Weekly Digest – October 4, 2020

Long hours at work this past week trying to meet a deadline so not much new reading.   That stated, here are a few links worth checking out:

  • We’ve been having a hell of a time with cabbage moths/worms in the garden:  Epic Gardening, How to Get Rid of Cabbage Worms Organically
  • I’ve been learning a little about celestial navigation for work.  That led me to fun website for amateur astronomers, AstroBackyard.  He’s got a great YouTube channel too.
  • On the theme of astronomy, great views of Jupiter and Saturn in the evening.  I haven’t looked for Mars yet but it’s the brightest it will be until 2028:  Sky and Telescope’s Sky at a Glance.
  • I’m coming to the conclusion that if we ever buy a telescope Celestron’s 5 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain will be one.  (Yes, it’s expensive but when I spec out one with  comparable capability which could “grow with us” the price is at least double.  No, we’re not planning on buying one anytime soon.)


Dan Charles, By Returning To Farming’s Roots, He Found His American Dream:

Eighteen years ago, on New Year’s Eve, David Fisher visited an old farm in western Massachusetts, near the small town of Conway. No one was farming there at the time, and that’s what had drawn Fisher to the place. He was scouting for farmland.

“I remember walking out [to the fallow fields] at some point,” Fisher recalls. “And in the moonlight – it was all snowy – it was like a blank canvas.”

On that blank canvas, Fisher’s mind painted a picture of what could be there alongside the South River. He could see horses tilling the land – no tractors, no big machineryand vegetable fields, and children running around.

This is David Fisher’s American Dream. It may not be the conventional American Dream of upward economic mobility. But dreams like his have a long tradition in this country. Think of the Puritans and the Shakers and the Amish. These American dreams are the uncompromising pursuit of a difficult ideal.

The scene that David Fisher imagined, on the New Year’s Eve almost two decades ago, has turned into reality. It’s called Natural Roots Farm.

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Mass Aggie Seminars

2016 Spring seminars from the UMass Extension Fruit Program –

Date Program
(click title or scroll down for seminar description)
(click town for directions)
Time Fee
January 30, 2016 Pruning Apple Trees for the Homeowner & Enthusiasta Hands-on Workshop Harvard 10am – 1pm $50
February 20, 2016 Growing & Pruning Grapesa Hands-on Workshop Belchertown 10am – 1pm $50
March 19, 2016 Apple Tree Graftinga Hands-on Workshop Belchertown 9am – 3pm $100*
March 26, 2016 Growing & Pruning Blueberriesa Hands-on Workshop Marshfield/TBD 10am – 2pm $50
April 9, 2016 Orchard Pest Management for the Homeowner & Enthusiasta Hands-on Workshop Harvard 10am – 1pm $50
April 16, 2016 Pruning Raspberries & other Bramblesa Hands-on Workshop Phillipston/Athol 10am – 12pm $25
April 23, 2016 Invasive Plants in MassachusettsID & Management Amherst 10am – 12pm $25
April 30, 2016  The 100-ft, 25-tree, 5-Variety Backyard Apple Orchard Fruiting Wall!a Hands-on Workshop North Andover 10am – 2pm $100*

* these workshops are longer and involve additional plant material and supply costs

Link to UMass Extension website

T.W.I.G. notes – January 4, 2016

Rabbits have been munching on our high bush blueberries.  It’s winter.  I know they’re hungry but I’m not agreeable to letting them have their way with the bushes:

  • Rabbit-B-Gon pellets:  Effective but use is not permitted in all jurisdictions.  Check your local by-laws!
  • Rabbit-B-Gon is not permitted in our neighborhood so we’ve relied on organic rabbit control methods instead.  Unfortunately, while it seems to work well during warmer months it’s not effective during the winter so looks like it’s time for some fencing.

I noted some mail order nurseries in the previous post.   Stark Brothers is probably better known that any of those – good quality stock and reasonably priced.  Stark is big on apples. While I’d love to have a home apple orchard I’ve steered clear because the area is thick with arborvitae.   Arborvitae are a host for cedar apple rust.  I read somewhere that if you have an apple orchard then you want to clear all hosts for cedar apple rust within a one mile radius.  That ain’t gonna happen here.

T.W.I.G. notes: January 3, 2016

Mail order plants:

  • Chief River Nursery:  Many varieties of trees and shrubs.  Of particular interest to me are hazelnut, Nanking cherry, gray dogwood, American chestnut, and quaking aspen
  • Willis Orchard Co.:  Of particular interest are Methley plum, paw paw, and American persimmon
  • Oikos Tree Crops:  Of particular interest are running serviceberry, several species of native dogwood shrubs (this and this), American persimmon, paw paw, and multiple varieties of plums including several beach plum cultivars.
  • Fedco Seeds:  In Waterville, ME.  Broad selection of fruit and trees, tubers, vegetable seeds.

The Fruit Nut is a nice resource for uncommon fruit and nuts.

Make your own raspberry trellis

T.W.I.G. Notes: September 24, 2015

It’s ragweed not goldenrod that’s aggravating your allergies: Goldenrod vs. Ragweed: They’re NOT the Same Plant!

I planted a fair number of prairie wildflowers this year.  I wanted drought-tolerant flowers that would make bees and other pollinators happy.   Two that I particularly like are Royal Catchfly:


and Meadow Blazing Star:


One of my gardening goals is to have flowers in bloom from May through October.   Right now we don’t have much which blooms in fall.  Plan is to plant some Showy Goldenrod and New England Asters to remedy that.   (Follow the links and you’ll note that Prairie Moon’s seed packets are very affordable.)

TWIG Notes: July 6, 2015

Three Four links this week:

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