Happy solstice to all gardeners! May you be enjoying the fruits of your summer harvest this winter! Or…if your pantry doesn’t quite look like the one above, may you be warmed by the memories of summertime in the garden.

I’ve received about 3/4 of the garden logs and am happily dreaming of my garden next year as I tally your impressive yields. Please get your log to me if you haven’t done so already. Thanks again for your participation in this project–I know it’s far more work to measure than the payment you receive! I hope that the knowledge gained is worth it to you.



In case you’re feeling reflective–a poem by Lucy Maud Montgomery! But it sorely lacks veggies!

The Garden in Winter

Frosty-white and cold it lies
Underneath the fretful skies;
Snowflakes flutter where the red
Banners of the poppies spread,
And the drifts are wide and deep
Where the lilies fell asleep.

But the sunsets o’er it throw
Flame-like splendor, lucent glow,
And the moonshine makes it gleam
Like a wonderland of dream,
And the sharp winds all the day
Pipe and whistle shrilly gay.

Safe beneath the snowdrifts lie
Rainbow buds of by-and-by;
In the long, sweet days of spring
Music of bluebells shall ring,
And its faintly golden cup
Many a primrose will hold up.

Though the winds are keen and chill
Roses’ hearts are beating still,
And the garden tranquilly
Dreams of happy hours to be­
In the summer days of blue
All its dreamings will come true.



Micheal’s Small Space Surprise!

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Micheal really knows how to get the most yield out of a small area! From beets in a baby swimming pool, to potatoes in a bucket, he’s tried it all! He gardens in front of two houses on the south side of Ithaca, and enjoys fresh produce all summer long.

Micheal and his partner enjoy eating Asian vegetables, and are excited to see their bitter  melons  coming along. They also grow taro and shiso, among other asian treats. One of his most adorable plants has got to be the heart-shaped cherry tomatoes (pictured above). He got the seed from Fruition Seeds:

One mystery you gardeners might help solve is…what the heck are those beans? He thought they would be fresh green beans, but found them really stringy and hard to eat. Now he hypothesizes that they are some kind of dry bean…any bets?

For more information on biointensive gardening like Micheal’s,  the bible on the topic is John’s Jeavons’ How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You can Imagine. It’s now in its eighth edition!

Micheal finds himself referring as often to the first edition of Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Garden: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work.



Marissa’s Magic Touch


Marissa has two great plots going at Wood’s Earth community farm, and another garden, too! She likes to let her tomatoes crawl on the ground, rather than trellis, so that they can enjoy the warmth provided by the soil. One unique approach Marissa uses is bat and seabird guano in lieu of compost.

For those concerned with a post-peak oil future where guano (and everything else transported by vehicle) might be hard to come by, it may be time to think about our own waste as a source of nutrients. One book I’ve seen on this topic is the Humanure Handbook. Here it is available online:

In addition to a LOT of tomatoes, Marissa has a lot of squash coming along nicely. You can see in the photo that she suffered a woodchuck attack! They are dastardly creatures. Here’s some further information about their biology, as well as control methods.

Yvonne’s Edibles (and other Exotics!)

DSCN2900Prepare to swoon! Yvonne’s yard and gardens on West Hill could be featured in Better Homes & Gardens! She has an expansive  backyard with lots of different beds, including ornamental grasses, flowers, fruit trees, and a fenced in area where she keeps her vegetables in raised beds. She reports that it’s been a good year for most crops, and she has been selling some produce in a small stand in front of the house.

One of Yvonne’s apple trees produced a decent amount of fruit this year, but the other has very few. This could be due to alternate bearing, or bienniel bearing, which is common among apples. Here’s some more information from the University of Maine:


While Yvonne perfects the outdoor environment, her husband is hard at work inside, putting down swanky bamboo flooring. Maybe we need to turn this project into a home & garden improvement TV show? Oh, wait–someone has probably already done that. Here are some tips from HGTV for anyone inspired to install their own bamboo floor!

Rebecca and Galen by the woods!


Rebecca and her young son Galen have a plot along the edge of the Freese Road gardens, right along the woods. Galen enjoys biking around the paths while Rebecca does her weeding and watering! He also helps tend the plants, and has his very own bed with a labyrinth of spinach. He took several of these photos, including the sunbeam image above.

Sunflowers were one of their best successes this year–they made an impressive border, towering above the path. They also enjoyed their peas and cherry tomatoes. Squash was disappointing this year…that’s something I’ve heard from many others. Rebecca plans to eat the Jerusalem artichokes that volunteered. Here’s a celebrity chef recipe to inspire you to do the same!

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Sonam & Ann at Freese Road

Sonam and Ann bought a house this year! This is Sonam’s explanation of the weeds in their very productive garden at Freese Road. Though I don’t think any excuses are needed–they are growing a LOT of food. The combination of landscape fabric as mulch, and cardboard in the path, is making a huge difference. The weeds perservere in the cracks, but they can’t do too much damage! Aren’t those peppers gorgeous?? Perhaps there is hot sauce in Sonam’s future??




Kurt & Chieko’s Japanese Treats

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Chieko and Kurt Pipa are gardeners with a purpose–to grow Japanese veggies they can’t easily buy in Ithaca! Chieko is a native of Japan, and Kurt lived there for years and now teaches Japanese, and works as a Japanese translator. A few of their favorites are shiso, adzuki beans, japanese eggplant, japanese cucumber, shishito peppers, assorted japanese greens & spinach, and daikon radish!

Here’s a recipe for shishito peppers, for the curious! The trick will be getting your hands on some. I’ll keep Kurt & Chieko’s address a secret in order to avoid pepper poaching.

And a long list of interesting things to do with shiso, from a blogger in Paris, no less! Talk about crossing cultures!

Kurt has been starting a garden project at Wells College where he works, so he is researching good crops that fit will into the school year. He incorporates the culture of food into his Japanese teaching by having Chieko come to class to make a traditional meal with students. This year perhaps most of the vegetables will come from their garden!

If you’d like to grow some of your own Japanese delights, there is a seed company in California that carries a lot of these varieties–Kitazawa Seed.

Geri & Gunther’s Garden

IMG_2944IMG_2927Gunther and Geri Keil have an amazing homestead in Trumansburg where they raised their three children. Now they raise sheep! And other assorted pets…and sometimes, visiting grandchildren! Gunther is a talented carver–if you are in the market for delightful, locally made toys, check out

They have a giant vegetable garden, surrounded by an asparagus bed, 800 square feet of raspberries, a pond, and fruit trees. One unusual treat Geri likes to make is Cornelia cherry jam. Most people grow these as ornamentals, but the small cherries can be harvested and eaten. They would be difficult to process due to their small size, but Geri has a steamer/juicer device that makes it easy. Here is one example :,40733,44734&p=67388

Some favorite veggies are asparagus, lettuce, and beans. And of course, raspberries are always a hit! Geri and Gunther have an amazing vertical zucchini plant (see photo)–this thing is like a tree! They like to eat amaranth leaves, which taste like spinach, so they let the amaranth plants go to seed and come up again the following year. Geri enjoys learning new tricks and tips from Silver Queen farm’s Gordy Gallop. There are a series of helpful youtube videos produced by the Cornell Small Farms program, including this one on pruning raspberries:

One issue Geri and Gunther are researching is fungal disease. They seem to have something affecting their broccoli, and decided to grow them in pots this year. They are considering using a cover crop, although they typically avoid tilling their soil, which might be tricky. Mustards are known for their anti-fungal properties, but because they are closely related to broccoli –all are brassicas–they likely share pests. In past years, I have planted a winter rye & vetch mixture with gardeners, which did well in our climate. Ryegrass is another option. Here’s a short article from Cornell outlining use of cover crops in gardens:

Harvest log team–please contact me if you’re interested in planting a cover crop! I’ll be ordering seeds shortly.

From Cote D’Ivoire to Cornell!

Akoko and her husband come from Ivory Coast. Akoko took up gardening last year, and is having a blast and great success growing food at Freese Road. She is a supplier of African delights to her friends in town–from hibiscus, amaranth, and sweet potato leaves, to lemongrass tea, she has been filling a niche for anyone homesick for West African treats. I think her next project should be a baobob tree orchard! ha! They might not appreciate our frigid winters, unfortunately.

One of Akoko’s top producing crops is Egyptian spinach, also known as Molokheiya. It’s highly nutritious and prolific! She shares more than half of it because it produces so much.

Akoko’s favorite source for seeds is a website called Seeds of India. This is where she gets her amaranth, spinach, and hibiscus seeds.

Landscape fabric has cut down on weeding time. Because she has a permanent plot this year, Charlotte is looking for ways to suppress weeds year-round and is using cardboard as mulch and considering a fall cover crop.



Danby Delight

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Polley and her husband John have an absolutely magazine-worthy spread in West Danby! I think most gardeners will covet Polley’s birthday gift last year–a garden shed built by John! It houses all the hand tools, shovels, hay bales, and other accoutrements a gardener needs.

They have a fenced in 70 x 50 foot area full of veggies! That doesn’t include the separate raspberry patch or 300 square feet of asparagus! These are the people to know in the spring when asparagus time rolls around.  Polley reports that she is shifting more towards perennials like blueberries, as they are currently producing way more food than they can eat.

One interesting crop Polley tried this year is Long Pie Pumpkin. It looks a lot more like a squash, and is supposed to be fantastic for cooking and full of meat. Here’s a link to a description from High Mowing Seeds:

Another innovation by John is a wire weed basket, shown in the photos. It’s light, and handy for collecting weeds as you move along the rows. This year’s consistent rain has made for a boom weed year, as I’m sure you all know. Polley suggested that the next study should include recording weed biomass! But we won’t make you do that. We save that for our research assistants at the Cornell field stations. ha!

In honor of Polley’s  happily growing pumpkin and squash, here’s a collection of recipes for those!


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