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August 9th, 2016

This summer we’ve been having a drought here in Maine. To make it worse, we didn’t get much snow this past winter, so we started off the season low on moisture. It has only gotten worse. During the months of June, July, August we’ve gotten less than an inch of rain. On top of that, it’s been pretty hot for Maine, we’ve been averaging temps in the high 80’s and lots of low 90’s throughout the summer.
drought 1
For a while everything was dealing with the drought, but then it got to be too much. Lots of small saplings are dying, the weeds along the driveway haven’t been able to hold on, the lawn is past being dormant.
drought 2
We’ve been watering certain plants and parts of the garden, but since we’re using well water we’ve been taking it easy. Luckily, my efforts to add more organic matter and the heavy layer of mulch I add to the garden has given the cultivated areas a fighting chance. Amazingly, they’ve been doing fairly well with minimal water inputs on my part.
drought 3
It will be interesting to see how many things don’t come back next spring. I’m thinking there will be large patched of lawn that will be dead. That’s not such a bad thing, I’ve been wanting to replace the lawn with a nice drought tolerant grass that needs less mowing. Perhaps I’ll turn these lemons into lemonade and be able to have a few sections of nice lawn without having to deal with killing the weeds that are currently growing there.

How’s the rain situation in your garden this year?

Catching Up

August 8th, 2016

Last week I was in Vermont with a friend. We rented a little cottage on Lake Champlain and had a wonderful week relaxing and seeing a loads of interesting things (stay tuned this week for photos). I had plans to post photos of things we were seeing, but out internet connection was lacking.
Now that I’m home, I’m madly catching up on all the work, both in the office and in the garden. This weekend was spent watering, harvesting, weeding, and enjoying all the new blooms.

Do you have any trips planned this summer?

Hello Hostas

August 2nd, 2016

I’ve always loved hostas, they’re workhorses in the garden. They outcompete and shade out weeds, they can take dry shade, some can take sun. I especially love that they make a nice mow edge in the garden. In my Ohio garden I had hundreds of hostas, I’m working my way up here in this garden. I’ve purchased a few and received a few from friends & family. Most of them are planted in the nursery area in the garden to grow out.
Heavenly hostas 1
Heavenly hostas 5
A few were transplanted this summer, since they had grown out to a nice size after being moved as starts three years ago, including this beauty that flowers in the most wonderful way.
Heavenly hostas 2
Heavenly hostas 3
My ‘Sum & Substance’ hosta that I planted last year has doubled in size, I’m happy to see that it’s thriving in its location under the big apple tree out front.
Heavenly hostas 4
This year, I’ve added 6-7 new varieties of hosta to the garden, a few of them came from Cady Falls nursery in VT, a few came from my mom’s garden. In a few years they will hopefully fill in the areas under the big apple trees and start to create a nice mow edge along the woods bordering the house. Hostas are such a fantastic, easy addition to the garden. It’s also nice that they are easily divided so you can get free plants for your garden and to share with friends.

Do you have hostas growing in your garden? Do you have a favorite?

Friday Favorite: Sunny Volunteers

July 29th, 2016

I’ve never really had to grow sunflowers in my garden, they always spring up here and there because I have fed sunflower seeds to my chickens and wild birds. They are not always where you want them, but it beats having to plant them. I bought packets for a few different kinds of sunflowers this spring, those are coming along well, but they’re not even close to blooming.
volunteer sunflowers 1
volunteer sunflowers 3
volunteer sunflowers 2
I’m always happy to have them, I let them set seed and then throw them to the chickens. There’s nothing better than free flowers and free bird food without any work on my part!

What’s your favorite garden volunteer?

Unusual Cutting Garden Options

July 28th, 2016

While flipping through the Johnny’s Seeds catalog this spring, I noticed ‘Black Tip’ wheat and thought it looked interesting. Definitely an unusual item for the cutting garden, which is something I’m always looking for.
black tipped wheat
I’m hoping I will have enough from one seed packet to make a wreath for the house. So far it’s growing nicely and fattening up well. I’m really interested to see the color in the final seed heads. If I don’t have enough for a wreath, I think they will look lovely in a vase. Overall, this is a winner for a cutting garden in my book.

Have you grown any unusual cutting garden items?

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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.