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A Year of Winners

July 21st, 2016

I mentioned a few weeks ago how happy I was that I finally grew some amazing fennel. This year I also managed to grow amazing cauliflower, which I admit, I had almost given up on growing. Cauliflower is a favorite vegetable of mine. I have attempted grow all sorts of heirloom varieties without much success. This year I finally decided to try ‘Bishop’ from Johnny’s Seeds and…..
cauliflower head
I only planted four because I didn’t want to lose any garden space to lackluster cauliflower. Now I need to get more seeded for a fall crop! Cauliflower can be a tough vegetable to grow, the heirlooms are especially picky. I’m hoping this variety will be successful for me in years to come, only time will tell. Until then, I’ll be happily eating these lovely vegetables and relishing another success in the garden this year.

What vegetables do you have a hard time growing?

MMMM, Good

July 20th, 2016

I buy artichokes at the store every once and again. Since they are so pricey, they’re a rarity in our diet. This year I decided to try growing them. I’d read about people doing it in Vermont, and Eliot Coleman grows them on his farm here in Maine. So I started them back in February so I could give them the long season and the jolt of cold weather they enjoy.
seeding artichokes 1
As you can see, there were two different varieties in the pack of seeds I planted. Both of them are producing chokes at roughly the same time. I noticed the first choke about two weeks ago. Artichokes are wonderful in the garden, not only because they are delicious, but because they are stunning plants.
artichokes 2
artichokes 1
We harvested two and had them for dinner on Monday night, one of each variety. We dipped them in a mix of homemade mayo and a bit of balsamic vinegar and they were delicious. I’ll definitely be growing these in the future, I’m thinking they will be lovely in the ornamental beds, I love the robust texture of the leaves.

Did you grow any new vegetables this year?

The Main Vegetable Garden

July 19th, 2016

I have a small potager out behind the house, it’s an ornamental vegetable garden. In it I grow a lot of herbs and lettuce. Out behind the garage there’s a big vegetable garden, right now it’s probably 70 feet wide by about 50 feet wide. It gets a little bigger each year, in a few years we will have expanded it to the final size. When that time comes we will make permanent pathways, plant hedges, and a large perennial border in front of the fence that will surround it. Until then, it’s a fairly traditional garden space. I have rows that are 4 feet wide, vegetables are planted very closely in these beds, or things are interplanted.
Main edible garden 1
It’s filled with all sorts of things, mostly the ones I grow in large amounts: peas, beans, onions, potatoes, asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, etc.
Main edible garden 2
Main edible garden 3
I read a while ago that at the Hagley mansion garden they layered their garden waste in a row of the garden throughout the growing season. There was not turning of the compost, it was let sit over the winter and the following spring squash was planted in the piles to use the nutrients while it continued to compost. I’m giving this method a try in my garden, so far the zucchini planted in the pile is doing well.
Main edible garden 5
Main edible garden 4
Main edible garden 6
This garden is not tilled, it hasn’t been since we moved in. The result is that each year I have fewer and fewer weeds and the soil structure is getting better and better. It’s amazing how much difference you can make in a short amount of time, I’ve noticed huge differences in water and nutrient retention along with weed load in this garden in the past four years. It’s a great space, hopefully when it reaches its final size it will be big enough to allow 25% of it to be fallow each year so the soil can rest.

How’s your edible garden going? What size do you consider the perfect size for an edible garden?

A Little Garden Kitsch

July 18th, 2016

Every garden needs a few fun elements, I found these at a local store a few weeks ago and I put them at the entrance to the main vegetable garden in the back. They make me smile every single time I walk by and I LOVE that! They’re not very tall, only about three inches each and they sit on top of a two foot garden stake.
garden ornaments 1
garden ornaments 2
These little figurines are a good reminder to not be too serious, we all need a little kitsch in our lives!

Do you have any gnomes in your garden? Any garden art?

Friday Favorite: The Truck

July 15th, 2016

We have this old red truck that we got with this property, in the winter it keeps the snow off the driveway. In the summer it is pressed into service hauling water for the back garden.
trusty truck
We fill a 100 gallon tank in the bed and I use it to fill waterings cans, which I haul to the garden to water things. I should think about buying a few more hoses so I can reach the garden from the spigots on the house, but until then we’ll use the trusty old truck. It’s actually a good way to run it weekly in the summer.

Do you have any garden areas out of reach of your hoses? How do you water them?

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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.

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