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Quote of the Day: Linda Joan Smith

March 23rd, 2014

We connect with the garden through our feet. Toes in the new-clipped grass. Clogs crunching on gravel. Soles on brick pavers. To set our feet upon any one of these is to savor the garden’s pleasures, lured by a well mown path or lulled by a sun-blessed patio. These form the floor of our outdoor home, the foundations on which the garden–and the gardener–rests.

Linda Joan Smith (Smith & Hawken Garden Structures)
dirty_bare_feet
It won’t be long my friends!

Sunrise/Sunset

March 17th, 2014

Even though we’re self employed, we still have patterns to our lives. We have tried to develop a bit of a routine, not only for ourselves, but for our animals. Every morning, Lucy and I go on a walk. These days it’s been me with both dogs making a round of the back field.
Lucy Walking 1
In the evening, Tara gets a nice long walk on a trail that sets a big perimeter down in front of the house and the chicken coop. It comes up back behind the main garden in the back and ends up in the field that the dogs and I walk in the morning.
evening walk 2
With these two walks, we get a good perimeter walk every single day. It helps keep the predators away and it gives both the dogs and me some exercise. A walk in the morning and one in the evening is also a great way to start and end my day, bookends that help bring a little bit of order to our sometimes unordered life.

Do you have any routines you keep to bring a sense of order to your life?

Quote of the Day: Wild Food

March 16th, 2014

What wild food could be more common than dandelions? We all know what they are. Even children in New York high-rises have probably picked and blown on the feathery white glove of seeds, as children everywhere do. Those ethereal floating seeds land then grow into the tasty and nutritious plant that all gardeners wish a speedy death. It wasn’t always so. European settlers brought dandelions to the New World as a necessity for medicine and food. The young leaves emerge in late winter, providing large doses of vitamins A and C just when they are needed after a winter diet. Traveling with us, dandelions have been brilliant in colonizing every sate. Where’s their habitat? Anywhere we are.

Connie Green and Sarah Scott The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes

Oddly enough, I have a few dandelions in my basement right now. They are growing out of a few of the potted trees I overwinter down there. Now that the grow light is on, the dandelions are lush and green. I’ll be harvesting them this week for a meal.
dandelion_salad
Even though there’s still snow outside, the wild spring greens will be here before we know it. I know my body is craving the bitterness that they will bring to my plate.

Do you eat dandelions?

Old Wisdom

March 15th, 2014

As I look out my window and more snow and ice that fell on Wed/Thurs, I’m thankful that I waited a little later than usual to start my seedlings.  I had a feeling that spring would be long in coming.
snow (1)
I’ve been thinking a lot about the old wisdom that told you to plant things when other natural elements were at a certain stage (aka phenology). This is much better than the current “8 weeks before last frost” that most gardening books and seed packets give.
forsythia-hedge1
dandelion-in-childs-hand
A few that I have heard are:
“Sow corn when the oak leaves are the size of mouse’s ears”
“Once the forsythia are in bloom, it’s time to direct sow your cool-season crops in the vegetable garden. These include: spinach, lettuce, peas, carrots, chard, beets, and radishes.”
“Plant potatoes when the first dandelions bloom”
“Plant tomatoes when lily-of-the-valley are in full bloom”

What planting wisdom have you heard?

Quote of the Day: Garden Structures

March 9th, 2014

Organizational structure is essential to the garden’s functional and aesthetic success. The paths, arbors, hedges, and other elements that create it are the garden’s bones. They hold the garden up, define it’s form, expand it’s possibilities and bring it to life. They are the framework on which the garden grows.

Linda Joan Smith (Smith & Hawken Garden Structures)

building_rock_pathways_in_the_garden 1
My previous garden waiting 6 years before pathways and hedges started to form a framework. I was hoping to get things going sooner here, but I’m still trying to figure out exactly where everything will be. This isn’t something you want to rush either since many of the features that add form to the garden are rather difficult and expensive to change.
boxwood hedge 1
Defining the form in a garden, it’s something I think about all winter as I look at the garden around me. Not only is it a good time to do it because there aren’t any plants to distract you, it’s also a good time because you have time.

What kind of framework do you have in your garden? Is it something you notice & appreciate in winter? Do you need to add features that add framework to your garden?

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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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