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Composting in Situ

October 18th, 2016

Earlier this summer I talked about my experiments with composting in place in the garden. Since they were such a great success, I decided to continue using this method since it saves tons of time. As I’ve been cleaning out the main garden I have been building giant compost piles at the lower end of the garden. This area is much lower than the rest of the garden and the soil needs to be built up about a foot or 18 inches to help level the garden a bit. Eventually, there will be large rocks put in place here to hold back the soil and improve water runoff issues in the garden.
Instead of hauling in topsoil, I decided it was easiest to take the patient way and simply start building up this lower end of the garden with compost. I now have a rather large compost pile that is growing larger and longer by the day. At the moment it’s about four feet wide, three feet tall, and fifteen feet long. Eventually it will span the entire length of the garden at seventy feet. Next year I will plant pumpkins and squashes on these pile to help compost them down even more, then they will be raked out a bit and more will be built here if the soil level needs to be increased. I love this method because I don’t have to turn and maintain compost piles and I don’t have to bring in soil from elsewhere to increase the level. Overall, it’s a win/win because it saves me tons of time and labor.

What time/labor saving methods have you discovered recently?

So Many Dahlias

October 14th, 2016

My dahlias are blooming like crazy, it’s like they know that they only have a week or two of blooming left. They have been blooming nicely since August, but now they’re really putting on a show. I was happy to see them welcoming me home from my travels over the past two weeks. There’s nothing like seeing some final colors in the garden.
I’ll be digging these tubers after the first frost, if you’ve wondered how to overwinter dahlias in a cold climate stay tuned. I’ll make sure to take lots of photos and write up a post about the process.

Do you grow dahlias? Do you have a favorite variety?

Fleeting Beauty

October 13th, 2016

Every year in June, I wonder if my hardy hibiscus survived the winter. Then, just as I start mourning that it’s gone, up come the little green shoots from the soil. In August it starts blooming and only lasts a little while before the weather turns too cold for it. This hibiscus came as a seedling from my mom’s garden. She has dinnerplate hibiscus in white and red, the pink color is a cross-pollination between those two.
Even though it only blooms for a very short season, I’m always happy to see these lovely blooms. They remind me of my childhood in South America, we had hibiscus growing in our back patio. This season I purchased another hardy hibscus with dark leaves and red flowers to grace our front stoop. Hopefully it survives as well as this lovely specimen.

Do you have any plants that surprise you with their hardiness each year?

Friday Favorite: Compost Treasures

September 30th, 2016

It’s always a happy find when you come across something that shouldn’t be in the compost pile. On Sunday I came across a fork. I’ve been known to find all sorts of things in the compost pile, knives, wood spoons, serving spoons, lids, etc.

What sorts of things have you found in your compost pile?

Harvesting Popcorn

September 28th, 2016

One of the things I’ve been working on this week is harvesting the popcorn. While you’re supposed to let it dry on the stalks, there’s rain in the forecast and I don’t want it to mold. Plus we’ve had a pesky raccoon that’s been getting in and eating a few bits off of each ear, ruining about a third of our crop so far.
I grew four different varieties of popcorn this year, hoping for a four color mix. The black popcorn outperformed them all and did beautifully. Amazingly, it was also the least favorite for the raccoons. You can bet I’ll be growing this variety again in the future! Popcorn is one of our favorite snacks, we love making it the old fashioned way in a big pot on the stove with lots of ghee.

Are you a lover of popcorn?

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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.