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Bean Seed Trials

June 28th, 2016

I found some old seed for the same variety of beans that I purchased fresh seed for this year. Instead of throwing it away, I decided to plant it along with the new seed to see how the old seed compared to the new.
bean seed trials
As you can see from this photo, the old seed didn’t germinate as quickly and not as well. It’s a great illustration of the importance of starting with fresh seed and not trying to use up old seed in the garden. This is especially important if your garden is small, there’s no reason to waste space by trying to use up old seed.

Have you noticed reduced germination rates with older seed in specific varieties?

First Bouquet

June 27th, 2016

This is my first year with a dedicated cutting garden, which isn’t really all that large. I don’t generally grow flowers just for cutting, most of my time is spent growing vegetables for the table. On
Saturday, I harvested my first flowers started from seed just for bouquets.
garden bouquet 2
garden bouquet 1
I made two boquets featuring: peonies, poppies, snapdragons, foxglove, coriander flowers, bronze fennel, sage blossoms, and ninebark branches in shades of pink and purple. The second was orange and yellow, featuring tithonia torch, snapdragons, coriander flowers, alexander, and bronze fennel.
garden bouquet 3
garden bouquet 4
I have stock flowers that are just starting to bloom, along with a few other things that will make small arrangements this week. I’m particularly looking forward to the black tipped wheat I started for fall arrangements, I do currently have overwintered rye that will grace my arrangements this coming week. Right now the cutting garden is a bit of a mess, I planted everything in the fallow section of the main garden in loose rows. I definitely need to figure out a better configuration for the cutting garden next year.

What flowers are gracing your table and garden this week?

The Main Vegetable Garden

June 24th, 2016

Every year I think that the gardens are not coming along as fast as I’d like, then I look at photos from last year and the two years before that. Each year the gardens get better and better. This is exactly why I love to take lots of photos of the garden and the plants I’m growing. Some plants are grown year after year, some are new.
yellow wonder peas
Main Vegetable Garden 6
Main Vegetable Garden 7
Main Vegetable Garden 8
Right now the main garden back behind the barn is looking lovely. It’s filled with tons of flowers this year, something that I’ve never done before. One of my goals was to have a small cutting garden and lots more food for pollinators.
tall snapdragon
spring cassis
tithonia torch
The phacelia cover crop is blooming beautifully and as described, the bees and other pollinators love it. More on this lovely cover crop option in the coming weeks.
lacy phacelia
I also have a small section of the main edible garden that is dedicated to nursery stock. These are plants that I’m growing out to size or monitoring growth rate and features. Working in the main garden is starting to become much more pleasurable. After three years of pulling weeds continuously, I’m finally on top of them and I don’t have to spend much time at all on that chore. Now it’s more about enjoying what’s there and expanding borders to finalize size and layout. Soon there will be hedges, fences, and perennial borders…..stay tuned.

How had your garden changed over the coming years?

New Varieties

June 23rd, 2016

I’m a sucker for trying new varieties of all kinds of things, especially vegetables. I have six different kinds of strawberries in the garden and I just acquired a new one.
old north sea strawberry 1
These ‘Old North Sea’ strawberries were said to have been found on an ancient ancient, viking village site in Denmark.
old north sea strawberry 3
I thought this variety would be a nice addition to my collection of interesting strawberries. It should be interesting to see how it performs and reproduces in the garden. I’m looking forward to tasting one of the berries next summer.

Do you collect different varieties of the same plant?


June 21st, 2016

I purchased a few citrus trees when I visited Monticello in 2010, it is finally blooming! I’ve been waiting and waiting for this little tree to bloom and set fruit. It’s outside and I have seen bees and ants on it, hopefully some of the blossoms will be pollinated and I’ll be harvesting limes this coming winter.
Lime Tree Blooming 1
Lime Tree Blooming 3
Lime Tree Blooming 2
It’s quite stunning really, it’s simply covered in white flowers, even if it doesn’t product fruit it’s a lovely houseplant. My citrus trees have been so much happier since I started overwintering them in the unheated basement. I love the challenge of growing fruit indoors, hopefully some of my other edible houseplants will produce fruit soon.

What is your favorite houseplant?

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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.