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Friday Favorite: Snow

February 5th, 2016

After being in the mid-fifties on Thursday, we woke up to snow covering the ground and a forecast of 3-6″ to fall during the day.
Snowing 3
While I do love spring and appreciate it, I enjoy winter as well. Snow is vital to our gardens, it provide nitrogen and moisture for spring plantings. It protects our perennials with an insulating blanket. We will still get more snow in the weeks to come, winter isn’t even close to being over. I’m certainly going to relish these last few weeks of winter and hopefully will be able to get in a lot of snowshowing!

Do you get snow in your garden? When do you typically get your last snow?

A Nice Window

February 4th, 2016

It’s been a little warm here the past few days, our blanket of snow has melted and the ground can be worked. It’s the perfect time to broadcast a few seeds for cold tolerant varieties like arugula, cilantro, mustard, and a few other things. Winter will return, in fact we’re supposed to get snow tomorrow and next week it will once again be in the single digits. These seeds don’t care, they will wait and spring forth when they’re ready.
winter seeding 2
They won’t germinate as quickly as they do when the soil is warmer, but they’ll germinate when the conditions are right and I’ll have a much earlier crop that I would have if I had waited.
winter seeding 1
I’m also going to be seeding a flat of lettuce, which is something I do every year. I find that having a flat of greens ready to go into the ground in spring gives me a jump on the season and has me harvesting greens for my table at least a month if not 6 weeks before direct seeded crops. I love having things ready to plant as soon as the ground is ready. This winter has been fairly mild, which means my overwintered spinach is thriving and should start growing as soon as conditions improve in a month or so.

What are you doing in the garden this weekend?

First Seeds of 2016

February 3rd, 2016

Yesterday I planted my first garden seeds for this year. What were they? Artichokes.
seeding artichokes 1
seeding artichokes 2
At 180-240 days these babies take a LONG time to reach maturity. I’ve also read that they appreciate a bit of a cold snap early on to make them think they’ve gone through a winter.
seeding artichokes 3
Will I be able to harvest artichokes to eat? I guess we’ll find out this fall. If Eliot Coleman can grow them here in Maine, I think I can as well.

What fund edible are you going to try this year for the first time?


February 2nd, 2016

Usually I have my seed order all figured out by now and the seeds have arrived and have been categorized and organized. Not.this.year.
seed list 2
I’ve looked through a few catalogs and sorted through my seeds, but I haven’t made a final list of things I want. I feel like I’m behind, but I’m not, I’m just usually ahead of the game. This year my goal is to only buy the essentials, I have lots of seeds in my stash that should be used up. The good thing is that I’ll save a few dollars and I should save space in the garden. There is a habit around here of having more seedlings than garden space, I bet none of you ever have that problem. Today, I will be ordering my seeds. Then the gardening season has begun.

Have you ordered your seeds yet this year?

Tiny Cherry Trees

February 1st, 2016

Those cherry pits I stratified in the fridge are growing nicely under the grow lights. Most of them germinated, of those about 50% have turned into little trees. There have been a few that have struggled and then wilted under the grow lights. Right now there are 15 or so little trees that seem to be doing well.
tiny cherry trees
No doubt there will be a few more that will perish throughout the coming months and perhaps years, but it looks like I’ll at least have a few nice little trees for the garden. I’ll definitely be doing this again. Next winter I’m going to try stratifying various stone fruits in a row of the main garden. I’d like to see if/how that will work.

What is your favorite stone fruit tree?

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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.