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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.
Potager with curved rows 3
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.
Potager with curved rows 1
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.
Potager with curved rows 4
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.
Potager with curved rows 5
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.
Potager with curved rows 2
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?

My Vintage Edger

May 21st, 2015

Last week I talked about edging my flowerbeds and a few of you were interested in seeing my vintage edger. I bought this beauty at the vintage tool shop in town, I think I only paid $4 for it.
Vintage Edger 1
I love that it’s like a small rounded shovel, with the folded over pieces on top of the blade to make pushing on it more comfortable. The short blade is the perfect depth for an edge.
Vintage Edger 2
The handle is also the perfect length, it come up to the bottom of my sternum. That’s the perfect height for an edger if you ask me, but then I’ve tried using a longer shovel and have been hit in the face with the handle when I hit a rock while trying to drive it into the ground.
Vintage Edger 3
I’ve used a few different edgers and shovels before, this is absolutely the perfect tool. I’ll definitely be going back to the store frequently hoping to find another. Another thing I love about using vintage tools is the history behind them. While edging my gardens I wonder how many other gardeners have used it and how many different gardens it has been used in.

Do you have any vintage garden tools? Any that are your favorite?

They Grow Up So Fast

May 20th, 2015

All the peppers and tomatoes are hardening off outside. I like to put them in a area with morning sun for two days before moving them to a sunnier spot. After acclimating a bit to the sun, they were moved into my low tunnel where they will stay a bit steamier. We’re still having nights in the 40’s with an occasional dip into the 30’s, the low tunnel will keep them warmer on these chilly nights. It will also keep the rain off of them, which can be a bit much at times for plants still in trays. This is my first year using a low tunnel extensively for seedling and I really love having it.
tomato and pepper seedlings
I’m in the process of preparing a bed for these guys. Last year it was in sod, which I smothered with cardboard. There are a few tenacious perennial weeds that sprouted up this spring, which I’ll be digging. I have high hopes for this new area, it’s a south facing slop below a rock wall. It’s pretty hot in the summer, so I think the tomatoes and peppers will enjoy it.

How do you harden off seedlings to get them ready for the garden?

Dirty Hands…

May 19th, 2015

Even though I try to keep my hands nice & tidy during gardening season it’s difficult. I’ve been out weeding the back potager and the results are dirty hand and fingernails.
dirty fingernails
I scrub them up every night, but they never get 100% clean. Last year I purchased these Gardener’s Nail Brush that I really like. It works fairly well at getting all the dirt out from under my fingernails. I use one of my fingernails and one on my feet.
gardeners nail brush 2
It’s OK with me if they’re not super clean, most people know that I garden. They’ll be clean again once the snow starts to fly.

Do you have any tips for keeping you hands/fingernails clean during the gardening season? 

Littles

May 18th, 2015

Big Ginger has been sitting on a nest of eggs for the past three weeks. I’ve been watching her for the past few days, wondering when she was going to come out with her little. Yesterday morning, when I went outside, I heard little chicken nuggets up in the duck room chirping their little hearts out.
chicken nuggets
chicken nuggets (1)
I love having mamas and littles running around the yard. Watching a mama brood her little is one of the most wonderful parts of tending chickens. There’s nothing better than watching a mama hen teach her little ones how to scratch, peck, and search for food.

Have you ever seen a mother hen and her babies running around free ranging?

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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.

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