Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

Friday Favorite: The English Garden

September 29th, 2017

Many years ago, I quit subscribing to gardening magazines. I was frustrated by all the ads and lack of good content. A few years ago, a friend recommended ‘The English Garden’ magazine. It was expensive, so I never subscribed. This summer I got a subscription as a birthday gift.



My first issue was fantastic, I read it cover to cover. It’s full of articles, real articles about beautiful gardens. The second issue is great as well, I’m super happy with this magazine. ‘Northern Gardener’ is another great publication, it’s published by the Minnesota State Horticultural Society. It’s full of great articles (some written by yours truly) and isn’t full of product placements and ads. If you’ve been missing quality gardening magazines, give one of these two options a try. They are also fantastic gift ideas for those green thumbs in your life.

What’s your favorite gardening publication?

GRRRRR…..

September 28th, 2017

One of our most annoying garden pests are porcupines. Sounds strange, but it’s true. This summer they found my lettuce patch just as the butterheads were forming beautiful heads. They eat a lot of apples out of our trees, generally taking a bite out of one and throwing it down to get another.

They also love pumpkins and squash. I find bites taken out of my squash around this time of year, it’s frustrating to be sure.

Thankfully, they only gnaw on a few, which often heal up. But there are some that won’t, they eat a little too much. These will be thrown in to the chickens. Overall, I don’t have too many pest issues. The ones that I have can often be taken care of with an electric fence.

What’s your biggest garden pest? 

Garden Fails

September 27th, 2017

Every year there are failures in the garden. I believe that failure is often one of the best ways to learn, it’s seems easier at times to figure out what works and what doesn’t when we have failures. This year one of my giant failures is in my ornamental cabbage crop. I seeded them in July, moved them outside in mid-August, then they were found by the caterpillars.

I had big dreams of pots of ornamental kale beside my front door until well into December, this is what they look like.


I don’t use any kind of pest control, even “organic” varieties. Often even those (like Slug-O) have consequences down the line. I’m thinking that I need to attract more wrens and birds to my garden. Perhaps a few guinea fowl will do the trick as well, they are fantastic at controlling squash bugs and cabbage worms. My dreams of giant drifts of ornamental kale are gone, but I’ve now learned that there’s just too much pressure at the current moment to try it. Perhaps I’ll just put one of my many pumpkins in the terra cotta pots by my front door. In the future, I may try ornamental kale again, but keep it under an insect barrier until it’s quite large. I may try seeding it a little earlier so it’s larger and more robust. I may just use my time to read a book instead though, sometimes it’s just easier to let dreams go.

What pest issues are you having this time of year? Are there any garden dreams you’ve had to let go of?

Reaping Rewards

September 26th, 2017

This year I feel like I’m finally starting to reap the rewards of all my hard work over the past five years. The main vegetable garden is stunning, simply stunning. Every time I head up there to work I’m amazed at how lovely it looks this summer. It makes me stop and enjoy the garden on a daily basis.

This garden features a mix of flowers (both perennial and annual) and vegetables (both perennial and annual as well). As I start to think about the final design for this space, I take notice of plant shape, color, and structure every time I look at the garden.

I follow a no-dig gardening method, which has been an amazing discovery. This bucket of weeds is all I got from weeding the entire garden (which is roughly 70×80). It was the first time I had weeded in a month. If you want to know about the no-dig gardening method, I highly recommend books by Charles Dowding, No Dig Organic Home & Garden is a fantastic one.

The brussels sprouts are sizing up beautifully, I’m thinking of pruning half and leaving half as is. I’ve read that a little pruning can make them produce bigger, better sprouts. We shall see.

The Scarlet Runner beans that my dad gave me have bloomed beautifully for most of the summer. The hummingbirds enjoyed them until they migrated south. These were always a staple in my mom’s garden, she planted them just for the hummingbirds.






All three varieties of broccoli are still producing like mad. The ‘Happy Rich’ mini broccoli is producing loads of side shoots, as are the heirloom variety ‘DeCiccio’ and the hybrid ‘Marathon’ are producing side shoots as well. ‘Marathon’ produces side heads, that are actually quite large. We’re eating broccoli every evening from the side shoots.



Overall this year has been a grand success in the main vegetable garden. The potager has been neglected a bit, but the plan is to give it a complete overhaul with pathways, rock walls, and more. So it has become more of a nursery area than an edible garden space. Hopefully next year I will have extra time to get it headed in the right direction.

How is your garden growing this year? Do you feel like you’re starting to reap the rewards of all your hard work?

Friday Favorite: Variegated Sweet Peas

September 22nd, 2017

This spring I purchased ‘Mammoth Choice’ sweet peas from Johnny’s Seeds. The first ones to bloom were crimson, I was underwhelmed. I’m not a lover of red flowers, especially dark red garnet. Then the lavender, blue, and pink ones started blooming. A few weeks later I had a variegated purple, then this variegated bright pink.


I’m planning on saving seed from my sweet pea patch, they will end up being a mix of colors just like the patch is now. Marking the vines that produced variegated flowers might be a way to see if I can continue getting these types of flowers. I guess I’ll find out next summer when they start blooming. I’ll have to mark these vines and keep the seeds and seedlings separate in order to see if they come out like their parents.

What are a few of your favorite flowers this year?

Reading & Watching
Resources

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

About

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.

Blogroll
Admin