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Getting Better with Time

March 20th, 2017

When it comes to edible gardening, one area I always felt like I struggled a bit was succession planting.  Sometimes I simply forgot to sow the additional seeds, other times my various sowings matured at the same time. Over the past few years, I noticed that it’s starting to become second nature to me and I’ve figured out a few things to make it work for me.

One of the things I learned was that it’s not always a good idea to start something “every two weeks” as the gardening books tell you. If the soil and the temperature is cooler, things grow more slowly and sometimes the later planting will catch up to the early one. Starting additional planting in flats indoors also makes them grow more quickly than those planted outside. If your first planting is just being planted in the garden, transplant shock and cooler temperatures can slow growth rate allowing the indoor seedlings catch up.

Perhaps this is only something that affect us northern gardeners, but after a few years I find that a three or four week schedule is often better than the two weeks most normally recommended. It also makes it easier to manage because I’m not doing it as often. It’s nice to be able to have fresh lettuce throughout spring/summer/fall, which is the main reason I have been trying to improve my success in this area.

Do you plant in succession to have a longer growing season? Do you have any great tips to share? Is this an area you struggle? 

Surveying the Gardens

March 9th, 2017

When the snow starts thawing, I find myself out walking around the gardens on an almost daily basis. I’m watching for areas that thaw first, where the water pools, how the wind blows across the garden, and other things. Now I’ve lived here for four years, I have a pretty good idea of the different microclimates in my garden. I know that the potager behind the house thaws out much more quickly than the main garden behind the garage. I can plant lettuces and other cold tolerant crops in there two or three weeks earlier than I can in the main garden. I’m thinking of trying to plant a few asparagus crowns in there to see if they are ready to harvest sooner than their main garden counterparts.

The difference by day can be astonishing, especially as the snow melts. I also watch closely to see which plants were nibbled by deer or look like they sustained damage from heavy snows or wind. A fence is definitely in order this summer, the wild turkeys are really enjoying all the delicious things in the garden.

Clearing Space

March 7th, 2017

Well, I’m still having some computer problems. I took all sorts of photos this weekend for posts this week and I can’t get my photo program to even open on my desktop. That means you’ll have to make do with cell phone images until I can get the problem figured out.

This weekend marked the official goodbye to the red maple that was overshadowing the potager. It was a nice tree, though it was planted in the wrong spot. It wasn’t filling out properly because it was being crowded by a few large white pine trees and it was sucking up nutrients and water from the lettuce and other things growing in the potager. The good thing is, the tree will be used to keep us warm next winter. It also makes way for me to finally get the potager hedges, walls, and other things finished.

Are there any projects you’re finally getting around to completing after years of having them on your list?

Soaking It Up

February 21st, 2017

I spent the last half of last week in Ohio, visiting family. On Saturday it was 74 degrees. Naturally, I spent the afternoon sitting in the sun on front porch reading a book (The Memory of Us, a historical fiction).

I took a short walk around the garden with my parents, my mom was feeling well enough for a bit to make a quick jaunt around the garden seeing the very first early crocus popping up out the soil.

It won’t be long until spring arrives in Ohio, we still have a while here in Maine. That small taste of it gave me the push I needed to get started on a few early chores. This week I plan on starting a flat of spring cassis and lettuces. Perhaps I’ll even start some celery and a few other herbs.

When does spring usually arrive in your garden?

Digging Out

February 14th, 2017

Sunday and Monday we had a big nor’easter hit us here in Maine. We spent a large portion of the day yesterday digging some things out, more digging will be done today. It’s hard to say how much snow we got, with the gusting winds and drifting it’s waist high in some places and only a foot in others. If I had to guess I’d say we got between 18-24″.

It’s like mother nature was procrastinating this year. We’ve gotten 3-4 feet of snow in the past week and there’s another 15 inches or so predicted for tomorrow. I am happy that there’s finally enough snow for snowshoeing, which is one of my favorite winter activities.

What’s the worst kind of weather you get in your garden?

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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.