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May 29th, 2015

We finally had a little rain shower move through yesterday evening. The garden has been super dry, I mean super dry. Luckily, my soil retains water really well since I don’t dig or till and I mulch everything.
Rain on the radar
I was worried the rain would miss us completely, but finally a cool rain started to fall. It was the perfect rain, not too hard, not too soft.
How’s the rain situation in your garden this spring?

Growing Again

May 28th, 2015

I like the zone aspect of permaculture, where you keep things you need close to the house and things you don’t need to access quite as often farther away. As I go about my days, I watch my habits and traffic patterns around the garden. The result is that I visit the back potager and lower gardens much more often than the main edible garden up behind the garage. That’s why I decided to expand the edible garden areas a little around the house.
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Areas that are difficult to mow are always the first to get changed over from sod to garden space. Areas prone to weed infestation are also first to get switched. This area below the house is south facing and was always a huge pain to mow. Last summer I put down cardboard and covered it with grass clippings. This year I had to dig out a few tenacious weeds, but there weren’t too many.
Then I planted it with tomatoes and peppers. I’m thinking about moving my boxwood hedge down here. Eventually it will be filled with perennials, but that won’t happen until the weeds are fully under control. I like to plant beds in annuals for a year or two before planting perennials. It’s much easier to dig out any weed that pop up when the plants aren’t permanent. Annuals also appreciate the structure of freshly worked soil, perennials do better after the soil has settled a bit.

Are you expanding your gardens this year?

Fieldstone Gardens

May 27th, 2015

This past weekend, Mr Chiots and I headed out to Fieldstone Gardens in Vassalboro, Maine. It’s a small greenhouse nearby that I’ve been wanting to go to for quite a while. I really appreciate greenhouses like this one, you can really tell it’s all about gardening, not necessarily about selling plants. The greenhouse is surrounded by beautiful fields with old stone walls. There’s an orchard, ornamental beds filled with lilacs and other perennials. There’s a small greenhouse filled with heat loving plants, a snail topiary in the growing field out back, a beautiful little potting shed store.
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The pig statue above is now on my list of thing I’d love to have in the garden. Since we’re not getting real pigs this year, one like this would be perfect. I’m so happy to have discovered this beautiful place. Places like this are such an inspiration and I’d much rather spend my gardening cash at little local stores instead of the big box greenhouses. This place is so nice I’ll be taking any gardener that comes to visit up to walk the grounds.

Do you have a great little greenhouse nearby where you can purchase plants and be inspired?

Blooms Galore

May 26th, 2015

This time of year it seems the world outside my windows explode with blooms. The apple trees in the garden is in full bloom, the one right in front of the house is spectacular.
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I love standing under it, the tree is literally buzzing with pollinators of all shapes and sizes. Birds of all colors are also attracted to its branches as well, I’ve seen seven or eight different varieties of birds this past weekend. In fact there’s an Indigo Bunting that has called it his home, he serenades me in the wee hours of the morning and all throughout the day with his lovely song.
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As I’ve been driving around this past week I’ve been noticing other apple and crabapple trees. I definitely need to add more flowering trees to the garden. The are wonderful for insects and for our feathered friends. I’ll be researching the best kinds of crabapples for this purpose.
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There’s only a short window of time to enjoy this beauty, so you can bet I’ll be out front sitting under the apple tree enjoying the petals falling from it like rain as often as I can.

Do you have any fruit trees or other blooming trees in your garden? What blooms are you enjoying in your garden this week?

Friday Favorite: The Potager

May 22nd, 2015

The potager is by far my favorite garden, at least at the moment. It’s still a work in progress, but each year it gets better and better. There are perennial herbs that need moved, pathways that need widened, trellises that need moved, and retaining walls that need built. Even with all the things that need done it’s beautiful.
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My main vegetable garden is very traditional with wide rows and mass plantings of vegetables. This garden was built for beauty and it shows. The variety of colors and textures in the plating is really stunning.
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The curved rows add interest and they help me maximize the space since the garden isn’t that large. It’s about 25 feet by 25 feet.
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The larger lettuce seedlings that I transplanted a few weeks ago are really filling out. I can’t wait to see them when they’re mature. It is hard to harvest them, but I’ll have new plants waiting to fill in the spaces. I’m getting ready to seed heat tolerant lettuces in seed trays for this purpose.
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I love that I can see part of it from our bedroom window. Each morning I look out and see the colorful curved rows filled with all kinds of vegetables.
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Even though this garden focuses on beauty, it still produces an amazing amount of food. It’s also been a great place for me to practice succession planting. I’m learning to sow a variety of vegetables at different times to keep the garden producing at high levels all spring/summer/fall.

Do you have a part of your garden you like the most?

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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.