Author Archives: tedmanzer

About tedmanzer

I grew up in Old Town Maine and got a B.S. at the University of Maine in Plant Sciences/ minor in Botany. From there I moved to West Virginia and earned a M.S. in Agronomy at WVU. I also met my wife there. She grew up in rural WV as the daughter of tenant farmers who raised cattle and hogs. Their lifestyle at times was one of subsistence and I learned a lot from them. I've always been a foraging buff, but combining my formal botanical knowledge with their practical 'Foxfire-type' background opened up my eyes a little more. I now teach agriculture to high school students at Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City, NC. My wife teaches with me and we make a great team. I also write a weekly nature/foraging column for the local paper (dailyadvance.com) and frequently publish articles in several other newspapers in northeastern North Carolina. I also have written several Christian nature/adventure novels that I plan to publish eventually. One is a five book family saga I call the 'Forgotten Virtues' series. In the first book, Never Alone, a young boy comes of age after his father dies in a plane crash, and he has to make it alone. Never Alone is now available in paperback, Kindle and Nook. The second book, Strange Courage, takes Carl from his High School graduation to his recovery from a nasty divorce. The third book, Second Chances, takes Carl from his ex-wife's death and the custody of his son to his heroic death at age 59. The fourth book, Promises Kept, depicts how his grandchildren react and adjust to his death. In the final book, Grandfather's Way, his youngest and most timid granddaughter emerges from the shadow of her overachieving family and accomplishes more in four months than most do in a lifetime. I use many foraging references with a lot of the plants I profile in these articles in those books.

Wait a little longer before pruning most plants


We’ve had a few frosts in eastern North Carolina and fall is definitely here, but pruning some plants now could be harmful to them. We haven’t had a hard freeze yet and many plants could yet have a growth spurt. … Continue reading

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Was it sweet potato or pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving?


People line up on both sides. In this locale more folks probably favor sweet potato over pumpkin, but you can’t go wrong with either. I laugh when I hear people argue over it. To be honest, if spiced the same … Continue reading

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Carob makes a great substitute for chocoholics


Nearly 40 years ago I began experimenting with carob. My reasoning wasn’t that it might be more nutritious. I didn’t even care that it contained no fat or caffeine. It was cheaper and I didn’t waste money. I’ve always liked … Continue reading

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Clear-cutting is an important strategy for forestry management


It seems most folks are put off by clearcutting. Their emotions tell them that what may look unsightly is also unhealthy. In some cases they might be right, but there are reasons some places are harvested that way. The species … Continue reading

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Ragweed can be more than a fall problem


A few days ago I overheard someone complaining about goldenrod causing her allergies. I wanted to say something but felt it was prudent to keep my mouth shut. Uninvited conversations seldom end well. The truth is that goldenrod has very … Continue reading

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Field bindweed and morning glory are pretty weeds that destroy ecosystems


Both have beautiful petunia-like flowers. Both are aggressive vines. Both are in the sweet potato family. Both are a menace in crop fields, and both invade non-crop areas. Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) is perennial and morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea and … Continue reading

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Hop Hornbeam is a curious native tree with hard wood


Nearly everyone wants to know about native trees. Hop hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) is a member of the birch family and is quite adaptable around here. It gets its name because its clusters of seeds look like the hops used to … Continue reading

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