And the Winner of the Harbor Sweets GATHER Chocolate Is….

Deborah Reichman!

  who said…  

“My leaf fennel plant draws lots of buzz activity as well as black swallowtail caterpillars. I would love to try your chocolates!”

I’m going to look for some leaf fennel this week!  🙂

Thank you all for participating! I don’t do too many giveaways, but they are fun!

Just to insure transparency, here are some photos of our process as we conducted the drawing…

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Congratulations Deborah!  Please send me an email at thesalemgarden@gmail.com with your address so I can send your chocolates to you!

Thanks again,

Michele

 

GATHER Chocolate – A Wonderful New Collection of Chocolates from Harbor Sweets Handmade Chocolates and a Giveaway!

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Good morning everyone! Happy Sunday and Happy Second Day of Rain is Falling Over Salem, Massachusetts Day! I’m so happy to finally see some precipitation.  We need it!

We also need our bees! As we know, our pollinators are in peril. There are several theories about why we’re loosing them, but time and again research points to the use of pesticides as the reason for the decline and in many cases, collapses of bee populations worldwide.

I was recently approached by Harbor Sweets Handmade Chocolates,  a wonderful chocolate company here in Salem, and asked to sample their new line of local honey infused chocolate. I don’t do too many reviews on The Salem Garden these days, but in this case I couldn’t resist sampling Gather.

I love chocolate, and chocolate infused with honey and sold with the intention of bringing attention to the plight of the honeybee was irresistible. A portion of the profit is being donated to the Pollinator Partnership, to aid in their efforts to preserve and protect our pollinators!

This is a wonderful product in so many ways! Gather helps our honeybees, it’s absolutely delicious and it’s a very unique and special gift or indulgence if you’re feeling decadent.

I shared each piece with a member of my family since I was required to taste each one so that I could write about it 😉 . My favorite was the Coconut Cluster, but each piece was special and delicious. My youngest son loved the caramelized honey truffle and Michael enjoyed the Sesame Crunch.

Gather launched on September 6th and is available on the Harbor Sweets website by clicking  here.  Gather can also be purchased at the Harbor Sweets retail store here in Salem, or at their retail locations.

Harbor Sweets gave me a box to give away to one of my readers. I want to make it an easy entry so everyone can participate. Just say hi in the comments section below, or share your favorite pollinator plant if you’d like to. I’ll randomly draw a name and mail the box of chocolate to one of you, wherever you are in the world! Please enter by Tuesday at 8pm USA Eastern time!

Be sure to check out the video below to learn a little bit more about Gather and click on the links above to the Harbor Sweets website to order online or to visit a Harbor Sweets retail location. The holidays are just around the corner! Gather is a perfect holiday treat!

Don’t forget to leave me a comment to enter!

Michele

What’s Been Happening in the Garden, for a While- September 14, 2016

So, the last time I worked on this post was September 1st and the last time I posted anything was … August 10th, from my vacation..

Aye aye aye..

One of the problems with garden blogging is that summer is a busy time in the garden, and at work, and with family… so just when we “should” be blogging like crazy, there is no time to do it.

I think that this happens to other garden bloggers too. We have the best of intentions but we’re kind of out in the garden, or at the beach…

I’ve been a bit stuck in blogging land in other ways too.

I think I need to clearly define my purpose here. Sometimes I feel like I’m all over the place because I have a million different interests and I get distracted or overwhelmed. Now that the kids are settling into all of their different school environments and I technically should have more time on my hands I’m going to try to focus in a little.

If I blogged about just one of the questions that I’m asked or that I overhear every day at my job as a plant merchandiser I’d have the best blog in the world! The questions are endless.

So, heres to moving forward and catching up!

Maybe I should start with some pics of where we are, or were, a few weeks ago. It’s still about the same. One of the very tough aspects of this garden year has been the extreme drought that we’re experiencing in Massachusetts. It. just. won’t. rain.   About once a week we have a forecast for some rain but again and again it squeeks by and misses us..

IMG_1939In spite of this, we still have a few black eyed susan hanging in there. I should mention that the photo credit for this picture goes to my little Alli.

IMG_1936The pepper crop has been decent.

IMG_1935It’s not what it would be with a more consistent drink, but we’ve been watering conservatively.

IMG_1934The Russian kale seems to thrive no matter what. We like this vegetable, it’s sweeter than standard kale.

IMG_1929This was a Berkley Tye-Dye tomato. These plants weren’t huge producers but we’ve enjoyed the fruit that we’ve picked.

IMG_1926The star of my tomato patch was this variety… Principe Borghese.. they will be returning next year!

IMG_1924We’ve used them for everything from sauce to salads and they’re always perfect! The plants looked downright gangly when I put them in and I thought I’d be pulling them out, but they rebounded and took off!

IMG_1932I’m 98% sure that these are Manyel tomatoes.. I can’t be 100% because they grew out of the chicken poop compost in another part of the yard and we transplanted them to see what would happen. I can baby plants along for months with fans and lights and vermicompost and they’ll never do as well as the ones that grow out of last year’s compost.

IMG_1912Here’s another yellow variety… I don’t have the name on hand but this was grown from seed this year. Looks like there’s some blight taking over.

IMG_1922The green beans were chomped in half by something (we think a deer jumped the fence).. good news is they’ve grown back and are now full of beans.

IMG_1921The lemon (on the left) and Osmin basil (on the right) has been a fun little twist. I should cook with it more than I do but I’ve been throwing it onto salads and chicken.

IMG_1918There’s been good news and bad news about the cucumbers.

The good news is that they grew. I’ve battled cucumber beetles and squash bugs a lot for the past several years. Last year I didn’t plant any cucumber or zucchini in hopes of decreasing the populations of pests and it worked!

The bad news is that these pickling cucs were just a pain in the neck. I never got the hang of when to harvest them. I checked often but they were either not ready yet or had passed and turned yellow. I think it’s all about having time and staying focused. That can a little challenging for me.

IMG_1915The zucchini did okay in terms of pests but didn’t produce much. I’ve been wondering if our bee population is down and if the pollination rate was low. I’m not sure about what happened here but feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.

IMG_1913The seeds for these rattlesnake beans came from Michael’s uncle in Arizona. They’ve been a fun twist too. Their easy to grow and cook up beautifully! I’ll have to post a pic here or on instagram of the beans themselves. They’re beautiful!

So, that’s an update of the kitchen garden. The flower gardens are hanging in there but not really flourishing like they usually do. I didn’t even plant zinnias this year because it was way too dry in June. I hope the seeds last until next year!

My next post, which I promise will be soon, will feature a new chocolate from the Harbor Sweets Chocolate Company that I’ve been asked to review..

Think chocolate and honey..it’s divine and I’ll be giving a box away!

Don’t miss it!

What’s growing in your garden? Are you dealing with drought or deluge?

Please say hi so I know you were here! I love that!!

Thanks for stopping in!

Enjoy everything!

Michele