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Gearing Up

April 20th, 2015

Yesterday was beautiful and I wanted to spend as much time outside as I could. After putting up a low tunnel to protect my seedlings from the week of rain and cold nights we’re supposed to have, I headed back into the woods to clear out a few saplings. These saplings will be used to make bean and pea towers, just like the ones I used to have in Ohio.
saplings
green beans  2
It’s always nice to be able to procure garden supports without spending money. These are perfect because the saplings need thinned on the back hillside anyways. Killing two birds with one stone is always the most efficient way.

What kind of supports do you like for beans/peas and other climbers?

Quote of the Day: Spring

April 19th, 2015

“When spring came, after that hard winter, one could not get enough of the nimble air. Every morning I wakened with a fresh consciousness that winter was over. There were none of the signs of spring for which I used to watch in Virginia, no budding woods, or blooming gardens. There was only–spring itself; the throb of it, the light restlessness, the vital essence of it everywhere; in the sky, in the swift clouds, in the pale sunshine, and in the warm, high wind–rising suddenly, sinking suddenly, impulsively and playful like a big puppy that pawed you and then lay down to be petted. If I had been tossed down blindfolded on that red prairie, I should have known in was spring.”

Willa Cather – My Antonia

Soaking up the Sun
It’s amazing how the different seasons really do have a different feel to them. Winter kept clawing to stick around, but finally spring was able to overcome. All of a sudden there is birdsong in the air and the smell of earth rises up to meet you as walk around. There are tiny bits of green showing through the dull brown grass. Insects can be seen fluttering about in the sunshine. You can almost feel it in the air.

What do you notice most when spring arrives in your garden? smell? sight? warmth?

Friday Favorite: Back in the Garden

April 17th, 2015

This Friday favorite is a given, you knew it was coming. Spending time in the garden is truly one of my favorite things. This week I’ve been able to spend a few hours on three different days working outside. Yesterday I put a fence up around the potager, cleared out 3/4 of it, and even got 10 rows of seeds planted.
potager 1 (1)
potager 2 (1)
It’s simply wonderful to feel the sun warming my back, to soak up some much needed vitamin D, and to get the garden in order while I do. I’ll be even happier when the vegetables I planted grace my table and save my on my grocery bill. Life is good in the spring. Garden chores still have the wonder and beauty that they lack when the heat of high summer can make them miserable. This time of year being in the garden is pure bliss!

What are the first chores you do in the garden in spring?

Catnip

April 16th, 2015

I can tell you that the cats are super happy that spring has arrived. Every day they get a few sprigs of catnip to roll in and eat. They are LOVING it.
catnip 1
catnip 2
I grow it not only for them, but it makes a great insect repellant as well. While I’m working in the garden, I like to pick sprigs of it and rub in on my exposed skin to keep the bugs away. Perhaps that’s why cats love me so much.

Do you grow catnip for your cats or for it’s other properties?

What a Mess

April 15th, 2015

I rarely clean up the gardens in the fall, I like to leave the plant material for insects and the seeds for the birds. That means I have extra work to finish up in the spring before I start planting. The soil in the potager is thawed, I should take a thermometer out there and check the temperature. There’s a nice flat of lettuces under the grow lights that are perfect for planting, they just need hardening off.
potager 1
potager 2
There are plants that need cut back, pine boughs that need removed from hydrangeas, leaves that need raking, and lots of chicken holes to fill in.
potager 3
potager 4
I noticed the chives, tarragon, and thyme are waking up. The catnip is also coming up nicely, the cats have already been enjoying it as snacks in the afternoons.
potager 5
potager 6
The weather looks to be beautiful this week. I need to put up a fence to keep the chickens out and then get to work clearing out, raking, and adding compost to this garden. Soon enough it will be lush with growth.

Do you clean out the garden in fall or wait until spring?

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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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