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Homegrown Figs

October 3rd, 2016

Many years ago I purchased a ‘Hardy Chicago’ fig, since then I’ve been enjoying homegrown figs every fall. These figs live in pots in the basement during the winter and spend their summers outside. This year I planted a few in the ground to see if they’d survive the winter in our zone. I plan on mulching them heavily. Just in case they don’t survive, I have one that I will be overwintering in the basement.  Last year, I added a new fig plant to my collection, a Fig ‘Petite Negra’ (Ficus carica). I was amazed when it produced around 10 figs this year, it stands only 20 inches tall or so.
This plant lives in my basement during the winter and on the back porch in the summer. The back porch gets the afternoon sun and gets pretty hot, the average temperature out there on a summer day is 95. This seems to be the perfect place for this little fig. The fruit is sweet and delicious, just like a fig should be. Now that I have found the perfect place for figs, I think I’ll be getting some ‘Black Mission’ figs to add to my collection. There’s nothing better than homegrown figs.

Do you like fresh figs?

Friday Favorite: Compost Treasures

September 30th, 2016

It’s always a happy find when you come across something that shouldn’t be in the compost pile. On Sunday I came across a fork. I’ve been known to find all sorts of things in the compost pile, knives, wood spoons, serving spoons, lids, etc.

What sorts of things have you found in your compost pile?

Stocking the Pantry

September 29th, 2016

This time of year the pantry, root cellar, and freezer start to fill up once again. I always am amazed by how full the freezer gets, I think I’ll never be able to eat all the vegetables tucked away inside. Then, come March, I’m thankful that I spent the effort to freeze all the garden bounty. For the most part, the vegetables I freeze last us until spring greens are available from the garden once again. While I do buy a few vegetables here and there throughout the winter months, the majority of it comes from the freezer.
One of the things I’m most thankful for in the winter: onions. I grow loads of alliums: leeks, onions, shallots, potato onions, and scallions. Having a full year’s supply of onions in the pantry is a wonderful feeling. Most of them get put into baskets and are stored in an unheated bedroom upstairs, but I can’t resist making a few braids to hang in the pantry off the kitchen. Every time I come and go they bring a smile to my face.

What’s your favorite item to grow for storing?

Harvesting Popcorn

September 28th, 2016

One of the things I’ve been working on this week is harvesting the popcorn. While you’re supposed to let it dry on the stalks, there’s rain in the forecast and I don’t want it to mold. Plus we’ve had a pesky raccoon that’s been getting in and eating a few bits off of each ear, ruining about a third of our crop so far.
I grew four different varieties of popcorn this year, hoping for a four color mix. The black popcorn outperformed them all and did beautifully. Amazingly, it was also the least favorite for the raccoons. You can bet I’ll be growing this variety again in the future! Popcorn is one of our favorite snacks, we love making it the old fashioned way in a big pot on the stove with lots of ghee.

Are you a lover of popcorn?


September 27th, 2016

If you have cats, you should have a catnip plant in your garden. They can be a little thuggish, seeding down everywhere if you don’t get them cut in time, but they’re still worthwhile to have around. The pollinators love them, and of course, so do the cats. While I was cleaning out the main vegetable garden I decided to cut back the catnip plant to dry for the cats. I threw the herbs on the porch and came inside to look up string to hang it with. When I got back to the porch Dexter has already settled in on the fragrant herbs.
Such a silly cat, but this is exactly why I dry it. Most of my cats will eat both the fresh and the dried herbs. I figure it must have all sorts of healthy vitamins & minerals in it for them. Cutting it back also keeps it from taking over the garden, overall, it’s a win/win!

Do you grow catnip or catmint for your cats?

Rest assured more lovely gardens from our trip to Sweden are in the works, I’ve been a bit busy getting the garden ready to fall and haven’t had time to go through all the photos yet.

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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.