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Cat Mushrooms

April 13th, 2017

We have five cats running around the garden and they show up here and there laying about the lawn, gardens, and driveway. We call them cat mushrooms since they pop up instantly.



I do love having cats in the garden, not only are they great for rodent control but also for company. There’s nothing better than having a cat following you around the garden.

The First Blooms

April 12th, 2017

Both Monday and Tuesday were beautiful days this week, both in the 70’s and sunny. It’s amazing how quickly things grow when the sun comes out and the air warms. On Monday I walked around the garden looking for bulbs coming up, there was nothing. Yesterday afternoon I noticed the crocuses blooming.


I don’t have a ton of crocuses in the garden here, there were a few in the garden when we moved in. In my Ohio garden, I planted around 1000 crocus bulbs, in the lawn and in the perennial borders. I’m thinking of adding a few underneath our old apple trees. I’ve spent the last three years smoothing all the invasive weeds, now that I have them under control a carpet of crocuses might be in order! But then again, maybe I’ll plant lots of snowdrops, or tiny narcissus, or bluebells….choices, choices.

What’s your favorite tiny spring flower?

The Importance of Fresh Seed

April 6th, 2017

I’ve talked before about the importance of using fresh seed. Some types of plants, like brassicas and nightshades, maintain seed viability longer than others. Other seeds like alliums barely germinate after a year. Lettuce is supposed to last a few years, but I have found that fresh seed is worth the few extra dollars each year. The length of time it takes for old seed to germinate and grow can mean that you are harvesting your lettuce two or three weeks later than if you had fresh seed. In a short growing season like mine, those 2-3 weeks aren’t worth it. I also find that the time saved under grow lights is another reason to purchase fresh seed each year. If I can move plants outside 2 weeks earlier I can start another flat much earlier.

In order to illustrate this point, I used year old lettuce seed (these seeds were purchased in 2016) and new lettuce seed. The variety that is from last season germinated very quickly last year and grew very vigorously. In fact, it was the first lettuce to produce heads. You can easily pick out which seed is from last year and which ones are from this season. I’ll keep you updated on the growth rate throughout the season.

One of the reasons for the decline in viability can be due to age of seed since we don’t know how old seed is when we buy it. That’s one reason I like buying seeds from Johnny’s Seeds, they do germination tests and put the date of the test and germination rate right on the seed packet. Old seed not only has lower and slower germination rates, but it has less vigor overall. Plants take longer to grow and reach maturity.

Just because seed isn’t fresh doesn’t mean you have to throw it away. Mix all your lettuce and endive seeds together to make a mesclun mix and direct seed that in the garden or under grow lights in the fall/winter. Purchasing and sharing seeds with friends is a great way to be able to have fresh seed every year without increased costs. Truthfully, most seeds stay fresh for a few years, lettuce and alliums are the only two I make certain to purchase fresh every single year. The rest get a few years before they are repurchased.

What seed do you make sure to purchase fresh each year? Have you noticed reduced germination rates and slower plant growth in certain varieties?

Head on over to this post for a seed viability chart I made a few years ago.

Friday Favorite: Ice Storms

March 31st, 2017

Even though we often lost power and they cause a host of problems, I love a good ice storm. This past week had a beautiful layer of ice on everything outside.


It was lovely during the day and it was even better at night, especially in the old apple tree out front draped in white lights.

What are you loving this week?

Not Giving Up Yet

March 28th, 2017

Winter is not willing to give up quite yet. This past week we’ve have quite a bit of winter weather. It’s been extremely beautiful though, so I can’t complain. Soon enough the snow will melt and we’ll be in that horrid in between stage where everything is a dull, muddy mess.


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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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