[Snakeroot Organic Farm logo]
 • What's New Here
 • Snakeroot Poultry

 • About Our Farm
 • Annual Farm Tour
 • Community Supported
    Agriculture Plan (CSA)
Directions to our Farm
 • From a Run Out Hayfield to
    a Prosperous Organic Farm
    in Ten Easy Years

 • Get Real. Get Organic!
 • History of Our Farm
 • Pictures of the Farm
 • Where We Buy
 • Where We Sell
 • Our Yearly Work Schedule
 • Just Pretty
 • Subscribe to our e-newsletter.
 • Newsletter Archive.
 • What We Will & Won't Ship

 • Working Here
 • Our Apprentices
 • Our Farm Workers
 • Pictures of Us at Market

 • Fresh Vegetables
 • Fresh Fruit
 • Fresh Herbs
 • Perennials
 • Aloe - a magical plant
 • Our Bird Houses
 • Lupines
 • Rosemary Plants
 • Lovage, Tansy & Yarrow
 • Our Product Brochures
 • Dried Vegetables
 • Dried Culinary Herbs
 • Maple Syrup
 • Maple Syrup, p.2
 • Sugarin' Is Like Ice Fishin'
 • Our New Sugarhouse
 • Tomato Seedlings
 • Tomato Seeds We Offer
 • Tomato Seed Production
 • Paste Tomatoes
 • About Garlic
 • Garlic for Sale
 • Garlic Year Round
 • Mulching Garlic
 • Growing Rounds from Bulbils
 • Whole Bulbil Cluster Method
 • Planting Garlic

 • Using Mulches
 • Combatting Quackgrass
    with Mulch

 • We Want Your Leaves!
 • In Praise of Chips

 • Buying in Bulk for
    Storage, Canning & Freezing

 • Winter Storage Tips
 • How to Freeze Our Veggies
 • Building Techniques
 • Our Outbuildings
 • Evolution of the Farm Table
 • The Story of Our Cooler
 • Prepping Veggies for Market
 • Crop Rotations
 • Drip Irrigation
 • Low Pressure Water
 • Planting with Spreadsheets
 • Greenhouse Vegetable

 • Let-tuce Begin
 • Recipe Favorites
 • Our "Remay Roller"
 • Gardening Class Notes
 • Your Most Expensive Crop

 • Being Green
 • Digging Potatoes by Hand
 • Farmers' Markets in 2012
 • History of Pittsfield
 • Hybrids or Open Pollinated?
 • Making Websites
 • Open Source Software

    Our Retirement Plan
 • How Should a Farmer Retire?
 • Impediments to the want-to-be     farmer
 • Reducing the Value
    of the Land

 • Who Will Farm Here When
    We're Gone?

 • Apprentice Terms and Stages
 • From Apprentices to Partners
 • Transferring Farm Ownership

…and now for something completely different…

At dawn
Canoe bow waves are quickly lost
    on the shoreside
But go on out of sight
    on the lake side.


The constant swish-swish of skis
    On a day long ski.
The constant swish-swish of wiper blades
    On a day long drive.


My dog, trotting barefoot
Steps on a garden slug
And thinks
Nothing of it.


Word spreads quickly
as I approach the pond.
All becomes quiet.


Hidden in the vines
a large warted cucumber
jumps out of reach.
A toad!


Delicate puffs
of marshmallow snow
carefully perched
on a branch,
await the trigger of my hat
to melt their way down my back.

Deep in the tomato jungle
Fruits of yellow, purple and red
Tell of their readiness
To go to market.

Sugarin' Chores
Snowflakes hurry through my flashlight beam,
As my boots knead new snow with spring mud,
On my nightly Hajj to keep the boil alive,
For as long as possible until the dawn,
To match the power of the flowing sap,
With my meager evaporator and will.
The prize at the finish line are jars of syrup
And Spring.


Lovage, Tansy & Yarrow

Yarrow, Tansy and Lovage are three inhabitants of old fashioned herb and kitchen gardens. Yet each has herbal, culinary, ornamental, and gardening uses in a modern landscaping design.

Gardeners may want to reserve areas for one or more of these plants because each plays host, home and food source for beneficial insects, which will then stick around to prey upon pests in your garden. Thus they help replace the use of insecticides for the conscientious and ecological gardener.

For an eye-catching display from July to October, group all three together. Plant lovage (the tallest) in the center, surrounded by tansy (medium height), then by yarrow (shortest). The above ground parts of all three die back every winter to re-grow the following spring.

LOVAGE Levisticum officianale (Carrot family)

Lovage is a perennial aromatic herb native to the mountains of France, Greece and the Balkan states. The seeds, stems, leaves and roots are used for flavorings and food.

Greenish-yellow flower heads up to eight inches across are made up of hundreds of tiny flowerlets, similar to Queen Annes lace. Lovage is the giant of the Umbelliferae (carrot) family which includes carrot, parsley, celery, dill, fennel, angelica, dong-gui and Queen Anne's lace. In the late fall the entire top dies back completely to regrow the following spring.

Propagation: Lovage grows well in any deep, well drained soil, and loves compost. It may be propagated by seed or root cuttings. Plant seeds in fall or spring, allowing 4 weeks to emerge in spring. Keep soil moist.

In June, transplant seedlings to where they are to live. In late fall, 2-3 year old roots may be dug and divided, replanting each piece that has a growing point.

Lovage tolerates a pH range of from 5.5 to 7.5, grows 4-6 feet high, and while it does not seem to mind crowding, two feet between plants is recommended. Lovage enjoys full sun or partial shade. Pinch back seed heads as they begin to form if you desire larger roots to harvest.

Uses: Pick leaves and stems (celery-like leaf stalks) throughout the growing season. Leaves can be used in broths, sauces and salads; stems as a vegetable in soups and stir fries; roots can be chopped as a vegetable or grated into salads; seeds are used in wine and refreshing summer drinks. Fresh leaves and peeled stalks can be chopped into salads. Use half as much as you would celery.

Lovage broth: 4 cups of well flavored brown stock, seasoning, 5 tablespoons fresh or dried chopped lovage leaves. Bring broth to a boil, add seasoning, add lovage and let simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. Serves 4.

Lovage is your ally in the battle against garden pests. The flower heads (umbels) are made up of hundreds of tiny flowerlets that provide nectar to feed the adults of tiny mosquito-sized parasitic wasps which will then lay their eggs in your soft-bodied garden pests. When the egg hatches, it destroys the pest by eating it from the inside. The tiny flowerlets allow the quarter inch long wasps to feed on nectar where larger flowers make feeding difficult for the tiny wasps. So if you can get the adults to stick around by providing them with a food source, you will notice less pest damage in your garden.


TANSY Tanacetum vulgare (Aster family)

Tansy is a hardy perennial, native to Europe. It is also found in the northeast US from Maine to the Carolinas. The above ground parts completely die back in late fall, but persist into late winter; they should be cut down by spring to make way for the new growth. Pile the cut down old stalks where you would like to seed a new plot of tansy .

Tansy grows four feet tall with coarsely divided leaves 3-5 inches long. Flat clusters of button-like flower heads bloom from late July to September. In shape and color tansy flowers look like the centers of daisies without the petals, only tansy has heads of dozens of flowers on one stalk. Tansy has creeping rhizomes (underground stems) which enable it to spread readily.

Tansy can be started from seed or from root divisions. Give young plants 12 to 18 inch spacing. Plants will self-sow. Not particular as to soil type, doing well in a pH range of from 5 to 7. Likes moist, rich soil with good drainage. Prefers sun or partial shade.

Drying: Flower stalks can be cut and hung to dry when in full bloom. Dried leaves can be added to your pets bed to repel insects.

Garden Uses: Tansy repels borers when planted among young fruit trees. Tansy is a good companion plant to raspberries, black-berries and grapes. It deters cucumber beetle, squash bugs and Japanese beetles. It concentrates potassium making it a good addition to the compost pile. Planted near a walkway, tansy releases its aroma each time it is brushed against. Plant near the doorway to prevent flies from entering.

Beneficials: Tansy attracts dozens of ladybugs during certain weeks of the growing season; they love to lay their eggs on tansy. These feeding ladybugs will stick around to feed on the pests in your garden. The smokey-tar aroma of tansy makes it a moth and ant repellent—the dried leaves are used in storing furs and woolens—and the flowers and leaves of the plant make tansy a good border plant or backdrop to the garden.

Herbal Uses: Medicinal tea. Vermifuge (eliminates intestinal worms). Adds zip to scrambled eggs, omelettes, fajitas, and poultry stuffings. Sharp flavor, use sparingly.


YARROW Achillea millefolium

Originating in Europe, this hardy, highly viable aromatic perennial grows to 3 feet. Flower heads vary from white to blue, yellow, salmon and red, depending upon individual plant. Tiny flowers appear in flat clusters 3-4 inches across. Fine feathery lace-like foliage completely covers the stalks. Yarrow has been found in 60,000 year old Neanderthal burial caves, indicating its been used by humans for a very long time. The Chinese I Ching uses 50 yarrow stalks tossed on the ground as a method of divining the future. Forty six American Indian tribes also used it.

Propagates by seed or root division in either spring or fall. Clumps should be divided every 3-4 years to stimulate growth. Prefers an acid soil of pH 4.5 to 7. Extremely drought resistant, and will grow in gravel. Likes full sun.

Drying: Harvest plants as they come into bloom in June and July. Essential oil content is maximum at the onset of flowering. Hang to dry. Yarrow continues to blossom into October. To keep leaves from turing dark, dry quickly at 90-100 degrees out of the direct sun.

In the kitchen yarrow is an occasional stand-in for cinnamon or nutmeg.

Garden Uses: During the gardening year, keep an eye on your yarrow. At some point you will notice that it has attracted dozens of ladybugs. These feeding ladybugs will stick around to feed on the pests in your garden.

Hoverflies, robber flies, 1/4 inch long chalcid wasps, and braconid wasps all use yarrows nectar as a food source. Each of these will then stick around to attack your garden pests.

Yarrow increases the essential oils of plants growing nearby.

Herbal Uses: The crushed leaves are an astringent (stops bleeding) and helps cuts heal. Legend has it that the Greek god Achilles used it for healing his soldiers after battle. It is also said to reduce inflammation, increase perspiration, relieve indigestion and has diuretic effects.

Three-Fever Tea: Add 1 part elder flowers, 1 part yarrow leaves, and 1 part peppermint to 2 cups of water. Pack into quart jar, cover with steeping water and let set 3-4 hours. Pour out, add honey if desired. Enjoy hot or cold.

27 Organic Farm Road, Pittsfield Maine 04967
owned and operated by
Tom Roberts & Lois Labbe
Tom: Tom@snakeroot.net (cell) 207-416-5417
Lois: Lois@snakeroot.net (cell) 207-416-5418

Gardening for the public since 1995.

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