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Mixing Edibles and Ornamentals

May 27th, 2009

I’ve been trying to mix my edible plants in with my ornamental plants because I’ve been reading that it’s a good way to deter pests. Not to mention I don’t have much edible gardening space so it’s nice to tuck them in here and there in my flowerbeds where I have an empty spot.
front-flowerbed
As you can see in this photo, I have a pink peony blooming with some catmint blooming in front of it. In the background you can see a pea climbing up the small trellis.
pea-blossom
These are the only peas in the garden that the deer didn’t find, so I guess my plan is working. In front of the catmint I have cabbages & broccoli planted. It’s the only cabbage & broccoli that doesn’t have cabbage loopers on it and that they wildlife hasn’t nibbled.
edibles-ornamentals
Not only have I had great success with mixing my edible in my flower beds, I really like the combination. I love the way cabbages look when tucked in among other things. I think I’m going to be doing more and more of this.

What about you, any edibles in your ornamental beds?

Around the Garden

May 17th, 2009

So what’s going on around the garden here at Chiot’s Run?
broccoli-cabbage-in-flower-bed
I expanded the flower bed up front to accommodate a dwarf cherry tree I planted last year. I was going to move a few cat mint plants to the new garden area, but I decided to plant some of my broccoli & cabbage plants there since I’m out of room in the raised beds out back.
mixed-lettuce
My new batch of lettuce and arugula is growing nicely, I harvested a little for a salad for diner last night. We’ve really been enjoying the salad season this spring.
garlic-in-the-garden
The garlic is doing incredibly well, I’m very excited to harvest some. As you can see, some of it is about 3 feet tall! Unfortunately the deer ate my peas, so no peas for us this spring. I think if I want peas I’m going to have to grow them in containers on my front porch, or put up a really tall fence.

How’s everyone’s garden growing so far this spring?

In the Garden: Inside and Out

April 14th, 2009

I figured it was time for a garden update, to let you all know how all of the crops are doing. My raised beds are 100% full with spring crops now, I’m hoping everything will be ready to harvest by the beginning of June so I can fill them with summer crops. My grow lights (all 6 of them) are packed with plants, I’m hoping to harden some off soon so I can transplant tomatoes to bigger pots and start some squash and flower seeds.
pea-shoots
The peas are all doing well, I didn’t get great germination with one kind, but they were seeds leftover from last year. So I’m guessing pea seed are best used up each year and fresh seed purchased each spring. Peas are one of those crops that seem like you never get much out of them, unless you’re growing the sugar snap and eating the pods. We’ll see how many I end up with. I would love a few pints for the freezer, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
garlic-in-spring
The garlic is all doing very well. I think I counted over 50 plants (no problems with vampires here). That should give us enough to eat ourselves, gifts for friends & family and we should be able to save a few for planting this fall. I’m very excited to try the various kinds I planted:

German White: A Porcelain Garlic – very rich garlic flavor, rather hot pungency when raw, harvests mid-late season, stores 8-10 months

Killarney Red: A Rocambole Garlic – very rich garlic flavor, very hot pungency when raw, harvests early-mid season, stores 5-6 months

Chesnok Red: A Purple Strip Garlic – very rich garlic flavor, medium warm pungency when raw, harvests mid-season, stores 6-8 months

Georgia Fire: A Porcelain Garlic – very rich garlic flavor, very hot pungency when raw, harvests mid-late season, stores 8-10 months
onion-seedlings-under-lights
My onion seedlings are doing really well, they’re tall and you can see red on the base of the red onions. These will be going out soon since they can take some cold. As soon as the night temps remain above freezing (it was 26 last night) I’m going to harden them off and plant them outside.
cabbage-seedlings
The cabbage & broccoli seedlings are starting to grow like weeds, they are all about 6 inches tall. They’ll be going outside soon as well, I’m waiting for temps to stay in the 40′s (if you plant them out too soon the broccoli heads will be small, the soil should be about 60 degrees).
tomato-seedlings
All of my tomato seedlings are doing quite well. It looks as though I’m going to have plenty to give to family and friends. I’m also hoping to have a good amount left so I can pot them up with care instructions and give them to the local food shelter to hand out to needy families.

How’s your garden growing inside & out?

Thinning the Seedlings

April 2nd, 2009

I started these broccoli & cabbage seedlings back on March 2, they germinated quickly. Since most of the seedlings had their first set of true leaves I decided it was time to thin them to the strongest seedling in each cell (I typically seed 2-3 seeds per cell).
broccoli-seedlings
When they get to this stage I cut all but the strongest best looking seedling. It’s tough to do, as gardeners we want every plant to succeed; but the truth is that the strongest ones will make the best plants and produce the most in the garden.
broccoli-thinning-salad
I really hate cutting down the little seedlings, but since I use the thinnings for a salad, it makes the process a little more bearable. I also like knowing that I will have the strongest plants for the garden and hopefully I will have a bountiful harvest in a few months because of this small effort now.

What’s your strategy for planting/thinning seedlings?

Another Harvest

July 10th, 2008

Last Wednesday I picked most of the broccoli and most of the lettuce. I also picked some lime basil and made some Lime Basil Vinaigrette. We had a decent amount of both, enough for a few meals.

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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.

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