New Hope Organic Garden Bounty, Mid-Summer

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Weeds, beetles, caterpillars, rabbits, groundhogs, excessive heat, downpours, miscalculations and a few failed crops… .

By this point in the summer, the average organic gardener may wonder (very briefly) if it’s really worth all the effort.

Couldn’t we just frequent the area’s wonderful farmers’ markets or head down the road to None Such, Manoff or Gravity Hill? Continue reading

Can your yard reverse global warming?

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It just might help…if you go 100% organic. Scientists at the Rodale Institute (and other researchers) have found compelling evidence that organic farming helps soil bury (“sequester”) the carbon dioxide (CO2) that contributes to global warming. The same principles should apply to organic gardening and lawn care. That means we all have the power to help address this enormous problem…right in our own backyards. Continue reading

‘Art in the Garden’ Showcases Local Art this Labor Day Weekend

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If you’re committed to keeping things local here in the Delaware River Valley, you may be getting a lot of your food from local sources. But locavorism doesn’t need to begin and end with food. One of our area’s greatest local commodities is art…some of which will be on display Labor Day Weekend at Art in the Garden, the annual art and craft show held at Paxson Hill Farm in Solebury.

The 14th annual Art in the Garden will bring together 60 local artists and artisans, including printmakers, photographers, painters, ceramic artists, jewelry designers and much more. Artists’ booths will be scattered around the beautiful grounds of the Paxson Hill Farm nursery, which offers professional landscaping services and plantings throughout the year. The farm also is home to a menagerie comprising peacocks, emus, llamas and one or two very large pigs.

The beautiful setting and quality artwork lead many to make a day of this wonderful annual event. But it also offers a great opportunity to put the local multiplier effect to work by purchasing a few early holiday gifts for others …or yourself…from local artists and artisans. Remember, dollars spent at independently owned local businesses circulate throughout the community many more times than dollars spent at national chains (whether brick-and-mortar or online). According to one source, 45 cents of each dollar spent locally is reinvested in the community vs. only 15 cents spent at national chains.* Buying anything made locally — food, art, furnishings, clothing, services — can help the local economy survive and thrive… and keep our downtowns independent and interesting.

Freshbyhand
By way of full disclosure, I’m breaking with my usual blog format here for a little self-promotion. My micro-biz, Freshbyhand, will be among the vendors at this year’s Art in the Garden. I’ll be selling the hand-painted and collaged picture frames and mirrors available at my Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/freshbyhand… or see link in the right-hand column), along with some new pieces, like these.

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All of these one-of-a-kind pieces are made by upcycling wooden frames left over from a previous business and materials and “outtakes” from my art prints. The prints were made using a variety of techniques — an eco-friendly form of etching, mono print, collograph, linocut, chine colle and stenciling. The imagery is inspired by nature, colorful printmaking remnants and the creative possibilities of paint, ink and glue.

Show Details:

  • What: Art in the Garden art and craft show
  • Where: Paxson Hill Farm, 3265 Comfort Road (off Rt. 263), Solebury Township, PA
  • When: Saturday, 8/31 and Sunday, 9/1, 10 to 4:30, rain or shine
  • Free admission
  • More info at: www.paxsonhillfarm.com.

* http://www.localmultiplier.com

The Tao of Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar isn't sexy, hip or new. But it may just be the most sustainable thing in your home.

Distilled white vinegar isn’t sexy, hip or new. But it may just be the most sustainable thing in your home.

In the heat of mid-summer, weeds can suddenly take over, rendering helpless even the most vigilant gardeners.

While most of you wouldn’t bat an eyelash at a container of chemical weed killer, you know there are still plenty of folks who believe chemicals are the only remedy for wayward weeds. It’s time to let them know that all it really takes to make the driveway stop looking like part of the lawn is a gallon or two of white distilled vinegar.

The rise and fall of a miracle liquid
Vinegar is pretty much as old as the hills, with records of its use by ancient Greeks, Romans and Babylonians. These early civilizations knew vinegar could help them preserve and season food, and they also may have explored its medicinal uses and ability to dissolve a variety of substances. (To learn more about the history of vinegar, check out www.kitchenproject.com.) Read more

Don’t Miss the Annual Herb Society Sale at Holcombe-Jimison, Saturday, May 18

???????????????????????????????Each May, the Delaware Valley Unit of the Herb Society of America holds its annual herb sale at the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead Museum, on Route 29 in Lambertville, NJ. Whether you’re just starting an herb garden or adding to one you’ve tended for years, this sale is a wonderful opportunity to find a wide variety of hearty, healthy plants at reasonable prices.

Once you pull into the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead, you’ll find the herbs on display inside one of the museum’s many historic barns. The plants are arranged in alphabetical order on tables, just in front of a collection of antique farm vehicles. If you have questions about a particular plant, the Herb Society volunteers are always happy to share their substantial knowledge. Read more

Connecting the Dots to Live More Sustainably

Culinary herb garden

Culinary herb garden

Note that the article posted a moment ago was published accidentally! Please read this version instead!

Are you a vegan? Do you shop locally? Buy organic food? Belong to a time bank, co-op or informal sharing collective? Avoid plastic? Collect water in rain barrels? Buy electricity from a renewable generator? Use local currency? Commute via bike or public transportation? Live in an eco-friendly home?

There are many ways to live more sustainably today…and many “movements” advocating for one of these ways or another. But in this information-savvy age, with so many opportunities to “follow” those who think just like us, we can easily slip into a “silo” when it comes to our views and actions. Making connections between these silos can open doors to some surprising and innovative ways to live more sustainably.

Just consider some of the doors opened by edible gardening. Read more

Green (Old-Fashioned) Popcorn

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With Oscar night upon us, thoughts turn to the movies … and their perfect accompaniment, popcorn. In case you haven’t heard, the microwaveable kind is loaded with health hazards. In addition to the sodium and trans fats in the popcorn itself, the lining of the microwaveable bags contains something called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been linked to infertility and cancer. And a common artificial flavoring agent, diacetyl, has apparently caused lung cancer in popcorn factory workers. 

If you need further convincing that it’s time to change your popcorn habits, check out:

Sustainability as easy as 1-2-3

The good news, of course, is that a much better alternative, old-fashioned (non-microwaveable) popcorn, is easy to find in local food stores. If you’ve forgotten how to pop the stuff on the stove top after years of microwaving, just follow these simple steps. Read more