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A Day in the Garden

April 2nd, 2010

My mom has nice soil and a nice open sunny area in her back yard with a traditional rowed garden (here’s her garden last summer). She’s been generous enough to increase the garden each year to let me grow sun loving crops in exchange for some seeds, plants and work. On Wednesday I went to my mom’s house and we spent a day getting the garden ready for the season. She covers her garden with a tarp over the winter to protect the soil and to keep the weed seeds out. We uncovered the garden and went to work amending the soil a bit and planting a few early crops.

Traditionally here in Ohio you plant peas and potatoes on St Patrick’s day. It was too cold on that holiday and it’s been pretty wet this spring, so we’ve been waiting for the weather to break to start planting. We spent the entire day getting the garden ready and then planting 8 rows of peas and 4 rows of potatoes and some onions. We follow a more intensive planting system so we plant wider rows of plants instead of single rows with walkways in between. In the walkways we’re planning on adding stepping stones and lower growing plants to make even better use of the space, perhaps beets, chamomile, and other low growing herbs.

We planted peas and potatoes for the freezer and the pantry. I’m hoping for a good pea harvest so I can enjoy lots of peas in our winter stews and a pantry full of potatoes to eat on all winter. What varieties did we plant?

Wando peas: 68 days, produces good yields of 3 ½” long sweet peas. Pods have 6 to 8 dark green peas. A remarkable high quality variety that is resistant to warm weather and drought conditions. The Wando Pea will grow a crop during the driest, hottest summer months, at a time other varieties fail. High in Vitamin A, B, and C. Excellent freezing and canning variety. Vines are 26″ tall.

Kennebec Potatoes: a late maturing white potato variety. An excellent one for fries; chips; baking or hashbrowns.

Yukon Gold Potatoes: A favorite among gardeners, consumers and chefs. Delicious flesh is drier than most other yellow varieties, perfect for baking and mashing. Yellow flesh appears to be buttered. Bred and selected by AgCanada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food in 1966. Excellent yields and a great keeper. 80-90 days.

What are you planting right now?

My Mom’s Garden

August 7th, 2009

This year we planted some popcorn at my mom’s house in her garden. She gets a lot more sun than we do, so she offered to expand her garden so we could have some space over there. We planted popcorn quite a while ago. While over for a visit on Wednesday, I took a photo of our lovely corn.
corn_in_the_garden
We’re keeping our eye on it, as soon as ears start to form we’re going to put an electric fence around it. My parents have always had trouble with coons in the corn. If you notice the pumpkin vines growing through the corn, this is a ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’ Cinderella pumpkin from my saved seeds. There are a few pumpkins set on the vines, I can’t wait to see them this fall (unless the deer get them like they did last year).
Mom's_veggie_garden
My mom’s garden is looking quite nice this time of year. This is what it looked like 2 months ago? As you can tell by the brownish color of everything, it’s been a little dry for the past couple weeks.
mom's_garden
It’s always nice to have photos so you can see how well the garden is doing.

How do you monitor your gardens growth?

A Trip to Stan Hywet in Akron, OH

June 8th, 2009

Last Tuesday my mom and I went to Stan Hywet to see their peonies in bloom. If you were reading my blog last fall you’ll remember that I got my mom a membership to Stan Hywet for a gift. So far this spring we’ve gone twice, this past week was really nice. They have tons of peonies of all shapes colors and sizes. Unfortunately we had a big thunderstorm the night before so they were a little wet & droopy, but they still looked Fabulous! It happened to be super cold that day (in the 50′s), and kind of dark & dreary, but it was still beautiful!
stan-hywet-gardens
So for those of you who love peonies and lovely gardens, here’s some eye candy for you. It was very difficult narrowing down the photos, I took so many while there. But here are the best 32 photos for you to enjoy. (the little icon in the top left-hand corner will allow you to see the photos in full screen if you’d like to see them bigger)

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What do you think of Stan Hywet?

Expanding the Garden

June 5th, 2009

On Wednesday we ran over to my mom’s house because she’s letting us expand her garden. Since we have limited full-sun areas in our gardens, she offered to let us plant our popcorn at her house.
brian-tilling
My mom and I covered the new garden area with a tarp back in March so that the grass would be smothered. When we uncovered it, it was ready to till up.
tiller1
We pulled out the old tiller and finally got it started. I had a good laugh, it was a lot like Good Neighbors.
tilling-the-garden
When it was finished my mom’s garden is now 1/3 larger than it was. I’ll be heading over some time next week to plant my popcorn, beans and squash for a proper 3 sisters garden.

Anyone else growing popcorn?

Visiting the Working Gardens in Massillon, OH

May 16th, 2009

Yesterday I visited Scott and Andee at the Working Gardens in Massillon, OH. Working Gardens is a small greenhouse that specialized in native, woodland and shade loving plants. They also offer herbs and veggies, and this year they’re running a CSA. (If you live in the Massillon area, check their website for dates & hours of the plant sale).
plant-sale-sign
I managed to score a few plants that I’ve been looking for. Scott also gave me a few interesting things to try; among them an heirloom Italian Cayenne pepper. He got the seeds from a friends grandfather. I’m really excited to see how it tastes, I’m a big fan of Cayenne pepper.
touring-the-working-garden
Scott gave me the tour of all of the gardens including the veggie beds that are part of his CSA program.
diva-the-dog
Diva the dog helped with the tour.
veggie-bed-1
The veggie beds are filled with lettuce and garlic along with peas and potatoes. There are also a lot of peppers and tomatoes under row covers since we’re supposed to get a cold night tonight (forecasted in the 30′s BRRR that’s cold).
veggie-bed-2
They have a lovely shaded property of 3 acres with a wonderful spring which feeds this great stream bed. They also use the spring to irrigate the crops, how great is that!
shaded-spring-border
Speaking of tree peonies, I spotted this one in his garden as we were leaving, what a beauty!
pink-tree-peony1
pink-tree-peony-blossom1
It’s always nice to meet people that have similar interests. Brian and I had a great time visiting and getting to know Andee and Scott. I met Scott on Freedom Gardens, if you aren’t a member you should check it out, it’s a great place to meet like-minded folks.

What are some ways you’ve met other gardeners?

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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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