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A Yearly Favorite

June 26th, 2017

Mr Chiots is a happy camper, it’s strawberry season. We grow ‘Sparkle’, along with a few everbearing plants. This variety is our favorite, we’ve grown others in the past, but this on reigns supreme for flavor.


We’ve been making crepes, strawberry shortcake, and just eating them out of hand. It’s a short, sweet season, one that we look forward to every year. Of all the soft fruits, strawberries are probably my favorite. I would definitely choose it over all the others if I had to make a choice.

What’s your favorite seasonal fruit?

The Best Lettuce

June 15th, 2017

This year I’ve managed to grow the best looking lettuce I’ve ever grown. Every time I look at it in the garden I’m happy as can be. Perhaps its the varieties I chose, most of them came from Johnny’s Seeds and are selected for specific traits. The butterhead lettuces are amazing, the Salanovas are sizing up slowly, which is nice because they will hold in the garden while I harvest the other types. Here are the lovely mature lettuces in my garden. Butterheads are my favorite types to eat and to grow. I find them to be stunning both in the garden and in a salad. If I had to choose one variety to grow it would definitely be butterheads. Luckily I don’t have to choose, so I grow all different kinds.








They’re so pretty I almost don’t want to harvest them, luckily I love salad more than I love the look in the garden. My second planting of lettuce will be mature as this batch is eaten up. I should have seeded another flat a week or two ago, but I was traveling and then sick so I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Luckily in the summer there is a bounty of veg from the garden and lettuce takes a back seat to all the heat loving crops.

What’s your favorite type of lettuce?

Long Lived, but not Immortal

May 24th, 2017

There are many perennial vegetables, but that doesn’t mean that they are immortal. Often, long lived perennial vegetables exhaust themselves or slowly decline after reaching a certain age. There are many factors that contribute to this. My asparagus patch here has been on the decline, it’s pretty old. I noticed that it produces much later than my friend’s and the harvest is much smaller. This is after adding compost and amending the soil well. The plants have probably just exhausted their productivity.

Last year I started two varieties of asparagus from seed (Precoce D’Argenteuil & Mary Washington), they overwintered well and are growing nicely. I also ordered 25 crowns of each ‘Jersey Supreme’ and ‘Purple Passion’ asparagus from Nourse Farms this year. Both of these varieties grew in my Ohio garden and I was very happy with them.

It looks like I will end up with 75-100 asparagus crowns including the ones I started from seed, which will be more than we need, but neighbors never complain about it when you give them asparagus so I don’t think I will have any issue using it all up. One of the varieties I have is supposed to produce quite early, so I’m thinking about trying to maximize this by planting it in a space where I can cover it with a low tunnel for the winter and try to force an extra early harvest. I may also plant some early strawberries with it for an extra early strawberry harvest as well.

I’m always happy to add perennial vegetables to the garden, it’s nice to know that each spring I will have a lovely harvest of asparagus with not much input on my part. With a little maintenance each year, an asparagus patch will produce for many, many years. However, if your patch is on the decline, it may be time to cut your losses and start over.

Do you grow asparagus in the garden? Do you have a favorite variety?

Seasonal Goodness

May 17th, 2017

It’s rhubarb season here in Maine, my six rhubarb plants are finally mature enough that I can harvest as much rhubarb as I want. Three of my plants are old fashioned rhubarb and three are ‘Glaskins Perpetual’ rhubarb (which means it’s supposed to be harvested all summer long).


I make a variety of rhubarb products, two of our favorites are rhubarb syrup to mix with soda water and rhubarb BBQ sauce. A decent amount of rhubarb finds its way into the freezer to make strawberry rhubarb semifreddo in the middle of winter. Rhubarb is one of those things that people seem to love or hate. I especially love the tartness of it and the unique flavor it imparts.

Do you love or hate rhubarb?

Transplanting Brassicas

May 10th, 2017

This year I’m trying to keep better track of how long things need under the grow lights. Brassicas are one of those things that germinates and grows very quickly, that means they are very efficient when it comes to grow light usage. Since they can take cold temperatures, they can be put outside very early on, sometimes they never need grow light space. These brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts), were ready in four weeks.

In fact, I could have transplanted them a week or two ago but I didn’t have the fence up around the garden (and those wild turkeys LOVE brassica seedlings). I’m hoping to build myself a cold frame this summer, which will allow me to not have to put any brassicas under the grow lights. I’m always looking to maximize the light real estate I have, any plants that can take the cold are moved to make way for tomatoes and flowers, which aren’t able to take any amount of frost.

What are you transplanting this week?

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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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