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How to Grow Vegetables Year Round on a Maine Island

How to Grow Vegetables Year Round on a Maine Island
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Nancy Jordan grows and serves vegetables year round on her island home in Maine. She shares her top tips for cultivating a successful vegetable garden.

Protect Plants with Netting

Lay plastic netting on bedded plants (tulips, bush beans) or make net tepees around tall crops (fenced peas, pole beans) to keep the deer away.

Welcome Earthworms in the Garden

Earthworms aerate the soil and provide continuous fertilization. Apply lots of mulch and compost to make a hospitable environment. Till the soul with a digging fork; you lose too many works with a rototiller.

Wait for the Last Frost to Pass before Planting

Though they are frost-hardy, it’s best to set out broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower plants that have been started from seeds indoors after May 1 to prevent transplant shock.

Use Seaweed for Fertilizer

Sea plants are great all-around fertilizer, readily available in coastal areas. Use brown and gold seaweed, kelp, sea moss, and rockweed. Pickings are best after a storm.

Use Snow as Protective Ground Cover

Leaving withered plants in the ground over the winter will help snow collect on the ground over the dormant plants. The deeper the snow cover, the greater the protection from the cold.

Deter Slugs with Ducks

To get rid of slugs, raise ducks. Not only do ducks love slugs, they also lay delicious duck eggs and leave behind a great fertilizer — duck manure. It’s a win-win situation.

Excerpt from “Can You Make Vegetables Sing,” Yankee Magazine,, April 1997

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