October Garden To Do List

Your garden may look dormant once your fall harvest is over, but there are things you can do now to make sure that your garden keeps working for you well into the fall and winter.


Plant and Maintain Crops

Root vegetables (carrots, garlic, horseradish, leeks, parsnips, radishes, beets, turnips, rutabagas and Jerusalem artichokes) can stay in the ground covered with a heavy layer of mulch or straw. Mark the rows with tall stakes so you can find them in the snow.

Cut back canes of fall-bearing raspberries to about ground level and water the area during extended dry spells over the winter. Remove only older, thick canes of summer.

Fall is a good time to plant blueberry bushes.

Planting_Garlic_Cloves_largeAbout a month before the frost is in the ground, plant garlic. Plant your biggest and best garlic cloves from this year’s harvest in a sunny spot about 3 inches deep, 6 inches apart with about 12 inches between rows. Mulch the garlic bed. It is normal to see some green growth in the fall.

You can even use your garden as a root cellar, of sorts. If you have cabbage in the garden that you would like to save for the winter months, dig it up now with the roots attached; then dig a hole and put it in, head-first, and bury it with the root sticking out. You might want to also mark the spot with a tall stake to find it in the snow. When you will dig it up, remove the outside leaves and find a perfect cabbage inside. Potatoes and carrots can also be dug now and preserved with a mound of straw and dirt above them.

Prevent Disease and Weeds and Prepare Soil

Vegetable_garden_at_Hill_Top_in_October_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1006399Pull up tomato, squash, pea and bean plants. If they are disease-free then you can compost them.

Remove all weeds and debris where insects and disease could hide over the winter.

In the areas where you have not mulched over root crops, dig up and work the soil. If you plan to plant an early crop of strawberries, asparagus or raspberries, doing the tilling and soil preparation now means that you will be ready to plant in early spring.

Once most of the garden soil is exposed, add a layer of compost, leaves, manure, and lime (if you need it based on a soil pH test). Gently till these into the soil. Soil micro-organisms and beneficial soil insects will help incorporate these materials into the soil before the ground freezes and in the spring after it thaws.

cover crop - ryeAnother option is to sow cover crops which will add nutrients, prevent erosion, and reduce weeds. In the spring you just turn the crop right into the soil. See this Cornell Cooperative Extension article to help decide which cover crop is right for your garden.

If some areas of your garden have hopelessly gone to weeds, deadhead the weeds (and put their seeds far, far away), then cover area with newspaper and a layer of compost and leave it in place over the winter into the spring.

Use Your Leaves

leaf compostUse your chopped leaves as mulch. Run over your leaves with the lawnmower and create a leaf-only compost pile. They make great mulch on flower beds or vegetable gardens, or can be turned into beds to add organic matter in the spring.

Leaves also make great “brown” addition to your regular compost pile. The compost recipe is “two-parts brown and one-part green.” Kitchen waste, grass and still-green plants provide the “green” component. Click here for more on composting.

The easiest thing to do on your lawn is to Leave Leaves Alone! Just mow them right on your lawn and leave them there to break down and add nutrients to your soil.

Pot Some Herbs

Bring them in! Pot your parsley and chives and use fresh herbs all winter.

Protect Your Equipment

  • ProperStoreNCareClean and sharpen garden tools before putting them away
  • Bring in tomato cages or stakes that you can use again next year
  • Bring in weather-vulnerable pots or garden statues
  • Disconnect the hose, drain it, and store it with your garden tools.
  • Clear out your irrigation system and shut down for winter
  • Make fence repairs and trim branches that might fall on existing fences over the winter.

Enjoy the fall!


Visit Us At John Jay Farmers’ Market

72614jBedford 2020 will be tabling on Saturday, September 26 from 10-1 at the John Jay Homestead Farmers’ Market.

We will be talking about the Energize Bedford program and encouraging people to sign up for a free or reduced cost home energy assessment.

We hope to help many to have a warmer home this winter and to save energy.

We hope you stop by and see us.

Local Honey & Honey Liquor

Honey_Jars_0014 (1)Buy Local Honey

Fall is a great time for honey. By this time of year the bees have produced enough to last them the winter and the beekeepers harvest the excess. The flavor of every honey depends on the nectar source of flowers visited by the honeybee, so there are many variations to try!

Honey is delicious as a sweetener and contains carbohydrates and potassium as well as a number of other minerals and vitamins. Honey also has  been proven to relieve sore throats and head colds. Since grocery store honey may contain additives or pesticides, and usually has been heated (resulting in loss of nutrients and enzymes), it is best to buy local honey!

You will find honey sellers at John Jay Farmer’s Market and Muscoot Farmer’s Market as well as at Gossett’s Farm Market. You will also find local honey at Table Local Market in Bedford Hills!

These Hudson Valley beekeepers sell honey in our area and sell honey products online:

bottle_1bMix Up Some Cocktails with Krupnikas 

If you follow food trends, you might already know that micro-distilled/artisan spirits are the number one trend in 2015, according to the National Restaurant Association.  Moreover, the Swiss flavor maker Firmenich announced the 2015 Flavor of the Year is officially honey-flavored liquor. So it is no surprise that the local honey liquor distillery is going gangbusters.

KAS Spirits in Mahopac produces small-batch, artisanal liquor distilled with local honey and a blend of spices including vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, caraway seeds, cloves and saffron. This very sweet alcoholic drink, called Krupnikas is popular in Lithuania and Poland.

Since summer of 2014 KAS has been delivering its hand bottled, 80 proof, flavorful liquor to restaurants and liquor stores all over Westchester an beyond. In Bedford alone you will find Krupnikas at Sette e Vente and Bedford Wine Merchants in Bedford Hills and at Peppino’s and Katohnah Wine & Liquor in Katonah.

Here are some KAS cocktail recipes from simple to complex:

Light N’ Honey:

  • 2 oz. KAS Krupnikas
  • Lemon squeeze
  • Top with ginger beer over ice.

Jade Bee:

  • 2 oz. KAS Krupnikas
  • 4 oz chilled green tea
  • 5oz. lemon juice
  • Shake well with ice and pour into a tall glass.

Baltic Sea Bee’s Knees:

  • 1 oz KAS Krupnikas
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


  • 1 oz. KAS Krupnikas
  • 2 oz Rye whiskey
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Stir with ice until chilled, then strain into an absinthe-rinsed glass


Planting for Pollinators

What do apples, almonds, blueberries, citrus, melons, pears, plums, pumpkins, and squash have in common? They all need pollinators.

Most gardeners are familiar with the important role that bees and other pollinators play in fertilization of plants in their garden. Pollinators transfer pollen from one flower to another, fertilizing the plant and starting the process of fruit and seed production. Good pollination results in hearty fruits with viable seeds. Pollinators are so important that growers often rent honeybee hives to ensure that they will have a successful harvest.

Unfortunately bee populations are declining. While there are many factors, it is thought that habitat loss, disease, bee parasites, and inappropriate and excessive pesticide use contribute to the loss of pollinators.

Photo by Karen Sabath, local beekeeper

Photo by Karen Sabath, local beekeeper

How Gardeners Can Help

You know how much pollinators do for your garden, now you can do something for the pollinators. In addition to eliminating use of chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides on your lawn and in your gardens, you can also plant for pollinators by following these tips.


  • Choose a variety of plants that will provide blooms from early spring to late fall.
  • Choose plants of various heights, colors, shapes and sizes to attract different pollinators.
  • Choose colors that bees love: blue, purple, and yellow:
    • Flat or shallow blossoms, such as daisies, zinnias, asters, Queen Anne’s lace, will attract the largest variety of bees.
    • Long-tongued bees will be attracted to plants in the mint family such as nepeta, salvia, oregano, mint and lavender.
    • Long-tongued bumblebees are attracted to flowers with hidden nectar spurs such as larkspur, monkshood, monarda, columbine and snapdragons.


  • Plant wildflowers and native species. According to the Penn State Center for Pollinator Research, bees are four times more attracted to native plants than non-native plants. Find what you are looking for at the Native Plant Sale at Rosedale Nurseries (to benefit the Native Plant Center), September 12 & 13.
  • Avoid double blooms. Modern hybrid flowers that have been modified to produce large, double blooms have less nectar and pollen than flowers with one ring of petals.
Enjoy your beautiful flowers and the pollinators in your garden!

Enjoy your beautiful flowers and the pollinators in your garden!


  • Plant big patches of each plant species.
  • Include plants that feed caterpillars.
  • Create habitat by leaving dead wood, piles of dry grasses and sticks, a muddy area, or uncovered ground areas free of weed mesh or heavy mulch.
  • Consider backyard beekeeping.


Limit or eliminate your use of pesticides and chemicals in your yard, they will kill pollinators. Click here to take the Pledge to limit pesticide use on your property.

Queen bee in the hive, photo by Karen Sabath

Queen bee in the hive, photo by Karen Sabath

Resources and Links

Hudson Valley Natural Beekeepers is our local beekeeping group, founded by four local beekeepers and is open to anyone interested in pollinators (you don’t have to be a beekeeper!). In addition to meetings, they have a website with great information and resources.  In particular see: Hudson Valley Natural Beekeepers 10 Things to Help Bees .

This fantastic eco-regional guide produced by the Pollinator Partnership is a great resource when planning a pollinator garden in our area: Selecting Plants for Pollinators: A Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers and Gardeners in the Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic Province).

Beekeeping Classes and more:

Honeybeelives.org, Chris Harp and Grai St. Clair Rice, in New Paltz

Hudson Valley Bee Supply, Kingston, NY, for classes, supplies and their local honey

Bedford Beekeeper for classes and beekeeping, DJ Haverkamp

Other resources:

Honeybee Plant List for the Northeast

Native plant database

Pollinators For Your Garden Webinar

Keep it simple: 5 Early Season Plants Which Attract Pollinators to Your Garden 

My neighbor's beehive surrounded by lovely plants for pollinators

My neighbor’s beehive surrounded by lovely plants for pollinators

Nana’s Honey Cake

Honey CakePreheat oven to 350 degrees


2 Eggs, large
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Honey
2 1⁄2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Allspice
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Cloves
1 cup Cold Coffee/decaf
1 tsp Orange extract
1 tsp Rum extract
1 Tbsp Vegetable or Canola Oil


Line one 12” loaf pan or two 6” loaf pans with parchment paper; or use a flavorless cooking spray to prepare mini-muffin tins; or prepare your favorite baking pan(s) any way you would for easy removal

In electric mixing bowl, beat eggs well

Add sugar, beat until combined

Add honey, beat until combined

With mixer running, add in all dry ingredients, a little at a time, until fully 

Slowly add in coffee, extracts and oil, and mix to combine

Pour batter into prepared pans (fill to between 1⁄2 and 2⁄3 full)

Baking time varies with pan size:

  • For 12” loaf pan, 50 minutes to 1 hour
  • For 6” loaf pan, 35-40 minutes
  • For mini-muffins, 11-15 minutes

Test for doneness; honey cake is done when toothpick comes out clean from center.

Don’t over bake!

Let cool for 15-20 minutes; remove from pan; cover. 

Note: This recipe makes 4 cups of batter. Choose your pan(s) accordingly.

From the family archives; provided by Karen Horwitz Sabath


Love honeybees? Read more VegOut! articles on Local Honey and Planting for Pollinators.


Delicious Mexican Lasagna

Indira grows peppers inside  Delicious Gardens, maybe some can go in her next salsa!

Indira grows peppers inside Delicious Gardens, maybe some can go in her next salsa!

Co-owner of Delicious Gardens, Indira Fermin, gave us one of her favorite plant based, whole food recipes from Dr. Jeanne Schumacher. Jeanne is an educator at the Harvey School and a huge advocate for whole food plant based living.

If you are growing (outdoors or in!) lots of tomatoes, peppers, chilis, onions, cilantro, corn, and beans, go ahead and replace any of the jars/cans with your own homemade versions!


Mexican Lasagna By Jeanne Schumacher


3 pkg Trader Jo’s corn and flour tortillas (regular corn tortillas will also work)

1 can black beans (rinsed and mashed)

1 can kidney beans (rinsed and mashed)

1 jar Trader Jo’s corn and chile tomato-Less salsa or Cowboy Caviar Salsa (Substitution – bag of frozen corn mixed with salsa)

3 jars salsa


Pre-heat over to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, mash the beans together (with a potato masher) and add in 1 jar of salsa.

Mix together well. In a 9×13 glass dish, spread out 1 jar of salsa. Place 1 layer of tortillas down on top of salsa. On top of the tortillas, evenly spread out the beans and salsa. Add another layer of tortillas. Next add layer of corn salsa and spread out. On top of this, add last layer of tortillas. Top this layer off with last jar of salsa. On top of this, place a layer of parchment paper then cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Notes: Always check level of sodium on salsa and beans. Sodium should less than a one to one ratio of mg of sodium to calories per serving. Look for brands with no sodium added.

Recipe by Jeanne Schumacher

Delicious Gardens – now closed


Aquaponic garden/fish tank

Delicious Gardens, a hydroponic and organic garden supply specialty store located on Bypass Road in Bedford Hills, has everything you need to grow your own food… year round!

If you have not already been by, we highly recommend stopping in to check out all the space age hydroponic equipment, meet their fish Pablo Picasso in his aquaponic fish tank, and see all the lovely plants co-owners Tom Myers and Indira Fermin have grown indoors and started from seed. It’s really unique!

delicious gardens hydroponic

Rotating hydroponic tower

While Delicious Gardens also carries organic fertilizers and nutrients for outdoor growing, their specialty is indoor hydroponic gardening – meaning growing plants in water combined with nutrient solutions, without soil.

From simple pots and lights, to rotating towers of herbs, to large tents with climate control and timed lights (for starting a small farm in your basement!), Delicious Gardens can help indoor growers, regardless of how much experience or space they have, and support them throughout the year.

IMG_0272 (1)

Hydroponic cloning from cuttings

Delicious Gardens now offers gardening coaching services and have a variety of first-time growing kits if you want to get started indoors before your outdoor fall harvest is long gone. In fact, Indira urges, “Now is the time to save seeds from your summer treasures and get your personal indoor produce section started at home.”

Andrew Frishman, a local veterinarian who raises butterflies, went to Delicious Gardens because the host plant for butterflies has been disappearing in nature. Tom taught Andrew to clone and grow Milkweed for his butterflies. Now Andrew uses a couple of indoor hydroponic gardening systems to grow the plants that his butterflies consume.

Andrew, praises Delicious Gardens: “They are such a valuable resource in our community. Everything from the fertilizer to the soil they use is top quality.  Their prices are reasonable and their knowledge is invaluable. Delicious Garden’s help has made me an overall better gardener and better butterfly breeder!”

Tom and Indira are truly passionate about growing food for healthy living, declaring their mission, “From a seed to your plate…harvest year-round.”

What to do with ALL THAT PARSLEY?

41DSxFRFPpLParsley is a great burst of freshness, rich in iron, folate and vitamins A, C, and K, and often used in small quantities as a garnish or to add some pretty green flecks to your dish. But your abundance of parsley this time of year is demanding a little more attention these days!

The classic parsley-lovers salad is tabbouleh using parsley, mint, tomato and cucumber in bulgur wheat. But just chopping up a pile of parsley and adding some lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper, and shaved parmesan (let sit for 15-30 min for flavors to blend) is also delicious. Parsley pesto can be easily made and frozen or you can just freeze parsley for you to have all winter long to season soups, rices, pastas, meats, or vegetables. Click here for instructions on freezing pesto and click here for Margaret Roach’s clear and unique instructions on rolling and freezing fresh parsley.

Finally, a simple sauce made with olive oil and herbs, flavored with your choice of vinegar, garlic, capers, red pepper flakes, scallions, etc. goes a long way when the herbs are garden fresh. Parsley has a delightfully fresh taste and eating a few sprigs of parsley keeps your breath fresh for hours. Of course, our recipe includes so much garlic that we have reversed this effect!chimichurri parsley-garlic sauce

Chimichurri Parsley-Garlic Sauce

Use this sauce as a marinade on meats, seafood, grilled vegetables and set some aside to serve as a sauce. Also great as a dip for good bread.

1 cup of firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley (stems removed)

2 T. fresh oregano

3-4 cloves garlic

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

2 T red or white wine vinegar

1 t. salt

¼ t. fresh ground black pepper

¼ t. dried red pepper flakes

In a food processor, mince garlic and oregano. Add parsley and pulse to chop. Add vinegar and olive oil to combine, but don’t overdo it – this sauce is better when not totally emulsified and the parsley is still a bit rough. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

This sauce is also delicious adding up to a cup of fresh mint or try using balsamic vinegar instead for a little sweetness.

Click here to read more about the health benefits of parsley, if you aren’t already convinced!

Purdy’s Farmer and the Fish

ImageGen.ashx-6You’ll feel like you are at the Cape this summer when you eat fresh seafood with garden-fresh vegetables in this rustic, casual, 18th century house or on its porch amidst the colorful perennials! Purdy’s Farmer and the Fish, right off I-684 in North Salem, focuses its menu on high-quality seafood and vegetables and herbs grown right on the property. This is a popular spot, so you probably want to make a reservation.

Farmer's FieldThe chef, who studied agriculture in college, is also the farmer. In fact, most of the vegetables and herbs he serves in the restaurant come from the 2 acre farm behind the restaurant. The farm also provides fresh produce to the Farm Shop and to individuals who sign up for a CSA share. Down East Seafood has been recognized as a leader in environmental sustainability and is the exclusive supplier of seafood to the restaurant.

purdy's farmer and the fish scallop saladThe seared scallop salad looks gorgeous with fresh greens and a sunny side egg on top. The halibut with snap peas and lemon risotto was drizzled with a striking green pesto full of the flavor of multiple herbs and I loved the delicious, deep mauve berry crisp.

Lunch and Dinner is served daily, brunch served on Sundays and a bar menu available in between. The farm shop is open daily and offers fresh produce, seafood, local dairy products and meats, prepared foods, baked goods, and specialty items.

Purdy's Farmer and Fish farm shopPurdy’s Farmer and the Fish, 100 Titicus Road, North Salem, (914) 617-8380

Beetles and Diseases and Weeds, Oh My!

July GardenJuly is wonderful for reaping the benefits of what you sow, but also about maintaining the abundance you have created and keeping forces of nature from getting the better of your garden! Below you will find links to help you figure out how to prevent weeds, bugs, and disease in your garden plus our July gardening reminders. Also, check out the Bedford 2020 VegOut! website for additional links including gardeners you can reach out to for help!

garlic-mustard weedWEEDS – they take up light, space, and nutrients that your plants need to grow. Take a walk around your garden and pull up the weeds at least once a week. If you missed the last issue on mulching, click here and consider putting down a layer to cut down on weeds. Get to know your weeds, click here for a great catalog of thumbnail photos of common weeds.


tomato-hornwormPESTS – Ideally, you will hand pick the bugs off your plants before they make holes, cause discoloration or disfiguration, or spread disease. You might see Japanese beetlesstink bugs, squash bugs, potato beetles, and a wide variety of pests on your tomatoes.

Check out these links as recourses for non-pesticide ways to deal with your pests including hand picking, companion planting, and encouraging beneficial pests: Getting rid of garden pests 101 and Garden Pest and Disease Directory.

DISEASE – Sick plants? Identifying what disease might have attacked your plant and addressing it early is critical to a great harvest. Click here for resources about identifying diseases and what to do: Vegetable Disease Doctor through Cornell Cooperative Ext. and Diagnosing and treating plant diseases.

garlic-harvestWHAT ELSE? – In addition to staying on top of weeds, bugs and disease, remember to:

  • Pull out spring crops that have gone to seed like lettuce, spinach, arugula, peas.
  • Plant summer crops like beans.
  • Sow summer lettuce like (oakleaf, summer or heatwave blends) and keep shaded from the full sun by your taller plants.
  • Keep your basil deadheaded.
  • For peak flavor, harvest basil, sage, marjoram and oregano, mint, and tarragon just before they flower, on a sunny morning after the dew has dried.
  • Harvest lavender, rosemary and chamomile as they flower, blossoms and all.
  • Harvest garlic when several of the lower leaves go brown, but five or six up top are still green. Dig it out, don’t try to pull it up by the above-ground stems, and put in shady place to cure with the stems on. Save the biggest and best cloves for planting in the fall.
  • July gardenPinch off suckers from tomatoes and keep them staked. The suckers will turn into new growth and take away nutrients, water and light from your already forming fruit.
  • Stop feeding woody plants. Promoting more soft growth in high summer and beyond isn’t good; time for them to start moving naturally toward the hardening-off phase of their cycle. No more fertilization till late winter or earliest spring.
  • One of our subscribers sent us this helpful guide for beginners Vegetable Gardening for Dummies – a recently published visual guide helpful for novices and those looking to get started in gardening.
  • In our next VegOut we will talk about planting at the end of July for a fall harvest.
  • Finally, remember to sit and enjoy your garden on a warm summer evening.

Happy July gardening!