Sitespotting

Recommended for a visit:  Wild Things Rescue Nursery.

I met the gardener, Dawn Foglia, on our recent trip to Saratoga Springs.  Lovely lady, very hard-working, single mom (don’t think she would mind me mentioning that since it was one of the first things I learned), dedicated to helping spread the (good) word about native plants.  I caught her just as they were closing up shop at a local farmers market, and she was off to another event but we had some quick words and immediate camaraderie. I bought some wild ginger from her (looking forward to seeing how it grows next year – this year it’s just getting used to my ground), and just checked out her site, now trying to resist the temptation … my eyes being bigger than my garden.  So many plants, so little … *sigh*…

QUESTION: if you were allowed to grow just one plant (keeping it legal – or not), what would it be and why?

Wildman Steve Brill Makes a Surprise Appearance Here

Hey all, awhile back I mentioned my budding interest in foraging and native plants.  All the better if I can combine them together, right?  So I’ve been reading about edible and medicinal plants, and even dabbling in developing my palate in this latest greatest cuisine craze.  I’m excited to say that I plan to take the foraging tour this weekend.  I reached out to “Wildman” Steve Brill, author of the foraging guide I’m currently reading.  I thought I would post his response, since it’s particularly timely today, in light of breaking news of increasing food prices and food shortages.  Depressing as all that is, kudos to folks who are doing something about it (e.g., G-20 Ag ministers spearheading a movement for greater transparency by country of what’s being produced, what’s about to come up short, and what the heck is going on w/food prices, so that shortages can be caught sooner and the veil gets lifted on what’s really driving price increases) and a nod to more local efforts to increase food production on a local scale.   I encourage you all to join me Saturday in Prospect Park for the foraging tour….

In the meantime, words from the Wildman…[from an email from Steve Brill]

I look forward to seeing you on an upcoming foraging tour. Enjoyed reading your blog too.

Unfortunately, by buying my book from the book industry rather than getting a signed copy from my site, http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/, they got all but 6 cents of your money. Please get other books from me, or check out my app http://tinyurl.com/6zcnuna.

Elderberries have feather-compound leaves while dogwoods have simple leaves, explained in the intro section of the book and the app’s glossary. And you can always post pictures.

Happy Foraging!

“Wildman”

Ew, Gross.

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Since, here, we are kind of starting to drift off beyond the garden and into talking about trying to live responsibly, loosely speaking, I’ve been thinking lately about sponges. These aren’t real sponges but that’s what we pretend they are. And I know they’re filthy yet we pretend to “clean” our dishes with them. Here is the culprit, in the sink next to the dishwasher that rarely gets used because of my efforts, as I said, to try to live somewhat responsibly. That said, how responsible can it be to wash my dishes with a dirty sponge. Of course I rinse it out and squeeze it before using it each time but still I can almost feel the bacteria seeping through its pseudo-pores. My partner keeps a dish of soapy water next to the sink and uses that instead of wasting loads of water each time we need to clean dished. Even with that, I’m sure there’s bacteria that accumulates there as well. I used to put a drop of bleach in it to ward off the little bastards but now that I’m getting into the living somewhat responsibly, the thought of bleach, the plastic it comes in and all its nasty chemicals makes me shudder.

I’ve been on this earth, let’s just say, awhile now. And one of the things that continues to stump me is ….

QUESTION: what tis the best way to clean dishes (in a way that isn’t really just a foolhardy practice of moving germs around), without using nasty chemicals or wasting water? Also, does dish soap really do any dish or anyone else any good? Is a dish soap that’s marketed as an eco-friendly one either eco-friendly or effective? Go ahead (even though I’m sure there’s plenty already on my dishes) … Gimme the dirt!

What I’m Growing

It occurred to me I hadn’t shared with you what it is I actually put into the ground.  So here goes, by category, only edibles:

TREES/BUSHES:

  • peach tree
  • cherry tree
  • elderberry bushes (almost certain not dogwoods now)
  • Meyer lemon tree (in a container)
VEGETABLES:
  • tomatoes, four plant, purchased at a Saratoga Springs farmers’ market, all heirloom
  • cucumbers, eight plants, don’t remember where I purchased these but I think it may have been Shannon’s
  • pumpkins, from seeds, picked up at a restaurant in New Haven, CT, when we went to see my friend, Bill Demerit, who’s studying theater there.  I planted these and they shot right up.  I now have six plants (confirm).  Unfortunately, these are more the jack-o-lantern variety, but I figure they will give some nice color to the garden late in the season.
  • wild ginger, three plants, purchased from the farmers market in Saratoga Springs from a woman who was the only one with a plethora of native plants
  • carrots, multiple.  These are from seeds, which I didn’t really think would take off, since I’ve had difficulty growing carrots from seeds before but that was straight in the ground.  These are growing in a wooden box (like an apple crate) that I used to have hops from Six-Point brewery growing in (ever want to check out some good looking hops, pay them a visit by going to Rocky Sullivan’s in Red Hook – on the upstairs terrace, they usually have hops growing there).
  • beets, multiple.  These are also from seeds and, again, I planted more than I need, thinking they might not come up for the same reason – I’ve tried planting them from seed in the ground before with no luck.  In contrast, these little seeds [brand], which I put into the small plastic starter containers you get new plants in [name?] sprung right up.  I now have the dilemma of where to make their seasonal home.
  • jalapeno peppers.  These I picked up in a set of three starter plants from Shannon’s.  I had good luck with these plants last year and wanted to try it again.  I have them in a different location (south-facing upstairs terrace) than my north-facing backyard where they were before.  We’ll see if it matters.  They are in a couple planters with some other hot peppers (another jalapeno and cayenne, I believe) that I tried to maintain indoors over the winter but I’m not sure they’re actually going to produce again since they’ve remained essentially unchanged from last fall when I brought them in.
  • new addition: green beans (these seeds just went in the ground from my very most awesome neighbor friend, who is also growing green beans & sweet peas in a self-watering container)
HERBS:
  • sage
  • thyme (three types)
  • rosemary (not doing so great)
  • cilantro
  • parsley
  • mountain mint (got this from the Grand Army Plaza farmers market)
  • (will be growing: basil from the Triscuit box seed card & dill from same)
QUESTION:  what grows in your garden? Who’s happy this season?  Who’s not?

Oh Yes Friday Din Din

Thank you, farmers, real farmers, for bringing me truly really good food to cook and devour. I made dinner tonight (broccoli rabe & white bean penne) to the silky sultry tune of Krystal Warren, beautiful summer breeze traipsing in, and made a magnificent (yes I do say so myself) broccoli rabe w/white bean penne. Taking it easy this Friday night, kicking back with a glass of wine that found its way with a dear friend here last week to celebrate. A little exhausted from the week now behind us, I am nonetheless buzzing w/all I want to catch up with you on, including what Ted Danson has been doing lately with Oceana.org, and what precisely is aquaculture, and how my little rosebush thanked me for clipping its mildewy leaves and presented two happy flowers this morning, and new uses I’ve found for those pesky wild onions, and what’s growing out there in my still-just-a-baby native plant garden, and all these things and more to come, to come. For now, for you … a

QUESTION: what is one of your favorite ways to spend a Friday night in the summer, and ease (or jolt, depending on your fancy & frequency) into a summer weekend? Feel free to illustrate.  Oh, and now an interlude on our featured artist, just for your

LISTENING PLEASURE … (p.s. I just realized how hard it is to find this song online – Krystle Warren’s “I’ve Seen Days” from her album Diary … copyright stuff I’m guessing b/c it was removed from YouTube from what I can tell.  But the song itself is gorgeous.  Sorry I couldn’t find more than the little clip I’m linking you to here.  I saw her years ago at A Gathering of the Tribes in the LES.  Have it on video.  If anyone has news, post here.  A gem, she is indeed.

blogging resumed …

Also, so we can all be planning, what are some events coming up these sweet summer weekends that you are looking forward to? Invite guests! Send links! Let all the revelers jump in the partay. And, as always, … go ahead, gimme the dirt!

Hey, Hey, What Do Ya Say?

I am seeking participants for the CSA Challenge. What is it, you ask? (This is why I prefer the written word over the stage – I can make up what you’re thinking rather than suffer your tomatoes or, worse, polite laughter). This being the first summer of doing the CSA thing (a/k/a Community Supported Agriculture, which means getting my groceries from a collective that links willing farmers with committed buyers who plunk down a sum certain for a regularly scheduled haul), I”m curious how one CSA experience compares with another, particularly weighing quality of the items against cost in light of the ever increasing cost of food. Ultimately I hope to answer the

QUESTION: could CSAs be the Foodtowns of the future? Is the price right? What are the benefits of a CSA? Most importantly, if you are a CSA member, would you be willing to share your experience with the rest of us revelers by posting pics and prices, and your own notes on the experience? I’m especially interested to hear from folks outside my CSA or even my city. Go ahead, take the CSA challenge!

Peach Tree Critters

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Here’s a close up on the subject of my question below. This one was taken from up high, where it seems slugs would be unlikely to venture. I’m also not seeing any snails or slugs on the trunk or branches.  I picked up some PBR to lure them away, just in case.

Peach Tree

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QUESTION: Hi all, just wondering if anyone knows what might be causing these little holes in the leaves of my peach tree? Would this be the work of snails, slugs, or some other little bug? I’ve already been treating the tree with a copper fungicide (not as frequently as the recommended five days but more like every 7-10 days for the last few weeks).  Should I continue?  Should I stop?  Should I do something else?

Ants on my Peonies

NPR did a piece on memories that resonated with me.  It reports that some of earliest childhood memories are basically wiped out, and considers why that may be.  What came to me immediately is that it is because we have no framework at that age in which to “set” our memories.  Everything is new, and mostly stunning.  (I do remember someone saying if you want to imagine what it’s like to be a young child, just imagine that you are visiting a new country everyday, with all new sights, smells and sounds, and some days it’s several countries in a day).

In other words, memories are stronger that have some association or connection, be it with words, emotions, or the general framework in which we view the world and ourselves in relation to it.  Memories set better once a person has a world view; and very young children have no such world view as yet – bless those little free darlin’s!.  Theirs is a world primarily of experience, and only secondarily of the organizing, compartmentalizing, and identifying patterns in and of the experiences they have.  I think it’s essentially the same reason many people have a hard time remembering their dreams: the dream images/subject are not set in a familiar framework from which we can recall them.  They tend to be random, abstract, separated from our everyday framework, yet still connected enough to “reality” that usually they are remembered in bits and pieces.  This may be the same reason that unusual experiences are easily remembered when those experiences occur when we are adults: we remember them as striking for what they are not – they are not are usual, everyday experiences (or part of our regular framework).

All this reminded me of one of my early, among the earliest, childhood memories.  I am standing outside our house, at the side of the house on Newfield Drive (yes, literally, isn’t that so literal?), staring eye to …  I don’t know what – not quite eye – with this ball of pink, tightly wound, … I have a hard time describing it, realizing only now that it’s a visual I have never tried to put into words … I have looked for this flower years later and believe it to be a peony.  Back then, there were a bunch of them at the side of the house.  It was a flower bush, but I watched only one little about-to-burst bulb.  It was swarming with ants, little busy ants.  They were light orange, each going every which way in no clear pattern, no matter how much I tried to find one.  It was fascinating.  I like the feeling even now just to think about it.  I visited that flower a lot.  I know if I were running a full circle around the house, I could stop, and stare at it.  It was right outside my parents’ bedroom.  I felt like it was mine.  Not mine, as in my owning it but mine as in — there for me to see.

I have a vague recollection of flower petals replacing that tightly wound bud where the ants crawled, but it’s vague at best.  Maybe I lost interest then.  Mostly, I remember those ants crawling.  So busy.  Going nowhere in particular.  I liked that a lot.

I also remember inadvertently being locked out in winter and having to use the bushes and my bottom being really cold.

I think I know why I like summer better.

QUESTION: do you remember the first time you came in contact with the earth, recognizing it as separate from you, and perhaps part of something else?  What is your earliest memory?

Do you remember the first time you saw and/or recognized a plant or other flower? Did you garden as a kid?  Did your parents?  Do you remember it?  Did you like it or was it a chore?

Do you know any particular flower that attracts ants like that?  Are they peonies?

Go ahead … gimme the dirt.