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September 27th, 2016

If you have cats, you should have a catnip plant in your garden. They can be a little thuggish, seeding down everywhere if you don’t get them cut in time, but they’re still worthwhile to have around. The pollinators love them, and of course, so do the cats. While I was cleaning out the main vegetable garden I decided to cut back the catnip plant to dry for the cats. I threw the herbs on the porch and came inside to look up string to hang it with. When I got back to the porch Dexter has already settled in on the fragrant herbs.
Such a silly cat, but this is exactly why I dry it. Most of my cats will eat both the fresh and the dried herbs. I figure it must have all sorts of healthy vitamins & minerals in it for them. Cutting it back also keeps it from taking over the garden, overall, it’s a win/win!

Do you grow catnip or catmint for your cats?

Rest assured more lovely gardens from our trip to Sweden are in the works, I’ve been a bit busy getting the garden ready to fall and haven’t had time to go through all the photos yet.

The End

September 26th, 2016

Well, we have our first frost advisory for tonight (Sunday night, which was last night). Luckily, I’ve been out all week harvesting all the remaining peppers, tomatoes, and beans. I’m amazed by the amount of green peppers I had on my plants, they totaled about a bushel. I had about the same amount of tomatoes.
The peppers already made their way into the freezer, the green tomatoes are laying in wait till they ripen. I may make some green tomato chutney if I have the time.
The hot peppers (cayenne and Korean bird peppers) are going to be dried for crumbling into curries and stews to add a little heat this coming winter. There’s actually something nice about having a frost, it’s a definite end to the season. Sometimes I need that to get me to finally rip out the tender plants and prepare for the coming winter.

When is your typical first frost?

Friday Favorite: Rue

September 23rd, 2016

I bought this rue a few years ago and love it. Earlier this summer, I thought I had lost it in the drought. After much watering it started sprouting new leaves and then bloomed beautifully.
Last week I cut a sprig of flowers and it looked beautiful in a vase, it also lasted for a really long time. I’ll definitely be adding more of these to my garden in the future.

What flower are you loving right now?

Rest Stops Along the Way

September 21st, 2016

Last winter I read about how planting things like tithonia and zinnias in the garden provided important rest stops for migrating monarchs and hummingbirds. This year I have a huge patch of both in the main vegetable garden behind the barn, planted just for this reason. I’ve been watching dutifully to see if the monarchs would stop by on their migration. Sure enough they have…
Not only are the monarchs and other butterflies enjoying this patch of flowers, the bees are loving them as well.
I’m more than happy to plant a large patch of plants to provide much needed sustenance for the monarch and other pollinators in the fall. It’s always a happy thing to see the results of your efforts, even on such a small scale. We can make a difference, even if it is just by planting a few late blooming plants in our gardens to provide much needed rest stops for migrating monarchs and hummingbirds.

Do you have any late blooming plants that the butterflies and bees are loving?

The Läckö Slott Castle Gardens, part 2

September 20th, 2016

The lower walled garden at Läckö Slott Castle was quite stunning. I’m a huge fan of artfully arranged potagers, I love hedges, walls, arches, and vegetables arranged in straight or curved rows. Using the texture and color of different vegetables to create an artful garden is something we should all try to do more in our edible garden spaces. Ornamental beds shouldn’t be the only places arranged with such things in mind.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.