Less Noise, More Green: September 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Coppicing: an ancient wood management technique

Rose of Sharon
One of the tasks on my 'to do' list for the fall was pruning my Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) bushes. Although, they are so big they are more like trees! We knew that one of the bushes was not doing well and there were a lot of dead branches. When I went to inspect the bush to decide how to prune it, half of the bush came away in my hand - it was completely dead. With a little coaxing, the other half came up, too.

Looking at the bush, now lying in my driveway, it suddenly dawned on me that we had been coppicing the branches!  This made me very excited because coppicing is a great frugal and sustainable gardening practice.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Frittata- the ultimately adaptable meal


I wrote the following recipe for the URI Master Gardener Produce Donation Project newsletter over the summer. After putting together the recipe page for the blog, I realized I didn't post it here. Frittatas are such a great last minute dish and infinitely adaptable. These are summer variations but I've added some ideas for autumn versions at the end of the post.

Friday, September 26, 2014

New Recipe Page

If you look at the bar under the Less Noise, More Green banner, you will see a new tab - recipes! All the links to the recipes on this blog are now in one place, sorted by category. This will make finding the recipes you want so much easier.



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Frugal and Sustainable Gardening

Home grown food, urban farming, gardening
At the end of the day, this is what it is all about for me.

This has been an expensive gardening year. Yes, I installed a new garden in the front of my house but looking over my budget for 2014, I see that I have spent more than I'm comfortable with on supplies, seeds, potting soil, etc. This prompted a hard look at how I am gardening and what my goals are.

The number one goal for me is food production. I grow food because I care about the quality of the food I feed my family, but also to lower our food bill. To achieve the second part of that statement I need to spend my gardening dollars wisely and recommit to being a frugal and sustainable gardener.

To that end, I will be writing more posts about this topic, highlighting what I am doing, my failures in this area and how I will do things differently in the future. Here are some of the things I can improve on:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Edible Landscaping - transitioning into fall

Edible landscaping, fall plantings, urban farming, gardening

My front yard edible landscape is going through some changes. Maybe I should say it is 'maturing'. It is time for some plants to bow out and time for others to make an appearance, but it is all as it should be. I will be sad to see some of my favorites go but I'm enjoying the challenge of keeping this garden attractive and productive season to season.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hollyhock rust - a cautionary tale

holly hock rust, gardening
This is not going to be a pretty post but I share both my successes and failures here and this is definitely one of the later. When I was designing my edible landscape, I was given a packet of hollyhock seeds. Hollyhocks (Aithaea rosea) are a quintessential British cottage garden flower and I have always loved them. Growing up in the UK, many of the gardens in my village had them growing in their gardens and I remember them being swarmed by bees. I decided to add them to my garden design.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fall Garden Clean Up: compost, lawn bag or trash?

Fall Clean Up: what to compost, what to lawn bag and what to trash. gardening, urban farming
Time for some trash talk. I don't enjoy cleaning my garden any more than I like cleaning my house. It is certainly not the fun part of gardening but is a necessary evil and can prevent problems with disease in future seasons. When doing fall clean up, I follow the same strategy I use when purging my house, where I create three piles - keep, donate and trash. In the garden, this translates to compost, lawn bags for the recycle truck, and trash.

Here's how I decide what goes into each pile.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Harvesting Poppy Seeds

Poppy Bread Seed Hungarian Blue, harvesting poppy seeds

I didn't think I was going to have any poppy seeds this year. Poppy seeds need to be sprinkled over the soil in the fall or late winter and with the installation of my edible landscape happening in the spring, the earliest I could sow was late May. I almost didn't bother but I'm so glad I threw caution and seed to the wind and tried anyway.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rose Hip Recipes: Chutney, Jelly, Syrup and Tea

Rose Hips, Rose Hip Recipes

On a beautiful, bright, sunny morning, my friend Roda and I went to the beach on a mission. We were looking for rose hips. Rosa rugosa loves the beach and this little stretch of sand, hidden away in a small waterside community, is my secret spot for foraging hips.

Monday, September 8, 2014

September Garden Chores

Rudbeckia, Cherokee Sunset

Summer doesn't seem to want to let go here in Rhode Island. We've just had one of the hottest, most humid weeks of the year and my garden is not happy about it. Many of my summer crops, such as the squashes, lettuces and basil, did not fair well and the winter squashes have fallen victim to powdery mildew.

September is really a transition month in the garden, anyway.  As the month goes on, the temperatures fall and the rainfall increases. The weather gives us a window of time to assess our gardens, plan for the future and make changes before the frosts come and we tuck our plants into their beds for the winter. Now is the time to move unhappy plants, divide perennials and plant bulbs and new perennials. Trim back shrubs and vines this month so they have time to recover before the cold sets in.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Roasted Tomato and Zucchini Soup

Roasted Tomato and Zucchini Soup, recipes
What do we all have too much of right now? Tomatoes and zucchini!  In my garden, while the tomatoes are in top gear, the zucchini are on their last legs. I must admit I'm ready. It has been a challenging couple of months trying to staying ahead of the never ending supply of squash. At the same time, I am grateful for the full freezer and pantry. Fall crops are not far off and there is still plenty to harvest and enjoy coming from the summer garden. The change in ingredients, however, is very much anticipated!

Here is a recipe for Roasted Tomato and Zucchini Soup, which I wrote for this month's URI Master Gardener Produce Donation Project Newsletter.