Kate Muller

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since May 29, 2014
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New Hampshire
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Recent posts by Kate Muller

When you are ready to start putting plants in the ground check out the NH State Nursery.  They have a great selection of trees and shrubs  available to order in the winter and pick up the seedlings in the spring.  

2 days ago
Welcome to gardening in NH!  

Soil testing is a good idea.  NH has so little top soil it is heart breaking. I am south of you on the western side of the Merrimack River Valley. We are on glacial sand and it is taking us forever to build our topsoil.  Everything drains too well and it is so easy to lose nutrients.  Have them also check the soil for heavy metals when you get it tested.  New England has a lot of land that used to be orchards that can have leftover contamination of lead arsenate. It was used for over a 100 years and it is worth the piece of mind to have it tested.

Get your well water tested too.  So many wells are contaminated with arsenic and radon due to the decomposing granite hare in the Granite State.

This has been a crazy spring with snow on May 9th and upper 80 degree temps 2 weeks later. It is not the easiest spring to start a garden or a food forest.  It is also really dry recently which is driving me crazy.

I would start observing and making notes on about your property.  Wind directions, water flow, frost pockets, solar aspect, dry areas and wet areas.  Getting to know the land will help you in the design and planning.  

Check your local transfer station and see if they have free wood chips available. Our town does but not all of them do in NH.  Spreading a layer of compost and wood chips on top of that as mulch will help the blueberries.  Since they are shallow rooted and it looks like we will have a dryer than normal season the mulch should help a lot.  Our bushes are only a few years old and they love the mulch.

2 days ago
You know you are a permie when your cat brings you a gift of the freshly killed vole he caught in your garden.  You thank your tiny panther and then toss it into the chicken run so your tiny dinosaurs can convert it into eggs.   The chickens love the small rodents.
1 week ago
I was talking to my neighbors yesterday.  They were supposed to be in Ecuador this spring but are home instead and looking to have a a small garden again.  

We will be giving them a bunch of compost since I bought extra this spring.  They have 3 small raised beds so it isn't worth the delivery charge for them to get compost delivered and they are really good people so I am more than happy to share.  I don't know if my other neighbors will be gardening but if they want help they will have it.   We really lucked out when it comes to neighbors so they need to be taken care of.

I have plenty of extra seeds from the seed I saved last year and will be sharing beans, kale, pack choi, basil, snap peas, cabbage, sunflowers, and a few other things I have plenty of. I will be holding on to enough seed for 2021 and I will be upping my seed saving this year.

I doubt I will have too many extra seedlings because we expanded the garden last fall and I had a somewhat lower germination rate of my favorite tomatoes.


Scott Foster wrote:

Kate Muller wrote:I grow a lot of herbs and I am looking to add more.  At this point, I grown them either for cooking or for beneficial insects.

Kate, you have quite the collection.   You're lucky you have wild Yarrow!  If your mint got mowed I hope it pops back up, I have a feeling it will.  Mint spreads like wildfire.

Cheers, Scott

The dear husband didn't mow over the mint he buried it while expanding our natural swimming pond.  I was my fault for planting it before the pond was completely finished.  I will replant this spring.  Ironically my last cat killed all my mint plants.  I have had a difficult time keeping any mint plants alive more than a year or two.  It is running joke that I can grow just about anything except mint.

I forgot about the beneficial volunteers  in the yard like mullen, dandelions, dock, sheep sorrel, clover, and other plants I only remove if they are in a really bad location.  

2 months ago
I grow a lot of herbs and I am looking to add more.  At this point I grown them either for cooking or for beneficial insects.

Bunching onions
Garlic Chives
Lemon Thyme
Pineapple Sage
Bee Balm
Cone Flower
Several kinds of mint if my husband hasn't killed them
Yarrow grows wild in my yard.

2 months ago
I have been telling my husband for years that someone would make a fortune designing and selling a robot or drone that sucks up Japanese beetles.  
2 months ago
Our chicken run has a lot of bare ground and is frozen for at least 4 months out of the year.   Our current solution is a deep layer of wood chips added to the heavy traffic part of the chicken run at least 2 a year.  We can easily get wood chips and they are great source of carbon to absorb the droppings over the winter.  They tend to break down rather quickly so we remove them in the late spring after mud season is over and fresh chips to the run.  

Spring through fall we also add a temporary chicken run with movable fencing.  We have several different configurations so they have periodic access to other parts of the yard.  
2 months ago
Eating a low FODMAP elimination diet is difficult but so worth it.  I have been eating low FODMAP for almost 3 years now and I am more than willing to answer any questions you have.  I manage by cooking everything from scratch since I have a few odd food allergies on top of food motility issues.    

As far at what you should and shouldn't eat my favorite source of information is  form Monash University in Australia. They have tested the type and levels of the sugars in various foods.  They have even tested some permies favorite foods to grow.  

The phone app is great.  It not only tells you if it is high in fructans but it also tells you what class of sugars it is high in.  They updated with new foods when they have tested them.  It has a great list of fruits and veggies.  I have tried quite a few new veggies and even altered my gardening thanks to the app.  


Let me know what kinds of foods you eat and what you are having a hard time swapping out?  I may be able to help find alternatives.
Garlic infused olive oil and the green part of bunching onions are the best ways I have found to add those flavors to any recipe.  I tend to use lots of green cooking herbs that happen to also be perennial in my garden along with the bunching onions.  Lovage and celeriac  are good celery replacements in soups and stews.   I use rice flour for sauce making and rice noodles for pasta.  

Watch out for things like dextrose and locust bean gum in ingredient lists.  These types of food additives aggravate my symptoms in even small amounts and they are in everything.  

Good luck and let me know if you have more questions.  

If you are eating out steak houses are the easiest to find food that doesn't have garlic and onions in it.  Sushi is another easy meal.  Chinese restaurants will cook  your food without any sauce if you ask.  

2 months ago
I also keep the ingredients for a Hot Toddy on hand for when you have that sore throat that hurts to breath or drink.

A Hot Toddy with some cloves steeped in will sooth and numb my throat just long enough for me to fall asleep.   It can be made with or without the whiskey. I don't normally drink so that whiskey is enough to help put me to sleep.  

1½ ounce brown liquor such as brandy, whiskey or rum
1 tablespoon honey
½ ounce lemon juice
1 cup hot water
3 whole cloves

3 months ago