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Gardening Skills

November 11th, 2015

If you’re an avid gardening, learning to propagate plants through a variety of methods is an important skill to cultivate. Not only will you be able to get plants for free, you can also obtain plants that can be difficult to find in nurseries and greenhouses. By far the easiest way to propagate is through cuttings rooted in water. Some plants root very easily with this method, ivy is a great one to start with.
kenilworth ivy 2
I had Kenilworth Ivy growing in my garden in Ohio and really loved it. It’s a valuable plant to have if you have rock walls, it scrambles along the walls filling in the pockets between the stones, blooming beautifully with tiny purple blooms.
kenilworth ivy 2
My first sighting of this ivy was at Longwood Gardens many years ago. At that time, I didn’t know what it was called, but I remembered it for years. One day I spotted it at a local greenhouse and purchased a plant. When we moved from Ohio, I didn’t bring a cutting with me and I’ve been missing it in my garden ever since.
kenilworth ivy 1
Lucky me, I got a cutting about a month ago and rooted it in water. I planted it in the potager under a cloche for winter protection. I’m looking forwarding to propagating more plants next summer and tucking them in the nooks and crannies of all of my rock walls. I’m so thankful I found this beauty again, and even more thankful I didn’t have to pay a penny for it!

Have you learned how to propagate plants? What’s your favorite propagation method?

Still Going Strong

November 10th, 2015

A little forethought in July/August can keep your garden producing well into November. While you won’t be eating fresh tomatoes and peppers, you can still enjoy a wide variety of vegetables right from your garden. I’m currently harvesting friseé, radicchio, and broccoli.
The beets, which were planted way back in the spring, are still going strong as well. I’ve been enjoying these lovelies on top of salads with feta cheese, pickled red onions, and pumpkin seeds.
The lettuce is starting to dwindle, most of it has been eaten, there’s probably a week of salads left. This variety isn’t even a really cold tolerant type and I’ve given it no protection whatsoever. Next year I might try to grow more cold hardy types in a low tunnel. There’s also tons of kale, spinach, and chard in the garden, our plates are still filled with loads of healthy green goodness.
I’m also harvesting these little things called crosnes or Chinese artichokes. A blog reader sent me a few little tubers three years ago and now I have a small patch. We don’t harvest and eat a ton, but they’re a fun little vegetable to harvest this time of year. They’re a little like sunchokes or potatoes.

What are you harvesting this week?

Warming Ourselves

November 9th, 2015

Now that the basement is full of wood to keep us warm this winter, it’s time to start getting our wood put up for next year. That means we spend a few weekends cutting, splitting, and stacking our firewood. This year we’re cutting an area by the main garden in the back, the trees are big enough to shade part of the garden for a decent part of the day. The roots are also most likely starting to steal nutrients from the crops. It’s always nice when one chore helps something else, killing two birds with one stone so to speak. It’s not technically working in the garden, but the work will help the garden.
It will be really interesting to see how different the garden looks without all the shade from this patch of woods. Hopefully in the future I’ll have a small orchard in the spot we’re clearing, though that will definitely take a few years of work to accomplish!

What garden chores did you work on this weekend?

Friday Favorite: Local Fun

November 6th, 2015

One of the things I love about Maine is all the classes you can take that cover a wide variety of topics. If you remember, Mr Chiots and I took a spoon carving class to learn how to make wooden spoon. I’m taking an indigo dying class in a few weeks and two weekends ago I took a basket weaving class.
basket making class 3
basket making class 1
basket making class 2
I love learning new things, but I also love meeting new people, especially like minded folks in the community. It has certainly been fun making useful objects and learning new skills. I’m hoping to use my basket making skills to make another basket soon. Mr Chiots has already carved another wooden utensil for me and has plans to make a few more.

Have you learned any new skills recently?


November 5th, 2015

Last year we got a foot of snow on November third, this is what it looked like outside my window.
snow 1
snow 2
This year it’s so nice outside I’m still wearing flip flops while I work in the garden!
flip flops
Other years have been similar to this one, I’ve been able to work in the garden without it being too cold. Last year we were caught completely off guard with the foot of snow. This year I’m glad it’s still seasonable enough to continue working in the garden. All the animals are also loving the beautiful weather!

What’s the weather like in your garden? early snow? warm weather? normal?

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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.