Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

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?

Winter Spinach

November 3rd, 2015

I’m currently writing an article for Grit magazine about growing spinach. For the article, I’ve been growing a few different varieties and taking photos of them.
winter spinach 1
One of the things I love most about spinach is its winter hardiness. Not only will it withstand the cold nights of late fall and early spring, it’s actually better because of it.
winter spinach 2
Spinach is such a useful crop for those of us that live in the colder climates. They extend the season and allow us to harvest food from our gardens for a much longer season. It can be seeded fairly late in the fall and very early in spring, thus not taking up garden space during the prime growing season.

What are you harvesting from the garden right now?

Trying Something New

October 26th, 2015

Every year I try a few new varieties of vegetables. I love endive and decided to try growing a few different types. Right now it’s coming into season, it mellows and gets a little less bitter with the cold. I tried them before our first frost and they were bitter, no doubt they’ve mellowed out a bit with the cold weather.
growing frisee 1
I tied up all the frisee this past weekend to blanch the hearts. I covered one with a bucket to see how that would work and it seems to be working. I’m trying to see which method will work best and be the easiest to manage. I also want to see if one method works better for cold protection.
growing frisee 2
I’m pretty excited about the radicchio as well, I buy it at the grocery store throughout the winter, I’d love to be able to grow at least some of what we eat.
I’m a huge fan of bitter greens, so endives are a natural choice for me. Growing them is a bit different than lettuce, I’m really enjoying the process of trying different types and learning to use them in the kitchen.

Do you grow any endive or chicories in the garden? Do you have a favorite variety?

Hello Broccoli

October 15th, 2015

My fall broccoli is turning out to be the best broccoli I’ve ever grown. I’m AMAZED at the beautiful heads, the size of them and the lushness of the plants. There hasn’t been a cabbage worm in sight either, though the turkeys have been sneaking out and nipping the broccoli leaves.
One of the best things about growing broccoli in the fall is that it doesn’t bolt. This head of broccoli has been standing in the garden for two weeks now. I’d rather leave them on the plant to keep nutrients in tact. It looks as if I’ll be eating a lot of broccoli this fall, what a wonderful way to extend the season when other vegetables are waning!

Have you ever grown broccoli as a fall crop?

Truly a Gold Medal Winner

October 14th, 2015

This is my first summer growing ‘Gold Medal’ tomatoes and it won’t be my last. In fact, I’ll never not have them growing in the garden. After trying this lovely tomato out, I know exactly how it received its name. For starters, this huge beefsteak tomato produced a ripe tomato around the same time that my cherry tomatoes were first ripening in the garden. If you’re a fan of heirloom beefsteaks, you know the patience required to wait for what seems like forever for one to finally ripen. Not this beauty, even with it’s gigantic size, it still ripened quicker than anything but the cherry tomatoes.
Gold Medal tomato
Not only does this delicious tomato ripen super early, it produces loads of tomatoes and it just keeps on producing. This photo was taken yesterday in my garden, yesterday. It’s mid October in Maine. My ‘Brandywine’ and ‘Cherokee Purple’ tomatoes quit producing tomatoes long ago, not this baby, it’s still flowering and setting fruit. If you live in a northern climate, especially one with cold spring and fall temperatures I’d highly recommend adding ‘Gold Medal’ to your list of must grow tomatoes. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed, in fact I’m guessing you’ll be singing its praises and will grow it every year.

What’s your favorite no fail tomato? 

Also Find Me At
Reading & Watching

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!


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.