Celeste in the Garden

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About this Blog

Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens. Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer. Her new book, “Celeste’s Garden Delights,” is now available!

November 6, 2014

It’s important to get the garden beds cleaned up in the fall. Any of the plant remains and the leaves need to be moved into the compost. Otherwise, they can hide insects and foster disease conditions for next spring. Leaving a nice, clean bed helps you to get a head start after the winter. Here, in the United States, states east of the Mississippi also need to lime their beds. We tend to get acidic rain so a dusting of lime is necessary each fall. Any crops that you want to continue to pick... more

October 7, 2014

Here are tips on how to freeze spinach, swiss chard, and beet greens so that you can enjoy them at a later date! Freezing Spinach, Swiss Chard, and Beet Greens Gather them up from your own garden or purchase a few bunches from your local Farmer’s Market. Wash carefully. For spinach: Tear into small pieces, discarding the stems. For Swiss chard: Put into the steamer whole or tear smaller pieces away from the stems, placing the ribs aside. For beet greens: Treat like Swiss chard. Greens need to... more

September 16, 2014

The Harvest Moon is named such for a reason. Now is the time to stock up on all sorts of veggies and fruits for the winter. Farmers everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere are chock-a-block full of the bounty of their efforts. There are deals to be had! Find out where the nearest Farmer’s Market is to you and make a point to visit it. See the Almanac Farmers' Market Directory. Bring a large basket. Or, call your local farmer and ask what’s available and if you can come by and pick up some ... more

July 27, 2014

Drying is one of the oldest forms of preservation in the world. Virtually all indigenous tribes used the technique as a way to preserve foods for colder or drier times. As you enjoy the fresh produce of summer, consider drying your vegetables and fruits to keep them longer. Some things can be spread out in the sunshine but most require a drafty shade to maintain their color and nutrients. These days we have electric dehydrators which work quite well. Ovens can also be used; mine has a pilot... more

May 23, 2014

I love gladioli. I like to have them to put into bouquets during much of the summer so I plant them sporadically. I start in early or mid-May (once the frost is done). Ten go into the ground a couple of inches down. Since they are going to need stakes eventually, the stakes get placed next to them. This way, their spots are marked and they will merely need to be tied when the flowers begin to sprout out of the leaves. After another ten to twelve days, I plant them again. I repeat this process... more

April 15, 2014

Many folks like to start their own transplants in pots indoors before the cold weather has completely lifted. Others, like apartment dwellers or folks with a minimal back yard, enjoy growing produce in pots all summer long. Now, spring, is the ideal time to start. Make sure that the pots you are going to use are clean and disease and pest-free as well as possessing some drainage holes. If you are going to reuse one, rinse it with bleach; a 10% bleach solution on an old rag works wonders. Just... more

March 24, 2014

In my last gardening post, I had decided to bring in a stem of forsythia and another of magnolia to force a little spring my way. Well, we now have an answer concerning forcing the magnolia. It did bloom and in quite a beautiful way. First, it sent out a lovely bud. Then, it opened to a sweet flower. However, the flower lasted only a few days. The forsythia was a bust. Even though I have forced them before, this time it didn’t blossom. In years past, the flowers bloomed and lasted quite a ... more

March 16, 2014

This has been a tough winter. I, for one, am looking forward to spring! To force it a little, I decided to bring in a stem of forsythia and another of magnolia. I’ve done this before with the forsythia so I know that it will bloom. The magnolia is a bit of an experiment. It should do the same, right? Stay tuned. I went out through the heavy snow (it was almost up to my hip) and cut a stem of forsythia and two of the magnolia. Then I scraped the bark from the bottom of the stems and pounded them... more

February 4, 2014

While it’s been cold in a good deal of the country this winter, it’s still time to begin thinking about next year’s garden. What did you most enjoy? Which crops grew the best for you? What would you like to try different this year? The Almanac offers a great Garden Planner to which you can subscribe here. If that doesn’t interest you, grab a notebook and make your own garden plan. Remember, it’s important to rotate crops so you’ll want to be able to refer to your old garden plans from last... more

January 12, 2014

Chickens love to go outside during the day. Yes, they do come home to roost at night, but they love to romp in the Sun when it’s up. They scratch the ground looking for bugs and worms, stretch out and sunbathe in the rays and dig deep dirt holes so that they can “dust bath” in them. They emerge from their baths completely covered with dirt and create a huge dust cloud around themselves as they shake it off. It’s quite hilarious to watch. Chickens, do, however hate snow. Once the white stuff... more

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