Archive for the ‘grow your own’ Category

Filling Local Food Pantries with Fresh Food

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Last year’s bumper crop of garden vegetables enabled me to contribute fresh food to a nearby food pantry. There, I saw shelves full of locally grown vegetables, lovingly washed, trimmed and packaged by Dennis Chasteen especially for the pantry’s clients. Find out more about Dennis and how to get involved in helping to provide healthy nourishment for those in need in this recent article from The Wire:


Growing to Fill the Need


Lee resident Dennis Chasteen was up at 5 a.m. on a recent morning to harvest baby spinach from his garden before the heat became oppressive. A retired chemistry professor at the University of New Hampshire, he meticulously tends his 100-square-foot garden, growing more than 30 varieties of organic vegetables in raised beds.


Once he’d reaped a good haul of spinach, Chasteen and his wife began packaging the leafy greens into recycled containers that he stores in his garage, collected from former UNH colleagues and other friends. By 9:30 a.m., he was at the Seacoast Family Food Pantry in Portsmouth to give away the fresh produce.


Chasteen has been donating produce to local food pantries for the last four years. He makes the 30-minute trip from Lee to Portsmouth once or twice a week. Last year, he donated about 800 pounds of vegetables to the pantry, and he’s already delivered some 250 boxes of lettuce, spinach, and arugula this year.


“I enjoy gardening and I recognize that there’s a need. With the economy the way it is, this was an opportunity to give back,” Chasteen said. “It’s quite a lot of work, but I feel that it’s worthwhile and I enjoy doing it.”


Chasteen isn’t the only Seacoast resident making healthy donations to local charities. A growing number of organizations and individuals across the region are dedicating portions of their farms or gardens to area food banks and pantries, providing fresh and nutritious produce to needy families.


For local pantries, the giving comes at a critical time. The number of families requesting assistance has swelled dramatically in recent years.


“We have actually quadrupled in the last four years the number of people that we serve,” said Diane Giese, executive director of the Seacoast Family Food Pantry. In 2007, she said, the pantry served around 50 families each month. Now, they serve between 200 and 230 families per month. “It’s really huge.”


But, with help from local farmers and gardeners, the pantry has also expanded its offerings over the last few years. Located adjacent to Portsmouth City Hall on Junkins Avenue, the pantry’s shelves once were filled almost exclusively with nonperishable canned goods. On a recent weekday, patrons could find fresh corn, apples, potatoes, arugula, tomatoes and more—even kumquats. They also offer eggs, cheese and milk, as well as meat donated by Hannaford Supermarket.


“We’ve gone from basically not offering anything that is fresh like that three years ago to having this wonderful selection of great, healthy things for our families,” Giese said. Read more at The Wire…


For more information on food pantries that accept donations of fresh food, please check our resource page: Visit to learn about the Plant a Row for the Hungry program in the Seacoast.

New Community Garden at Exeter High School

Monday, June 20th, 2011

bilde-1.jpegThe new community garden at Exeter High School is the result of a number of collaborators working together to create a wonderfully integrated program — from the garden to the cafeteria!


Service project sets healthy goals for EHS dining


Twelve Exeter High School seniors left their mark at the school this past Monday by helping build a community garden full of organic herbs and vegetables to be utilized within the school cafeteria.


As part of the Class of 2011’s community service project, four beds were built behind the school, filled with various herbs, greens and other healthy vegetables. The project was headed by EHS’s Environmental Club, Master Gardener and UNH Cooperative Extension member Margaret Theobald, and health and wellness counselor Tracey Miller.


“We’re trying to work more on letting students know where their food is coming from,” said EHS teacher and Environmental Club leader John Brough.


Brough and Miller said the idea for an organic garden at the school came from the national nutritional movement called the Action for Healthy Kids Initiative, which aims to end childhood obesity. Brough said the school wanted to get involved with the cause, which is supported by First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. “There’s a local garden at the White House these days,” he said.


Theobald of Exeter said the beds will be maintained by students, teachers and community volunteers. “This is a real school and community effort,” she said. “I was absolutely delighted to help out my community.”


The school’s Food Services Director Jeanne Pierce said the long-term goal of the garden is for the cafeteria to provide its own herbs and vegetables. She said the cafeteria has already started using some of the garden’s products, such as chives and scallions, and staff and students are learning how to incorporate these items into their cooking.


“The food service staff is getting more training on cooking with greens,” said Pierce. She said the dining staff is excited to learn “creative recipes” they can serve to the students, adding that they recently introduced kale chips into their menu. “It’s a learning process,” she said.


Pierce said the cafeteria already is supporting the local community by allotting $100 to be spent each week on local products, such as vegetables or fish, from local farmers. The school also plans to implement an “eat local day” once a week in the cafeteria. Read more at…

Beginning Beekeeping, June 26

Monday, June 20th, 2011

There are a few spots left for this weekend’s workshop, Beginning Beekeeping, taking place on Sunday, June 26th, at 2 p.m. in Barrington, NH. Sponsored by the Seacoast Permaculture Group, join Amy Antonucci of the Seacoast Beekeepers Association as she takes you through the basics of keeping your own bees:


Beginning Beekeeping

Seacoast Permaculture Group

Barrington, NH

Instructor: Amy Antonucci

Sunday, June 26, 2011

2 p.m.


Integrating (principle 8) honey bees into our permaculture system offers us renewable resources and services (principle 5) and a delicious yield (principle 3)! If you are interested in bringing these amazing creatures into your landscape, come learn more. With an emphasis on natural methods, we will go over basic beekeeping terms, basic honeybee biology, equipment needed to get started, types of honeybees and how to get them. Products and services of the hive will be discussed. What to expect in terms of time and money input, and where to get more information will also be included. The plan is for 2 hours of indoor presentation, show-and-tell, and question and answer. Then, if the weather allows, we will spend about an hour looking in the hives together. If the weather is poor, I wil have an indoor alternative learning experience planned!


Amy Antonucci has been keeping bees for honey and pollination since 2005 and has been involved with organic agriculture for over ten years. She gives talks at libraries, schools, has been interviewed on the radio about apiculture and is VP of the Seacoast Beekeepers Association of NH. Please wear or bring light colored clothing, and consider if you’d like long sleeves and pants if we get into the hives. If you happen to have or can borrow a bee suit or veil please do—I will have some for folks to borrow also.


We are charging on a sliding scale for this: $10–30 per person. This workshop isn’t geared towards kids, and we will have limited space inside. Older kids who want to work with bees, though, are very welcome.


For more information:

Volunteers Needed for Community Garden in Greenland

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Now in its second year, Living Innovations in Greenland is offering space for those interested in participating in a community garden. From


Living Innovations seeks gardeners for its Greenland parcels


GREENLAND — A local provider of services to the elderly and disabled is seeking volunteers to help form a community garden.


Living Innovations, a provider of both in-home and community-based services, is requesting local gardeners to tend its parcels of land at its corporate headquarters at 47 Tide Mill Road off Route 33.


“Living Innovations will provide the land, fencing, water and use of restrooms during our regular business hours,” said Neal Ouellett, president of Living Innovations. “One of the sections of the garden will be reserved for a group of active seniors who belong to Wentworth Connections, a membership organization and senior center on Parrott Avenue in Portsmouth. The other plots will be available to Greenland and other Seacoast residents on a first-come basis.”


Living Innovations also has guidebooks from successful projects in other communities that can be used for inspiration. The organization has 11 offices throughout New England and serves communities from Massachusetts to Maine. It provides support for seniors, people with long-term illnesses or developmental disabilities, and children with health and behavioral needs.


Those interested are asked to call Veronica Polak at 422-7308.


For more information about finding a community garden near you, check our resource page for Community Gardens >

4-H Goat Clinic, July 16

Friday, June 10th, 2011

285.jpg4-H is holding their annual Goat Clinic on Saturday, July 16th, at the 4-H Youth Center in New Boston, NH. Sign up soon for a day of hands-on activities involving raising and showing goats. If in need of a goat, contact them about the possibility of borrowing one!


4-H Goat Clinic

4-H Youth Center, 15 Hildale Lane, New Boston, NH

Saturday, July 16, 2011

9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

$10 per participant, space limited


A 4-H Goat Clinic will be held on Saturday, July 16 at the 4-H Youth Center in New Boston. All counselors and staff are volunteers with knowledge in raising and showing goats. The day’s program will include hands-on activities involving hoof trimming, clipping, fitting & show, and fun activities. A mock show will be held at the end of the day.


Each participant needs to bring a goat (owned or borrowed) to the clinic, as well as bedding, feed and equipment, proof of Rabies vaccination and 4-H animal approval form. All goats must be born by March 10, 2011 and had a Rabies vaccination at least 30 days before the clinic (all goats must have had their vaccination with in the last year). All goats will be checked upon arrival for sore mouth, pink eye, and other contagious or infectious diseases. If your goat does not pass inspection, you will be asked to take it home. (Contact Jolee Chase about borrowing a goat.)


$10 per participant, space is limited so registrations are due as soon as possible. Payment due July 10th.


More detailed information will be sent to all registrants. For more information, contact Jolee Chase at 603-641-6060 or


For flyer and registration form:


For more information:

NH Alert: Garlic Bloat Nematode

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

clip_image001.jpgThe following alert is from the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture — please be aware that the zip code for Exeter, Brentwood, and Kensington is one of the destinations of infested garlic shipments. Garlic bloat nematode has already been confirmed widespread in New York, and also confirmed in Pennsylvania, Ontario, Vermont and Massachusetts.


Garlic bloat nematode is a microscopic worm that can destroy a whole garlic crop. If you have this nematode, it can be spread on equipment or boots, and has over 100 host plants, including many weeds. If you have an infestation, you may be rotating many crops for 3 to 4 years, and there is the possibility of contaminating your neighbor’s crops or soils. If you’ve been growing your same garlic for many years and have not introduced any new stock, it is doubtful you have this pest. However, if you’ve purchased or brought in new planting material on a regular basis, there’s the possibility you have this pest. [Garlic Seed Foundation]


Alert: Garlic Bloat Nematode


In the fall of 2010, garlic bulbs potentially infested with the garlic bloat nematode, Ditylenchus dispsaci, were exported from Canada into New York as a food product. However, following arrival in New York, they were distributed as seed garlic. They were then shipped throughout the northeast for production purposes. In New Hampshire, it is known that this garlic was distributed to the following zip codes: 03221 [Bradford], 03303 [Concord, Boscawen, Penacook, Webster], 03833 [Exeter, Brentwood, Kensington], and 03070 [New Boston]. No further information regarding distributors, size of shipments, etc., has been provided at this time.


This nematode, which is also known as a bulb and stem nematode, causes bloated, twisted, swollen leaves, and distorted and cracked bulbs with dark rings. Infestation with this nematode can weaken plants, causing them to be susceptible to secondary infections. Presence of this pest can affect export of the infested crop. Besides being a concern in garlic, this nematode can also affect other Allium species, such as leeks, onions, and chives, as well as other crops and plants including nightshades. The nematode can overwinter in the soil, and can be moved throughout the field on farming equipment, shoes, etc.


Management recommendations include destruction of dry plant debris which can harbor the nematode, management of nightshade near crops, crop rotation away from Allium species on a four year cycle, use of chemical fumigants or bio-fumigant cover crops, and good sanitation practices. Links for information about this nematode can be found by visiting: and selecting the garlic bloat nematode link. You can submit plant samples for nematode identification to the Michigan State University Diagnostics Center ( Their basic nematode analysis for out-of-state samples is $75 per sample. Please check their website for more information and specific instructions for shipping out-of-state samples to Michigan.


For more information:


See also the NH Vegetable, Berry, & Tree Fruit Newsletter (April 2011) from the UNH Cooperative Extension:

Spring Herb & Garden Day, June 4

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

56.jpgJoin Canterbury Shaker Village and NOFA-NH Herbal Network for a celebration of herbal traditions on Saturday, June 4th:


2nd Annual Spring Herb & Garden Day

Canterbury Shaker Village

288 Shaker Rd, Canterbury, NH

Saturday, June 4, 2011

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Visit Canterbury Shaker Village this Saturday and learn all about the benefits of herbal medicine, holistic health, herbal self-care and more. Take part in one or more of the many workshops we will be offering throughout the day including Cooking with Homegrown Herbs, Growing a Tea Garden, Herbs for Pets, and even an advanced workshop on Holistic Health given by well-known Boston Herbalist, Margi Flint.


There will be food preparation demonstrations plus hands-on activities for the whole family. Make an Herbal Birds’ Nest, learn about Seed Starting, and help your child build a Fairy House out of natural materials. Take an Herb Garden Walk and stroll through the Market Fair where local vendors will have products for sale. Enjoy entertainment by Morris Dancing and a performance by Araba-Lon Drummers.


The day is FREE for NOFA-NH members. No pre-registration needed. $17 admission for non-members, $42 Family rate, Children 5 and under Free.


For more information: or

Dover Cassily Community Garden’s Growing Children Series: Compost & Soil Safari, June 4th

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Join the Dover Cassily Community Garden’s “Growing Children” children’s garden program “Compost & Soil Safari” on Sunday, June 5, 2011. Come dig into the garden soil and compost pile and find out what makes up “dirt” (i.e.: bugs, organic matter, etc.)


This is the third in the summer long Growing Children Activity Series focusing on growing cycles, affinity for planting, caring for, harvesting and eating locally grown organic produce, community building, social interaction, exploration of nature, getting dirty and just plain having fun!


Children of all ages and families are welcome to attend free of charge. Much more information (including directions) is available at or email Traci, Youth Outreach Coordinator, at All programs will begin at 10am at the DCCG shed and run from about an hour to an hour and a half.


Directions from the Spaulding: Take exit 9 toward Rt-9/Dover/Rt-108/Somersworth. Turn left onto Indian Brook Drive. Turn left onto 6th St. Travel about 1.1 miles then turn right onto Hillside Drive.Directions from Downtown Dover: Take Central Ave. northbound. Take a left onto 6th St. Travel for about .5 mile then take a left onto Hillside Drive.Once on Hillside Drive, continue toward the ball fields, through the gate (the road turns to gravel). Pull into the upper parking lot on the right and park near the green DCCG shed.

Start Your Garden Days at the Farmers’ Market, May 21 & 26

Friday, May 20th, 2011

wakerobin_seedlings_.jpgStart your garden at the farmers’ market!

Start Your Garden Days:

Portsmouth Farmers’ Market

Saturday, May 21, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Exeter Farmers’ Market

Thursday, May 26, 2:15 – 5:30 p.m.


Whether you’re a novice gardener or an old hand, there’s always somewhere to start and something to learn. Visit the SGA Market Activity Booth for these free transplanting demonstrations:


• Portsmouth, Saturday, May 21

Led by SGA’s own Sofie Larsen of Applegard Farm in North Berwick


• Exeter, Thursday, May 26

Led by Nada Haddad of the UNH Cooperative Extension


Tap into the expertise of both Sofie and Nada — and peruse Sofie’s personal library of beautiful gardening books — to get your garden off to a great start. A bounty of seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds will be available for purchase, and of course dozens of varieties of New England-hardy vegetables, flowers and herbs can be found with our vendors.


For more information:

Poultry Workshop Series: Brooding, May 24

Thursday, May 19th, 2011


Join New Entry Sustainable Farming Project on Tuesday, May 24th, to learn how to set up a brooder and raise healthy chicks. Check their website for other field workshops in this series:


Poultry Workshop Series: Brooding

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project

Ogonowski Memorial Fields

126 Jones Ave, Dracut, MA

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

4 to 6 p.m.


New Entry’s next poultry workshop is coming up! Our Brooding Workshop is next Tuesday, May 24th, from 4–6 p.m., and it’s only $15 (free for New Entry graduates)—register now!


This field training will cover how to get poultry through the crucial first few weeks. We’ll go over equipment, setting up a brooder and preparing for the chicks to arrive; watching chick behavior and letting them tell you what adjustments to make; feed, water and grit; chick health concerns and what to watch for; predator control; alternate brooder designs; and moving the birds out to pasture. Best of all, the stars of the show will be our chicks — around 150 in all, and half of them will be less than a week old.


This is the third installment of our poultry workshop series. Click here to read about the rest.


To register online > Email or or call 978-654-6745 with any questions. Otherwise, we’ll see you next week!


For more information: