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Growing mushrooms means drilling holes in a freshly cut hardwood log in which to place fungal plugs. (Henry Homeyer photograph)

Notes From the Garden: Growing Mushrooms at Home

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

About 20 years ago, I started growing mushrooms outdoors on logs. It’s a simple process that involves drilling holes in freshly cut logs and inserting little wooden plugs that I buy called plug spawn. Then I let them develop in the shade of a hemlock tree where they generally produce mushrooms in a year or less. Pretty easy. The best …

A Handyman for That Honey-Do List

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tired of waiting for that honey-do list to get done? Consider hiring a handyman instead to tie up all those loose ends around your house. Just make sure to follow these five tips: ∎ Understand pricing. Many handyman services, but not all, charge an hourly rate and a fee for travel. Yvonne Costin, owner of Grandma’s Handyman Service in Aurora, Colo., charges $75 …

Notes From the Garden: Tired of Winter? Time to Start Forcing Blossoms

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I’ve been hearing from friends who are sick of winter. We’re only about half way done with it, but we haven’t had a break — no January thaw this year — and the snow keeps building up. I have to admit that I’m a little tired of shoveling and paying to get my roof cleared. So what can a gardener do? There’s plenty. …

Outdoor Furniture’s New Looks for 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Outdoor living spaces have come a long way from the days when “outdoor furnishings” meant a few inexpensive folding chairs around a flimsy plastic table. Today’s outdoor chairs might be wrought iron or wrought aluminum, with upholstered seats. The table might be stone or wood or an elegant …

Notes From the Garden: Even Mature Trees Can Be Uprooted and Replanted

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The snow is deep, the temperatures well below freezing. It’s a good time to think about what projects to undertake this year. My friend Evan Schneider, who was in the Peace Corps with me in Cameroon, recently bought …

Notes From the Garden: Growing Your Own Food Can Mean Healthier, and Safer, Eating

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We’ve come a long way from the day when most families grew their own vegetables and had a few chickens and a cow. From the day when fertilizer was manure of some sort, and when bug control consisted largely of picking them off garden plants by hand. My …

Making the Kitchen More Germ-Free

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Even the tidiest kitchens might be harboring harmful bacteria, and often where they’re least expected. Paying more attention to a few often-overlooked places can help keep your household safer, experts say. For starters, home cooks should have four watchwords, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: …

Notes From the Garden: Flower Shows Offer a Respite From the Cold and Snow

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This winter, I’ve been a bit spoiled: Spending 10 January days in Maui will do that. You would think that I’d be ready for all the icy roads and driveways, having been given some respite. But I’m not. …

Snow Removal Gets a Lot Easier

Sunday, January 25, 2015

That familiar refrain of winter is back. Do you hear it? Metal shovels scraping snow-covered driveways and sidewalks. The industrious whir of snow blowers. The grating sound of scrapers chiseling cars out from beneath layers of ice. Snow …

Notes From the Garden: Raising the Next Generation of Gardeners

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My love of gardening comes from my grandfather, John Lenat. He introduced me to his garden and fed me tasty things right from it. He never made me pull weeds, a sure way to discourage young gardeners. In …

Don’t Let Winter Keep You Out Of Your Garage

Sunday, January 18, 2015

January, traditionally, is the month when winter comes knocking at the door. Sometimes (like this year) he just kicks the door in and sets up housekeeping. Still, it’s not too late to marshal every resource your home has to help the cold and dark months pass more smoothly. …

Notes From the Garden: Spending a Day in the Garden While on Vacation

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When I packed my bags to go to Maui recently I thought about packing my CobraHead weeder. But in the rush of getting ready I neglected to do so. I wish I had. That’s right, I like to garden even when I go on vacation. There are always …

Notes From the Garden: Author Advocates Eating Weeds

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter is when I find the time to read gardening books. I recently settled in by the woodstove with The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival by Katrina Blair (Chelsea Green, 2014, $29.95 in …