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Gardening with Mike

Mike Kluger
RCC AV Specialist & Gardening Enthusiast

What to do with your Garden's Abundance

As summer begins to wane
And the corn is bright and tall
Our baskets overflow with
Harvests that continue
Deep into fall…

What Happens When You Grow…

...too many herbs?

Most herbs can be dried and stored. An easy way to store herbs you dry at home, is to save the empty herb jars from the supermarket.

herb pots

...too many berries?

Many berries, including strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, grow in abundance in New York. Enjoy a ray of summer berry sunshine during the dead of winter, by turning your harvest into preserves, jams and jellies!

blueberries and strawberries

...too many cucumbers, beans, cabbages, or beets?

Ferment them! With a little effort, hardier vegetables can be transformed and preserved through pickling or lacto-fermentation! The process bolsters the harvest’s shelf life, adds probiotics, and increases the nutritional's like getting two foods from one!

cabbage and pickle jar

...too many tomatoes?

Tomatoes grow so quickly and abundantly! Often, home gardeners are overwhelmed with the number of tomatoes they are harvesting, and a person can only give away so many! Tomatoes can be jarred and stored for the upcoming months. Making homemade marinara sauce is an excellent way to store your yield, and can be a fun family activity!

tomato plants
Photo Cred: Mike A. and Kathy

...a child who likes to garden?

You pass on your joy to the next generation. You teach them to appreciate where our food comes from, how to care for and tend plants, and to understand the process from seed to plate.

two children

Gratitude through Gardening

I must embrace the Rain, To appreciate the Sun.
I don't need to water the garden, If it's raining
Collect some on a dark day,
For the days grow long and hot,
To quench and soothe dry roots

Stop and Smell the Flowers!

There is an element of awareness that is required for gratitude...

While helping with a friend's garden, I noticed a Lavender plant which was just about to bloom. We had walked past it many times before noticing it in this stage. There is so much beauty in the becoming - not just the final product. Over the next few days, the buds were collected and dried to be used for teas, and for their aroma.

The Gift that Keeps Giving

A few years ago, I received three small tomato plants from a friend. They were scrawny little things, leftover from their plant. Four years later these disease resistant, everything-resistant tomatoes became invasive! Cherry tomatoes everywhere! This year there is a new plan...see how many plants I can propagate and donate! Along with tomatoes, I will be attempting to pay it forward with mint, lemon balm, catnip and more!

cherry tomato plants and propogates

Because Everyone Needs a Friend...Companion plants!

are helpful and beautiful flowers and are a wonder-drug of the companion plant world. French marigolds produce a pesticidal chemical from their roots, so strong it lasts years after they are gone, and certain varieties have been effective against weeds. Planting marigolds near roses causes the roses to grow more vigorously! Plant them everywhere in your garden!

corn, beans and squash
The "Three Sisters"
(corn, beans and squash) are the most famous of the companion plants. The Iroquois discovered that the corn provided structure for the beans to climb, the beans provide nitrogen to the soil that the other plants use, and the squash spreads along the ground, preventing weeds!

More than “Just a Weed”

Weeds in your garden? Some may be your friends, food, and medicine! Around the home garden and yard, you will find many gifts from nature. If you blindly pull those that you did not plant, you maybe missing out on so many treasures:

dandelionThe most infamously wronged weed? Dandelion. In the spring the tender leaves can be used in salads, they are chock full of nutrition but watch out as they get bigger...they get bitter. The blossoms bring pollinators which are fantastic for any flowers and food. Those same blossoms can be collected to make a wine. The root has been collected and roasted as a coffee enhancement and tea replacement for years.

Clover, lamb’s quarters, and purslane are a few others to note for their culinary, and companion benefits.

clover, lamb's quarters and purslane

The Gratitude Through Gardening piece was included in The Buzz Gratitude Edition.