Thursday, September 11, 2014

Buffman and Gram's Vegetables for Vitality: Garlic


As many of you know Allen, Sterling & Lothrop's fourth generation has been getting more and more involved in the business.  You may have met Jenn's (AS&L's seed room manager) daughter Nadia running the front with her grandmother, Shirley, or  you may have had one of Shawn's boys help you with a Christmas tree.

This year Buffman (Shawn's middle son) has joined forces with his grandmother, Shirley, to bring you their thoughts on the healthiest vegetable's you can grow.  They consulted Shirley's vast knowledge of gardening and nutrition and www.whfoods.com.
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You can increase the health benefits of garlic by letting it sit after you have chopped, or ground it. Garlic can support healthy blood pressure. Garlic has been found, repeatedly, to lower the risk of colorectal and renal cancer. The allyl sulfides found in garlic may play a key role in its cancer-prevention benefits.
For maximum flavor, always purchase the freshest garlic. Avoid garlic that is shriveled, and moldy. Store fresh garlic in a loosely covered container in a cool dark place, this will help maintain maximum freshness.
When preparing to cook, separate individual cloves and peel the cloves with a knife. Research has shown that microwaving garlic in uncrushed form will deactivate its enzymes.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Bill's Favorite Plants in His Garden


Late summer & early fall are two of my favorite times in the garden.  Plants have reached their full size and are blooming abundantly with bright, rich colors.  I, also, enjoy watching all the beneficial insects collecting the pollen (bees, butterflies, wasps, and, one of my favorites-- hummingbird moths). 
My friends Jessica and Stephen, from AS&L, came to the farm the other evening, at dusk to take some photos of some of my favorite plants.  I’ve been wanting to show what fully established plants will look like in your gardens—adding form, texture and color with blossoms and foliage. 



Over the past few years my gardens have evolved becoming more simplified. I have a very busy schedule during the growing season, and I realized that I would be better served by low maintenance plants, and plants that require less water once they are established (like hosta, sedum, paniculata hydrangeas, etc.)  I have several varieties of hosta and sedum because they look great even when they are not in bloom with foliage and texture—they also work very well together.  My, all time, favorite (and AS&L hosta enthusiast, Shorty’s favorite) is Paradigm.  Paradigm is sun tolerant and slug resistant and has amazing chartreuse foliage.  But I must say I don’t think there is any hosta or sedum that I do not like.
I, also, really enjoy the paniculata hydrangeas in my garden because they start off white and change color throughout the season eventually turning a deep burgundy in the fall.  One of the advantages of living on a large farm with open fields is the beautiful sunsets and I love to plant tall plants in the foreground between the finished landscape and the fields—i.e. Plume Poppy, Iron Weed, Joe Pye Weed,  Cup Plant, Globe Thistle etc.  Another plus of living on a large property is having gardens like the one in the front of the house that I let go natural, I call it the “wild” garden; it has a beautiful backdrop of forsythia, hydrangea and spirea, in front it’s planted with black-eyed susan, daisies, lupine, liatris, etc.  I let these perennials seed themselves and do what they want to do –it is very low maintenance and these plants do very well along the roadside.

When planting a garden I like to incorporate trees & shrubs for form, structure and vertical interest.  I really enjoy watching trees as they mature and take on their adult canopy.  Most trees require little maintenance and add, so much, interest all year long.  I like to say when you plant a tree you’re planting for posterity …for your grandchildren to enjoy!  Keeping with the simplicity theme I like to incorporate evergreens for texture and winter interest, they are your true ‘anchors’ in the winter garden. 

Containers are a great addition to any landscape they add  color to a dead spot and interest to an area you cannot plant in the ground.  I will oftentimes move my containers as the season progresses to give a little ‘pop’ where it’s needed.  I, also, like to use a combination of perennials and shrubs in my containers.  I, eventually, transplant containerized perennials and shrubs into the garden, or I give them to a gardening friend if I don’t have the room or the perfect spot.  This allows me to enjoy plants I may not be able to get to survive in my yard.  As the saying goes, folks, “take time to smell the roses”…enjoy your gardens at different times of the season and at different times of the day.  There is beauty there—we just need to open our eyes to it!! 

 
 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Buffman and Gram's Vegetables for Vitality: Tomatoes





As many of you know Allen, Sterling & Lothrop's fourth generation has been getting more and more involved in the business.  You may have met Jenn's (AS&L's seed room manager) daughter Nadia running the front with her grandmother, Shirley, or  you may have had one of Shawn's boys help you with a Christmas tree.

This year Buffman (Shawn's middle son) has joined forces with his grandmother, Shirley, to bring you their thoughts on the healthiest vegetable's you can grow.  They consulted Shirley's vast knowledge of gardening and nutrition and 
www.whfoods.com
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Tomatoes provide an excellent amount of vitamin C and beta- carotene. Tomatoes have been shown to provide anti-cancer benefits. Prostate cancer is by far the best researched type of cancer in relation to tomato intake. Tomatoes can definitely help lower the risk of prostate cancer in men. Diets containing tomatoes have also been linked to a few studies with reduced risk of obesity.
Start tomato seeds indoors or in a cold frame 5-7 weeks before you plan to put them into your garden.  When transplanting tomato seedlings into the garden be sure all danger of frost has past (tomatoes so best when day time temps are not less than 70F) and that the seedlings have at least four true leaves.  Give tomato plant plenty of sun, well drained soil and room to grow (30" between plants).  Many tomatoes require support, you can use a cage, or stakes or try the basket weave method as demonstrated by UMaine Cooperative Extension:



Choose tomatoes with rich colors. Deep reds are the best choices. They shouldn’t have a puffy appearance. When you buy canned tomatoes it’s a wise decision to buy with labels from the United States, some foreign countries don’t have strict standard on lead content in containers. When cooking, it is better to not use aluminum cookware since the high acid content of the tomatoes may interact with the cookware.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Buffman and Gram's Vegetables for Vitality: Lima Beans


As many of you know Allen, Sterling & Lothrop's fourth generation has been getting more and more involved in the business.  You may have met Jenn's (AS&L's seed room manager) daughter Nadia running the front with her grandmother, Shirley, or  you may have had one of Shawn's boys help you with a Christmas tree.

This year Buffman (Shawn's middle son) has joined forces with his grandmother, Shirley, to bring you their thoughts on the healthiest vegetable's you can grow.  They consulted Shirley's vast knowledge of gardening and nutrition and   www.whfoods.com
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Lima Beans can prevent blood sugar levels from rising. When you combine lima beans with grain such as rice it can provide virtually fat free high quality protein.
Lima beans grow vigorously in any worked soil. Lima beans are slow to bear. Bush lima beans bear sooner than pole, but pole limas bear for a longer period of time.
Lima beans can be harvested and shelled like English (Garden) peas. Before washing lima beans, lay them out on a surface to check for small stones or damaged beans. Rinse the beans under cool running water. To shorten the cooking period and make it so you can digest them better, soak them first.
Try making a simple succotash-- by mixing equal parts of cooked fresh (or frozen corn) and cooked lima beans-- add butter and salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bill's Gardens in July!!


 Finally with the sun and this ample rainfall our gardens are coming into their own!!


Garden spirit keeps an eye on this sweet bed! 
My favorite pot!
 

Bleeding Heart and Hosta--each having a record year!
 
 
 
 
 
 
It has been a very strange year, to say the least; large established trees and shrubs seemed to have more problems coming out of winter than perennials.  Indeed, most of the perennials in my yard (i.e. hosta, bleeding hearts, etc.) are performing the best I’ve seen in years. 
Gorgeous yellow Day Lilies and a spectacular Clematis 
 
 
I have been taking advantage of all the recent rain (free water!) by replacing the plants I lost over the winter. Through this harsh winter, Mother Nature has opened up space and has allowed me to revamp some of my beds –replacing dead plant material with new plants that I’ve been wanting to try or replanting some of my favorites.  
Kiwi in full swing!!
 
When customers come into the nursery and we begin discussing plants—of course we love to recommend our favorites!  And, I have most of my favorite plants in my garden at home.  My regular customers and I have standing joke: Bill—if you love it…it must be in your garden. 
 
 
So, this month I’m attaching some pictures of a few of my “favorites” …from my garden that I’m always telling people about…the tri-colored beech, kiwi vine etc.
Lovely Lily of the Valley
 
 
 
We will be adding more next month to show people what a mature specimen may look like.  Stay tuned.



Sedum & colorful Angelina really "pop" on this old stone wall.
REMEMBER: With the combination of warm sunny days and the rain it has been a great season to plant, just remember when the warm summer days get here—water weekly, deeply for all newly planted trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. 

 




Thursday, June 12, 2014

Buffman and Gram's Vegetables for Vitality: Spinach



As many of you know Allen, Sterling & Lothrop's fourth generation has been getting more and more involved in the business.  You may have met Jenn's (AS&L's seed room manager) daughter Nadia running the front with her grandmother, Shirley, or  you may have had one of Shawn's boys help you with a Christmas tree.

This year Buffman (Shawn's middle son) has joined forces with his grandmother, Shirley, to bring you their thoughts on the healthiest vegetable's you can grow.  They consulted Shirley's vast knowledge of gardening and nutrition and  www.healthdiaries.com
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Spinach aids in digestion and promotes healthy skin. It is high in vitamin A. It also helps strengthen white blood cells.  The vitamins in spinach serve as powerful anti-oxidants. One boiled cup provides over 1,000% of the RDA of vitamin K. A raw spinach salad is a quick and easy way to add a lot of food value to any meal. This is a great dressing to put on your spinach salad…

  1. 1 clove of garlic (minced or pressed)
  2.  ¼ cup vinegar (apple cider, sherry, red wine, etc.)
  3.  ¾ Cup extra virgin olive oil
In a bowl combine Maple-Sweet Pepper and garlic. Which in vinegar and add olive oil slowly while whisking constantly (by adding the oil slowly, the oil and vinegar will stay combined in a suspension). Or combine everything in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and shake the dressing well. You may want to adjust seasoning by adding some salt.
(Maple-Sweet Pepper can be found at ReginaSpices.com)
         
Spinach is also delicious lightly steamed, with a little salt and butter.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Buffman and Gram's Vegetables for Vitality: Carrots



As many of you know Allen, Sterling & Lothrop's fourth generation has been getting more and more involved in the business.  You may have met Jenn's (AS&L's seed room manager) daughter Nadia running the front with her grandmother, Shirley, or  you may have had one of Shawn's boys help you with a Christmas tree.

This year Buffman (Shawn's middle son) has joined forces with his grandmother, Shirley, to bring you their thoughts on the healthiest vegetable's you can grow.  They consulted Shirley's vast knowledge of gardening and nutrition and  www.whealth.com
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Carrots are easy to grow and high in nutrients; in particular vitamin A.  They are very high in beta-carotene, which helps slow down the aging of cells. Carrots help with the good health of your skin. Some say that eating carrots regularly can help reduce LDL cholesterol level.
When planting carrots work the soil good and deep. Take out any rocks or clods of soil. Improve the soil with lots of compost for larger sweeter carrots. As carrots start to grow thin them to 2 inches apart. 
Carrots are an amazing vegetable that can be eaten either raw, or cooked.  Did you know that carrot tops are edible?  Try using carrot greens as a vegetable or as an herb like parsley.
Carrots are essential in stews, soups, boiled dinners etc.  Try cooking them in a skillet with butter, add a good handful of freshly chopped parsley just prior to serving.