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). 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.

So, when do we plant?


I hear that question so often. The obvious answer is another question; what do you want to plant? Things can get complicated. Shrubs and trees can be planted pretty much any time the ground isn’t frozen. Dormant perennials can usually … Continue reading

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Wood sorrels are edible clover lookalikes


I wish I had a dollar for every time I had to explain to a student the difference between clovers and wood sorrels. Having leaves with three equal blades does not make a plant a clover. We usually refer to … Continue reading

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Blueberries come in many types


In Maine, when one mentions blueberries tiny lowbush ones are the subject. These plants usually grow shorter than 12 inches. They occur naturally and are harvested by raking and winnowing the fruit. Farmers employ weed, insect and disease control measures. … Continue reading

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Bridal veil spiraea is a showy shrub that handles cold


Bridal veil spiraea (Spiraea prunifolia) is one of my favorite spring flowering shrubs and it will thrive when winter temperatures dip into the -30s. The most common type of these white spring flowering shrubs is usually referred to as Vanhoutte … Continue reading

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Great Blue Heron is the king of the wading birds


I love to watch blue herons standing motionless while waiting for prey. They are such graceful and focused hunters. They also must be quite adaptable, since they have such a large native range. In eastern North Carolina they can be … Continue reading

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Potatoes and sweet potatoes can be a genetic challenge


It’s time to cut and plant those spuds. Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are different than most vegetables we eat. They aren’t propagated by seed. Plants are grown asexually, meaning they are clones. All plants in a field are genetically identical to … Continue reading

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Annual bluegrass may be the single worst turf weed


Many folks have noticed their lawn has suddenly turned green, and the grass is not coarse and ugly. However, this species of annual grass is the most difficult to control and most obnoxious weed in golf courses. The culprit is … Continue reading

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