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Happy 4th

July 9th, 2015

When I was younger, I remember my mom always trying to have a ripe tomato by July 4th. She used wall of waters, started planted early, and did all sorts of things to have tomatoes extra early. This year, I started ‘Glacier’ and ‘Stupice’ in early April. I planted some in the garden and some in pots. The ones in pots produced lovely ripe tomatoes on the 4th of July.
first ripe tomato 1
first ripe tomato 2
This isn’t too bad for Maine with no greenhouse. Next year I may try growing some in a low tunnel to see if that hastens ripening.
first ripe tomato 3
If you live in a colder climate, consider starting a few cold tolerant varieties and grow them in pots in a sunny location. The warmth of the soil in a container will help them grow and fruit faster.
first ripe tomato 4
I also realized that I haven’t yet published my list of the tomato varieties I’m growing this year, it includes a few old favorites and some new and exciting ones as well. I think I might wait until I start getting a few ripe ones so I can show you what they look like.

What’s the earliest you have harvested a tomato in your garden?

Bountiful Broccoli

July 8th, 2015

I’ve been growing broccoli for many years, always growing different varieties and seeding them every couple weeks to extend the harvest. Yet I always seem to end up with all my broccoli coming on at the same time. This year, I was intrigued by the ‘All Season Blend’ broccoli from Renee’s Garden. There are three different varieties in one see packet, perfect for those of us who don’t want to buy three different packets and for those of us that don’t want to be seeding broccoli every three weeks for two months.
Renees garden broccoli
Here you can see the three varieties as they currently stand in my garden. I’m harvesting the first variety now, the second will be ready just as I’ve finished with the first, and there are a few of the late seasons that are just starting to show tiny heads.
broccoli 1 (1)
broccoli 3
broccoli 2 (1)
Overall, I’m extremely satisfied with this seed. I’ll be adding it to my must buy list from Renee’s every year (along with ‘Catalina’ spinach). I just seeded more for a fall crop and I expect to have the same success with them as well.

Do you grow broccoli? Do you try to plant in succession or grow different varieties for a longer harvest?

So Long

July 7th, 2015

I’m constantly trying to get rid of things and not acquire more. With moving we definitely trimmed down, but then with chickens and other farm things we acquired a few things. As my lifestyle changes I try to get rid of things I used to use and no longer do.  I’m constantly downsizing and trimming down. Thankfully, I really notice that I have very few things I don’t use on a regular basis. As I was cleaning out the root cellar this week I came across tons of old canning jars.
old canning jars 1
I have some of my own, that came from my grandma and the previous owners left a bunch that they didn’t want. The result is that I probably have 75 or 100 old canning jars. I used to use them for canning, but I don’t do much canning any more. There are a few I’ll keep, mainly the ones form my grandma, but I’m going to get rid of them.
old canning jars 2
I’ve been trying to decide what to do with them, I could probably sell them for a few dollars a piece. The Goodwill probably isn’t the best spot for them, I’d love them to go to places that they’ll be loved and appreciated. There are so many old, interesting things in the garage I was thinking about setting up at Etsy store to list them all. I have a few really neat vintage lanterns and other really neat things. Now I’m just trying to decide if I want to deal with the responsibility of an Etsy store or if I can find a local place to sell everything to.

How often do you go through things to reduce the level of stuff you have in your home & garage? 

Cutting Garden

July 6th, 2015

There is no proper cutting garden here at Chiot’s Run, in fact I rarely cut flowers to bring them inside. I spend enough time outside to enjoy the flowers in the garden. One of my friends LOVES flowers and wants to incorporate a cutting garden into her garden space. When I went to a dinner party at her place last weekend I took a few arrangements of various flowers I had in my garden. I’ll be giving her starts of many of them for her very own cutting garden.
flower arrangements 1
We’ve been brainstorming various perennials that she can add to a space to have a long season of cut flowers. Of course a few annuals mixed in will make for a long season of beauty from the garden. Lady’s Mantle is one of my favorite cut flowers, I love how understated it is and how it fills in the space around more showy flowers.
flower arrangements 2
Even though I don’t bring flowers in, I often cut arrangements to take when I’m invited somewhere. I find arrangements are most welcome. It’s also nice that it’s something the person can enjoy and then compost, there’s nothing they will end up feeling guilty about getting rid of someday.

Do you cut flowers from you garden often? What’s your favorite flower(s) for cutting?

Friday Favorite: Watching Things Unfold

July 3rd, 2015

One of the great things about gardening is that it’s new every year. I know the peonies, hydrangeas, poppies, and other flowers will bloom, but I’m always surprised by their intricate beauty when they do. It’s like receiving a wonderful gift over and over again.
Single Poppy
I’m reminded of this quote “Mostly what’s on my mind right now are the falls colors. I go around gaping, as if I have never seen anything like it before. Perhaps I haven’t, I’m never quite sure. I could see this display every year and not grow tired of it, like seeing the flight of geese, or hearing the bird songs in spring. I remember, and that might reduce the amazement. But I don’t remember the edge–the vividness of the spectacle.” -Bernd Heinrich (A Year In The Maine Woods)
Peony poppy
Each year I’m amazed by the beauty of the garden, it’s like I can’t quite remember it in all it’s beauty. The truth is that a garden is always slightly different each year.

Do you feel like things are new every year in the garden?

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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.