Heather Staas

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since Dec 17, 2013
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dog forest garden urban
Springfield MA
Western MA, zone 6b
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Recent posts by Heather Staas

Oh fun!

I feel like we lost an entire month of June this year as it was SO DRY and everything just stalled out while the chipmunks dug up everything.  My blueberries just shriveled up and fell off,  had a few gooseberries make it.

After covering everything with empty nursery trays,  pieces of hardware cloth,  old bird cages.. anything I can find,  I'm FINALLY harvesting just a few things.   I guess we'll have July in August now.

Anyway,   Starting to enjoy:    noodle beans,  yellow squash, cucumbers, garlic chives, swish chard,  kale,  green onions, and the first cherry and currant tomatoes.  Basil and lots of herbs are in abundance right now too.   I've had endive and pea pods/ shoots reliably for weeks but that's about all that made it to harvest for most of July.  

Maybe winter will be a month late too?   My eggplants, pumpkins, and winter squashes are just starting to get going now.
5 months ago

Currants and gooseberries are hard to find in stores, but you can sometimes find them at fresh farmers markets when they are in season!    I love them,  quite tart and juicy.  

I really like the plan with parking and the keyhole beds,   when I rented I would have loved the chance to have something like that to grow food and herbs in while I rented.  
8 months ago

I love the idea of the keyhole garden, I think you should go for it.    It's fine to turn over the top soil and then put compost, etc. on top.   Watch for weeds that come up through,  depending on what you started with.   Any of the mulching materials are fine,  they are all a bit different and you may find one works better than another for you and whatever you plant.   Any layers or organic material is a good thing.    I do use a lot of cardboard,  that's my preferred method,  I don't worry overly about toxins and I try to use only brown cardboard.    Make sure you share updates and pictures whatever you decide, I would love to see.
9 months ago
I've seen people do it with just cardboard,  which seems to last the season and then needs to be replaced.  But it's "green" and makes good compost after.
10 months ago
I love knotweed,  it's like a slightly lemony asparagus.   Delicious.
10 months ago

As a single woman in my 50s,   self-defense and physical injury would be my two biggest concerns and weaknesses if I were in a situation where I would have to be self-sufficient for a long period of time.   I do believe I could sustain enough food and shelter for myself,  and to keep a couple ducks and rabbits alive over the winter months.   I don't want to be without a large dog though both for sleeping body heat and the alarm/protection provided.   Supporting a large carnivore over the winter by myself would be a huge undertaking.    Hunting/trapping skills would not be on par with what I would need,   although a spring trap for squirrels might get me close.   It's an interesting thought experiment.   Having a partner would make this a much more secure scenario.
10 months ago

Water table/ Mud kitchens are also a big hit with small children.   They usually can't resist squishy messy container type play!

You may not be getting a lot of "garden work" done, but you are getting a lot of educating,  example-setting,  and child rearing done.  Every minute spent in the yard/garden with you is an investment that will pay back tenfold as your little one grows.   The garden and it's work will always be there waiting for you.  :)
10 months ago

I'll admit to now and then pocketing seeds from plants and trees at the nursery when I'm browsing...    is that stealing?   I have a few wintergreen berries tried and stratified this year that I'm hoping will sprout.   I think it probably is, and it bothers my conscience but I can rationalize they they were going to be trimmed off or just drop to the pavement and wasted anyway.    Do you do this?   Is it wrong?  
10 months ago

I'm trying chinese noodle beans for the first time this year.     I discovered basil tea last year so I'm growing more flavoried varieties this year;  lemon,  cinnamon, and blue spice.    I'm also trying chervil for the first time.    Have seeds for both perennial kale and sea kale, hoping I get some results from those,  and I'm starting a boatload of asparagus from seed.    So perennial additions to the yard.   German chamomile as well,  which should easily self seed and become a staple.   Oh, and miners lettuce.   I'm hoping I have an area of the yard suitable for naturalizing that,  I'll try a few different spots with the seed I have.
10 months ago
Last year I found a really nice amalanchier on clearance for 75% off.     It was quite pot bound and not looking great.    After some root surgery I ended up with about 13  really good sized small trees from that one pot!    I planted 3 and gifted many more,   all have swollen buds ready to leaf out as soon as the weather turns warm in a few weeks.  One of my best finds.   I always visit the clearance sections too,  so many really good deals.  :)
10 months ago