Stargazers Vineyard and Winery: Our Environment Episode 4

Find out more about the Vineyard and the history behind the name Stargazers

Southeastern Pennsylvania is home to a number of picturesque wineries, and Stargazers in Coatesville can be counted among them. But the vineyard and winery also stands out for the unique environmental example made by its owners.

Stargazers’ owners and operators, John and Alice Weygant, use energy-efficient methods to make their wine. And those sustainable methods carry over to their home with solar panels, cisterns that recycle rainwater, and highly efficient building design. In this episode of Our Environment, I left the studios of 1370am Pottstown and spent time with the Weygants in their winery and in their home, finding out how sustainable living can be easy, economical, and even profitable.

To find out more about where Stargazers’ surplus solar energy goes and how you can take advantage of clean electricity, visit http://www.theenergy.coop/Electricity/electricity.htm

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Inevitable Compost

Some things are meant to be, whether we like it or not.  To me, composting is inevitable if you really enjoy gardening. I live with my mother in Chester Springs, PA and I have as much gardening  freedom as one can have in a new townhouse development where landscaping is restricted by an association.  Continue reading

Out Planting the Planter

The more unruly the better.

Last summer I had no idea what I was doing.  Let’s start there.  I planted what looked pretty, straight out of the pot.  I didn’t pay attention to the notes on the tags about growth patterns, and even if I did, I lacked the wisdom and foresight to take all the information into account.  With that said, I must admit, despite my ignorance, my plantings look awesome! Continue reading

Helping to Grow a Greener World

In light of my last posting I must say, the power of hope and positive thinking really came through.  Since the Philadelphia International Flower Show, I’ve been communicating with TV garden show host and author, Joe Lamp’l.  He has a new show premiering on PBS in May called Growing a Greener World.  And I’m excited to report that I’ll be the new GGW Production Assistant.

Joe Lamp'l taping the first episode of Growing a Greener World at Greensgrow farm in Philly

GGW is a show about more than just gardening.  Joe goes around the country interviewing interesting people who inspire communities to be more sustainable.   There are people who rent out bee houses and teach home bee keeping. So renters can produce their own honey in their backyard, and at the same time they’re helping the dwindling bee population. 

Also featured , the Edible Schoolyard in Berkley California, inspiring kids to garden and eat right. And in his first episode he’ll visit Greensgrow Farm in North Philadelphia. It’s an urban farm that feeds the local community and local restaurants.

On top of the great garden related segments, each episode will include a cooking segment with Chef Nathan Lyon, showing viewers different ways to cook the plants they grow.

This is exactly the kind of work I’ve been looking for, gardening, producing, interviewing and talking about sustainability! Check your local listings to see what channel it will be on.  The show premieres on May 15.

WHAT GOES AROUND…

Just a warning to readers this is a fairly long entry.  But if you love container plants, especially succulents, as much as I do you’ll want to read on and maybe learn from my pitiful karmic lesson:

At the end of the summer I went on a spider eradication campaign with my beloved succulent containers.  Everything that had been displayed proudly on the back deck had to be de-spidered…

Now before you go accusing me of being some sort of prissy irrational novice gardener, please take a moment to think about where I’m coming from.  I am all for using natural repellents on harmful pests.  And I understand that spiders are more helpful than harmful to the tiny habitat known as my back deck. 

But this summer I was an avid watcher of the Showtime program Nurse Jackie and in one of the last episodes of the season a patient came into the ER with what he thought was a cockroach in his ear. Continue reading

Slug Shots: Cell phone pics and gardening tricks

In late May I planted salvia, marigolds and a red flower that’s supposed to attract butterflies.  Red is supposed to be a color of abundance and it turned out that I got an abundance of slugs. As the leaves were slowly eaten up the brilliant red drained away and everything slowly fell apart.

I wanted to stop the slugs but I couldn’t bring myself to kill them the old fashioned way i.e. salt.  Sure I was the cruel kid who was fascinated by the physical reaction of spiders drenched in Windex and salty shriveled slugs on the hot driveway.  But I’m an adult now.  If I’m going to kill a living creature I want it to look as humane as possible.  So I stood out in the driveway next to my shriveled plants, with tin foil in one hand and full-bodied beer in the other.  I popped the cap, took a drink then folded the foil into a bowl shape and poured a third of the bottle inside.  I set my make-shift slug trap in the mulch by the flowers and actually watched one slug make a slow U-turn toward the beer once it got a whiff.

Apparently slugs like the yeast in beer. So they slowly slink into the trap and drown. The flowers bounced back wonderfully after the culprits were eliminated.  Through the Summer I shared a few more bottles with the garden slugs and every time I did, the plants came back to life. I’m sure their deaths were more painful than I want to admit, but I like to think they went out feeling high as a kite.  And I like having a good excuse for drinking while gardening.