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August 23rd, 2017

I’ve never been great at deadheading, it just slips my mind. Annuals aren’t very common in my garden, I find myself mostly focusing on perennials, hardy annuals, and things that reseed easily but don’t become invasive. There are still deadheading chores with this kind of gardening, but it’s generally shearing off the entire plant rather than cutting off spent blossoms. This year I have more annual cutting flowers that I have ever had and I find that the deadheading part is something I haven’t quite figured out how to work into my schedule. The good thing is that when I don’t get around to deadheading I can save seed for some of my favorite varieties.

Deadheading is a great way to build the compost piles. Since I’m currently using them to build up one side of my main edible garden, I’m always looking for sources to make them grow larger and produce more compost. Earlier this week, I deadheaded my cosmos, dahlias, and a few others plants and ended up with a very large tubtrug filled with flowers. It also makes for a pretty compost pile, at least for a day or so.

The other evening, while I was in the garden cutting spent blossoms off the cosmos, I was thinking it might be a good idea to set a schedule. Maybe Sunday evenings are a good time to spend deadheading and cutting things back. This is how I work my fertilization into my system without having to keep track. Generally, I give the plants that need it a liquid kelp feed on the first and the fifteenth of each month. That way I know when it happens and don’t have to try to remember or keep track.

How do you manage your time gardening to keep up with the weekly chores? 

Seed Saving

August 22nd, 2017

Sometimes I save seed for my favorite plants, this year I’m saving in earnest. So far I have a nice collection of: hollyhock, foxglove, sage, columbine (3 different colors), poppies, and nasturtium.

As the season progresses I’ll be saving seeds for some of my favorite pole beans, tithonia, tomatoes and a few other annuals. As I’m always thinking of ways to help cover the bills of this blog without ads, I’ve been consdering saving seeds to some of my favorite no fail flowers and herbs to sell. Would you be interested in buying seeds?

Do you save seeds from your vegetables, herbs, and flowers?

Ombré Nasturtium Blossoms

August 21st, 2017

I found a recipe for nasturtium vinegar in ‘Preserving the Taste’. Since I am flush with nasturtium blossoms this year, I decided to give it a try.

As I was picking, I noticed that my nasturtiums flowers are in a gradient, what most people call ombré nowadays. After crushing the flowers and adding crushed black peppercorns, I topped it off with a little organic white wine vinegar. It’s currently steeping in the pantry and is supposed to sit for four weeks before consuming. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

What are you preserving this week?

Friday Favorite: The Back Garden

August 18th, 2017

I have two different edible garden spaces here at Chiot’s Run. One is the potager behind the house, which is filled with lots of herbs and a few edibles each year and the main vegetable garden up behind the garage or barn. This is the large garden space where the lion’s share of our vegetables are grow. It’s also filled with flowers for cutting and a nursery bed area.

It’s slowly growing, this year it’s close to the final size. We are preparing areas to surround it with hedges and fences and probably put in a shed as well. That’s beside the point, it’s one of my favorite garden spaces even though it’s not complete. It’s really starting to come into its own. I can see a HUGE difference in it over the past 5 years, the last two years have been quite remarkable.

This garden is now about twice as big as it was when we moved here. I’m guessing it’s 60×80 ft or so at the moment, it may get a bit bigger. There are areas on three sides that may be incorporated into the garden to add 30% more space, but we haven’t decided for sure.

Pictured above is not a weed, although it certainly looks like it, it is lemongrass. I’m really hoping to make my own curry paste this fall and lemongrass was an important ingredient. So far it’s growing well, now if I could only keep the cats from munching it down.

The pumpkins pictured above are growing in the //”>big compost piles I made on this lower end of the garden last fall. If you’ve been reading here long, you’ll know that I started using this method of composting and growing squash on them a few years ago with much success. I’m trying to build up this low spot in the garden, so naturally making my compost piles here made sense. I’m planning on using the next few years of composting to build this side up leveling out the garden a bit more. Overall, this garden is really chugging along and I’m super happy with the results. I love the slightly less than perfectness of it since I let dill, cilantro, sunflowers, and other things seed down and grow up wherever they want.

What’s your favorite part in your garden right now?

Propagation Days

August 17th, 2017

This is the time of year to start propagating shrubs and other plants. I have a large garden space to fill and am wanting to propagate some of my favorite shrubs, which means I need to propagate regularly. Now that things are settling down and I have nursery space in the garden, I’m propagating in earnest. A month ago I took 80 boxwood cuttings, earlier this week I took 37 yew cuttings, along with 40 or so cuttings of three different hydrangeas.

Last this week I have a few other varieties of hydrangeas and some viburnum I plan on propagating as well. If I have time and the pots, I’ll try propagating a few clematis as well, particularly my ‘Sweet Autumn’ because I want to grow it up the front of the house. Propagating takes time, that’s for sure, but you can save a bundle and it’s so satisfying. Even though it takes much longer to get mature plants, knowing that you did it yourself and having offspring of plants in your garden is well worth the investment.

Are you propagating anything this summer?

Reading & Watching

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.