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Leslie Coons
Hudson Valley, NY
Writer, editor, gardener, eater, cook, mother. Explorer of ideas and places.
Interests: travel, yoga, gardening, dogs, New England, cooking, hiking, reading, writing, photography, technology, biking, cats, baking, social media, New York, Hudson Valley, Northeast USA, New York City
Recent Activity
We're picking wild blackberries at home today, along a ridge in the yard. We'd finish one patch, turn around, and -- I swear -- the almost-ripe berries in the patch we'd already picked had ripened in that short time. Yup, it's been that HOT lately. We've also been picking berries daily from our small blueberry patch (yup -- those bushes are producing even though we planted them this spring.) It's been so warm that we're finding berries turned to "raisins" on the bush the next day. Cannot keep up. Help! :-) To supplement the fruit we grow at home, we've... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2010 at DigThis
Lots and lots of changes in the garden ... Fence is up. (Still need to build the gate, which J is going to make from redwood.) Veggie seeds and seedlings are in. (Next year I'm going to try to do more raised-bed building, but making do with conventional rows this year.) Four new fruit trees (apple, two pears, and a plum) are doing well. Next year we hope to add a dwarf apricot. Blueberry bushes, even though we planted (or transplanted) them this year, are loaded with berries that we should be picking by next weekend. Finishing up putting in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2010 at DigThis
OK, we've got a problem. The wind. The property is a wide long strip of land (a former cornfield that was part of one of the oldest farms in northern Dutchess County, NY.) On the west is a long ridge of trees and rock outcroppings, on the east, a forest. Private road with a couple of homes up on the north side and open fields (and seasonal views of the Catskills) to the south. We have full sun and deep rich soil. But I'm afraid I misjudged the intensity and frequency of the wind that comes from the north this... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2010 at DigThis
So, an update. We've been busy: 60 by 60 feet of deer fence up. Veggie garden -- all 40 by 30 feet of it -- tilled. Some plantings in: kale, parsley, sorrel, red cabbage. Tomato starts are still in house -- will put in garden this weekend. Fruit trees planted: apple, plum, pear. Most of the perennial herbs transplanted from old garden into new: tarragon, lavender, garlic chives, Berggarten sage. Cannot believe I have to buy new onion chives and get lemon balm and anise hyssop divisions from a friend -- my old plants disappeared? Basil varieties seeded in house.... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2010 at DigThis
Taking a break from digging today to write about letting things rot. I've kept compost piles for, well, many many years and at several Hudson Valley homes (urban-ish and rural). Of course, we now have a compost bin here. Composting is good for the environment, leaves me with great stuff to feed the plants and has helped cut down significantly on garbage disposal costs. Even with my experience, I didn't know about all the materials that I could add to the compost pile. Until I found this great resource chart from Florida's Online Composting Center. Ever wonder: "Can I compost... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2010 at DigThis
We have a rhubarb plant. It spent the winter in the part of the property that got flooded (a.k.a. The Grand Bottomless Chasm of Mud & Slop) and it's looking kind of sad. So, I'm looking for rhubarb sources in the Hudson Valley. Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2010 at DigThis
We've been really busy with the garden and have made lots of progress. Photos soon, I promise. Meanwhile, I am happy to announce that the Hudson Valley now has another fruit orchard. OK, it's a mini orchard. A personal mini orchard. Our dwarf (and semi dwarf) fruit trees, which we bought at Adams Fairacre Farms in Kingston last weekend, were delivered today. We were impressed by the healthy trees (and reasonable prices!) The semi-dwarf McIntosh apple, dwarf Red Anjou pear, dwarf Red Bartlett pear and dwarf Stanley plum will be joining four highbush blueberries and a rhubarb already in the... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2010 at DigThis
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at DigThis
In honor of Earth Day, the Hudson Valley's own Pete Seeger singing the Garden Song. Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at DigThis
Definitely want to share this Rutgers website, which ranks plants by their level of resistance to deer damage. This will be very useful as we plan our plantings in "deer alley!" For example, the Buddleia (butterfly bush) will probably be OK outside the deer fence. But tulips and strawberries are just going to be snack food without protection! Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2010 at DigThis
Slight technical problem moving the photos of the new garden site from camera to computer. We're working on it and promise to share soon! In the interim, here's an older photo of Bearded iris "Batik" -- a great plant that I've grown for more than 10 years. I still have to decide where to move the irises at our new garden site. Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2010 at DigThis
We have tilled about a third of the new 60-foot by 60-foot kitchen garden/potager and started installing the 7-foot high deer fence. It looks great. More details and photos tomorrow -- I'm exhausted! :-) Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2010 at DigThis
The tiller is back. And now, the real fun begins! Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2010 at DigThis
And by "you" I mean my TroyBilt Horse tiller. The dang thing is STILL not back from its tuneup. It's not that there's so much wrong with it, but rather that the Hudson Valley shop where we brought it has been inundated with people wanting their lawnmowers ready for the summer. Hey - don't my veggies count? So breaking ground for the new garden is still on hold. I'm ready to go and champing at the bit. I have a plan and I'm excited about it. I'm depressed by all this waiting so long. I'm ready to build a fence.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2010 at DigThis
The tiller is still not back from shop. Boo hoo! So, to stay busy outside, I decided to build my very first water feature. This is definitely learn-as-I-go. The water garden uses the steady outflow of clean water from a sump pump that's under the house. It already had created a small stream that flows into a marshy area of the lawn. I've been digging out the stream to add stones for waterfall action. It's coming together nicely! Ended up with two small water streams w/ several falls curving around a center mound to be planted with ferns. I have... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2010 at DigThis
Must share this good info as a permanent link --'s slideshow on the best 5 insects for lawns and gardens. See which natural predators will protect our plants from harmful insects. Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2010 at DigThis
The weather has been beautiful lately. I'm itching to get out and work in the garden ... well, if we HAD a garden. We're still working on that. But, if all goes as planned, we'll be tilling and fencing our kitchen garden soon. We're just waiting for our Troy-Bilt Horse (a BIG tiller) to get back from its spring tuneup and for the soil to dry from all the rain we had earlier this week. We've found some 7-foot high plastic deer fencing at Williams Lumber & Home Center in Rhinebeck and will be anchoring that with 4-foot chicken wire... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2010 at DigThis
Wind. Cold. Rain. And hail fell this morning. Yet, spring officially starts at the end of this week. I'm ready for it. Here's a photo of a bluebird that was resting on the satellite dish in our yard in mid-February. And I saw five robins splashing in a puddle outside the house today. Spring. Let's bring it on. :-) photo copyright 2010 Joe Bostian, used with permission Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2010 at DigThis
Now, fear of an apocalypse is NOT the reason why I grow some of our own food. I'm more about the ideas of freshness, exceptional taste and economy. But this video clip of Stephen Colbert is well worth watching -- what a hoot! The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30cSurvival Seed Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorSkate Expectations OK, back to digging up raspberry transplants. Because who knows when we'll need them to barter for zombie protection ... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2010 at DigThis
Even though the main parts of the property are still too wet to work, I managed to get some hands-on gardening done this weekend. We have a slope that gets full sun and needed ... something. And I had a large (20 by 20) overgrown patch of raspberries at my old garden to deal with. So, I decided to start dividing the raspberries and plant them on the slope. On Sunday, I moved and replanted 17 red raspberries, 18 gold raspberries, 1 blueberry, 1 massive butterfly bush and 1 rose bush. (The non-raspberry plants went in other places on the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2010 at DigThis
We experienced lots of extreme weather here during the past few weeks. Heavy (I'd even go as far as "torrential") rain, snow, wind ... the upside is that I now know where all the potential drainage issues are on the property. The once-every-200-years kind of drainage issues. The result: the house is fine but portions of the yard have turned into what my significant other calls the Grand Bottomless Chasm of Mud and Slop: Rokeby Gorge. Including the spot we have marked out for the new garden. Now: Then: The muddy mess is all over the property. Even the poor... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2010 at DigThis
Thinking about fencing today. A necessity here in Deer Alley. In the past I've used buried chicken wire fences to ward off groundhogs but I sense the struggle against wild critters will be greater here. I've checked out high deer fencing in a few catalogs ... it'$ painful to price out. Maybe chicken wire (tastefully disguised under a lot of pretty vining plants or behind some prickly bushes) is the way to go. More later ... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2010 at DigThis
Thumbing through seed catalogs. Making lists. I have several categories of importance. There's what we'll use a lot of, such as tomatoes and green beans. What we can preserve to eat later, like winter squash and berries (to freeze). And what we need to make us happy. Like rosemary. And tarragon. And flowers. I have to have flowers and herbs and love mixing them in with the veggie plants! I've spent time studying photos and drawings of European potagers. I love the concept and in my previous gardens have used some aspects of the designs I've come across, although in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2010 at DigThis
Last burst of light before sunset, just a few days ago. Love the gold. It's all white today. Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2009 at DigThis
Moonrise just a few days ago. Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2009 at DigThis