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Indoor Gardening in Winter

November 8th, 2017

I always have pots of herbs, citrus trees, and a few other greens under grow lights during the long winter months here in Maine. This year, since I grew this ‘Pizza my Heart’ pepper in a container by the front door, I decided to bring it indoors for the winter to experiment with growing perennial vegetables in this method.

A few weeks ago, I read about a guy who brings in a lot of his peppers and simply replants them after risk of frost is past the following summer. He claims that they start producing peppers earlier and produce more peppers when treated in this manner. Instead of trying to bring in all my pepper plants, I figured I’d start with one; the one that was already in a container.

This pepper has flourished in this container all summer, since it was still growing, flowering, and producing well, I figured it was a great candidate for this experiment. This variety (from Renee’s Garden Seeds) is well suited for containers, which should increase my chance of success. I’ll keep you up to date on the progress of this lovely plant. At the moment, I’m not 100% certain where it will reside this winter. I have three lighted growing areas in the house, each with different climates. I’m thinking this pepper will appreciate the upstairs area since it’s very warm and gets lots of morning light.

What are you experimenting with this winter?

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere

October 23rd, 2017

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I now grow my cucurbits (specifically pumpkins) in my compost pile (more on this method here). I learned of this method from the book ‘Gardens of Plenty’ by Marylynn Abbott and gave it a try. It worked beautifully and I have been utilizing this method ever since. If you remember, I saw this method in action in the garden she wrote about in this book when I visited the gardens at the Hagley Museum. This year, my pumpkins were grown in the giant compost piles I made last fall. I planted four vines figuring I’d get a pumpkin or two from each.


They grew like champs and quickly took over the compost pile and the lawn nearby (which wasn’t really a big deal because I wanted to get rid of the lawn to expand the garden. When the vines died back I noticed how many pumpkins were there.

After cutting all the pumpkins and carting them down to the house, I counted them up. There were 30 pumpkins, the smallest are fairly large, the largest pumpkins are HUGE and very heavy.

Now we have pumpkins sitting here, there, and everywhere throughout the house. The goal is to cure them a bit, so they will store better and be sweeter for eating. There is a pile of pumpkins in the office behind me, a pile on each side of the front porch, they are piled in the kitchen under the table, and on either side of the dresser in the dining room.



Some of them are also being used as fall decor by the front door, these will be cooked and fed to the chickens. Most likely, this winter, as I cook a pumpkin for us to eat, the birds will get at least half of it. There are so many pumpkins we could never begin to eat them all. Add to their numbers the glut of butternut squash I ended up with as well and we won’t be lacking vitamin A this winter.

What did you have a glut of this year? Do you grow pumpkins?

Friday Favorite: Indoor Herbs

October 13th, 2017

I love growing herbs indoors over the winter. Since I love to cook, herbs are used daily and they can be very spendy at the grocery store. Thyme and parsley are easy to grow indoors since they are perennials. Ciliantro is also fairly easy to grow in quantity, but basil is one I always forget to grow for some reason, which is a shame because we love it so much.

This year however, I remembered to start a basil plant a month ago. Now that it’s mature, it should do better indoors during the winter. The nights are getting cool enough that it’s time to bring it inside. At the moment it’s spending the chilly nights on our front porch and spending our sunny days outside. When it comes it for good, I think I’ll keep it upstairs under a grow light. It’s nice and warm so it should do quite well. Most likely it won’t grow tons over the winter, but I’m hoping we will have enough to be able to use it once or twice a week. I’ll keep you posted.

What herbs do you grow over the winter?

Friday Favorite: Filling the Larder

September 8th, 2017

One of my favorite things time of of year is filling the freezer and the pantry with homegrown goodness. I’ve been making small batches of interesting things: pickled beans with garlic and basil, pickled garlic, pickled nasturtium pods, figs in brandy, minted onions, spiced peaches, and many more. The freezer is pretty much chocked full and the pantry shelves are starting to look lovely.


I have a few favorite canning books, most that provide small batch recipes, which are perfect for small amount of produce and small families. These books are constantly on my table, I leaf through them and read through recipes trying to decide what to make. A few recipes have become favorites and are used yearly, some are made every so often.

A few of my go-to books this time of year:
The River Cottage Preserves Handbook by Pam Corbin
Preserving the Taste by Edon Waycott
Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone

I don’t can much, but the things that I do are throughly enjoyed in the middle of our long winters here in Maine. Every time we crack open a jar of pickles or preserves we are reminded of the delicious bounty from the garden.

What are you preserving from the garden this year?

Friday Favorite: Found Flowers

July 7th, 2017

I spotted this little columbine blooming in the back border, behind a few other things. It’s quite a looker, with it’s double flowers. It may be Aquilegia ‘Barlow Bordeaux’, I’m not positive since I didn’t plant it.


My other columbines are all singles. There’s a a deep purple one blooming by the back door that I brought from Ohio and a very light pink that I found growing under the porch. I’ll be saving seeds from all three varieties to see what I get.

Do you grow any columbine?

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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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