Name: Mary Moss-Sprague
Occupation: Writer and author of Stand Up and Garden
Place of Residence: Sodus, New York
Background and Personal History: Mary Moss Sprague writes and teaches people how to grow vegetables and herbs easily and organically using different approaches to the common in-ground methods. As a master food preserver, she teaches how to safely can, dry, and freeze garden produce, and also teaches and writes about beekeeping.
Moss-Sprague’s university-based training as a master gardener and master food preserver, as well as extensive beekeeping experience, provide a deep well of practical, hands-on experience from which to draw. Having finally “retired” from nearly 20 years actively keeping bees , she still avidly keeps up with that interest, often writing and making presentations about honeybees. Moss-Sprague frequently writes informative articles for publications in her region, as well as making presentations and teaching classes through the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service, Wayne County, NY.
Her book, Stand Up and Garden (Countryman Press, 2012), focuses on above-ground gardening techniques and includes the use of micro-drip irrigation — the "no-digging, no-tilling, no-stooping approach to gardening."
Originally a native of the Pacific Northwest, Mary started out life in a small home farm in Washington State, "surrounded by pigs, chickens, turkeys, a horse and cattle, in addition to prolific fruit trees and a sizable truck garden," she says. She and her siblings were active in 4-H, FFa and other organizations related to farming and agriculture. She says she has never lost her respect for Mother Earth.
Mary worked in Seattle for many years and served as science editor at KRAB-FM radio, writing and producing a 90-minute science program similar to NPR's Science Friday, called Science from Aardvark to Zygote. Mary and her family eventually moved to an acreage near Portland, Ore., where she started a licensed plant nursery and began keeping bees, eventually becoming a beekeeper mentor. She now has more than 20 years' experience keeping and writing about bees.
While in Oregon she took master gardener and master food preserver training at Oregon State University. In 2006, Mary relocated to central upstate New York, where she is committed to helping the aging population and other people learn easier ways to grow their own fresh produce. She is now a Cornell Cooperative Extension Service certified master gardener. She writes for Cornell Cooperative Extension publications and also for the regional newspaper, The Finger Lakes Times.
Mary and her husband, Al Sprague, enjoy gardening together, and run a B&B as well as a formal, reservation-only tea room in their home.
Find Mary on the Web: