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Stratifying Seeds

December 22nd, 2015

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had a seed starting winter project in the works. This past week I started the process of soaking and stratifying various seeds. They were soaked for the allotted amount of time and now they are all tucked into little plastic containers in the fridge for 21-60 days depending on variety.
Seed Stratification 1
I like to use these small rectangular containers that I get feta cheese in. Everything is labeled with variety, days soaked, date it was put into the fridge, and number of days it needs cold treatments. The date to remove each variety is marked on my calendar so I don’t forget anything in the back of the fridge.
Seed Stratification 2
These will all be ready to go into little pots when I start other seeds in a few months, perfect timing. I’m really looking forward to this process, I hope I have decent germination rates, especially for the hardy cedar of lebanon!

Have you ever stratified seeds in the fridge?

The Advent Calendar

December 21st, 2015

Last year I purchased these old fashioned advent calendars for family & friends. I purchased one for myself, but since we travel to Ohio from Thanksgiving through the first week of December, I didn’t get ours out. This year I pulled it when we returned from Ohio and opened the first five windows.
advent calendar 7
advent calendar 8
These are great advent calendars, designed and printed in Germany by a family that has been doing it since the 40’s. This particular design was the first one published in 1946. You can buy this designs, along with many others, on their website.
advent calendar 1
advent calendar 2
advent calendar 3
advent calendar 4
advent calendar 5
advent calendar 6
We have really been loving this little calendar, it’s such a fun thing to do every evening. Next year we plan on adding an advent wreath to our table and will celebrate the tradition of lighting a candle every Sunday.

What are your family traditions that surround the holidays?

Friday Favorite: Mass Plantings

December 18th, 2015

Mass plantings make a huge impact in any size garden, but especially in a large garden where too many plants can look messy. When Mr Chiots and I visited Longwood Gardens in September I was reminded of how amazing mass plantings were and how much I keep wanting to add ornamental cabbage to my garden.
mass planting of ornamental cabbage (1)
mass planting of ornamental cabbage
mass planting of ornamental cabbage 4
mass planting of ornamental cabbage 2
mass planting of ornamental cabbage 1
mass planting of ornamental cabbage 3
I must add ornamental cabbage seeds to my seed order this spring and make a reminder to seed them when appropriate. Hopefully I can pull something like this off next fall, I have just the spot for it behind that new boxwood hedge I planted.

Do you do any mass plantings in your garden? Do you add plants for winter interest?

Sending Holiday Cheer

December 17th, 2015

I love sending and receiving Christmas cards. Each year I try to come up with something creative to send out and it’s funny because I always thing this will be the year I can’t think of anything…then inspiration hits.
Christmas Cards 2015 2
I’ve been wanting to do a card like this for a few years, this year was finally the year. I printed them on some really nice Linen Coverstock and glued that to some brown kraft cover stock for a sturdier final product. Mine were 5″x7″, which required trimming, but if you make them half sheets then you only have to cut them in half. I had A7 brown kraft envelopes size so I chose to cut mine down, but you can get them in the half sheet size through the same link.
Christmas Cards 2015 1
I’ve been going through my address book writing out addresses and thinking about family & friends near and far. I’m also super excited to head to the mailbox each day to see which friendly faces will appear from an envelope. Holiday cards are such a wonderful way to keep in touch.

Do you send out cards this time of year?


December 16th, 2015

This coming spring/summer I plan on adding raspberry beds to the garden. As I was looking through the Nourse Farms catalog last night, I got to thinking that perhaps you guys might have some recommendations for raspberries with great flavor and great yield. When it comes to soft fruits, sometimes the fruit can be amazing and sometimes simply OK. I have found that we like ‘Sparkle’ strawberries the best and really don’t like our ‘Seascape’ overbearing plants. They will also be replaced next spring with ‘Mara des Bois’ which have been recommended to me by a few people.
Berry Picking 3
So, do you have any recommendations for soft fruit varieties that you love? I’m particularly interested in raspberries, but I’ll take recommendations for blueberries, strawberries, and any other type of soft fruit.

Seeds and Sundries
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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.