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Spring Cassis

June 14th, 2016

I purchased seeds for spring cassis from Baker Creek this spring. Violets are a favorite of mine, I love that they start blooming so early in the spring and can take pretty cold weather and light snow.
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spring cassis
I love how they all have different flowers ranging from dark purple to streaked with lots of white. Every time a new one blooms I’m excited to see what the flowers will look like. These have been a wonderful addition to my gardens this year. I’m usually not much of one to start annuals from seed, but I’ll definitely be growing these every year for window boxes and planters.

Have you discovered any new gems this year?

Early June in the Garden

June 9th, 2016

It seems like overnight the garden goes from hibernation to exuberance. I’m continually amazed by the rate of growth in the potager and in the woods. Every day I notice new color in the garden and flowers start to bloom. The lilacs, irises, and wildflowers are starting to fade, making way for the peonies, foxgloves, and hydrangeas.
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Early June in the Garden 3
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Pink and purple are the dominate colors in my garden, I also have a few white and green flowers in the mix. This is my preferred color range, I’m not a huge fan of yellow, orange, or red flowers, they seem a bit to bracing for me.

What’s blooming in your garden?

A New Favorite Vegetable

June 8th, 2016

A few years ago I started growing broccolini and rapini and fell in love. I love that you can direct seed it very early in spring. I love that it reaches harvest very quickly. I love that it has a slightly bitter taste.
broccoli raab 1
It’s different than broccoli, though the essense is the same, it has a much more complex flavor. I cook it very simply, blanching it first in a pot of salted water for 2-3 minutes. Then I sauté it in a skillet with garlic and olive oil. Like spinach, you’ll need more than you think for each serving.
broccoli raab 2
This year I actually grew three different varieties, each one had unique characteristics (Sessantina Grossa, Spring Raab, and Happy Rich all from Johnny’s Seeds). Two had that bitter essence that you get with raab, the broccolini florets had no bitterness at all. I actually prefer the smaller leafier version with bitterness. I’m a bit fan of bitter notes when it comes to my food. I’ll continue growing these beauties to add more variety to our plates. They definitely fill that void when you want something other than salads as a vegetable and head broccoli isn’t even close to maturity.

What new vegetables have tried to grow recently?

Herbal Cats

June 7th, 2016

I grow all kinds of herbs in the garden, including catnip. Of course the cats like to roll in the catnit and catmint, but they also love all the other herbs. Dexter is especially fond of the oregano and frequently smells of it. Samson is particularly fond of the thyme. I’m sure it’s partly their natural inclination for pest control. Many of these herbs keep pets away, let’s hope it helps them not be as palatable to ticks and fleas.
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When I head out to the potager I frequently find a cat lounging in one of the herbs. It’s a good thing I have so much of each variety so I can harvest cat hair free sections for the kitchen.

Do you find that your pets like particular plants?

Weather I’ve been Waiting For

June 6th, 2016

I always have a nursery area in the garden, space where I can grow out cuttings and put new plants until I decide where they will go in the borders. When we first moved here I made a nursery area in a space that was not suited for this. The plants did OK, but the soil was terrible and it was in an inconvenient location for watering. The results were terrible, invasive weeds started taking over, some plants dried up and died, the rest languished. I’ve been needing to move all the plants, but have been waiting for the perfect weather.
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Whenever I need to transplant things, I try to wait for the perfect window of weather. That means lots of rain and cooler days. Plants are much less stressed with this type of weather and I have found that I rarely lose a transplant when I wait for the right weather window.
tranplanting plants
After an extremely dry spring, yesterday was the day to make the big move. I dug up and transplanted over 30 shrubs, trees, and perennials. It was lots of work, but I know they will bounce back quickly because of the rain and cooler weather. Luckily, we’re supposed to get an inch of rain overnight which will water everything in well. Even if you can wait for one rainy, overcast day that will give you plants a bit of a reprieve during transplant and help them make it.

Do you have any tips for transplanting success?

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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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