We are very excited about our new upcoming gardening series here at the Hartstone Inn and Hideaway featuring our vegetable garden guru, Shelley Johnson. Shelley tends all of the culinary gardens at the Inn and also grows produce on her farm for the Hartstone kitchen. She has a great wealth of knowledge when it comes to vegetable gardening and loves to teach, so this series is perfect for her. Each class includes 1 1/2 hours in the gardens with Shelley and 30 minutes in the kitchen with Chef Michael to cook and taste some of the bounty from the gardens.
Hartstone’s Vegetable Garden Guru – Shelley Johnson
Some of my earliest memories are of the rich smell of soil in my Grandfather’s greenhouse and of helping my Dad transplant the hundreds of azaleas that dotted the landscape around our house. While I always dabbled in vegetable and container gardening, it was the move to Maine in 1985 that allowed me to begin pursuing my gardening interests in a more expansive way. After completing the Master Gardener course of study and becoming active in Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), my interest in intensive and organic vegetable gardening blossomed. I now tend my own vegetable gardens here at Breatheasy Farm as well as those of others. I am also a commercial grower for Fedco Trees, a growers’ co-op based in Waterville, Maine.
Planting a Spring Garden
May 23-24, 2009 1-3 pm – cost: $50/person
We’ll discuss how to ready your garden for spring planting and make the best use of whatever space you have available. Since it all starts with the soil you’ll learn how to create and keep soil fertile (hint: it doesn’t come from a bag) in the vegetable and herb garden and techniques for creating raised beds that are simple and low maintenance. We’ll discuss how to choose the proper plants, plan the garden layout, and get a jump on the season with row covers and mulches. We’ll harvest a variety of greens, lettuces, and herbs from the Hartstone Inn gardens before heading into the kitchen to cook and taste with Chef Michael for 30 minutes. Recipes will highlight the early Spring harvest and include Michael’s fruit salad dressings and various tossed salads.
Intensive Plantings in the Vegetable and Herb Garden
June 13-14, 2009 1-3 pm – cost: $50/person
The highly productive garden beds at the Hartstone Inn will serve as a hands-on classroom for tips and advice on how to intensively plant and maintain a vegetable and herb garden. We’ll discuss succession sowing, companion planting and choosing the right plants for a given site. Low maintenance raised beds are capable of producing copious amounts of vegetables and herbs if you know how to make the best use of your location and how to give your plants what they need for robust growth. We’ll be able to view the results of our spring sowings and the new growth on our early summer seedlings like tomato, basil, and pumpkin. We’ll harvest a variety of herbs, greens and young root vegetables and join Chef Michael in the kitchen for a 30 minute cooking class and tasting.
The Late Summer Harvest
September 19-20, 2009 1-3 pm – cost: $50/person
After a full season of growing, the gardens at the Hartstone Inn will offer up a great variety of herbs and vegetables and lessons learned from another season of growing. This is the perfect time to review what went right and what went wrong and begin planning for the next year. We’ll learn proper harvesting techniques to maximize the garden’s yield, look at the many heirloom vegetable varieties available for the best in taste and beauty, and discuss how to extend the season through the first frosts of autumn. After harvesting and gleaning the garden’s bounty, we’ll head to the kitchen at the Hartstone Inn to spend 30 minutes with Chef Michael as he uses the summer harvest in some of his favorite recipes.