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.

Coronavirus constraints make me appreciate self-sufficiency


I’ve always had an independent streak. The pioneer lifestyle has always fascinated me. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century, except if I had then I never would have taken up writing. Modern editing capability makes writing … Continue reading

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Some plants control the growth of other plants


Some plant species inhibit the growth of others. We’ve all heard people say that certain plants stop others from growing, but is there a scientific basis for it? There is and it’s called allelopathy. Allelopathy is when plants release chemicals … Continue reading

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Planning your home garden can be complicated


Designing a productive and aesthetically pleasing garden can be complicated. Doing it correctly involves more than placing a seed in the ground, watering it and watching a corn plant come up. We must determine what our goals are. If you … Continue reading

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Pencil cactus is an interesting but poisonous houseplant


I get a lot of questions about poisonous plants. Many species, both interior, and exterior can contain poisonous chemicals. Most aren’t a major concern. In fact, many of our common houseplants are considered poisonous, but they are found everywhere. Often, … Continue reading

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Apple cider vinegar has a big following for many reasons


Popup adds online, infomercials, junk emails and many other sources bestow the wonders of apple cider vinegar. Obesity, diabetes, heart problems, skin and hair maladies are just a few of the issues apple cider vinegar use is claimed to combat. … Continue reading

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Essential oils show promise and problems


As much as we sometimes resist change, there often is an urge to try something new. This is especially true when it comes to our health. Many folks never seem to worry about any complications from herbal treatments. However, they … Continue reading

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Beets are all the rage right now


Lately, many health enthusiasts are touting beets as an important health food. Some even call them a superfood. Whenever the superfood label is thrown around, we can assume there must be a barrage of supplements to choose from. That assumption … Continue reading

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All carbohydrates don’t act in our bodies the same way


We’ve all heard of the glycemic index. Many dieters and all diabetics constantly monitor carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates don’t all influence our systems at the same rate and that can be important for our blood sugar management. There are several different … Continue reading

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Loropetalum is a semi-evergreen that can bloom anytime


Most shrubs have a certain season where they are most attractive. Loropetalum (Loropetalum chinense) is one that can be pretty during any season. We have one at school near our greenhouses that has a few blooms and many buds right … Continue reading

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Leyland cypress is the mule of landscape material


We all know what a mule is. It’s a cross between a female horse (Equus caballus) and a male donkey (Equus asinus). Since the parents are different species the mule is sterile. Leyland cypress is a lot like that, except … Continue reading

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