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Compost Heated Outdoor Shower at Deer Isle Hostel

Figure 1. A watering can makes a handy shower. The user can easily tip the can to get water as needed. Illustration by George Eaton Figure 2. Loops of poly piping lie in pairs alongside one another, every 4 to 6 inches or so, within the compost pile. Illustration by Dennis Carter By Dennis Carter

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Tree Leaf Fodder for Livestock

A 20-year-old short black poplar that Paul Hand has pollarded in England. Photo by Shana Hanson Two comparable ash trees in September 2016 – one initially pruned in summer 2015 and thriving, the other suffering from drought until it was pruned after the photo was taken. Photo by Shana Hanson Cut fodder is first browsed

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Minerals Whence and Whither

By Will Bonsall Minerals are the part of “organic” that isn’t organic. That is, all of the elemental components of organic matter – carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen – are in the air we breathe, always in adequate supply; all we have to do is create a soil community that sequesters those elements in stable-but-ever-changing

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Bring in the Bees with Wildflower Strips

Dense floral resources of a pollination reservoir in Maine. Photo by Eric Venturini, The University of Maine Eric Venturini and Audrey Maddox rake a seed bed free of debris before seeding a wildflower mix. Photo by Margaret McCullough, The University of Maine A tiny black bee visits Gaillarida pulchella in a pollination reservoir in Maine.

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Harvest Kitchen Cooking from the Garden

Stock up on ingredients for fall and winter recipes at the Common Ground Country Fair farmers’ markets. John Williams photo By Roberta Bailey Here we are at another September, another Common Ground Country Fair. We have persevered through drought and heat, wild thunderstorms and unexpectedly chilly nights. We have reveled in a cool breeze, cooled

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Flash Grazing Pigs

Toki Oshima drawing By C.J. Walke Organic growers face numerous challenges with pest management, regardless of the crops grown, and look to crop rotation, biological controls and carefully timed applications of approved materials to target the pest at hand. Organic tree fruit are vulnerable to many insect pests over the course of the season, whether those pests

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Farming the Shoulder Seasons

At the Farmer to Farmer Conference, Eliot Coleman (left) and Patrice Gros talked about growing crops during the shoulder seasons of the main growing season. English photo At MOFGA’s 2016 Farmer to Farmer Conference, Eliot Coleman of Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine, and Patrice Gros of Foundation Farm near Fayetteville, Arkansas, discussed growing and

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Cluster or Hill Planting

  Clusters of corn, with beans interplanted   Onions grow in clusters of three or four with up to 10 inches between. By Will Bonsall Photos by the author I once watched a fellow go to great pains to build a mound of at least 5 gallons in volume, which he neatly flattened on top

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Ground nesting Bees

Large and small ground-nesting bees, Andrena nasonii, from the study region. Photo by Heather Grab By Sue Smith-Heavenrich A recent study shows that common ground-nesting bees grow smaller in heavily farmed landscapes than in natural areas. In a Northeast SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education)-funded study, Heather Connelly and her colleagues at Cornell University collected

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Storing Saved Seeds

‘Chateau Rose’ tomatoes. English photo A display of seed saving in the Exhibition Hall at the Common Ground Country Fair. Amy LeBlanc photo By Jean English Many garden seeds can be collected now and stored for planting in spring. Echinacea seeds are drying on their seed heads – at least those that the goldfinches aren’t

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