March 23, 2014

Seed-starting workshop offered

“Winter had lasted so long that it seemed it would never end.” 

Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote those words in her book, The Long Winter, a novel about enduring the winter of 1880-81 in the Dakota Territory. In the book, Ingalls Wilder describes a winter so cold, snowy and relentless that the Chicago and North Western Railway was forced to stop trains from running until the spring thaw finally left the tracks passable again. This left their hometown of Tracy with precious little food or fuel and compelled her future husband, young Almanzo, and his friend, Cap Garland, to risk their lives on a perilous trip across the prairie in search of a store of wheat that they weren’t sure even existed and delaying her family Christmas until May.

In much of the country, this has been a persistent winter too, one for the record books with the North Country being no exception. As I began writing this, I’d just finished cleaning up from the recent storm (and I’m fairly certain that my road and driveway are going to be drifted shut when I get home from work this evening). What’s more, it looks like it’s going to be another below zero night tonight. I can’t remember a previous March where temperatures have fallen to 10 degrees below zero (or more) in the morning. Can you?

Many of the winter sports enthusiasts that I know are jumping for joy, excitedly anticipating a season of spring downhill and cross-country skiing and snowsledding, while most of the gardeners I speak with are singing the blues, longing to get their hands into the soil and dreaming of daffodils, tulips, rhubarb, asparagus and strawberries. And, even if it is snowing or below zero outside, they are preparing for the growing season right now.

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  • Gast_Richard.jpg Bee balm a beautiful garden herb

    Not only to the flowers add color to the summer landscape, the plant has a long history of medicinal and herbal use, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Drip irrigation has many benefits

    The system targets the correct amount of moisture directly to plants while not washing away nutrients, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Climate assessment a cautionary tale

    Major impacts of global warming will have a profound impact on the region's future, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Be a locavore

    Farmers markets offer easy way to support local agriculture, maintain a nutritious diet, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Raised-bed gardening workshop offered

    Cooperative Extension may have a better way to conveniently grow vegetables, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Asparagus offers a taste of spring

    Cultivation of widely grown delicacy goes back to ancient times, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    May 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Maple sugaring season is underway

    Climate change has generally pushed back the season, but this year has been an exception, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Seed-starting workshop offered

    Cooperative Extension offers everything you will need to start a successful garden from scratch, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Addiction to energy has costs

    Damage to environment, climate change just two of the problems caused by runaway energy consumption, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    March 9, 2014 1 Photo