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National Farmer’s Market Week: Aug 2-8

July 31st, 2009

I found out through The Inadvertent Gardening that next week is National Farmer’s Market week. Celebrate National Farmer’s Market week by heading to your local farmer’s market tomorrow and next weekend (and every weekend in the summer).
Farmers_market_sign
If you don’t know about a farmer’s market in your area head over the Local Harvest to find one. Farmer’s markets are such a great way to get involved in your local economy and to encourage people in your community to grow healthy food.
Shopping_at_the_farmer's_market
Farmer's_Market_Vendor
Unless I’m working, I head down to the farmer’s market every Saturday morning. I always buy something from my favorite vendors and I try to buy from all of the new vendors I notice to encourage them to keep coming back.
Famers_market
Our farmers market carries just about everything: veggies, fruit, bread, baked goods, meat, poultry, eggs, crafts, soaps, herbs, teas and plants. Not to mention the produce is the freshest you can find!
Peaches_at_market
I’m always heading home loaded with fresh local goodies for a weeks worth of meals and some canning for the winter.
Car_loaded_with_farmers_market_goodies
Do you frequent your local farmer’s market? What do you like about it?

Free Pollinator Plant Guide

July 30th, 2009

While reading through my current Organic Gardening magazine I came across a small article about pollinators. The Pollinator Partnership is offering a free guide: Selecting Plants for Pollinators.
Bees_on_milkweed
If you’re interesting in downloading this free guide, just type in your zip code when you follow this link and they’ll give you the guide that’s specific for your region. I happen to be in the Eastern Broadleaf Forest Oceanic Province and NAPPC Including the states of Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island and parts of: Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee.
Honeybee_on_Nicotiana
Pollinators also include butterflies and hummingbirds, along with beetles, flies and bats. Who wouldn’t want to attract more of these to their gardens?
Hummingbird_at_feederMonarch_Butterfly
Bee_on_Echinacea
I downloaded the guide yesterday and have been looking through it. I’m always looking for new plants to introduce to my gardens that will be beneficial for pollinators and other insects.
Butterfly_on_Echinacea
I love that this buide includes a chart of flowers and their bloom time so you can stagger the blooms so that somethings always providing pollen and nectar for the beneficial birds and insects in your gardens.

Have you incorporated any new plants this year specifically for pollinators?

Farmer’s Market Goodies

July 29th, 2009

I was finally able to head to the farmer’s market last Saturday after not being able to go for a month (busy Saturdays working for our business). I found all kinds of lovely things to buy, including a lot of green beans.
Cat_in_produce_bag
Dexter thought they were wonderful cat toys that I bought for him. He stole a few and I found all 3 cats playing with green beans later that afternoon. No need to spend $4 on a furry mouse, a green bean from the farmer’s market will do. I’m guessing they would also love small turnips and beets.

Have you found any unexpected uses for produce this summer?

What Should We Build?

July 28th, 2009

Earlier this summer I won a $100 Home Depot gift card from Colleen over at In the Garden Online. I can’t decide what new garden project to use it for.
home_depot_gift_card
Originally I though I’d build a new raised bed. I would like one that’s at least 18 inches tall and 10 feet long and 4 feet wide, this would expand my gardening area by 40 sq feet. I could grow a lot more vegetables in an additional 40 sq feet (perhaps sweet corn)?
Raised_Garden_bed
Mr Chiots and I have also considered building a Warre hive. We are hoping to get yet another hive of bees next spring and we really want to try the Warre top bar method for managing one of our hives.
Warre_Bee_hive
a big thanks to Mike Grenville for letting me use his photo Our New Bee Hive.
Mr Chiots has also been wanting to build me a potting bench to put out back for all of my repotting efforts. I have a small plastic folding table that I usually use for such tasks (or just the wheelbarrow if I’m too lazy to get out the table).
Repotting_Seedlings
I can’t really decide which project I want to make, they’re all something we would love to have. Since I can’t decide I figured I’d turn you, vote in the poll for the project you think would we should use our gift card for.

Which would you would choose and why?

Corn on the Cob = Summertime

July 27th, 2009

Here in the Midwest (NE Ohio to be exact) the first real day of the summer is the day you see the first local sweet corn on sale at various roadside stands. Sweet corn is one of those things that, despite the globalization of our food system, remains a local thing. Everyone knows which local farmer grows their favorite corn and each year they wait until that farmer’s corn is ready.
Sweet_corn_stand
When I headed to the farmer’s market on Saturday, I noticed it was finally sweet corn season, so I bought a dozen ears for lunch. Everyone has their own method for cooking sweet corn, some people boil it for a few minutes, some people for 10. I happen to steam mine for 12 minutes and that’s perfect for us.
sweet_corn_on_stove
We enjoy ours with homemade butter and a little salt, it makes for a simple delicious fresh local meal.
Eating_sweet_corn
Mr Chiots and I were discussing whether or not corn on the cob is a Midwest thing, or if people in other parts of the country enjoy sweet corn as much as us Midwesterners do.

Is sweet corn a big thing in your area of the country? What’s your preferred cooking & eating method?

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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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