Greater Newburyport Edible Garden Group - EGG


Greater Newburyport Edible Garden Group - EGG

Calling All Food Gardeners! Experienced or Novice

Join us for a monthly group meeting to learn and share information about sustainable food growing -- veggies, fruits, herbs, berries, nuts.

Location: Greater Newburyport, Massachusetts
Members: 17
Latest Activity: Mar 23, 2012

AS you may know, we have left off postings of our meetings on this site and instead use our Facebook page, Greater Newburyport Edible Garden Group.  Please visit there to learn what we have in store for 2014.

Permaculture: A Path to a Sustainable Future
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 7 PM
27 Cherry Street, Newburyport

The March meeting of the Greater Newburyport Edible Garden group featured Debbie Richards and Lillabeth Wies, who presented a description of Permaculture and its approach to a sustainable future. The meeting was held on Tuesday, March 25th at 7:00 PM at 27 Cherry Street in Newburyport. Topics included:
1. What is Progress?
2. What is a natural garden, and why does it work so well?
3. Why do our landscapes need so many outside inputs and take so much human labor?  Because most of our landscapes do not feed into the natural cycles.
4. Let’s see how we can work within natural systems in our landscapes so that they support themselvesand us with less work from us, provide use beauty, serenity, and a harvest; and at the same time protect and purify the air, water and regenerate the soil.
5. Bringing our Soil back to life:  Follow Nature's Lead
6. Bringing our Gardens to Life:  Follow Nature's Lead
Debbie Richards is a local organic gardener with 35 years of developing an outstanding Family Food Farm.
Lillabeth Wies is the owner & operator of Landscapes by Lillabeth, LLC, an organic Permaculture landscaping company. She has an MS in Ornamental Horticulture and 34 years experience in landscaping and gardening.

Our last meeting was Tuesday, February 26, in the Newburyport Public Library Program Room starting at 7 PM. 

Starting and growing your own seedlings allows you to choose from an almost unlimited number of varieties of your favorite vegetables, ones that you would never find for sale at the big box stores or even local garden centers.  We'll talk about what kinds of vegetables actually benefit from being started from seed indoors and then transplanted, what basic equipment you need (with an emphasis on re-purposing or recycling common household items), how to time your activities to New England weather, and then what to do as your plants grow but before they are ready to be planted outside.  
Dawn Vallejo, EGG co-chair, has been starting her own tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, onions, herbs and flowers from seed for many years and will be sharing her experiences and mistakes. This will be a round table discussion, hopefully with input from others who start their own seedlings, and with questions with those who haven't tried yet.  Bring along any seeds you have that you would like to share or swap. Think Spring!


Our January 22 meeting with Dan Kittredge on bionutrients was a hit at over 18 attendees.  We'll put the notes on the page "Past Meeting Notes"

Monday, November 19, 2012 at 7 PM


On Monday, November 19th at 7 PM, Deb Carey shared her experience as a beginning beekeeper tending the hives at the New Eden Community Garden in Newbury. There were samples of different flavored honeys available for tasting. This meeting of the Greater Newburyport Edible Garden Group was held in the Program Room of the Newburyport Public Library at 94 State Street.


October 16th at 7 PM
Virtual Visit to a Backyard Foraging Paradise

On Monday, October 15th at 7 PM, the Greater Newburyport Edible Garden Group (EGG) was transported to the Food Forest Farm in Holyoke MA, where permaculturists Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates designed and created a low-maintenance, sustainable food garden of perennial, poly-culture, multi purpose plants. EGG enthusiasts Deb Carey and Chaffee Monnell visited the farm and shared their experiences and photos of the site. Eric Toensmeier is the author of “Perennial Vegetables” and co-author of “Edible Forest Gardens”. For a sneak preview of the site check out this video.  The meeting was held in the Program Room of the Newburyport Public Library at 94 State Street. 


Monday, September 10th at 7 PM
Backyard Gardening and Energy Saving Systems Site Tour

Join us at Chaffee Monell's, 7 Maplewood Ave in Amesbury on Monday, September 10th, 7:00 PM for a fascinating tour of the systems he has created at his home for food growing, water and energy conservation. The tour will highlight the solar heat harvester he built for dehydrating food in the summer and heating the house in the winter.

 Get a preview of the tour here.


Our August 13 meeting is at Carol's house at 7 PM, where we will learn about hydroponics and her Tower Garden. Hydroponics allow gardeners without soil to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs anywhere there is suitable light.

The address is 2 Main Avenue, South Hampton, NH  03827 which is at the corner of Clement Lane and Main Avenue (Rte 107A).

Tower Garden® simplifies traditional gardening, using a unique vertical, hydroponic and aeroponic garden system that makes it easy to grow your own fresh fruits and vegetables at home, on your deck, and patio..  This garden system uses less than 10% of the water, as well as land normally required for 20-28 plants.  Tower Garden Organic mineral water was also developed by Tim Blank of Future Growing.  With this closed system we can grow all vegetables, berries, fruits, and herbs that are not root plants.  We can begin gardening with plants from your local garden center (thoroughly washing off the soil) or start your own from seedlings.

Here is a picture of one I took at the Tannery Mall. 




Meeting Minutes:

Our last EGG meeting was July 9 at 7 PM at the the Community Room at the Institution for Savings in Newburyport.  We discussed planting for fall crops, shared seeds, and talked about plant pests.  Following that our August session will be at Carol’s where we will see her hydroponic tower garden, then Chaffee’s to view his dehydrator in action in Sept.  Our October session will be back at the Library on our trip to the Food Forest Farm in Holyoke, and November will highlight beekeeping and honey tasting, again at the Library.


A really good source for information on bugs is at

Here is their recipe for anti bug juice:

Home Garden Bug Solution Printer Friendly Page

  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs Tabasco sauce or other hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid soap
  1. Cut up onion and garlic, put into blender with water and puree.
  2. Strain solids out, combine liquid with remainder of ingredients.
  3. Spray on top and underside of leaves and anywhere else damaging bugs are found.

Recipe Tip! To make even more aggressive, add 1 tsp of Cayenne or crushed red chili flakes to blender mixture.


EDIBLE GARDEN GROUP June Meeting: The Herb Spiral!

Thanks to our member, Kate Broughton, we had a great session on her spiral.  See meetings and events for the notes.


Planting suggestions:

While it might be a bit late in some parts of the country to plant peas and start tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, it is just the right time to get warm season succession planting started to get some delicious greens, beets, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, heat tolerant lettuces, green onions, snap beans, Swiss chard, kale, zucchini and melons growing to provide a great summer full of tasty vegetables out of your garden.

Yes, you read that correctly- Swiss chard and kale are not only cool season crops, but do incredibly well during the summer. We couldn’t keep up with ours and wound up treating the horses and chickens to tasty greens on an almost daily basis!

Here is a short list of varieties that will do well in plantings for June and July-

Beets - 35 days for greens and 50 days to mature
Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage – 64 days
Carrots – 50-70 days
Cucumbers – 50-70 days
Lettuce – 45-70 days or 30 days from transplanting
Green onions – 60-70 days
Tendergreen bush bean (snap bean) – 45-60 days
Swiss chard – 30 days baby, 60 days mature
Vates Blue Curled Kale – 30 – 45 days baby, 60-80 days mature
Cocozelle Italian Zucchini – 50-60 days
Minnesota Midget Muskmelon – 60-75 days

If you haven’t even started planting your garden yet, you could take this list, plant it soon and have plenty of time to have a great garden this year!


What can you do to help farmers and avoid genetically modified food?

Purchase food directly from farmers
Participate in a CSA (community supported agriculture)
Shop at a farmer's market (See Seacoast Eat Local's Harvest Guide )
Grow your own garden- even if it's a small window garden
Buy certified organic items at the grocery store, and local organic products when you can
Avoid processed foods
Sign the Just Label It petition See for more information.
Sign a petition to support America's farmers at Food Democracy Now.



Peace Center of Amesbury Friends Meeting

Documentary and Discussion


Drawing on Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, director Robert Kenner's provocative, Oscar-nominated documentary “FOOD, INC.” explores the food industry's detrimental effects on our health and environment.

The domination of our food supply by just a few corporations, the use of factory farming with the needs for pesticides and antibiotics, and finally the critical issue of the genetic engineering of our foods raise human, practical and ethical questions. Please join us.

Tuesday, February 21 at 7 p.m.

Amesbury Friends Meetinghouse
120 Friend Street, Amesbury, MA

For more information, please contact Sam Baily at 978-255-1133 or go to Directions at

Amesbury Friends Peace Center
120 Friend Street
Amesbury, MA 01913

Discussion Forum

MORE TIPS FOR FEB from the same site!

Started by Deborah Carey Feb 17, 2012.

Planning and preparation TIPS

Started by Deborah Carey Feb 17, 2012.

A Deliciously Resourceful Town Aims for Total Food Self-Sufficiency in 7 Years 2 Replies

Started by Elizabeth Marcus. Last reply by Elizabeth Marcus Feb 15, 2012.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Greater Newburyport Edible Garden Group - EGG to add comments!

Comment by Deborah Carey on March 5, 2012 at 6:40pm

March 19
Pete Johnson, Farmer, Pete’s Greens, Craftsbury Village, Vermont

Putting the “Culture” Back Into Agriculture Through Community & Collaboration


April 23
Amy Cotler, Author, Chef

The Locavore Way: Discovering and Enjoying the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food


May 21
Ben Hewitt, Farmer, Author

Good Germs, Bad Germs:
Exploring the Relationship Between Humans, Bacteria & Food

We want to make our events accessible for everyone. We offer the following financial arrangements:

Students: Volunteer at an event and you attend for free.
Scholarships: We offer scholarships to students, farmers, and others. Please send us an email telling us why you would like to attend the event and email it to  We will notify you promptly.

Farmers: We will accept food in exchange for event attendance. If interested, please contact us at:

Sponsor a Farmer: If you would like to sponsor a farmer, please contact us.

Sponsor an Event: If you are interested in sponsoring an event, please contact Tracey at

Comment by Deborah Carey on February 9, 2012 at 12:33pm




Drawing on Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, director Robert Kenner's provocative, Oscar-nominated documentary “FOOD, INC.” explores the food industry's detrimental effects on our health and environment.

The domination of our food supply by just a few corporations, the use of factory farming with the needs for pesticides and antibiotics, and finally the critical issue of the genetic engineering of our foods raise human, practical and ethical questions. Please join us.

Tuesday, February 21 at 7 p.m.

Amesbury Friends Meetinghouse
120 Friend Street, Amesbury, MA

For more information, please contact Sam Baily at 978-255-1133 or go to Directions at

Comment by Deborah Carey on December 16, 2011 at 7:10pm


Botanical brewmaster and horticulturist Nate McCullin spent the 2011 growing season testing the effects of compost tea on soil and plant health at Garden in the Woods. Read about Nate's experiment, and learn how you can use compost tea to work in your home garden.

Compost Tea: Reaping the Organic Rewards

last modified December 14, 2011

Nate McCullin, Staff Horticulturist at Garden in the Woods, offers a synopsis of compost tea use at Garden in the Woods during the 2011 season

A Synopsis of Botanical Brewmaster Nate McCullin’s Compost Tea Use at Garden in the Woods

By Nate McCullin, Staff Horticulturist


When entering the 2011 growing season I had many questions floating around in my mind regarding the impact of compost and compost tea on the soil and plant health at Garden in the Woods. I was skeptical about believing all the claims being made in the industry as to its benefits, especially the impact it has in this Garden. Within the realm of any organic product there are many variables to consider due to the fact that organic products thrive on biological processes which hinge on factors such as light, Monarda didyma treated with compost teatemperature and moisture.


A good starting point from which to compare future results is always essential. The native soils and onsite compost we use to brew our tea were two key components that needed to be assessed. A good representation of the soil within our garden was also necessary and samples were collected from four separate locations to try to capture the big picture of this 45-acre property. These locations included the woodland garden, the meadow garden, the nursery stock beds and of course the fully matured compost. All of the samples were sent to the soil testing labs at Cornell University where a comprehensive series of tests were conducted that quantify the physical, biological and chemical aspects of soils. The results arrived six weeks later and confirmed that at Garden in the Woods we have the kinds of soils that gardeners dream of. The soil contains adequate organic matter, thriving beneficial biology and the correct chemical compositions. Some evaluation of the results is still pending and another round of tests will be necessary to submit in the 2012 season to obtain consistency and pinpoint any inconsistencies. Regardless of a few small inconsistencies the tests showed we have more than ideal soil for our trees, shrubs and herbaceous materials. With this information in hand the question of “how can compost tea benefit already great soils?” came into view and needed to be answered.


The journey into the experiment began by obtaining a better understanding of the ins and outs of soils and compost and what each is comprised of. The intricacies of soil biology were unearthed in the library and with them a new set of questions. What is alive in our soil? How do those organisms interact with each other? In what balance should they be present? How do the physical and chemical aspects of soils influence the biology? These questions posed a challenge that was answered by contacting peers who base their knowledge from their experiences in the industry. Advice on how to better understand and utilize our compost tea at the Garden was obtained leading to more efficient brewing and composting practices at the Garden. Through a collection of visits, emails, phone calls and workshops, a solid grasp on what was going on in the soil became clear. In particular a workshop on compost tea at the New York Botanic Garden brought the knowledge, understanding and management of soils and composting full circle.


With all the proper resources and knowledge up to speed a seUntreated Monarda didymaason-long experiment that staff and interns could conduct to track the benefits of using compost tea on our collection began to form.  After examining our soil tests it was concluded that using compost tea as an “organic fertilizer” applied as a soil drench would be unnecessary since the native soils were already way above the optimal conditions. This left two other options on the table:

1. Using drenches to help establish new plantings

2. Using tea as a foliar application to prevent foliar diseases such as powdery mildew, black spot, and even to suppress certain insect problems such as aphids.


The decision was made to track the suppression of powdery mildew on various Phlox, Monarda and Lonicera species as well as black spot suppression on our Kalmias. Control and test plots were designated for each species to be observed and evaluated on a weekly basis in conjunction with a weekly foliar application of compost tea. These particular species of plants were chosen because all are prone to the above mentioned diseases. Since the diseases are foliar, the level of infection is assessed visually on a percentage scale that was divided into intervals of 0%, 25%, 50%, and 75%. These intervals helped to simplify the study and make it accessible to whomever may be doing the observations and applications on any given week. Other factors that were tracked included bed location, species, date of observation and a notes section to explain each observation. The experiment began on March 5, 2011 and came to an end on August 21, 2011.


It is necessary to begin foliar applications early in the spring at the first sign of new growth. This is crucial since the basic concept behind foliar application is to establish a strong population of beneficial fungi and bacteria on the surface of the leaf before any detrimental fungi or bacteria have a chance to take up residency. By scheduling applications once a week, any new growth emerging throughout the season would be colonized by the beneficials prior to any of the non-beneficials. By creating this competition between good and bad biology a state of equilibrium would be present on the leaf surface, a state of constant competition that leaves the surface of the leaf uninfected and therefore free from damage.


This past season’s outcomes were very positive and optimistic yet, as any science-minded folks should know, a single experiment is hardly enough evidence to sustain a hypothesis. Consistency is the key to truly know whether or not something is successful. Therefore the experiment will be repeated again during the 2012 season. Continuing to track and monitor the benefits of compost tea year to year will further strengthen the evidence that compost tea does work and should be considered a valuable organic option to be integrated into all gardening practices; public gardens, municipalities, and homeowners alike. In 2012 a few other aspects of compost tea will be monitored and quantified such as observing its use when establishing new plantings and transplants. There will also be an expansion of the amount of plant material that gets foliar treatments.


Good tea starts with good compost, another aspect that has been moved in the right direction. By moving the compost pile to a new, sunnier location this past season. By actively turning it and monitoring moisture and temperature, the decomposition process has been sped up resulting in a nice fresh batch of compost to brew with for 2012.


To conclude it is quite exciting to  continue to move this experiment forward and fine tune the use of compost tea at Garden in the Woods. Keep an eye out for staff applying it through our tow-behind sprayer and always feel free to ask questions. Brew on!!!


Comment by Deborah Carey on December 7, 2011 at 9:04am

Next meeting: Monday, December 12th @ 7 PM

Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, 63 State Street, Newburyport, MA

Planning for Spring

What shall we put in the ground?  Bring your seed catalogs, favorite crops, new things to try, and we'll discuss garden planning, seed saving and when to order. What is best from seed and what works best as transplants will be part of our conversation.  Remember you don't have to know anything, to learn something!

Comment by Deborah Carey on November 15, 2011 at 5:25pm

For those who don't have power point here are some outline notes for the presentation on composting.


Compost Pile


a.  base

1) loosen12 inches of soil

            3 ft square

            space for turning

2) 3” twigs


b.  lasagna

2” dry

2” green


repeat to 3’

keep moist

turn after 3-6 weeks

cook and water for 3-6 months

use or spread out


c.  use

apply in spring

½ to 1 inch

work into 2-4 inches of soil

1 application per 4 month growing season


Keep in Simple web site for the pump


Compost Tea

Chlorine in water (leave water out to off gas chlorine)

Aerator  plastic tube bottom bucket with pump

5 cups of compost/ molasses



24-36 hours


Different for perennials vs annuals:

fungal for perennials

compost leaves, wood chips etc.  fungal


bacteria for annuals

add fish emulsion


Growing with Microbes book

Comment by Deborah Carey on November 15, 2011 at 5:13am

Thanks Niall for your power point.  If there anyone on the site who can't open a power point, I took notes on the composition of the pile and also the tea and will post later today.  Deb


Comment by Niall Robinson on November 14, 2011 at 6:36pm


Here's the link from tonights presentation,



Comment by Deborah Carey on November 11, 2011 at 3:02pm

Soil test brochure from UMASS Amherst available at






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