Marie Ramos taught elementary school for over 31 years. She has lived in the same house in NY for over 73 years and has lots of gardening knowledge to share.
Tell me about your first gardening experience?
Home and in backyard
Knew at early age what vegetables were called.
What does organic gardening/earth friendly mean to you?
Protecting our soil from pesticides. Hard in suburbia landscapers spray pesticides which is also very bad for pets… that’s why there are poison flags on lawns.
Who or what inspired u to start using organic techniques?
Just read about it.
How did you learn how to garden organically?
Learning from scientists and library books, believe in doing things naturally, banana peels around rose bushes make them bloom, companion planting.
Tell us about something that grew well this year.
Depends on weather cycle – storms last year badly damaged plants and even killed a few…grow mostly herbs which are wonderful plants.
Fennel, sage, thyme, oregano, basil, Borel, marjoram, chives, santalina, lavender, lemon-balm, orange mint, rosemary, sorrel.
Plant edible herbs right outside back door for cooking ease.
Mint and garlic are good for repelling insects and basil is good for tomato horn worm.
Is there something you would do different next year?
Depends on weather
Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.
Garden never stays still – a movable feast – always needs changed around…
Something that u find is easy to grow and is generally successful every-time
Pineapple sage…is an annual. Grows to about 3 feet high, late bloomer…wonderful aroma when you rub leaves and has a beautiful red flower.
Something you would steer new gardeners away from that you find is typically challenging to grow in your climate
Things not natural to our country…stuff from overseas….Bamboo can be invasive weed that will overtake
In order to attract birds and butterflies and bees you want to plant things that are native to your area.
Do you have any secrets for preserving food-making it last?
Donate – cook and freeze. Prefer dried herbs to frozen…do freeze pesto.
Poach fruit for wintertime. Peel fruit, and put it in hole. Know it’s cooked when you put a knife in it and it’s soft. Doesn’t need too much liquid, because it makes it own juice, put a cinnamon stick in it.
To make apple or pear butter, poach and then put in blender and add some spices. Lots of recipes online.
Eating or harvesting vegetables or fruit on time?
Plan garden as to when they come up. Lettuce is an early spring vegetable, it bolts in heat of summer, then in fall it comes up good again. Some veggies grow quickly, peas are early spring, not summer.
Had a wonderful squash success last year.
Do you have any special techniques for cooking weird or unusual foods?
Squash flowers, need to be gentle, wash and dry softly with a paper towel, make a flour and water batter that is kind of runny, dip flowers and sauté until crisp. Eat right away.
A favorite recipe you like to cook?
Have a basic sauce for cooking with chicken, fish, vegetables,
2 tbls olive oil
tablespoon of butter
chop an onion/and a bit of garlic.
Sauté, add some wine – white or white vermouth – just a couple of splashes – ⅛ of a cup or so.
Lower heat, add whatever you’re cooking…thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage…
Simmer till cooked
A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be.
Hand clippers… lots of cutting, deadheading, shipping.
A favorite internet resource?
watch a lot of food programs – cook with herbs and vegetables
A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can
The Little Guides Herbs by Geoffrey Burnie
Cook with children…let them taste vegetables raw while cooking, baking seeds, pull spaghetti squash apart, grow little tomatoes so they can pop them in their mouth…
Planting native plants to encourage birds, bees, butterflies to become part of your garden because they really are endangered, and need to have gardens healthy for all of the animals and helping work on our climate.
Clark Garden is a botanical garden on Long Island.
Founded in 1969, Clark Botanic Garden is a 12-acre living museum and educational facility. They are dedicated to understanding and appreciating the world’s plant life through horticulture, education and research. Collections at the garden include native spring wildflowers, conifers, roses, perennials, daylilies, wetland plants, rock garden plants, herbs, butterfly plants, medicinal plants and over a dozen collections of particular plant families. Clark Botanic Garden also has a wonderful gift shop.
Nutmeg in the garden
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