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

Lovely Alyssum

July 2nd, 2015

Ever since I was a wee little lass, I’ve loved alyssum. It’s always had a spot in my garden and it always will. There’s something about this little flower that I adore, it’s perfect in just about every way. Generally I buy my plants at a the local greenhouse since I’ve never had much luck starting it from seed. That never stops my from trying, each year I buy a pack of seed and give it another try.
This is ‘Gulf Winds’ alyssum from Renee’s Garden and I’m a huge fan of the color mix. Usually I buy plain white, but this mix is perfection. Last night I transplanted them around the garden, filling in holes where I harvested lettuce or where other plants died. I’ll definitely be trying this variety once again next year.

Have you had an annual that you’ve loved for your entire life? Do you still grow it in the garden? 

Friday Favorite: Soil Blocks

June 5th, 2015

This is the first year I’ve used lots of soil blocks in my seed starting and I LOVE them. The seedlings definitely grow better and have much less transplants shock. There is a bit of a learning curve to making and managing them, but one you get it they’re perfect. Yesterday, I got four more flats of summer lettuce and other fall crops going in soil blocks.
soil blocks
I’ll definitely do a long article or a series about them here when I have time to sit down and write it. They are well worth the investment in time and money.

Have you ever used soil blocks?

Soil Blocking

April 7th, 2015

Now that I have more rugged seed trays I started making soil blocks to see how they compare to the other seed starting trays/methods I’ve tried. I’m always excited to try new things, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. I’ve tried soil block a few years in the past without much success. This year I finally go the hang of it. I’ve never had my potting soil wet enough.
soilbocks 1
soilbocks 2
The next batch of seed I start I will also seed a plastic tray at the same time with the same variety so I can monitor them throughout the season. Soil block are supposed to produce seedlings that don’t get as much of a shock when transplanted because of the air pruning of the roots. The only way to know for sure is to try both methods at once. I’ll keep you posted on my findings.

Are you doing any fun gardening experiments this year?

Lotsa Lettuce

March 16th, 2015

I’m a sucker for lettuce seeds. When I read through the descriptions and see the beautiful images in the seed catalogs I go a little overboard. I do like a lot of variety in my salad bowl and find that five or six types of lettuce makes for a great salad.
Lettuce seedlings
I have found that lettuce seeds are often best to be purchased fresh each year. I used to keep them for a few years, but germination is so much faster and so many more seeds germinate when the seeds are really fresh. Now all of my leftover seed from the year gets thrown into planters in the fall that get overwintered in the basement. Then I have a nice crop of mesclun for salads in the early winter months.
lettuce 1
On Saturday I started a flat of lettuces & endive, there are 15 varieties in all that were started this go around. There are also three other varieties in planters in the basement…..and I have another 15 that are later season varieties that will replace these when the weather warms up a bit. Then I have another 10-15 varieties that will be grown in the fall/winter. Butterheads are my favorite types of lettuce, with romaine coming in a close second. Leaf lettuce are probably my least favorite. I like a lot of crunch and texture in my lettuce. Endive and other bitter greens are also always in my salad bowl, nothing rounds out sweet greens like a bit a bitterness!

What’s your favorite kind of lettuce to grow?

Welcome Visitors

March 10th, 2015

My guest room has been turned into my seed starting room. Last year I put my big grow light in the basement, which turned out to be way too cold for my seedlings. Our basement is unheated, uninsulated and not very tight. As a result it’s pretty cold down there. Even though the grow light puts off some heat, it wasn’t enough to warm up the space.
grow light 2
grow light 1
So I took over my guest room and turned it into a seed starting room. These guests are more than welcome to stay as long as they’d like!

Where do your seedlings live while they’re indoors? Have you found the perfect spot for them?

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.