Heather Staas

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

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.
3 weeks ago
I love knotweed,  it's like a slightly lemony asparagus.   Delicious.
4 weeks 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.
1 month 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.  :)

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?  
1 month 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.
1 month 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.  :)
1 month ago
Love the kids maze with teepee idea,  anything that gets children into and interacting with the garden is wonderful!
2 months ago

On a small level,   there are many folks that simply do not know what food looks like outside of the grocery store.   Even something as basic as an apple, they will worry that it's not edible, or actually poisonous, or "dirty" if it grows outside,  etc.   Folks may have no idea that hazelnuts are edible and how to collect and use them.  Similar to how acorns are viewed now.   I think education and hands-on experience needs to be a vital piece of preservation.   Get people interested and involved.   Share the product, but also where it comes from.   Teach children.   Hold open house/yard/gardens.   Give plants away,  etc.   Plant the seed and some few will fall in love with the learning and become stewards themselves.  Or maybe I'm just an idealist ;)    

I've got my son in law eager to turn his backyard into productive space, and my nephew joins me in my urban lot to start seeds,  do a "taste-test" tour regularly, and help with the work.    He's got his mom getting them a small community garden plot, where he'll have the chance to see and meet other gardeners too, from different walks of life as well.   We've gotta raise and teach others to see the value and know HOW to use it and reap the benefits,  as much as preserving the land and forests.
2 months ago
You can never have enough wood chips.   I like arborvitae in general, but in limited space and not an ideal spot?   yeah,  I'd cut it down and mulch it up if possible.   Put it back to work for you and make space for something useful.  
3 months ago