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Peppermint Stick Chard

August 5th, 2014

This spring a packet of ‘Peppermint Stick’ Chard arrived with my seeds from Renee’s Garden.  I didn’t think much about it, I just seeded them a flat along with everything else this spring.  They were transplanted in the garden at the appropriate time and I completely forgot about them.  Chard is one of those vegetables that gets forgotten with all the succulent lettuces and spinaches on the market.  Yet it’s a perfect vegetable, able to withstand very severe cold and still produce bountiful leaves when the days heat up as well.
peppermint stick chard (1)Not only is this variety a hardy vegetable to grow, it’s a showstopper as well. Look at those variegated pink and white stalks. They practically glow when you catch them out of the corner of your eye. Chard isn’t one of those vegetable that I grow a ton of, but there are always a few stands growing in a corner of the garden. This variety is quite lovely and is one I will keep growing year after year, even if it never graces my plate.

What is a vegetable you’d grow for beauty even if it didn’t produce fruit you liked?

The First of the Season

August 4th, 2014

Last Thursday  I plucked the first ripe tomato from the vine and popped it straight into my mouth.  There was no saving to share with Mr Chiots, very selfish I know, but he doesn’t care since he doesn’t like tomatoes quite as much as I do.
first ripe tomato
This is a ‘Tess’s Land Race’ currant tomato, the same one that ripens first just about every year. I find that I enjoy this lovely variety until the big beefsteak tomatoes come on, then it’s simply too tedious to harvest the tiny tomatoes. I’ll pick them if I need something extra for a recipe, or if I want little tomatoes for a salad. But once the beefsteaks come on they are forgotten.

What tomato variety ripens first in your garden?

Quote of the Day: Henry James

August 3rd, 2014

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

― Henry James

This weekend Mr Chiots and I are on vacation. We didn’t really go anywhere. Vermont was the original plan, but the thought of driving 10 hours in one weekend was too much, so we decided to enjoy the beauty in our own backyard. Friday was spent at a beach in Tenants Harbor with friends and yesterday we went down to Boothbay Harbor and Ocean Point.  Today we will do whatever we like, perhaps head back down to Ocean Point with our walking shoes or bicycles, or maybe we’ll head down to Marshall Point Lighthouse.
summer
I have mentioned before how much I LOVE living in an area where there are distinct seasons. Summer is so much sweeter because there is a long, cold winter. I’m trying to soak up as much summer as I can while it’s here, making the most of my time in the garden and making the most of the lovely place we live. In the past week I’ve spent time sitting at the edge of the ocean on three separate occasions, it’s wonderful to live so close to the sea.

Do you have any vacation plans this summer? Will you be staying at home or traveling?

Beautiful Combination

August 2nd, 2014

I was sitting by the potager last night and realized all the colors in this space work in perfect harmony. It was a rather fortunate thing since it wasn’t planned. Some of the flowers were planted, many self seeded and came up of their volition in the spot of their choosing.
potager 1
The colors range from purple to light pink with varying shades of white and chartreuse mixed in. Overall they combine beautifully. This garden is filled with dill, carrots left to bloom, onion blossoms, ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas, various colors of hollyhocks, bee balm, catmint, Italian pink flowering oregano, thyme, purple cabbage, red lettuces bolting to bloom, tarragon and a few other colorful beauties.
potager (1)
potager 8
potager 3
potager 6
potager 4
potager 5
potager 7
It’s a happy accident indeed, I couldn’t have achieved a better combination if I had tried. Sometimes not trying and allowing the garden to do what it wants ends up being the best in the end.

What’s your favorite color combination in the garden?

Friday Favorite: Hand Hoe

August 1st, 2014

I used to have hand trowels that I loved, then I got this hand hoe from Johnny’s Seeds. It’s now my favorite tool, pretty much the only one I use. It works for pretty much any gardening task and I love that it has a sharp blade that can be used for cutting roots and hoeing. It can also be used as a trowel to dig planting holes.
bucket_of_weeds
hand hoe 3
hand hoe 4
I find myself always reaching for this tool and finally decided that with the size of my garden I needed to purchase a few more. Last week two shiny new ones arrived. I now have one to keep up by the main garden behind the garage, one to keep by the back door, and one to keep by the front door as well.

Do you have a favorite hand tool?

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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.

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