Articles by Reeser Manley

 
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

The Vegetable Garden in August

on July 29, 2014, at 8:32 a.m.
For the northern New England gardener, August brings the end of some vegetable crops and the start of others.  The garlic crop is lifted and cured, the beds it occupied since October planted to carrots, the last of which will be pulled just before the ground freezes in late November.  …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

July Brings Major Changes in the Garden Insectary

on July 22, 2014, at 12:20 p.m.
In Marjorie’s Garden, USDA Zone 5, and along the lane that connects us with the highway, three native plants that attract beneficial insects begin to flower in mid-July.  For New England gardeners in Zones 6 and 7, these same plants began blooming in early July and late June, respectively, and …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Perennials for Heat-Baked Gardens

on July 14, 2014, at 1:09 p.m.
This is the first summer of my retirement from teaching, the first summer I can spend every day from early spring to first frost and beyond in the garden.  There is time to expand our vegetable and small fruits garden with new raised beds, a project that requires resetting of …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Summer Perennials at the Berkshire Botanical Garden

on July 08, 2014, at 10:29 a.m.
A recent trip to western Massachusetts included a hot July morning at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, MA, a public garden that never fails to yield new ideas for next year’s garden.  Some of these discoveries are discussed below, including two perennial mulleins, a yellow meadow rue, and a …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

July in the Perennial Garden

on June 30, 2014, at 11:19 a.m.
In the vegetable garden at harvest time, when I hear familiar buzzing in a nearby bed, I stop tickling blueberries long enough to watch bumblebees pollinate the flowers of summer squash and tomato.  Unlike a honeybee, which prefers to forage in a large field of a single plant species, a …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Early Summer in Marjorie’s Garden

on June 24, 2014, at 9 a.m.
The first week of summer found Marjorie and I spending as much time as possible in the garden, completing the planting, cutting down birches and cherries damaged in the December ice storm, and making plans for expansion of the vegetable garden.  For me, in this first full year of retirement, …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Managing Leaf Beetles without Chemicals

on June 16, 2014, at 11:56 a.m.
Thirty percent of all animals on Earth are beetles, with 34 times more beetle species than bird species.  Within this immense order of insects (Coleoptera) is the family Chrysomelidae, the leaf beetles.  It is a family of much interest to farmers and gardeners, as leaf beetles can be devastating herbivores.  …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Non-native Trees and Shrubs That Sustain the Garden Food Web

on June 10, 2014, at 9:20 a.m.
Gardeners in tune with nature appreciate the importance of native plants in sustaining the garden food web.  We know, for example, that caterpillars of numerous butterfly and moth species (members of the insect order Lepidoptera) feed on the leaves of native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants and that these caterpillars …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Splendid Groundcover

on June 02, 2014, at 6:46 p.m.
When it comes to groundcovers, gardener’s should follow Alexander Pope’s advice and “consult the genius of the place”; in other words, we should mimic what happens in the wilder areas around us.  For example, take a walk through a mid-coast Maine natural area with an eye to the ground and …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Looking Ahead to June: Growing Summer Squash

on May 25, 2014, at 8:57 a.m.
Summer squash are always a part our vegetable garden from June through mid-October.  We enjoy their reliability, their prolific nature, their bold foliage, and the immense selection of varieties from which to choose each year.  And we love to eat the fruits, slicing a sweet nutty cousa, such as the …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Looking ahead to June: Growing pole beans

on May 20, 2014, at 10:44 a.m.
In mid-May, with highs in the mid-50s and lows in the 40s, a Maine gardener has to have faith that by the second week of June the soil temperature at a 4-inch depth will be above 60º F, the minimum temperature for planting pole beans.  Acting in this faith, Marjorie …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Edible Flowers Growing in Marjorie’s Garden

on May 13, 2014, at 10:09 a.m.
There is a blurred line between edibles and ornamentals in Marjorie’s garden.  Take as an example the self-sown calendulas that grow in drifts and patches throughout our vegetable garden, their orange and yellow flowers serving as magnets for native bees.   The flowers also add a spot of color to our …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Early Spring in Marjorie’s Garden: Foliage Color and Texture

on May 06, 2014, at 11:13 a.m.
At the moment, with wide expanses of bare soil between clumps of emerging foliage, an earthworm crawling across the saturated soil in our perennial bed is easy prey for the robin perched on the overhanging oak limb.  By the end of May, after the foliage of dozens of blooming plants …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Dandelions are Important Early-spring Pollinator Plants

on April 28, 2014, at 9:47 a.m.
(Author’s Note: My first column for the month of May is always about the importance of dandelions as early spring pollinator plants.  I repeat this message annually, assuming that the Bangor Daily News acquires new readers each year for both the print and Internet versions of the newspaper.  Dandelions flower …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Signs of Spring in Marjorie’s Garden

on April 22, 2014, at 5:47 p.m.
Into the fourth week of April, buds are swelling on only two woody plants in Marjorie’s Garden, Lonicera canadensis (American fly honeysuckle) and Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum).  Both are native woodland understory shrubs that will gamble against a late freeze for several days of unobstructed sunlight before the canopies of …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

The Bare Bones of Composting

on April 13, 2014, at 7:05 p.m.
Since early December, the compost pile at the back of the vegetable garden has been a frozen cube of organic matter in various stages of decomposition, covered for four months with a thick blanket of snow and ice.  Now, mid-April, twenty miles inland from the midcoast of Maine, warm rains …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Pruning Forsythias to Enhance Flowering

on April 08, 2014, at 1:10 p.m.
In early spring, beneath the soft and subtle green of oak leaves, the bright yellow of forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia) covers the New England landscape.  I believe states must be offering tax breaks to homeowners who grow this herald of early spring, for few properties are without at least one …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Keeping Monarch Butterflies in Our Summer Gardens

on March 31, 2014, at 9:42 a.m.
The five major forces responsible for Earth’s current species extinction crisis can be described by the acronym “HIPPO”, a useful tool devised by Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson.  Each of the letters in HIPPO stands for one of the major forces responsible for species loss, the “H” for habitat destruction, …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Chickadees at Work in the Winter Garden

on March 23, 2014, at 2:50 p.m.
The calendar says it is spring, but there are divergent opinions on the matter among the residents of Marjorie’s Garden.  The gardener acknowledges that the back of winter is broken, but he will not call it spring until he can touch sun-warmed soil.  Mourning doves discuss the matter from the …
GARDENING IN TUNE WITH NATURE (blog)

Vegetables in pots are a moveable feast

on March 17, 2014, at 11:04 a.m.
When the vegetable garden’s beds, as outlined on the coming season’s planting plan, are all spoken for, and you wish there was just a little more space for a pepper plant or two, or a small patch of that new lettuce variety, think pots.  Vegetables in pots are a moveable …
 
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