germination. Dig your trench 6 to 8 inches deep and just as wide and then add a slow release organic fertilizer such as Vegetable-Tone or Natural Alternative 5-5-5 organic vegetable fertilizer at the rate of one pound per 10 feet of row to your trench; add it as you would add rock salt on ice. Now work the fertilizer into the soil in the trench about 2 inches deep with a cultivator. Keep the seed potatoes away from the fertilizer you have applied. Plant your seed potatoes 8 to 12 inches apart in the trench, with 3 feet between rows of potatoes.

Now fill the trench with the remaining soil and be sure to mark the planting bed with stakes to prevent walking on them. You want to prevent damage to the tender sprouting shoots and compaction of the soil--remember, loose soil means more potatoes! Once the shoots develop and grow to about 6 inches tall, add soil around the shoots and create a mound of soil down the entire row of plants. Now sprinkle the same amount of fertilizer on the ground in two bands on each side of the row and work it into the soil again keep fertilized away from the plant and mix well in the soil. You should pull some of the soil from the walkway 3 times during the year as the plants continue to grow taller and create a mound of soil 18 inches tall and just as wide to help encourage additional potatoes to form in this mound of soil. New potatoes will develop on the stems of the plant that grow in the mound of soil. NEVER use any form of animal manure around your potatoes, as it can encourage scab disease to develop in your garden.

Water weekly as the weather gets hot and keep the soil moist. If you see potatoes forming above the ground, be sure to cover them with soil as green skin on the potatoes will contain a toxic alkaloid called solanine and it will make you sick if you eat the skin, so cover the potatoes or be sure to remove the green skin when peeling your potatoes.

Potatoes are usually harvested at the end of the growing season when you have had a frost or if the foliage has dried up due to a hot dry summer and lack of watering by you. Dig carefully, so as not to damage the skin of the potato so it will keep better and longer for you. Once dug, place them in a cool dark area like your basement once you shake off the excess soil--do not wash the potato before storage.

The only major pest is the Colorado potato beetle and it is easily controlled with the new Natural insecticide called Spinosad from Fertilome or Captain Jack from Bonide. The beetle is bright orange-red with spots. It will lay a row of yellow eggs under the leaf that will in time hatch and produce a slug-like creature that will also eat the foliage. Spray whenever you see a problem, as these products are all natural and not toxic.

If you have been growing potatoes for a long time, there is a chance of an insect called the wire worm. It is copper in color and looks like a piece of wire about 1 inch long and 1/8 inch thick. It will drill holes into the potato and destroy the crop, often found in the potato but not very common. Bonide did develop a new pesticide that will control the problem, called Garden Eight granules, and it must be added to the soil at the time of planting. So, now we have a product for a serious but rare problem with this crop--but most of us won't need this product unless we had the problem last year!

Good varieties to try are: 
'Superior' a large potato and early-season.
'Kennebec' a medium potato, mid-season and good winter keeper.
'Russet Burbank' medium to large potato late-season and good winter keeper.
Also 'Red Pontiac' a red skinned potato, late-season and stores well.
'Yukon Gold' a yellow flesh potato, late-season, buttery tasting and a good winter keeper
And for the fun of gardening-the 'All Blue' with blue flesh-a late-season, small, finger-shaped potato.




Tomatoes the king of the garden.


My favorite way to eat fresh tomatoes from the vegetable garden is by toasting two pieces of white bread until golden brown and spreading real mayonnaise, not the "light stuff," on the toasted bread. Then cut chilled tomatoes into thick slices to cover the toast completely, add salt and pepper, and cut the sandwich corner to corner not right down the middle. The hot toasted bread with the cold tomatoes make a sandwich worth all the work of the vegetable garden, no lettuce, no bacon just toast and tomatoes.

Back in the summer of 1984, my first year on radio, I asked my listening audience to join me for breakfast with this type of sandwich. I brought to the radio station on WRKO in Boston that morning: bread, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, a sharp knife, my toaster, and fresh picked tomatoes from my garden. I set up everything and began talking to every one listening on the radio as I took out the bread, placed it in the toaster, and pulled the microphone close to the toaster so everyone could hear the click of the toaster starting. I cut the tomatoes as I took a question from a caller about their garden and all of a sudden it happened. When I brought the toaster into the studio, I must have touched the dial that controls the color of the toast and the slices of bread began to burn, to my surprise and my producer's. Smoke came out of the toaster and just as fast the smoke detector in the studio went off.

You have never seen two grown men opening doors, and moving the air around the smoke detector as fast as we did that morning. For the next couple of hours my callers had a real field day with all that went on that morning and so did the program Director, Mel Miller, who called in during the show to find out if the studio was still in one piece. I did cook two more pieces of bread and made my sandwich so we could all eat together that morning but it was the last time I cooked toast at the radio station.

Besides sandwiches, tomatoes are used for Pasta sauce, tossed salads, fried green tomatoes, and juice just to name a few uses for this wonderful vegetable. Tomatoes are the number one vegetable planted in the garden in the spring time and the most popular vegetable grown today in America. Tomatoes originated in Central and Southern America and were brought to Europe during the sixteenth century. This vegetable took a long time to be accepted by gardeners but in colonial America it quickly became the plant that all must grow. It was easy to grow, it could be canned for the winter months, and the plants were very productive and today one of the highest yielding plants in your garden. Also popular because fresh grown fruit from the garden, tasted better that those purchased at the supermarket.

Not so many years ago tomatoes were picked green, put on a truck and ethylene gas was added to the truck as it made its way to your supermarket from southern growing climates. Today tomatoes are grown closer to your home and picked as they begin to ripen, giving them a much better taste. The tomato is the vegetable that more seed companies have hybridized looking for perfection than any other plant in your garden and it still continues today.

Think back to when you first started grow this vegetable in your garden--then, you only had a few choices to pick from, but today the new hybrids are endless and the taste is getting better all the time. Tomatoes contain Vitamin A, C, beta carotene and a whole bunch of anticancer properties like: lutein, lycopene and more. Just remember not to eat the plant foliage as it is somewhat poisonous, but not the fruit!

Plant your tomatoes in the spring when the air temperature stays above 60 degrees and the soil has warmed up almost to the same temperature. If you try to get a head start on the season and the weather is cold, your plants will just sit there and in some gardens the plants may even turn a bit purple. When this happens, your plants have been set back 10 to 14 days before they will recover with the return of warmer weather. Plant your seedlings in garden with full sun all day long and when the threat of frost has passed. Your plants do best when the soil has a PH of 5.5 to 7.5, neutral to a bit acidic is best.

When the weather is cool, cloudy and wet, the plant will produce less foliage and stretch for the lack of sunlight. When the weather gets warm and stable, the plant will produce more foliage that will make more sugar and better tasting fruit. This is the reason why the first tomatoes you pick are smaller and may have less flavor. That same plant will have bigger fruit and better tasting fruit as the days warm up later on during the summer.

Soil preparation is the key to success: as tomatoes love a soil rich in organic matter to hold moisture during the heat of summer, a soil that is well drained, and a soil that can provide your plant with the nutrients needed to grow properly. seasoned animal manure, seaweed, compost, peat moss, or worm castings by Ideal Organix found at your local garden center and better than peat moss for the vegetable garden, should be added to the garden before planting. When you plant your tomatoes add a pinch of Soil Moist Granules in the hole and work into the soil 6 to 8 inches deep to help hold moisture around the roots during dry spells. This is a wonderful product and it will expand 200 times in the soil, holding a lot of water around the plant's roots, working even better than peat moss and resembling Jell-O--and it's full of water for the plant. More water for the plant means more fruit on the plant and larger size fruit also.

Because I live in Maine, where springs are not always kind to the garden like this year, I grow my tomatoes in the garden that is covered with a black fabric to help warm up the soil faster. This fabric not only warms the soil faster in the spring but keeps it warm all year, even into the fall season to help ripen those late green tomatoes. This fabric also keeps all the weeds out of the garden, holds moisture in the soil longer.  If the foliage stays dry you will have fewer disease problems with the plant.  

The biggest problem with tomatoes is disease; if you want to stay as organic as possible.  Remember 2 years ago most of us lost our tomato plants when the foliage turning yellow, black spot developed and quickly turned brown from the bottom of the plant to the top almost overnight. This is a soil fungus that becomes airborne, moving from one garden to another when we get cool temperatures, wet weather, and cloudy skies, much like this year.  use Plant Dr. organic fungicide or agri-fos Don't chance it, as this organic microbial product added to your plant will prevent problems all year. 

One last problem with tomatoes, especially when grown in containers, is blossom end-rot, a blackening of the fruit on the underside as it matures. This is a stress related problem and also a lack of calcium, Magnesium and Iron in the soil for the plant. A new Organic product called "Tomato Maker" will prevent this problem when used at the time of planting or added to the soil before the fruit begins to form on the plant. It is available at most Garden Centers and also a great Tomato fertilizer 4-2-6 with minor elements to keep your garden growing organically. Go for more information.

The last problem is those large green tomato horn worms that find their way to your garden in July. To keep your garden free of them and stay organic look for Spinosad - Captain Jack, a natural pesticide that keep them out and will also control Colorado potato beetles, asparagus beetles and many more garden pests.  Enjoy! 


My Summer Garden - My Little Purple Eden
My Summer Garden - 
My Little Purple Eden
Geraniums bring sunshine to your front door

I remember my first Memorial Day Weekend in the garden center; it was incredible, because during that three day weekend we sold more geraniums than we did the entire year. Having never worked in a greenhouse before, I quickly learned that the geranium was the number one selling flower for gardens, window boxes, planters, containers and for planting at the cemetery.

We had one greenhouse with every bench filled to the max with geraniums of different shades of red, white, pink, and lavender--and under those benches were more boxes of geraniums. We had 4 inch pots, 6 inch pots, 8 inch pots, six packs of geraniums, hanging baskets with geraniums in them. Just as I was able to get all the plants off the floor and onto the benches, trucks arrived to bring us more geraniums. They were everywhere.

Along with the geraniums were dracaena spikes, and vinca vines. It looked to me that the geraniums would not grow without these two outer plants and everyone had to have them. I had also spent the previous week planting containers of every size and shape with geraniums, dracaena spikes, and vinca vines in them. I can remember telling my mother that this weekend should be called "Geranium Weekend," because we sold so many plants in just 3 days.

In college I learned that geraniums originally came from South Africa, and that they have been grown in the garden since Colonial times--maybe that was why they were so popular. In those days this was the weekend to get the family together to decorate the cemetery plot to honor our veterans and relatives that have passed on. Unfortunately, today not many of us decorate the cemetery like in the past and few take the time to honor our veterans with flowers at their grave site. Maybe this is the year for you to resume this old custom again.

Geraniums are one of the easiest flowers to grow in your garden and in containers if you follow these easy requirements. First plant geraniums in full sunshine but they will tolerate a bit of shade late in the day, especially if watering is going to be a problem during the hot days of summer. When planting at the Cemetery during late May add a covering of bark mulch or Sweet Peat a couple of inches thick to help hold moisture in the ground when the heat of summer arrives. Condition the soil with organic matter like compost or animal manure before planting. Your soil should be welled drained as wet feet will cause the roots to rot or the foliage to turn yellow and flowers will stop forming on the plant.

Geraniums do best in soils with a near-neutral pH or slightly on the acid side. In the cemetery or in planters like window boxes that dry out easily, be sure to add a pinch of Soil Moist granules to the soil for every plant you put into the ground. I use Soil Moist on everything I plant and it does help cut back my watering by 50%! Be sure to water the plants well after planting and if you can visit the cemetery once a week for a couple of weeks, your geraniums will thrive once established. By adding mycorrhizae at the time of planting, your roots will develop much faster and become more able to tolerate the neglect of the cemetery planting. Add Protolizer from Natural Alternatives or Mycorrhizae powder from Ideal Organix. 

The types of geraniums we are most familiar with are called Zonal or cutting geraniums because they are grown from cuttings. This type of geraniums will form the best, the largest and the longest lasting clusters of flowers on the plant then all other types of geraniums. The new seed-grown geraniums are nice and have wonderful multi colored foliage, a wide range of flower colors, but the flowers are smaller in size, have shorter flower stems and if you have a strong rain storm they tend to shatter easily. The Zonal types have tall growing flower stems 6 to 12 inches high that are very strong, with flower clusters up to 6 inches in diameter. The seed types have flowered stems 4 to 6 inches tall and the flower cluster 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Each flower in the cluster is usually single petal and will last for a week or more. The Zonal geraniums are multi-petal and will last for several weeks on the plant. Seed types will grow to 8 to 12 inches tall and just as wide and last for one season.

The Zonal geraniums will grow 2 to 3 feet tall and just as wide. In the fall of the year before it gets cold, these plants can be dug up, potted, and brought into the house where it will flower on and off during the winter, depending on how much sun you give them. The more sun they receive the better they will flower and grow. If you feed them regularly they should flower regularly during the winter. In early March cut the plant back by half or to 6 to 8 inches tall and wide. You will have no leaves on the plant, just green sticks and you should also re pot the plant at this time to a new pot 2 to 3 inches larger. Add Dynamite fertilizer to the newly potted plant and move the geranium to a brightly lit window, where it will quickly begin to make new branches and foliage.

The pieces you removed from the plant can be rooted at this time with rooting powder and placed in 4 inch pots with fresh potting soil. Each piece should be 4 to 6 inches long, contain only 4 leaves on the cutting and no flower buds. Keep in a bright room but not in direct sun until they form roots in just 7 to 14 days. Keep the soil moist at all times and when the roots begin to form fertilize weekly with "Blooming and Rooting" fertilizer made by Ferti-Lome. Once the cuttings begin to grow and reach 6 inches tall pinch the plant back to 4 inches to encourage branching. If flowers form, remove them so all the energy is used to make new growth and more branches on the plant.

In the garden or in the container be sure to fertilize often. I always use Dynamite pellet fertilizer that will feed the plant for up to 9 months and "Blooming and Rooting" fertilizer every other week all summer long. As the flowers fade be sure to remove them to prevent seed pods to form on the plant. This will encourage more flowers to develop on the plant also. Plants will do best when watered regularly; keep water off the foliage when watering. Insect and disease problems are few unless we get a lot of rainfall and cool temperatures.

Today you can find new variegated varieties of Zonal geraniums with white, pink, or red flowers and foliage in all color combinations. These variegated foliage type Geraniums do not have as large a flower or as many flowers as the green leaf types but they are very nice in a container or the garden. One of my favorite unusual Zonal Geranium is the "Rose Bud" geranium, with its double petal flowers that grow round like a flower bud not yet opened. The flower cluster will grow 3 to 4 inches round, come in shades of pink, and last on the plant for 2 weeks or more. The foliage is pale green in color, smooth with no hair on the leaf like most Zonal types and the flowers will continue all summer long.

In the same family but different are the scented geraniums and they will grow just like the Zonal. They have fewer flowers, the flowers are smaller, and fewer on the plant but the foliage had complex oils in it that make wonderful teas, and flavors for sauces, sorbets and vinegar's. These plants also make great perfumes. The foliage is known for its aroma like peppermint, nutmeg, lemon, and apple--to name a few. I love rubbing the leaves with my fingers and smelling them after. There is one myth about these scented geraniums and that is that the lemon or citronella leaf type will repel mosquitoes. Unless you cover your patio with them and sit in the middle of the plants they will not repel these insects, but you will smell good.

This week as you choose your flowers for your containers, the garden and the cemetery, be sure to select a few geraniums; the flower that your mother and your grandmother grew in their gardens before all the so-called fancy flowers were developed. Enjoy !!! 


"Good gardening is very simple, really.  You just have to think like a plant."
Barbara Damrosch
Enhance the Beauty of Your Home with a Flower Garden
Enhance the Beauty of Your Home with a Flower Garden



Colorful peppers have a nice sweet flavor


Peppers come from all over the world, in a wide range of colors, shapes, sizes, and flavors, so why did we grow up eating green peppers only? I am guessing that we grew up with the green bell peppers in our gardens because most greenhouses in those days chose to grow just the green bell varieties and we were never exposed to the colored varieties. Also, many older gardeners like us came from large families and the colored peppers were more expensive at the supermarket. When peppers were called for in recipes green bell peppers were used to save money. Growing up in Northern New England, I was told that our growing season was too short, the peppers would not have time to change color and ripen properly, so we were eating an unripened vegetable like green tomatoes.

Today's gardener loves variety, and if we can grow more colorful vegetables in the garden, it will bring excitement to our kitchen for the cook and the dinner table. Colored peppers are ripe peppers and will taste sweeter, are more flavorful, and higher in vitamins content. Before you go crazy and plant all the unique colored peppers in your garden this spring, buy a few different colored peppers at the supermarket and use them in your recipes.

Eat peppers that are fresh and raw in your salads or with dips. Substitute colored peppers where you once used green peppers and enjoy different taste and flavors. In the garden colored peppers need the same growing conditions, just more time to ripen.

Here are a few things to know about growing peppers in your garden. First thing to know is that peppers should always be grown in blocks and never in just a single row. Pepper plants grow better if the leaves touch each other when mature. They seem to like each other's company and this block type of growing protects the fruit they will produce from the hot summer sun, preventing sunburn of the fruit.

Never put peppers out in the garden until the soil has warmed up and the air temperature stays above 70 degrees. Once chilled the pepper plant will never fully recover and the fruit production will be less on the plant. If your pepper plants have flowers on them, remove the flowers when planting so the plant can concentrate on developing a root system FIRST and get established in the soil before making fruit. Plants with flowers will become less productive in your garden, so choose plants without flowers.

Set your seedlings out in the garden and space plants 18 to 24 inches apart. Peppers must have full sun all day long to grow properly and produce many fruits. Peppers love a warm to hot soil to grow in, so if you live in Northern New England or where the growing season is short, use a black landscape fabric or black plastic mulch around the plant to help heat up the soil. This will also keep out weeds and help hold water in the soil longer when it gets hot and dry. 

Peppers love a rich soil, so prepare it properly before planting. Use compost, animal manure, peat moss or seaweed kelp to help create a better growing environment. If your soil is well prepared before planting, it will hold more moisture when the plant needs it to make better fruit. A rich soil can support the microbes in the soil needed for root production and fruit set. The soil will determine the amount of fruit the plant can produce the size of the fruit and the taste of that fruit, so don't fool yourself, do it right the first time.

When you set plants out in your garden be sure to add to the plant hole a granular fertilizer, as transplants need to make a lot of vegetative growth early on to support large production of fruit. If the plants do not grow large they cannot develop good fruit. Also if fruit forms on the plant before the plant has grown a foot tall remove it and fertilize the plant again or the plant production will be minimal. Use Vegetable -Tone or Fertilome  gardener's special 11-15-11 , as both products contain mycorrhizae to help stimulate this much needed early growth!

Peppers love a light sandy soil that is well drained at all times. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, be sure to add extra compost or peat moss to help break it up. If your soil is on the sandy side add a pinch of Soil Moist granules to the hole when planting as they will expand 200 times in the ground and help hold moisture around the roots. Peppers love water on a weekly basis and a deep watering is preferred, so let the sprinkler run for a good 30 minutes each time you water.

Peppers are also heavy feeders and will be more productive if fed each month with a tablespoon or two to each plant of your granular fertilizer. If you're using a liquid fertilizer like Neptune's Harvest fish and seaweed fertilizer  or Fertilome Rooting and Blooming fertilizer, apply every 2 weeks.

Peppers do best in a soil slightly on the acid side to neutral, 5.5 to 7. If your soil is too acid, and you're your watering is uneven your fruit may develop blossom end rot on the underside of the fruit. If you had this brown rot on your fruit in the past add a bit of Tomato Maker plant food when planting or use it as a side dressing once planted. I always add lime or wood ash to the garden each fall to prevent this from happening. If you did not and your soil is on the acid side, you can Bonide turf turbo or Epoma lighting lime soil conditioner now as this product will do the same as lime, but change the soil acidity in just a few weeks.

Peppers also love magnesium, a mineral not common enough in our soil--but it can be added very easily by using Epsom salt. Just dissolve one tablespoon of Epsom salt to a gallon of water, pour over each plant to wet the foliage and soak the ground around the plant. This should be enough to keep the plant extra green all year long, and a lot more productive.

Harvest the peppers as soon as they grow to a mature size and the color you desire. If you leave ripe peppers on the plant too long, the plant will stop making new fruit and you will have few peppers for the fall season. Pick often and store extra peppers in the vegetable crisper. They will keep up to two weeks without losing their flavor or you can chop them up and freeze them for cooking later during the winter months.

Insect and disease problems are few as long as you do not water the garden after supper so the foliage remains wet during the evening hours. Wet foliage catches disease spores blowing in the air and encourages insects to visit the garden. If we should have several days of temperatures over 90 degrees, your pepper plants will drop their flowers and so will your tomatoes so don't panic, just add a bit of liquid fertilizer to the plants and new buds will quickly form on the plant.

Two last things to remember with peppers, never plant tomatoes, potatoes or eggplant in the same area the following year or plants will suffer because they use the same nutrition as peppers. Always cut the peppers from the plant and never pull them off, and leave a short stem on the plant or you could break the branch, as the pepper stem is very strong. Now plant some peppers this spring and enjoy the different flavors of the colored peppers!

Lost Gardens of Heligan - Cornwall
Lost Gardens of Heligan, 
Cornwall - 
this is for big brother George 




                                                  Peter's Barbecue Caesar Salad   


Last Sunday I had something new for supper cooked on the grill thanks to a wonderful friend Peter Robbins.  Peter made a grilled Caesar salad and I thought he was out of his mind, Salad on the grill, sure Peter.  Salad is supposed to be cold, not grilled but I was curious and it turned out to be the best Caesar Salad I ever had.  Peter said that If you use a gas grill, cook everything first to get the flavor of what your cooking into the lettuce, if your using Charcoal you can cook just the lettuce on the grill as it will pick up the charcoal flavor from the smoke it will make.  Try it when you cook out next and be sure to plant Romaine lettuce this year in your garden, it's that good.




!/2 a head of Romaine lettuce per person

ounce of Olive oil per person

ounce of lemon juice per person

Salt and Pepper to taste

Bottle of Caesar salad dressing

Package of seasoned croutons

Package of shredded Parmesan cheese 




1} Choose the best looking Romaine lettuce from your supermarket or better still from the garden.  Rinse under water to clean off any soil in the leaves, shake well and roll the head of lettuce in a towel or paper towels to remove most of the water.  Now cut the head of lettuce in half the "LONG WAY."


2} Mix the Olive Oil and Lemon Juice together, mix well and with a pastry brush coat both sides of the lettuce head well.  Use a bit extra on the inside to get into the cracks and crevices for extra flavor.  Salt and Pepper to taste and place on your grill flat side down first until you see some dark lines on the lettuce , about 5 minutes if that long.  Flip lettuce over and grill the back side the same way and your now ready to serve.


3} Add Caesar salad dressing to your taste, Croutons and lots of Parmesan cheese.  Remove the bottom part of the lettuce as it is tough about 2 to 3 inches and dig in.  Enjoy!




Garden Journal

        Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.

Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95!  special!


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Select the text you want on a web page where there is a story, paragraph, or a few lines that you want to print. Left-click on the mouse at the beginning and drag across to the end of the text you want and release. While the text is selected (highlighted), go to the top menu line and click "File" / "Print", in the print window that shows. Put a dot in the radio button for "Selection," and then click the OK or Print button. Some printers need you to select apply .

Do the same for emails. If you want to print a joke or article that you receive, do not click the Print icon. Select the text as above and use the "File" / "Print" menu and click "Selection", click OK or "Print".

Try another way to do a print job for text only. This involves selecting the text you want as above; then right click, copy and right click, paste to a word processor or even Wordpad (located in "Start" / "Programs" / "Accessories" / "Wordpad") and print from there. This method will produce a copy with no extra information. 

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