04/22/16 6:02am

Sitting room in converted barn with view to kitchen, USA

Here on the East End, a barn door is not merely a decorative note. Its also a nod to the past and homage to the farming tradition that has dominated this area since Europeans first settled here.

So when Jane Kosovsky imagined the home she wanted to build on her Southold property in 2003, she was thinking farm.

“I’m animal-oriented, and I wanted to blur the lines between the inside of the house and the outside, as far from a suburban family house as possible,” said Kosovsky, who installed two sets of barn doors inside her house. “The builder thought I was nuts, but he’s since brought people over to see them.” (more…)

04/21/16 6:03am
North Fork design

A vignette inside Dr. Kristina Ivy’s Southold home. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Long Island’s upper fork is already well-known for its farms, vineyards and restaurants. Now, people are buzzing about its design aesthetic.

“The North Fork is characterized by its maritime and agricultural roots, making it an eclectic mix of casual and coastal style,” said Caitlin Flynn, co-owner of North Fork Design Company.

According to NFDC co-owner Elyse Parkhurst, the area’s design philosophy encompasses “timeless furniture” with simple lines and accents of reclaimed wood, industrial elements and nautical-inspired pieces.

“We utilize relaxed fabrics, light and breezy colors and natural stone and sea grass rugs, along with rustic wood and textural elements,” Parkhurst said. (more…)

04/20/16 6:02am
meadows lawn alternatives

Suzanne Ruggles in a meadow she created in Southampton. (Credit: The Barefoot Gardener courtesy photo)

It takes a lot of fertilizer and pesticides to maintain a lush lawn.

And in addition to putting a dent in a homeowner’s wallet, the process of applying these products can be time-consuming. Worse, the harmful chemicals can even affect the health of local residents and wildlife if they happen to leach into nearby streams, ponds, lakes and bays.

As homeowners become more environmentally conscious, many are turning away from the concept of a traditionally green lawn. Instead, they’re planting alternative ground covers such as meadows and vegetable gardens. (more…)

04/19/16 6:03am
Steph Gaylor of Invincible Summer Farms holding Hawaiian tomato seeds inside her greenhouse. (Credit: Carrie Miller file photo) Steph Gaylor of Invincible Summer Farms holding Hawaiian tomato seeds inside her greenhouse. (Credit: Carrie Miller file photo)

Steph Gaylor of Invincible Summer Farms holding Hawaiian tomato seeds inside her greenhouse. (Credit: Carrie Miller file photo)

They came with seeds from Amish pumpkins and wild chard, looking to swap rare plant varieties and maybe a few tips on what grows best on Long Island’s East End.

In February, an estimated 500 people attended the second annual Long Island Regional Seed Consortium Seed Swap at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead, which featured lectures on subjects ranging from cultivating seeds in small spaces to a panel on the importance of saving the Long Island cheese pumpkin, as well as a public seed swap.

Attendees ranged from novices (like myself) to professional farmers with a decade of seed-saving experience.

Here’s what I learned from an afternoon dedicated to saving these embryos of plant life. (more…)

04/18/16 6:03am
Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulture consultant Alice Raimondo examines some garden soil. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulture consultant Alice Raimondo examines some garden soil. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

For beginning gardeners — or even experienced ones — problems can always arise when working out a green thumb.

Some, like an insect infestation, can be pretty obvious. But others, like unbalanced soil, will likely not be so noticeable to the untrained eye.

To find out if the dirt in your garden is causing trouble, stop by Cornell Cooperative Extension’s office on Griffing Avenue in Riverhead with a cup and a half of soil and five dollars. There, horticulture consultants Alice Raimondo and Sandra Vultaggio will test your soil’s pH balance and soluble salts level. (more…)