17 Days of Green – Grow Your Own

A major reason Andy & I left Alaska was to grow more food than we could in Denali. We hoped that by eating more locally, we could reduce our impact on the environment.

We picked a south-facing site between the existing rhubarb patch and 3 old apple trees.

We rented a sod-lifter to remove the grass instead of roto-tilling.

The garden site, cleared and ready.

Andy lays out salvaged beams for 6 raised garden beds.

We used 6-inch spikes to hold the old beams together.

We filled our raised beds with rich, organic soil from Long Wind Farm.

We added our own compost, too (aged compost on left, active pile on right).

A bit of organic fertilizer enriches the soil & gives plants a boost.

Completed garden beds, ready for planting. We mulched between beds to slow down the weeds.

Radishes grow quickly from seed. These lovelies are a "French Breakfast" variety.

An old sink finds new life as a garden washing station.

Romaine lettuces also grow easily from seed.

Broccoli starts purchased at our local nursery need support at first.

Tomato bushes need support, too -- these wire cages do the trick.

Our watering system is simple: a hose and a sprinkler.

An old-fashioned watering can is handy for spot-watering.

Our garden in mid-summer glory.

Pansies add glorious color to a veggie garden. Plus, they're edible!

Harvesting greens for immediate consumption.

Tomatoes, cucumbers and bean plants.

Carrots taste especially amazing straight from the soil!

Garden delight: dinner straight from the soil.

Mmmm... local food is not only green food, but delicious, too!

What about you? Do you grow any of your own?

17 Days of Green – Long Wind Tomato Farm

Before I landed my current day job at Dartmouth, I worked as a plant-worker tending organic tomato plants Long Wind Farm, in East Thetford, Vermont.

Baby tomato plants at Long Wind Farm.

Phoebe hangs support strings for baby tomato plants in one of the smaller greenhouses.

Plastic jobu clips attach to strings which support tomato vines as they grow.

Long Wind organic tomatoes grow in rich, organic soil built right on the farm. Growing tomatoes in real soil is more work than growing hydroponically.

But, it’s worth it. You can taste the difference.

Organic tomatoes ripening on the vine.

Tomato-picking cart rides rails which also radiate heat for the greenhouse.

Full boxes of fresh-picked organic tomatoes.

You can find Long Wind tomatoes at stores & restaurants throughout New England.

Long Wind tomatoes are picked ripe... you can taste the difference.

And if you visit the Farm, you can get these beautiful tomatoes at a discount!

Try to imagine the heavenly scent working in a greenhouse full of giant tomato vines!

Once you’re there, check out the Tai Chi studio above the greenhouse.

Long Wind Farm: good for the body, good for the soul!

My Garden This Morning: Enter Asparagus!

Spring asparagus shoots return

Spring asparagus shoots return!

Last spring, Andy & I dug and planted our first-ever asparagus bed.

Initial trench digging after sod removal.

Initial trench digging after sod removal.

It was several days of hard digging, with lots of attention to building a rich soil bed for our 50 young, mail-order crowns.

Andy spreads the tentacle-like crowns over a hill of rich compost.

Andy spreads the tentacle-like crowns over a hill of rich compost.

Technically, we’re supposed to let this year’s shoots grow, without harvesting any to eat, so they can continue to nourish the roots and develop into healthy, beautiful, fern-like plants.

Late summer asparagus plants (left) little resemble spring spears.

Late summer asparagus plants (left) little resemble spring spears.

I’m just not sure I can wait another year to taste them!

Mmmmm... to eat or not to eat?

Mmmmm... to eat or not to eat?