March 27, 2011

Maine Gardener: An indelible vision for an edible world

By Tom Atwell
Staff Writer

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She does warn that the Jerusalem artichoke can take over your entire yard if left on its own, so she suggests burying a 5-gallon pail and planting the Jerusalem artichoke in that. That not only will help keep the plant in check, it will make it easier to harvest the tubers in the fall.

DeSouza recommended a number of permanent plants. She created a damp area for cranberries. She likes Amelanchier laevis or shadbush, which is similar to blueberry, but the flavor has a hint of almond.

Purple chokeberry, or Aronia, was used by the Indians but rejected by Europeans because it was so sour they choked. DeSouza says she has left it on the tree past a few frosts and mixed it with other food to be edible.

Other fruits are blueberries, raspberries, lingonberries and native grapes, while nuts include black walnuts, northern pecans and American hazelnuts.

As an impetus for people to switch to growing food, DeSouza referred to Rosalind Creasy, one of the first renowned backyard food gardeners, who said she grew $700 worth of food one summer in a garden of 100 square feet.


Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens will hold a listening event from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Portland Public Library to discuss future projects.

Director Maureen Heffernan suggested potential new gardens; educational, conservation or research initiatives; and ideas from other gardens as possible topics, but she is open to anything.

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at:


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