Pat Kenschaft: How I Became a Gardener

BY  |  Friday, May 18, 2012 2:59pm  |  COMMENTS (14)

When we moved into our current home in the summer of 1975, my husband suffered terribly from allergies, so it was clear I would have to maintain the property.  A decade earlier I had seen a woman mowing a lawn for the first time, so I was liberated enough to undertake this new activity.

I asked a neighbor what was involved in caring for a lawn.  “It depends how good you want it to be,” was his quick answer.

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Pat Kenschaft: March! Time to Plant Peas!

BY  |  Tuesday, Mar 06, 2012 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (4)

March! The time to plant peas! One my one, with the stick I found years ago and care for tenderly because it is perfect for poking a two-inch hole for a pea. Each pea is about two inches from its nearest neighbors. I try for a hexogonal pattern, but any approximation is good enough. I don’t worry too much about placement, but it is the most tedious job in the garden except possibly the initial thinning of carrots to a half inch. My aging legs can take squatting just so long, and then I must do some stand-up activity. But I expect to finish planting Sugar Ann peas today, anticipating eating fresh peas in May.

2012 provided some new twists. On Wednesday I realized my FEDCO order hadn’t arrived yet. Surveying the gorgeous winter roses in my front yard, I turned around and there it was! No problem in either case. It wasn’t like last year, when it came and the Sugar Anns were delayed. Continue Reading

Pat Kenschaft: Save New Jersey’s Waterways

BY  |  Thursday, Jan 12, 2012 1:27pm  |  COMMENTS (6)

Today I wrote to Sen. Nia Gill and Assembly Members Thomas Giblin and Sheila Oliver, who helped pass a bill that will double the amount of runoff pollution in waterways across the state.

According to Environment New Jersey, the Dirty Water Bill (A4335 and S3156) “allows developers to consume 300,000 acres of the most valuable open spaces left in New Jersey – primarily forests, wetlands and streams that feed drinking water reservoirs and endangered species habitat,” adding 339 million pounds of pollution to these waters every year.

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Pat Kenschaft: Tips for Winter Gardening

BY  |  Friday, Dec 30, 2011 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (3)

Happy New Year!  As we start 2012, the active gardener need not stay idle, or even just pour lustily over the gardening catalogs, an inspiring and informative winter activity in itself.

This morning I dropped a shovel on a bare spot of the garden and the garden bounced it back.  The eternal optimist, I then thrust the shovel down nearby and it went right into the soil!  So I then filled a large lasagne pan with soil from around the second spot and put it into the oven, now empty from Christmas baking.  The compost was harder to dig, but I put another large pan of compost in the oven.  Someday in the not-too-distant future when we go out to a dinner or a party, I will set the oven at 200 or 250, depending on how long I plan to be away.  Then I will be able to make potting soil for early plants inside.

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Pat Kenschaft: Factory Farms Breed Dangerous Flu Viruses

BY  |  Friday, Dec 02, 2011 12:06pm  |  COMMENTS (5)

With recent news about a scary new strain of flu, this email blast from Montclair environmentalist Pat Kenschaft caught our eye today. We print it with her permission.

The impression I had from the promos for “Flu Factories,” that the movie wasn’t relevant to my selfish concerns because I am a vegetarian, turned out to be totally wrong. The thesis of the movie is that factory farms provide an incubator for new flu viruses that endanger the lives of
all of us, and possibly even our species.

In nature there is a limit that deadly mutations can do because “a dead bird doesn’t fly very far.” But in a factory farm a dead bird doesn’t have to fly at all to infect other birds with the same new mutant of a disease germ. This is especially true if chicken and pig factory farms are close together because our three species seem to have a special propensity to share influenza.

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