Archives: Resources

Strawberries Revisited

Strawberry runners transplanted in August. Roberta Bailey photo A thick patch of strawberry plants at the end of the second summer, ready to be tilled under as weeds are encroaching. Roberta Bailey photo By Roberta Bailey We all want to grow strawberries. Who can resist the allure of a basket brimming with fat, red, juicy

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Cultivating Shiitake Mushrooms as an Agroforestry Crop for New England

Shiitake mushrooms in the Exhibition Hall of the Common Ground Country Fair. Amy LeBlanc photo By Steve Gabriel Research based at Cornell University in partnership with the University of Vermont, Chatham University, county Cooperative Extension personnel and farmers has increased demand for and interest in forest mushrooms. This effort was boosted by almost a decade

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Native Bees are Important Urban Pollinators

For this pollinator study, tomato plants in 5-gallon buckets had some of the flower clusters covered with net bags before they went into the field. Photo courtesy of San Francisco State University By Sue Smith-Heavenrich A study released earlier this year from San Francisco State University shows that native bees provide an important pollination service

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Harvest Kitchen Winter Baking with Eggs

Toki Oshima drawing By Roberta Bailey Our farm is nestled up against a low ridge that parallels the Kennebec River. The soil is deep and virtually rock-free. We do get a bit too wet in spring with that river-bottom clay, but we never have to water. On the backside of the ridge is a meandering

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Sustainable Agriculture in El Salvador

Edith Portillo (in the dark jacket) addressed a Unity College organic horticulture class in October, while Cori Ring-Martinez (in the white shirt) translated. Portillo said organic agriculture is “a life or death situation” in El Salvador. English photo. Rosa is a member of the community council in Chilama, La Libertad. Chilama’s sister city has funded

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Agricultural Soil

Toki Oshima drawing. By Céline Caron The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils, and one of the themes for the 2014 permaculture convergence held in July in Frelishburg, Quebec, was “Solutions are in nature.” A good part of the permaculture conference was devoted to soils. Here are the main points

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Organic Sweet Corn

Sweet corn can not only lure customers to your farm stand but can be profitable, as well. USDA photo. Organic sweet corn has profit potential for farms and is a great draw to farm stands and farmers’ markets – if grown well. David Handley, UMaine Cooperative Extension vegetable and small fruit specialist, and Jack Manix

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Belize Organic Fair and Forum

Farmers selling organic produce at the Belize Organic Fair and Forum. Luisa Putul was the 2014 female Farmer of the Year, announced at the organic fair. First of Its Kind in Central America! By Michele Christle Photos by Brendan Keegan It’s impossible not to be inspired when visiting the Common Ground Country Fair. The produce,

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Amaranth An Ancient Food for Modern Gardens

An amaranth inflorescence. Amaranth produces nutritious seeds, and plants can be part of sustainable cropping systems. Photos by Will Bonsall. By Will Bonsall Amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus) is a New World crop, a staple of the ancient Aztecs, who popped it and mixed it with honey to make a treat somewhere between marzipan and Cracker Jacks.

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Recreational Tillage

By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. The rototiller has gotten a bad rap in recent decades. Perhaps it deserves it, perhaps not; in any case it is important to avoid its misuse in order to preserve soil. Temptation to use this power tool is worst in the early spring, when cabin fever or perhaps simply being anxious

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