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Bouquet Season

June 20th, 2018

Now that I have a large garden and the plants are starting to mature, I can cut bouquets to have on the table most of the spring/summer/fall. With the deer pressure, I’m thinking of turning the potager into a dedicated cutting garden. No vegetables can be grown there because it would need fenced in. Thus, instead of a greens/soft fruit garden, it will be flowers. Now I’m thinking about what vareties of things I want to add there, I’m thinking mostly perennials in that space with any annual cut flowers to be grown in the vegetable garden. (the peonies in this bouquet are: Duchess du Nemours (white), Sara Bernhardt (light pink), and lotus peony of unknown variety (dark pink in back).

We have a local greenhouse that has fields of peonies, I’m thinking of heading up there this weekend to see what they have that blooms later than the ones I have in the garden. Mine are pretty much gone. While I have other things blooming, I could use a few more peonies that bloom later. The best way to find that is to visit local gardens with peonies. When we lived in Ohio, I loved visiting Kingwood Center to see their peony beds in bloom.

What are you cutting in the garden to enjoy indoors this week?

The Chicory Patch

June 19th, 2018

Chicories are notoriously difficult to grow, they can be overly bitter if the weather is too warm, or really tough if not blanched. They are picky about the amount of water that hits their leaves and will turn into a slimy mass if it’s too wet. Even though I’ve had my share of failures, that doesn’t stop me from growing a variety of endive, escarole, and radicchio each year.

My various spring started chicories are looking particularly great this year. I’ll be starting to harvest them this week. This year I’m attempting to blanch the endives under terra-cotta pots. This should help keep them drier to avoid any browning and sliming.

Even though we don’t always get fresh chicories from the garden, I always grow them in part because they are beautiful plants. Some years they are inedibly bitter for the humans, but the chickens always find them delicious. I find that the newer hybrid varieties do much better in the garden, they’re often bred to withstand less than perfect conditions with a bit more grace. I’ve had much better success since transitioning to varieties from Johnny’s Seeds.

What are some of your most loved difficult to grow vegetables?

Cutworms

June 18th, 2018

This year has been an especially bad year for cutworms in the vegetable garden. Every morning, I patrol the garden looking for the tell-tale signs that they’ve been out and about. You can typically tell cutworm damage because the seedlings look like they’ve been snipped off at the base of the plant.

If you you use your fingers to make rings about an inch deep around the stem, you’ll find the cutworm, usually about 2-3 inches away from the stem. They can vary in size and are brown, so they can be hard to spot.

This past week I’ve dug up 10, the chickens have been turning them into eggs for me.  This is one pest that can do some serious damage in a vegetable garden. I lost about half of my second planting of lettuce to these little beasties. Last year they ravaged by beans and cucumbers.

Are you dealing with any pests in the garden at the moment? 

Parade of Flowers

June 15th, 2018

I’m finally to the point where I have a lot of things blooming most of the time. Here are some photos of things that are blooming in my garden, I took all these photos yesterday morning. As you can tell, I gravitate towards purple and pink flowers with a touch of white and chartreuse thrown in. There’s the odd yellow Alexander flower, that was here when we moved in. I have yet to find a final home for it, someday I’ll figure out where it will look best.














The herbacious peonies are just starting to come out, I’m so excited to see them all. My plants are finally mostly mature, which means I have about 10 peonies that will be providing me with much loveliness in the garden and on the table.

Climbers on the Arch

June 14th, 2018

Last fall, I used a stock panel to make an arch at the main entrance of the back garden. I planted a grape on one corner and a clematis on each of the other three. The grapevine is still small, only about a foot tall, the clematis planted on the side with it is also fairly short, only a few feet tall but it’s blooming.


The two on the other side are fairly tall, both have lots of buds. I still need to plant a few things along the base of the clematis to keep the roots cool.

I’ve been trying to incorporate more climbers in the garden. Most of these clematis I got at the local discount store as tiny bare rooted plants for a few dollars each. It’s nice see them finally starting to bloom and grow.

Do you have any climbers in your 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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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