Tag Archives: gardening

Today! Saturday morning! 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. FREE FRUIT AND VEGGIE GIVE AWAY AT ST. JOHN’S CHURCH …

… food center, TEMPLE STREET. Every Saturday!


Thank you, Stop and Shop, for donating your fruits and veggies to St. John’s church! (Oh, Lord, stay with us!)

The greening of Rosalie’s shack continues, unabated. Boughs bend, heavy with fruit! Petals of many colors curl and unfurl while Lilac naps…(do they make a sound?)




Can you grow strawberries in a fourth-floor, Green-Island apartment?




Rose pays 2, 3 and 4 bucks for her flowers. Her spider and tomato plants were free – gifts from friends. Babies at the time – you see their cousins strewn on Home Depot cement floors … big box store scraps… Don’t you see? They are Uranus looking for Puck and the other moons!


I wish moonlight made my plants grow.






I dig dirt! I dig digging my plants new digs!


The furtive, mistress-up-the-street Sabino, my Italian grandfather. With 10 kids, wife and hound dog. An avid gardener… When building his house in North Worcester, by hand, with his sons, he directed them: not too big!

Sabino wanted most of his land for growing


Empty pots beckon.

I – Rose, named after my Polish grandmother, named after the velvety petaled flower – will drive around Worcester today, in search of the most perfect imperfect rosebud!


– text+pics: Rosalie Tirella

Parsley! Always in fashion!

Today! Rose’s first ever tomato!!!!! pics:R.T

Rose created this shrine in her dining room: to her Grandfather Sabino (pictured here). An inveterate womanizer, Sabino’s other passion was gardening.


Go Green with Parsley!

By Edith Morgan

I love parsley – especially the curly stuff. The lowly and ubiquitous plant is so easily available, fresh; so easy to grow year after year; so useful for so many things.

I remember as a child, that my mother used it in so many ways: She chopped it up and added it to soups (she used a variety of herbs to enhance our meals’ flavor, but there were a lot of other uses that this great herb could be put to).

In the firm belief that we eat with our eyes as well as with our mouths, she used sprigs of parsley to decorate our food or the serving platters on which they came to the table. For a fancy meal with company, hors d’oeuvres were always laid out in pretty patterns and separated with sprigs of fresh parsley.

Soup all ready to serve? Chop up some fresh parsley and sprinkle it over the soup for extra flavor and décor.

Although we were not Italian, so pesto was not usually on our menu – I know you can chop up a cup of parsley and add it to your usual mix when making your own fresh pesto.

I love baked potatoes and particularly enjoy them stuffed with a number of mixtures: one of my favorites is sour cream, grated cheese and some chopped chives and parsley, mixed together and briefly re-heated so it melts together. That’s almost a whole meal in itself! Naturally, I eat the skin, which is where much of the nutrition is.

When I was growing up we did not have the myriad mouth rinses and breath fresheners that are available now, but we knew the effectiveness of chlorophyll – the green stuff so plentiful in parsley. In my day, chewing on a sprig of parsley was a good breath cleaner (later of course we got chlorophyll gum and toothpaste, etc., but parsley is still the easiest and cheapest remedy).

The plant itself is a most “thankful” one: I have had some parsley in my garden and was amazed that after using sprigs of it all summer and having pretty much given up on it as the snow piled up outside, this hardy little plant survived the winter and was putting out a new crop of parsley sprigs.

Of course, it is great when dried: you can buy it that way at any grocery store. But if you want to make your own dried parsley, it’s easy: I cut the stems off, lay the curly leaves out on a big cookie sheet and let them dry out. If you are in a hurry, turn the oven on a low temperature, put the cookie sheet in, turn the oven off and let the parsley dry out overnight. Then crush the dried leaves, store in a plastic bag.

I have occasionally just frozen fresh parsley for cooking. But for decorating platters and dishes, fresh parsley is most showy.

So, go out and buy a “bouquet” of parsley and enjoy it in as many ways as you can think of!

Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage store open today (Mon.) and Tuesday and every day until 7 p.m. …and REC farmers market TODAY and REC GARDENING WORKSHOPS this week!! … and more!

At Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift shop – 1329 Main St. – Worcester



COLLEGE STUDENTS: CHECK OUT THEIR VINTAGE MERCHANDISE and … Vinyl, 45s, 33s!!, CDs…musical instruments, too!

BEST PRICES in the city!








And from the Main South CDC and Central Branch YMCA…



Crystal Park (aka University Park)!

5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Be there!



From ACE …



FROM REC … This week!!!



Tuesday, Sept. 20
Hector Reyes House
27 Vernon St, Worcester MA


Thursday, Sept. 22; 7pm
Stone Soup
4 King St, Worcester MA


Friday, Sept. 23; 7-8pm
Stone Soup
4 King St, Worcester MA

ENJOY!!!!! -R.T.

Get ready! Autumn’s almost here! … and … REC Farmers Market – across from Foley Stadium!


By Edith Morgan

It’s inevitable: every year at this time, it comes upon us, gradually, sometimes almost unnoticed.

But all the signs are there: Already, it’s darker when I wake up, and for the last two nights, I’ve pulled the blankets higher over myself. Driving home from Lincoln Plaza, if I tarry a bit longer, I no longer have to fight the blinding glare of the setting sun.

The calendar says September, but fall is not really due to arrive until after the 21st. The maple tree in front of my house is still green, and there are only a few leaves on the ground, dried up from the lack of rain. But I know it is all coming, soon! I have started to wear long sleeves, and the temperature is perfect for sitting outside, reading, listening to music or just enjoying the passing ”parade” of traffic.

But the most obvious sign is the steady parade of school buses and of children walking with backpacks, adding to the morning and evening “rush.” The neighborhood has suddenly grown quieter, as studying and earlier bedtimes replace the summer games and activities.

Though the calendar says that fall does not officially begin until closer to the end of the month, so many signs come well before that date: not just the start of school and college, but the planning for next year’s garden, checking the heating system, pruning the bushes once more before winter and fully enjoying all the special activities that are particular to this season. We are surrounded by small towns that have great fairs at this time: some are very old and historical, like the Hardwick Fair; some still feature the doings of 4H and offer close contact with what so may of us in the city no longer get to see: real live farm animals, raised lovingly by the latest generation of farmers. (The animals have not changed much, but the technology has!) Time to visit our favorite nature haunts and all our great Worcester Parks!

I am not so dedicated a gardener that I want to put in a last, fast-growing crop of radishes or lettuce; but I do want to dig up some herbs to grow inside for the winter. Somehow, freshly cut herbs have so much more “bang” to them! I‘m getting my fill of tomatoes now, as my friends and children bring us all kinds and sizes, still warm from the sun. I have always felt bad for those who smoke a lot, as their taste buds are so damaged (at least temporarily) that they miss out on the wonderful and varied flavors of the fresh produce available everywhere now.

And, not to bring up unpleasant subjects, this is the time to trim out the great accumulations of unneeded “stuff” that has accumulated over the summer and to make room for winter clothes … bringing plants indoors and carrying out some of my favorite plant experiments, with seeds that have ripened over the summer.

And this year, I won’t make the mistake of planting a lot of bulbs in the fall, as the squirrels and other visitors from the park managed to dig them all up last autumn and eat them all up!

And don’t forget!


Farmers Market 1-1-1


Edith rechristening Rosalie’s space! … Yummy tomatoes!

Rosalie’s 10-foot-tall tomato plant amid her kitchen jungle, this morning. pics: R.T.

Did she find a single, solitary, precious, illusive tomato today?!

By Edith Morgan

It seems to be the height of the season – so many kinds of tomatoes to choose from, and in so many shapes , sizes and colors! And, believe it or not, they vary greatly in taste and consistency, too.

I have gotten some that were so very juicy that just biting into them was risking a dribble of juice down the front of my face; but then there are others, meaty and rather “mealy,” that do not leak all over me when I take a bite. I like to try them all, and compare. If I was a dedicated connoisseur, I could probably tell which ones were good for sauce, which are good for slicing, which are best for salads, and which make the best diced ones for various hot dishes.

So, my advice at this time is: Try them all, especially the ones freshly picked and eat them raw while they are still warm from the sun and savor the great flavor – so much more potent than the pallid hothouse ones we here in the cold Northeast have to content ourselves with during the winter.

I have always loved tomatoes in all their various forms, but apparently my European ancestors were not always so very enthusiastic about tomatoes. First of all, I learned early on that the tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable (but we are free to use it in any way we choose). Centuries ago, so I was told, the tomato was known as a “love apple,” at one time was also considered poisonous. I have not researched the origins of these ideas, but I do know that the tomato is not the only food to have undergone such a metamorphosis. It’s probably more cultural bias than scientific truth, though I still avoid using the leaves of the plant (there are quite a few plants whose fruit we can eat, but whose leaves are not palatable).

I have friends who freeze cherry tomatoes, to be used in winter. Others make lots of sauce and freeze it. Others slice the large red tomatoes, season them and roast them in the oven, with onion slices and whatever else you like at this time: zucchini and other squashes drizzled with your favorite herbs and olive oil.

For an impressive side dish, my mother used to cut a large, round, red tomato, using a sharp, pointed knife, going around the middle in a zig-zag pattern. She then scooped out the seeds and flesh and filled the two halves with a scoop of various treats: tuna salad, egg salad, cottage cheese or whatever filling can accompany your meal. The serrated edges look festive, are so easy to do, and create a tasty container for so many salads. My mother always believed that you eat with your eyes, as well as your mouth: A meal should LOOK appetizing, as well as be tasty!


Can’t get enough of this Downtown Worcester beauty!!!


Wowza! My tomatoes are getting bigger!!!

Not these, silly readers!


I’m talkin’ my baby tomato plant I was given four weeks ago! It is shooting straight up to my kitchen ceiling! Its fruit secretly blossoming in its slender shoots …


When I got her she was so teeny! See her on my kitchen window-sill with her kid brother, in the green pot, a pretty blue dish to collect the run off???


I gifted her bro to a friend. Now it’s just “Stella” (yes, sometimes I name my plants!) Soon I’ll have to move her, for the last time, to a BIG POT I have waiting for her …


Yes, you can be a gardener in Worcester’s ‘hoods…enjoy God up close… I’m getting more pretty petal babies this afternoon. Placing them in da other window. This one is getting a little crowded!


… Or you can buy FRESH TOMATOES and delicate flowers from Worcester County farmers AT REC FARMERS MARKETS (Beaver Brook today!):

Farmers Market 1-1

– pics/text: Rosalie Tirella

2016 Farmers Gala!! … parked in A.I.


May 19, 2016

6:00 – 9:00 PM

At Tower Hill Botanic Garden
11 French Drive
Boylston, MA 01505

REC and Tower Hill Botanic Garden
invite you to support urban agriculture and Worcester’s food justice movement at our upcoming event!

2016 Farmers Gala!!


Spring tasting menu, by Pepper’s Fine Catering!

Local beer wall!

Silent and live auctions!

Live music!

All in a beautiful indoor/outdoor setting!

We hope to see you there!


Tickets available now!

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets!

Questions? Contact the REC:
Email: www.RECworcester.org


Edith is parked in A.I! … Spring approaches …

By Edith Morgan

Didn’t last week invigorate us all? The wild gyrations of the temperature kept us all on our toes, and we had a great topic for small talk, as speculation as to what weather we might have next fills in the blank spaces in conversation.

But there is plenty else to discuss: Worcester is in for some more great changes, in addition to all the new buildings, streets, trails, park improvements, plantings and other projects taking place in all parts of our city.

Two great decisions face us: the selection of a new superintendent of our schools and replacing Steve O’Neill, former head of the WRTA. Even if we do not have children in school and do not  use public transportation, the domains of these two critical institutions in our city touch us all, even if indirectly.

And of course there is the primary election on March 1 – and preparing for “the BIG ONE” – the presidential election in November.  All these decisions are “heavy duty” stuff – requiring deep thought and research, and we will need some relief from these heavy duties.

So, let’s think SPRING!
I know: spring is really three months or more away, but so much of the pleasure of enjoying it lies in anticipation! Looking forward to that first crocus pushing up through the ground and going out at the first sign of warmth to see if anything else has survived the winter.

During the cold months, I have been in the habit of pushing seeds and bulbs into the ground around my houseplants, quickly forgetting what I buried where.  So, about this time of year, shoots are raising their heads, in unexpected places, enjoying the warmth and increasing amount of sunshine indoors as the days grow slowly longer. And every time we eat an avocado, I save the great oblong pit and in a fit of eternal optimism save it and try to get it to propagate. Avocado pits are very deceptive: They will remain dormant for months and then suddenly develop a root first, split and send out a straight shoot into the air, very quickly. And turning into an impressive sapling in what seems like no time at all.

This is also the time when all the catalogs arrive, and even though I am on a 70 X 70 foot lot, mostly occupied by my house, I still start out with high hopes every spring and try to whittle away at the grass more and more each year to make room for gardening. 

The catalogs are crammed full of eye-dazzling photos and mouth-watering pictures and ideas for growing things in so many ways, there is scarcely any home that cannot accommodate SOME kind of growing thing.
Remember the “Victory Gardens” of World War II? It was patriotic to grow things in every nook and cranny and almost every American tried some kind of gardening. Would this not be a great time to bring back that idea?  The Regional Environmental Council (REC) does such a great job of helping Worcester neighborhoods. REC staff and volunteers teach young people to grow, plant and produce their own food. We should all help and follow their example.

This Saturday! At Worcester State University! All-Day Organic Farming conference!

large_Ben Burkett image
Conference Keynote Speaker Ben Burkett


THIS Saturday,  January 16

(All day)

Worcester State University

Join us on January 16 for our annual one-day conference, which features 70 workshops and exhibitors; keynote speeches with Ben Burkett, family farmer and member of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives; children’s conference and more.

Keynote SpeakerBen Burkett

Ben Burkett is a fourth generation family farmer, who serves as the State Coordinator for the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives.

In 2014 he was awarded a James Beard Leadership Award. His cooperative provides watermelon and other southern grown fruits and vegetables to the communities of Boston. Burkett provides technical expertise to small-scale farmers, farmers with limited resources, and ranchers in rural communities.

He also assists farmers in implementing agricultural marketing/production and coordinates land retention. Burkett serves as the president of the National Family Farm Coalition and numerous boards of directors and has traveled to Senegal, South Africa, Kenya, Nicaragua, Lebanon, and Zimbabwe, exchanging knowledge and information with small-scale farmers.

Conference Schedule:

7:30 am

Registration/Exhibitors open (free tea and snacks for registrants)

9 am – 5:15 pm

Children/Teen Program

(Children/Teen program & Seminar follow same schedule as workshops)

9 – 10:30 am

Workshop Session 1

11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Annual Meeting and Keynote Address: Why Family Farms Matter

11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Organic catered lunch

1:30 – 3 pm

Workshop Session 2

3 – 3:45 pm

Break – Visit our exhibitors

3:45 – 5:15 pm

Workshop Session 3

6:00 pm

Exhibits Close

6:00 – 7:30 pm

Post-Conference Organic Dinner with Keynoter: Intimate conversation around Mr. Burkett’s 7 year carbon sequestration trials

Beginning Farmer Fall Workshop and Winter Conference Scholarships
These scholarships provide Beginning Farmers (farming 10 years or less) with a 50% discount on NOFA/Mass Fall Workshop and Winter Conference registration.

Workshops (workshop descriptions)

All workshops are approved for AOLCP accreditation.

The following workshops are approved Continuing Education Units. Each workshop is equal to 1.5 hour credit. To receive credit the Certified Crop Advisor must sign in at workshop:

New Plant Nutrient Regulations

Making Major Money with Minor Crops: Producing Profit on the Edges

Plant Disease Update: 2015 Year in Review

Effective Pricing Strategies for Local Markets

How to Run Your Own Payroll

Assessing & Managing Agricultural Risks on Your Farm

Five Steps to a Food Justice Farm

Biopesticides: How, When and Why to Use Them

Maximizing the On-farm Benefits of Cover Crops

Vegetable Pests and Diseases in Urban Areas

CLICK HERE to register and for more information!

Here come the catalogs I love! Cheers to the still green peas!

By Edith Morgan

For the first time this winter, we have a bit of snow on the ground, with some ice beneath. Luckily, the schools are still out until after the New Year, and so the slippery sleet on the roads and sidewalks is not a danger to buses and cars  – at least not for the school children, and also not for college students, who are on their winter break, too.

But for those of us who are at home much of the day when the weather gets nasty, the ice and snow are a worry. So we stay in, and wait …

The mail arrives and brings its usual load of “begging” letters,  replete with address stickers, calendars, and all manner of appeals – all designed to pull money out of our pockets. I would have to spend a great deal of time checking out all these apparently worthy causes, with many having names so similar that it is easy to get fooled. So I have started to give directly and locally, to outfits I know, or to organizations that I know really well, and who have a track record of spending the funds I donate directly to their causes, without huge administrative costs and high-paid staffs. 

But intermingled now with all this mail that I usually toss out, the gardening catalogs have begun to arrive!

And with the early coming of night still, just days after the winter solstice, these seed and plant catalogs give me a boost and let me look forward to the coming of spring. (I am told that the very mild winter so far has caused some plants to become confused and to begin sprouting in the middle of winter.)

The seed catalogs are a joy to behold: so many mouth-watering vegetables in full color – pages of bright red and even yellow tomatoes, in all sizes and of varied pedigrees!! And I can get them in various stages of development, too! Further on, peppers too come in so many shapes, sizes and colors – not just the familiar green, but  yellow, orange, and all shades in between.

Not to be outdone, potatoes also take many shapes and colors now,  and last but not least, onions and their many relatives fill more pages with their infinite variety.

Beans too have branched out, into the yellows and purples, but the lowly pea has stayed true to its nature and remained bright green, though of various sizes. Lettuce still is dominated by greens, but sports an infinite variety of leaf shapes.

I have not even gotten to the cucumbers, squashes, carrots, beets and other  less frequently planted vegetables.

But just looking over this mouth-watering assortment is enough to take my mind off the weather outside and to realize that once again, the old saying that ”if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” is still true.

Maybe soon I can start to think about the flowers I want to raise in my back yard …

But for now, we can all watch the snow fall and dream of our gardens, as we would like them to be … soon.