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Plant for Multiple Harvests

April 9th, 2014

This week my 5×5 Challenge Garden finally thawed out enough to plants a few things. It doesn’t take long for the soil to become workable after the snow melts. As soon as you can run a rake through the top of the soil you can plant a few things that like cool soil.
5x5 garden 1
There are a wide variety of things that can be planted in that space between the first thawing of the soil in spring and the warm summer months. You can’t plant tomatoes, corn, peppers or heat loving crops right now. Even broccoli and other cool loving crops risk early bolt if they experience too much cold this time of year. You don’t want to let your soil simply go fallow though, some quick crops are what you need so you can enjoy delicious food from your garden while you wait for summer to arrive. A few great options for quick crops: cilantro, lettuce, spinach, mustard, arugula and other greens. My garden was divided into four squares and I planted four different greens. These should germinate fairly quickly in this cool weather and be ready for harvest before the end of May when it’s time to plant tomatoes.
raised bed 2
Before I planted my lettuces I added a generous helping of compost on top of the soil. I don’t bother working it in as some people do, I find that the earthworms do a fine job of doing that for me. I don’t like to work the soil if I don’t have to. As you can see, the soil level had settled a bit and my raised bed was only about half full. After adding 2-3 inches of compost it’s getting better. Before I plant my warm season crops I’ll add another layer of compost and hopefully it will be nearly full by then.
5x5 garden 2
You can be I’ll be keeping an eagle eye on this garden watching for any signs of life. I can’t wait to see how it grows this coming season.

What’s your favorite cool season vegetable?

Spring in His Step

April 8th, 2014

Someone is very happy that spring has finally arrived. Dexter has been scampering around the garden having a good time. He goes out in the winter, but doesn’t stay out nearly as long as he does in the spring. You can tell he’s happy, he runs around the garden following me wherever I go.
Big D in spring 1
Big D in spring 2
I know exactly how he feels – do you?

Use What You Have

April 7th, 2014

It’s sugaring season, that means my days and nights are filled with sap gathering and boiling. Since I have hot sap at hand, I use it to make my tea.
honeyroo tea
There’s no use in using more energy to boil water when I have something that makes a mighty fine cup of tea. Last night I enjoyed a delicious cup of Honeyroo tea – one of my favorites!

What’s your favorite kind of tea?

Quote of the Day: Robert Burns

April 6th, 2014

“The snowdrop and primrose our woodlands adorn, and violets bathe in the wet o’ the morn.”

Robert Burns

snowdrops 1
snowdrops 2
I almost missed these lovelies last week because I was so busy sugaring. So thankful to see a little bloom in the garden. I also have Johnny Jumpups blooming in the back potager – I think spring has finally arrived!

What’s blooming in your garden?

Growing SLOWLY

April 5th, 2014

Back in February of 2011 I started cactus from seed. They were tiny, so, so tiny.
tiny_cactuses 1
Well, they’ve been growing in their tiny pots for the past 3 years and are still small, but they’re growing.
tiny cactus 1
tiny cactus 2
They’re starting to look like their adult plants, less like baby plants and more like mature ones. It will be interesting to see how long they live and how they grow every year. I suppose if I fertilized them more often they’d grow faster, but I rather like their slow growth rate. I usually give them a diluted fish emulsion once year.

Have you started any interesting plants from seed?

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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.