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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?


December 16th, 2015

This coming spring/summer I plan on adding raspberry beds to the garden. As I was looking through the Nourse Farms catalog last night, I got to thinking that perhaps you guys might have some recommendations for raspberries with great flavor and great yield. When it comes to soft fruits, sometimes the fruit can be amazing and sometimes simply OK. I have found that we like ‘Sparkle’ strawberries the best and really don’t like our ‘Seascape’ overbearing plants. They will also be replaced next spring with ‘Mara des Bois’ which have been recommended to me by a few people.
Berry Picking 3
So, do you have any recommendations for soft fruit varieties that you love? I’m particularly interested in raspberries, but I’ll take recommendations for blueberries, strawberries, and any other type of soft fruit.

Cover Crop Trials

December 14th, 2015

I’m writing an article for a magazine about using cover crops in the small garden. In order to have great recommendations, I’m doing cover crop trials this winter to see which options offer the best cover in winter and the most weed free seed bed in spring. When I was out in the garden yesterday I noticed the only cover crop that was still lush and green was the crimson clover.
Cover Crop Trials
Of the other varieties I tried, most were killed by frost months ago and are already starting to break down. It looks like crimson clover is going to get high marks for soil protection throughout the winter. I also love that it provides a little extra green in the garden when most plants are brown.

Do you utilize cover crops in your garden? Which is your favorite to use over the winter?

Welcome Volunteers

November 19th, 2015

Last summer I let overwintered carrots go to seed in the garden, the result was welcome volunteers here and there this spring. I left all the carrots seedlings that sprouted up here and there throughout the potager. Yesterday, I harvested a few of them to make soup.
Carrot harvest
There are a few things I allow to go to seed because I enjoy not having to plant them again. Cilantro, parsley, dill, kale, lettuce, and fennel are all things that sprout up here and there every spring. Sometimes I pull them up, most of the time I let them grow as they wish. The result is a lot of wonderful things that I didn’t have to plant myself.

What sorts of edible volunteers do you have in your garden?

Gifts from Readers

November 18th, 2015

A month or so ago I received this lovely hand-forged tool from a blog reader. She said it was one of her favorite garden tools and she thought I’d like it as well. As I’ve been clearing out the front flowerbed, I’ve been using it to level the soil. The extra reach provided by the extra long handle is quite convenient, with it I can reach more of the bed from one location.
homestead iron 1
homestead iron 2
This tool is made handmade in Missouri by Homestead Iron. You can find their tools over in their Etsy shop. I really like some of the other items, a boot scraper would come in handy around here that’s for sure.
homestead iron 3
So far I’m loving this tool. A big thanks to Amy for sending this along. If you’re looking for a gift for yourself or for friends/family this Christmas check out this little shop.

Have you received any thoughtful gifts recently?

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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.