Less Noise, More Green: 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

Less Noise, More Green on Social Media

You may have noticed a new tab at the top of the page. Less Noise, More Green is now on Instagram. I've been playing with the application for a couple of weeks and feel confident enough with it now to encourage you to follow me! I'm still working on taking a decent picture with my phone but all life is a work in progress, right?

Less Noise, More Green is also on Facebook and Pinterest if you would like to follow me there as well. Just click on the tabs at the top of the page and it will take you right to there.

Facebook has changed how followers see content from pages. If you do not interact with a page, after a while Facebook will stop showing you posts from that page in your news feed. If you enjoy getting my Facebook posts, please "like", comment or click through posts every once in a while so Facebook will keep showing them to you. If you haven't seen anything from me on Facebook in a while, that could be why. If you visit my Facebook home page and interact with a post, you should start seeing Less Noise, More Green posts again.

As always, thank you so much for visiting me and for supporting me on social media. It makes my day when someone leaves a comment or likes a post.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jalapeno and Cheddar Zucchini Fritters

Jalapeno and Cheddar Zucchini Fritters Recipe

Zucchini fritters are exactly what you need to make when the summer squash shows no sign of stopping. This recipe uses a full pound and a half of squash which will put a good dent in the green and yellow pile on the kitchen counter. The fritters freeze well so double or triple the recipe and make your kitchen a zucchini free zone, at least for a day or two!

Monday, August 24, 2015

How To Root Strawberry Runners

How to Root Strawberry Runners
Contact with the soil will encourage the development of roots
The cheapest way to add to the plants in your garden is to help your existing plants reproduce. You can do this by saving the seeds as they mature on your plants or by propagating - taking cuttings and rooting them. Strawberry plants are one of the easiest plants to propagate because many varieties send out runners that produce baby plants. All you have to do is help these babies produce roots, then plant them wherever you want.  I say more free berries, please!

Friday, August 21, 2015

This week, green beans are only ninety-nine cents a pound

Harvest, lessnoise-moregreen.com

Pulling, picking, snipping and digging. Harvesting home grown produce is physical work. After forty-five minutes of bending over picking bush green beans, while the early morning sun rose behind me, I slowly straightened up and felt the sweat run down my tightening back. I had been working for a couple of hours and I was ready to stop.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

From my kitchen: Spicy Green Beans, Pesto and Balsamic Strawberries

Basil Pesto Recipe

Meals become really simple when the weather is as hot and humid as it is right now in Rhode Island. By the time I'm done preserving the day's harvest, I don't have much energy left for cooking supper! Much of the food coming out of my kitchen this week is inspired by my newly cured garlic crop, including the following recipes for Spicy Green Beans, and Pesto. Balsamic Strawberries are an easy dessert and a good way to use up less than perfect berries which is mostly what I am harvesting at this time of year.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Edible Landscaping: replacing annual Batchelor's Buttons

Edible Landscaping: replacing spent annual batchelor's Buttons
 My edible landscape is going through another transition. A significant number of annual edible flowers need to be pulled but their removal will leave holes (OK, craters) in my design. I've been putting off doing this clean up task because I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with the empty space. I think I now have a plan.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Overnight oats: recipes for summer and fall

Overnight Oats: Recipes for summer and fall
There is nothing complicated or revolutionary about overnight oats. The concept is very trendy right now here in the US but muesli has always been a staple in the Europeans diet. This doesn't make them any less delicious! I eat overnight oats for breakfast at least a couple of times a week, especially in the warmer months. The dish takes no time to prepare (as long as you remember to do it before you go to bed) and creamy soft oats make the perfect medium for seasonal eating.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The comfort of a garden during a time of change

Vegetable Garden, Less noise,More Green

There is a sense of change in the air around here. I'm not just talking about the change of season, which with the cooler evenings and mornings we've been experiencing lately seems to want to happen early this year. I'm talking about family milestone changes. All of my clan is feeling it and as we navigate through these changes, the rhythms and predictability of the garden are providing some solid ground for me to stand on.

Monday, August 10, 2015

From My Kitchen: soups, frittata, alpine strawberries, blue potatoes and pickles

Frittata and Blue Adirondack potato home fries

As we move into mid-August, the garden is groaning under the weight of all that needs to be picked, eaten, and preserved. My harvests are getting larger but seeing my kitchen island covered with homegrown produce- well, that never gets old. Here are some of the meals and preserves I've been making along with recipe links.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Edible Flower and Soft Cheese Appetizer

Edible Flower and Soft Cheese Appetizer

I'm always looking for new ways to cook with  the edible flowers growing in my gardens and this appetizer is a quick and elegant way to use them. Try serving these at your next summer party and they will be sure to spark lots of conversation!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Edible Landscaping: filling containers with edible plants

Edible Landscaping: Swiss Chard and Violas in container

Do you use edibles in your front porch containers? This year I tried a combination of edible flower and vegetable I really like: Swiss Chard and Violas.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Podcast with Gavin Webber from The Greening of Gavin

Last week, I had the pleasure of recording a podcast for The Greening of Gavin,  a popular, award winning urban sustainability blog written by Gavin Webber from his home in Melton near Melbourne, Australia. Gavin covers all kinds of topics on his site: cheese making, soap making, solar power, climate change and more, but we spent most of our time talking about home food production and the differences between our two growing climates. How do we maximize the space we have and are we both crazy for planting edibles in our front yards? Listen in and find out!

Monday, July 27, 2015

From my kitchen: cabbage six ways, eggplant and zucchini lasagna, green bean salad, pickled radishes, blueberries and black currant muffins

Cabbage in cheese sauce
Broiled cabbage in cheese sauce.

The week at home after a week away is always a hectic one. Add to that an urban farm heading into peak production and you can imagine how busy I have been! Less than an hour after we got home I was picking green beans - eight pounds of them, in fact. More cabbage, peas and strawberries found their way into the kitchen, as well as radishes and the first zucchini and yellow pear tomatoes of the season. This week saw my first trip to my local blueberry farm and a compromise was made in the black currant department in the interest of keeping my sanity.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Local Kombucha on tap at the Urban Farm Fermentory

Urban Farm Fermentory Kombucha
Visiting the Urban Farm Fermentory was high on the list of 'Must Do While in Portland, Maine'. Several friends were quick to recommend the brewery and one (Oyster Girl) to ask me to pick up a bottle of kombucha for her. Located in a warehouse in an industrial part of the city, Urban Farm Fermentory is focused on proving a truly local product while making a difference in the community. Oh yes, they also have a tasting room with their mead, hard cider and kombuchas on tap.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Local and Sustainable: Maine lobster and crab shell fertilizer, and seaweed mulch

I just got back from a family trip to Maine (I posted some photos of the trip on my Facebook page). My mother-in-law rented a beautiful house right on the coast and we were treated to panoramic ocean views and stunning sunrise and sunsets. To get to the house we drove down a dirt road next to a farm where a variety of crops were growing in the field.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

From my kitchen: roasted cabbage, sauerkraut, chickpea stew, massaged kale salad and lots of preserving

pea harvest

The summer months are when my kitchen gets to prove it's worth. At any given time, I may have two or three different fruits or vegetables on the counters in some stage of preservation, along with the ingredients for the daily preparation of meals .The room is in a perpetual state of messy abundance and it is glorious to behold. This time of year, I feel like the richest person in the world.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Changing edible flowers

Bee Balm, edible flowers
Bee Balm

A few weeks can make such a difference in a garden. Flowers fade as their time to shine passes and the focus shifts to new faces. It is the garden recreating itself, keeping the landscape fresh and interesting.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A month with bees

It's been a little more than a month since I started caring for my bees. So far the experience has been both challenging and rewarding and certainly not without some excitement. As with caring for any living thing, reading up on the subject only gets you so far, as you quickly realize your charge, or charges in my case, haven't read the manual at all. It makes for an interesting ride.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

It's time for the annual preserving pep talk

Caraflex cabbage
Caraflex cabbage
It happens every year around this time. My hard work in the garden is paying off and the beds are exploding with edibles. In a few weeks, I will be struggling to keep up with all the fruit and vegetables that need harvesting every day. Now is when I start to feel it - a tiny knot of panic in my stomach.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Potato Fruit

Adirondack Blue Potato Fruit

Did you know potato plants can produce fruit? My Adirondack Blues are covered with small green fruit that look like unripe grape tomatoes. What is going on here? Is the fruit edible and are my potato tubers OK?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Two Days of Fun and Learning on the URI Master Gardener Garden Tour

2015 URI Master Gardener Garden Tour
This past weekend, my gardens were part of the 2015 URI Master Gardener Garden Tour. For six hours each day, myself and two other Master Gardeners, lead guided tours around both my edible landscape and backyard traditional vegetable garden. It was a really fun and interesting couple of days.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Welcome URI Master Gardener Garden Tour Attendees!

Edible Landscape
Welcome Garden Tour attendees! If you have found your way here through the Tour Guidebook I hope that you will find the time to visit my garden during the two day tour.

If you visit, you will find two gardens. In the front I have an edible landscape consisting of edible flowers, herbs, berries and vegetables designed to be an attractive and productive entry to my home. In the back I have a traditional vegetable and fruit garden.

Below are links to resources on this blog that will support your visit to my garden.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Unusual edibles in my edible landscape and how to eat them!

Nasturtium Seeds
Edible nasturtium seeds

This post is part of the educational element of the 2015 URI Master Gardener Garden Tour, which my gardens are a part of! The Tour is happening June 20 - 21 and you can find out all the information plus where to buy tickets, HERE.

One of the greatest joys of designing my edible landscape has been discovering new and unusual edible plants and using them in my cooking. Below is a list of plants I currently have in my garden that you may not know are edible, along with how to eat them, and links to recipes using these plants on my blog.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ten Tips for Growing Edibles in Small Spaces

 This post is part of the educational element of the 2015 URI Master Gardener Garden Tour, which my gardens are a part of. The tour is happening June 20 - 21 and you can find out all the information plus where to buy tickets, HERE.

The one thing growing food in a small urban space forces you do is be creative! Over the years I've learned (often the hard way) some tricks to maximize my growing space. How many of these have you tried?

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Additions to my Edible Landscape in 2015

Less Noise, More Green edible landscape, June 10, 2015
I'm working hard to get my garden ready for the upcoming URI Master Gardener Garden Tour on June 20 and 21. If you live in Rhode Island, it's not too late to get tickets. Click HERE for ticket sale locations.

I've added quite a few new plants to my edible landscape this year, including flowers, vegetables, herbs, and berries. I like to take photos of my plants in all stages of their growth. I find this especially helpful when they are seedlings and I'm trying to weed! It's interesting to see how the garden changes over time and how the weather can either speed up or slow down growth from year to year.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Raw Milk Yogurt Tutorial

This recipe has only two ingredients, but I struggled for a long time to find a method for making raw milk yogurt that I was happy with. Simple can be tricky!  There are many ways to keep the milk at the right temperature for the cultures to work their magic and I tried them all. In the end, investing in a good quality thermos which is big enough to hold over four cups of milk has been a great investment and produces the most consistent results. This yogurt is so thick and creamy. Drizzle on a little maple syrup or honey if you want for some added sweetness.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

2015 URI Master Gardener Garden Tour and new radio podcasts

2015 URI Master Gardener Garden Tour

I am excited to be one of the gardens on the 2015 URI Master Gardener Garden Tour! If you live in Rhode Island, you are probably aware of the bi-yearly tour that includes gardens from all over the state. This year, the tour consists of thirty-four gardens. Some of them are public, designed and maintained by Master Gardeners, but most of them are the private gardens of URI Master Gardeners. This tour is such a wonderful opportunity to get inspiration, ask questions and see creative solutions to gardening problems!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My Edible Landscape: Second year perennials bloom!

Common Sage in bloom

My front yard edible landscape is now in its second year. It's been interesting to see how the garden has reestablished itself compared to last year when every plant was young and fragile. The fun with last year's virgin soil was very few weeds and the plants only grew where I seeded or planted. This year, much weeding and transplanting of self-seeding annuals has happened but the joy is coming from seeing the blossoming of the perennials.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Organic Pest Control:Cabbage Moth Decoys

Organic pest control: Cabbage Moth Decoys

My broccoli and cabbage plants had been growing quite happily in the ground for over a month. Perfect little specimens with not a nibble taken or a hint of disease. Then right on cue spring temperatures started to rise and the bugs made their entrance. One of the first threats to the garden are cabbage moths, dancing through the brassicas, depositing their eggs full of tiny eating machines.on the undersides of the leaves.

As an organic gardener, I'm always looking for ways to minimize the impact of pests in my garden without upsetting the balance of my backyard ecosystem. I'm trying a very low tech method to deter cabbage moths this year - decoys!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Frugal and Sustainable Gardening: growing sweet potato slips

Growing sweet potato slips

I'm trying to keep my gardening expenses under control this year and one of my goals in this area is saving seeds and propagating new plants from old plants.  Seeds and plants can be a major line item in a gardening budget, but with a little knowledge you can coax a garden into being quite self-sufficient! Sweet potato slips are one example of how I intend to save some cash.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Making Garden Teepees

Garden Teepees

I didn't grow enough green beans last year and it is killing me to have to buy bags of frozen beans to get us through to this year's harvest. To prevent another green bean-less late winter, I am growing a lot more beans this year. As I am short on bed space, the solution is to go up. On top of the usual bush beans, I'm planting plenty of pole beans which means I need lots of teepees.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Foraging at Home: Eating Daylillies

Edible daylillies, foraging

My personal experience with foraging for edibles is it can be very hit or miss. Just because a particular plant is edible, doesn't mean it is tasty! Many of the edible wild greens you can find in the woods or road side are too bitter for my palate. After the apocalypse and food is scarce, I'll be glad to have my list of wild greens but until then I'll stick with foraging for the tasty treats. One such treat might take no foraging at all. In fact you may have it in your garden already, masquerading as an ornamental. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Edible Landscaping: Berries in Bloom

Lingonberry flowers
Lingonberry Flowers

The berry bushes in my edible landscape are loving the heat we had this week. The plants have turned their faces to the sun and bloomed.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pruning Black Lace Elderberry Bushes

Pruning Black Lace Elderberries

One of the plants in my edible landscape I'm most excited about seeing mature and thrive is the Black Lace Elderberry. This variety of elderberry is a gorgeous plant with deep purple foliage and pink flowers. It is also less wild in appearance than traditional elderberry bushes which is perfect for their location next to my neighbor's drive way.

As I entered year two of this garden, I knew I had to prune these year old bushes which had grown to about six feet tall but in a spider-like fashion with long unruly branches. Pruning is always a little intimidating but the rewards can be worth the angst.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Bolting Rhubarb Deja Vu

Victoria Rhubarb, bolting

I've had a case of deja vu in the garden this week. Just like last year, my rhubarb was off with a bang, growing a foot a minute ( OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration!).  Then seemingly overnight it all bolted - just like last year. At least this year I know why the rhubarb is behaving the way it is and what to do about it.

Monday, May 4, 2015

New "For the Love of Gardening" Podcasts

WADK 1540 AM out of Newport, RI has released more "For the Love of Gardening" podcasts, the URI Master Gardener gardening show for which I am one of the hosts. Below are links to two new shows:

Home Composting
Part 1
Part 2

Crop Rotation in a Home Vegetable Garden
Part 1
Part 2

To hear all my shows, click here. To hear the entire show collection released so far, click here.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

How to care for seedlings while on vacation

Seedlings under grow lights
Growing season is in full swing here in my zone 6b garden. I'm planting seeds both indoors and outdoors every two weeks and the beds are starting to fill up with lots of lovely little plants. Once the season starts, it is hard to take a break. There is always something to plant, transplant or water! Taking a vacation and leaving baby plants unattended can be stressful but  I just returned home from a week long trip and the plants I have growing indoors under grow lights never looked better. Here's how I kept my seedlings alive and happy!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Transplanting self seeding annuals

Edible Landscape April 2015
Year two of my edible landscape is off and running. This time last year, I was at the very early stages of installing the garden,  having removed the foundation shrubs and hostas but yet to remove the grass. This year, all of the really hard work is done and I am looking to keep my perennials healthy and plant my annuals (veggies, flowers and herbs) when the time is right. What is new this year is dealing with all the self seeding annuals from last year's garden.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Four signs gardening season has begun

Lilac Buds
Lilac buds
As each year passes, I get to know my garden better and become more familiar with it's rhythms. The weather was fabulous yesterday- well into the 60's with just a gentle breeze. I spent several hours working outside listening to the birds and feeling content. As I looked around me I thought yes, the signs are here, the four horsemen of spring have arrived.

Friday, April 10, 2015

My April Garden Chore List

April garden clean up
This is what was lurking under the snow.
The snow in my part of Rhode Island is gone. What a truly horrendous winter we just experienced. Mother Nature is amazing, though. Shoots are coming up and buds are forming, as if to say, "What winter?" The thick blanket of snow was actually a good thing for the perennials and an initial survey of the garden has revealed very few casualties. It is time to look forward and get on with this gardening thing!

Here are my zone 6b gardening plans for the rest of April:

Monday, March 30, 2015

URI Master Gardener Radio Podcast: Organic Gardening

WADK For the Love of Gardening radio podcast, organic gardening
WADK 1540 AM out of Newport, Rhode Island has just made available more podcasts for our URI Master Gardener radio show "For the Love of Gardening." My latest show is about organic gardening and my guest Sanne Kure-Jensen and I discuss organic practices, pest control and soil amendments, among other things, in this thirty minute podcast. Enjoy!

Organic Gardening part 1

Organic Gardening part 2


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Connecting with our food: raw milk from Buttercup Farm

Connecting with our food raw milk from Buttercup Farm

It's hard to believe that not that long ago most food was locally grown and knowing the farms and farmers that fed our families was common place. Farmers were our neighbors. They lived in our communities and were part of the fabric of people's daily lives. The meal on the dinner table was crafted from ingredients representing the skills, blood, sweat and tears of local farming families. We saw the crops growing in the fields and the animals that provided our milk and meat grazing in the meadows. Our food had meaning for us because the farmers that toiled to provide the food were meaningful to us.

Connecting with our food raw milk from Buttercup Farm
 Megan, on the far right, giving me a tour of the farm.

This connection with our food and farmers is so important and is sadly missing from our modern industrialized food system. Happily, a result of the blossoming local food economy is a resurgence of small farms serving their communities and I jump at any opportunity to meet local growers and producers and to see their farms. I recently had the chance to visit Buttercup Farm in Sterling, Connecticut and to meet Megan the owner and her beautiful Jersey Cows.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Garden and Kitchen Chores for March

March garden and Kitchen chores
Under that pile of snow is the garden gate.
The start of March feels like deja vu. This time last year, here in New England, we were complaining about the never ending winter. It was cold and snowy and the ground was completely frozen. Ha! Fast forward a year and we are wishing for the winter we were gripping about twelve months ago. Will I  get to do any of the outdoor chores on my list this month? Who knows. Here is perhaps my overly optimistic March Garden and Kitchen To Do list.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Vermiculture - a composting solution for the urban garden

Vermiculture: a compost solution for urban gardens
One of the biggest gardening challenges I have in my urban setting is maintaining a compost pile. This year I hope will be different. I have a plan that should address my compost problems and also benefit my container gardens. Part of my plan involves my new vermicomposting system.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chicken and Fruit Curry

Chicken and Fruit Curry Recipe

 We are deep in the middle of winter and by deep, I mean under several feet of snow. This is the time of year when I am grateful for all the work I did in the summer and fall preserving food. I am out of fresh veggies, but my freezer and pantry is still full. The freezer is stuffed with bags of frozen berries and apples which are wonderful for baking with and for breakfast dishes but I also like to use frozen fruit in savory meals. One of my favorite dishes using frozen apples is Chicken and Fruit Curry. This dish is deliciously sweet and spicy and just right when the snow is swirling outside the front door.