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Friday Favorite: Tree Time

December 1st, 2017

I love having a Christmas tree in the house during December. We typically cut a little pine from our property, it’s never a beautifully pruned tree, but it has quirks, big empty spaces, and lots of character.

Our tree is always cut the first weekend of December, after we have arrived home from our yearly trip to Ohio to celebrate the holidays with family.

I’ll drape it with a few strands of white lights and some etched glass bulbs. Simple, and it doesn’t take forever to set up and take down. This year, I’d like to make some pine garland to hang around the front door. There’s no outlet, or I’d decorate it with white lights as well.

One thing I do miss about our Ohio house is the yards of pine garland and white lights adorning the outside of the house during the winter.

Luckily, I can string lights in the old apple tree, those are actually left on all year long. White lights really help brighten up these dark winter nights, they are probably one of my all time favorite things.

When do you set up your Christmas tree? Or do you decorate in other ways?

Will They Live?

November 28th, 2017

For the past few years I’ve been growing artichokes. Since we live in a cold climate, I grow the varieties that produce in one season. This means I only get one large choke per plants, sometimes the season is long enough for them to produce a few smaller chokes.

This year, I planted 6 plants. Two of them didn’t produce chokes this summer, but the plants are lush and look very healthy. I decided to try to overwinter them to see if they will produce next summer.

After much thought of how to do it, I decided a fiber cement pot turned upside would be the best option. I was going to buy straw to stuff them with, but realized I have a ready supply of oak leaves. I also used this method to protect my acanthus in hopes that it will bloom in a few years.

What frost/freeze protection methods do you utilize in your garden for tender plants?

Magnesium for Roses

November 17th, 2017

As I mentioned yesterday, I use epsom salts in the garden in a few different places. One of the places I discovered where it is very effective is on roses. I have always read that roses like a foliar spray of magnesium, but I never got around to doing it until this summer.

I mixed 1 Tablespoon of magnesium in gallon of water. I transferred it to a spray bottle and sprayed the leave of my rose bushes every three weeks. The results were amazing. I started spraying in early August and afterwards all of my roses produced a small second flush of blooms. They also put on lots of lush green growth and looked much healthier than they have the past few summers.

For being such an inexpensive thing, epsom salts are really a valuable addition to the garden. I use Ancient Minerals brand because I trust them. This winter I’ll be researching to see if there are any other plants that appreciate a foliar magnesium feed. Next year I’m going to start feeding the roses when I see new growth.

Do you use epsom salts in the garden?

Using Magnesium in the Garden

November 15th, 2017

My mom always used epsom salts in the garden, she would use them on her tomatoes and peppers. Last year, I started to do the same. It made quite a difference in the amount of fruit and health of the plants. There was zero blossom end rot with a monthly magnesium drink.

I use Ancient Minerals brand, which is the same brand I use for myself when I’m soaking my feet.

I simply add one quarter of a cup to my three gallon watering can, stir to dissolve, then water the leaves and soil of my tomatoes & peppers. Check back tomorrow and I’ll tell you about another way to use magnesium in the garden.

Do you have any gardening tips/tricks to share?

Oh Celery

November 13th, 2017

I’ve been growing celery for years as it’s a main ingredient in my home canned tomato soup. Each year it gets better and better and this year was the best year yet. Most often, my celery is OK for cooking, not so great to eat raw. Celery can be a picky crop, it’s greedy to be sure. Lots of water and lots of food is what makes it thrive. If it’s not provided with the perfect conditions, it’s hollow, tough, and only fit for stock. This variety is ‘Tango’ which was sourced from Johnny’s Seeds.

I’ve been harvesting stalks from my plants for a few months now, we like them sliced on top of salads. When the weather decided to dip down below freezing every night, I decided it was time to harvest all these lovely plants (10 in total).  They will be paired with a few roosters from the coop to make a wonderfully rich chicken stock for the freezer. It’s quite exciting to finally master growing something and to find your homegrown product is leaps and bounds over what you can buy.

What crop have you struggled to grow in the past?

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.

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