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Weekly Harvest

July 22nd, 2014

This week I’m harvesting so many tasty things from the garden. I’ve been plucking a few new ‘Purple Majesty’ potatoes from under each plant to pair with large purple beets. My shallots and garlic have sized up nicely and I have a flush of ‘Jade’ beans from my first planting.
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We’ve been enjoying meatless meals comprised of a wide variety of freshly harvested vegetables topped with butter and fresh herbs.  The bounty of the July garden is always overwhelming, I often forget just how many wonderful things are ready to harvest during the summer.  There are endless possibilities for quick, healthy meals comprised of things plucked fresh from the garden.

What’s in your harvest basket this week? 

Candlelit Garden Tour

July 21st, 2014

On Saturday night Mr Chiots and I hopped in the car and headed off to South Paris for the Illuminated event at the McLaughlin Garden. I discovered this garden while reading about Bernard McLaughlin in The Grand Masters of Maine Gardening. We arrived at dusk with just enough time to catch a glimpse of the amazing gardens, all maintained by volunteers. This garden is truly spectacular, especially because it was all the cultivated by one man during the last 60 years of his life.
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For this event they decorate the gardens with hundreds of candles. They’re on the ground, hanging from trees and in holders along the paths. Strolling through a garden by candlelight at dusk is truly a beautiful way to experience a garden.  Visiting gardens in the day is lovely, but a garden can be equally lovely at dusk and at night.  This would be a fabulous place to hold an event, especially an evening event.
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Now that I caught a glimpse of this beautiful place I know I must head back, hopefully sooner rather than later. I find great inspiration in knowing that this garden was created by one man, alone, with lots of work over the course of his life. He moved to this place when he was in his mid thirties and turned these few acres of pasture into a beautifully wooded garden filled with 125 varieties of lilacs, a vast collection of woodland plants and a great multitude of hostas.  There is definitely a reason he is known as the dean of Maine gardeners!

Have you ever been to a nighttime garden event?

Quote of the Day: Laura Ingalls Wilder

July 20th, 2014

“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”

- Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Coffee, cats, my sweetie, sunrises, camping, flowers, good food, and reading – these are a few of the simple things I enjoy.

What simple things in life do you enjoy most?

Cutting the Cover Crop

July 19th, 2014

Yesterday, I finally got around to cutting down the cover crop in the potager. Now I need to figure out what I want to do in these spaces. I was thinking of growing fall crops, but I’m thinking I don’t have the time to manage more crops right now. I may add compost and another cover crop. I was quite amazed that this crop did so well. It was sown on only 2 inches of compost that I put down on top of a layer of cardboard. The cardboard is completely composted thanks to the roots breaking it up during the season.
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I love trying different cover crops, so I may finally get around to trying phacelia or another one I haven’t tried yet.  I will also lay down more cardboard beyond this and expend the garden by another few feet on all side.  Slowly but surely this garden is reaching a size that is more in scale with the garden overall.
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You don’t have to have a large garden or special equipment to use cover crops in your garden. I used pruning sherds to cut this down, I have also used a scythe in the past. As long as you cut it when it’s in bloom you typically don’t have trouble with plants coming back or anything becoming a problem.

Do you use cover crops in your garden? Do you have a favorite?

Friday Favorite: Local Garden Tours

July 18th, 2014

This past week has been a whirlwind of garden tours.  It seems every town has a tour during this week.  On Sunday, Mr Chiots and I attended the garden tour series organized by a local land trust.  We visited seven garden in all.  Yesterday I attended the Camden garden tour and visited 5 gardens, two were home tours.  Today I’m headed to the next garden in my local garden club series and tomorrow night we’re heading to the McLaughlin gardens Illuminated event, where they light up the garden with candles and lights. (Don’t mind the dirty fingernails, I am a gardener after all!)
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It may seem like a lot, and it is, but summer is short in Maine so we have to get in all the touring we can. Next summer I plan on spending a long weekend near Philadelphia to visit Longwood, Chanticleer and Winterthur. If anyone is interested in joining up let me know, we can arrange a fun weekends of gardening!
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I’ll be posting photos as I get through them, with work and other things I simply haven’t had the time to get through all the photos I took on all the tours. There was one garden in particular that was stunning and I’ll definitely be devoting a day to that garden. If you have local garden clubs and garden tours I highly recommend that you participate. Not only are you supporting local clubs and groups, you’ll be inspired by what you see and it will help you nail down your personal garden style.

Do you attend any local garden club tours? Do you plan vacations around garden destinations like Longwood?

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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.