Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hands of a Master Gardener

Hands that love this earth
Create sustainable land
That nourish us all


We've begun a lecture series at our Fodor Farm Community Garden and the first lecture I was able to attend was given by a gentleman who is a Master Gardener. Wow! In the hour and a half he spoke, I learned more than I thought possible! Did you know you should use shredded newspaper beneath your tomatoes so they're protected from splashing water and because they're also a good form of nourishment? Me neither! And that we who live by the shore are lucky enough to be able to harvest our very own oyster and crab shells - free of charge - that when crushed are wonderful additions to our gardens? Or to plant your tomato seedlings in no less than a 5" pot and when it's ready to be transplanted, strip all but the top leaves off, then plant it horizontally in not-so-deep (amended always) soil, then cover it with a section of banana peel and then soil? WOW! Whoda thunk? He taught us about the whole nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium conundrum, which I wouldn't possibly remember if I hadn't written it down. Hopefully that'll be on his web site soon (hint!). Then, to top off a most excellent talk, he walked to all our plots and told us what we were doing correctly and then also told us (quite gently) what we were doing wrong (that was just about everything for me...sigh).

A very loverly, most wonderful Saturday morning!



expecting good garden things!

P. S. - Here's the most bizarre thing that happened at the lecture/talk: I raised my hand to ask a question of this master gardener, (who had an accent and told us he, too was an interloper like many of the species we find in our gardens). He said: "Yes, Ann, what is your question?" I thought I knew I'd never seen him before so convinced myself he said "Yes, ma'am, what is your question?" He never said another word, we went on our garden tour, I showed him my plot (totally overplanted the carrots, among other things), he gave me tomato and other advice and I took his card.
Flash forward 4 hours. I finally looked at his card so I could go to his website and get the formula for sterlizing seeds. And found out:

His name is Nick Mancini.
The very gentleman who cut my hair for
years, years ago...
Before he disappeared off the face of the earth.
Now I know, it was to become a Master Gardener.
(And also lose quite a bit of himself.)
He looks just wonderful - and seems so
damn happy!
He recognized me after all these years and I had not a clue!

Strange how paths reconnect...

Wonder if he'd give this old mop of mine a new do...
Boy is it ever needed!

You can visit Mr. Mancini's gardening site here.


  1. Very interesting - especially about the tomatoes - strip the leaves off, plant horizontally?

    LOL be careful if you ask for a trim, he might bring out his gardening shears.

    Have a great day!

  2. That really is a cool story. I would love some carrots, please.

  3. What a great post! Funny how fate works.

  4. I'm with Susan. Ask him to fix your 'do, and you might have nothing left but your top leaves.

    How do you plant horizontally though? I am such an ignorant gardener.

  5. What a wealth of information on his web site! Glad you got to reconnect with an old friend AND learn something new. You really are becoming a true gardener...

  6. SO .. did you tell him you remembered who he was?

  7. Pine straw between rows and panty hose to tie tomatoes to stakes. That represents the extent of my gardening tips. That's a great story about reconnecting with him.

  8. Okay, that story gave me goosebumps! I love that hand shot too!

    Come visit me!!!

  9. What a great story, Annie. And yes, I knew some of that stuff. My dad used to put newspapers under the tomatoes and then plant them like that. He also used to put dead fish under things and then plant on top. Stinky yes, but it was like magic.

  10. How interesting! And the photograph of the hands is perfect...he looks as skilled as a surgeon gently working his miracles.

  11. I knew to do that with the tomatoes, the part about stripping off all but the top....but I had never heard the thing about a banana peel.

    I am off to see his sight now...always something new to learn. I wish I could remember all I learn just from blogging...


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