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All Grown Up (well, mostly)

October 17th, 2018

The tiny little chickies that I got from Murray McMurray back at the end of August are pretty much all grown up. Typically I let one of my broody hens hatch out little ones, but I’ve been wanting to add a wide variety of colorful eggs to my egg cartons. The folks that buy the eggs get all excited about the colorful batches. For a while I had a nice selection of olive and blue eggs, but those chickens have all gotten too old to lay or have been nabbed by predators.

Since chickens don’t start laying eggs until they’re 3-4 months old, I decided to get chicks in the fall so they can start laying straight away next spring. Most chickens don’t lay very well during the winter months when light levels fall below 12 hours of daylight.

These little nuggets hatched on August 26th, they’re just over 6 weeks old, still months away from laying, but they should be just maturing to kick off late winter laying in style.



For my selection, I ordered: Whiting True Blue (blue eggs), Whiting True Green (green eggs), Black Star (brown eggs), Single Comb Brown Leghorns (white eggs), and Black Andalusians (white eggs). I will still add a few red production hens to the mix next year, they are great layers of brown eggs and lay better through the winter than many of these other breeds. It’s always a challenge to try to have hens producing eggs throughout the year in the quantities needed for the egg customers and for our household.

Do you purchase eggs from a local source? Any colored ones in the batches?

Fall Beauties

October 16th, 2018

The New England asters are really putting on a show this year and the pollinators are loving them. I’m not a huge fan of these flowers in a border, but in native areas around the gardens I find them quite attractive. For me, they’re a bit floppy and weedy looking in the border.


I like that they come in varying shades of purple, lavender, and pink. This time of year they provide a burst of much needed color right before the landscape becomes dominated by brown.

What are loving in the fall garden?

A Stunner…

October 15th, 2018

This past summer, I got a few new dahlia bulbs at the farmers market. I’m not sure of the name of this beauty, I forgot to look at the tag and I can’t seem to find the photo of when I purchased it (I always take photos of new plants with their tags to keep track).

It’s a short plant, which I really like, not growing over two feet. So many of the dahlias I’ve grown in the past blow over in my very windy garden. This one is perfect because of its short stature. My dahlias suffered from the drought and heat this year, they haven’t been as pretty as they have been in the past. In fact, two of mine haven’t even bloomed yet and I’m not sure if they will before frost.

What flowers are you particularly loving this summer?

Falling for Verbena Bonariensis

October 11th, 2018

I remember the first time I noticed verbena bonariensis, it was in the Nearing garden at The Good Life Center in Maine. It was stunning in the late October garden.



I bought seeds and tried growing in my Ohio garden, which it didn’t really like it. Then I remembered this beautiful and beneficial plant a few years ago. I started seed and it grew beautifully, providing a much needed late food source for pollinators.


I no longer have to start seed, seedlings pop up around the main garden in June. These are transplanted all around the garden, every year I grow more and more. At the moment, the monarchs are loving them. Next year I’m thinking of doing a mass planting of this beauty surrounded by lamb’s ears. The two colors and textures should work beautifully together.

What flowers are you loving right now?

Fresh Raspberries in October

October 10th, 2018

This past weekend I harvested my first berries from the ‘Caroline’ canes I got from Nourse Farms last year. Caroline is described by Nourse as “this raspberry has a larger berry than Heritage and is more productive, with a rich, full, and intense raspberry flavor. It is a very vigorous variety, with more tolerance for root rot than Heritage. The farther south you grow it, the earlier it will ripen. Caroline is widely adapted, growing everywhere from the East Coast to the West Coast. This variety does not tolerate high heat and drought.”

The deer browsed them heavily this past winter and we had a hot, dry summer, so I was worried I wouldn’t get any berries at all. It looks as if we will get a decent little harvest this fall. I really wanted a raspberry that produced in the fall so it was ripe when the rest of the garden was waning. These are perfect and are coming on just as the summer garden bounty is drawing to a close. We’ve enjoyed every single berry and look forward to harvests for years to come.

Do you grow raspberries in your garden? Any favorite varieties to recommend?

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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.

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