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Thank you for all your support over the years!

I Spy…

March 1st, 2016

On Sunday, I was checking the soil and spinach plants in the low tunnel and spotted a ‘Bowles Black’ violet blooming in there. What a wonderful sight it was!
black violet
I love having plants like Johnny’s jump ups and violets in my potager because they tell when I can do certain things. When I see them blooming I know that I can start planting and seeding spinach, arugula, cilantro, and other cold tolerant crops and they will germinate. The violets in the rest of the potager are nowhere to be seen, it will be a few weeks before they show their faces. Thanks to this beauty, I know it’s time to transplant some of the lettuce seedlings I have under grow lights into the low tunnel.

Do you have any plants that are signals for you?

Cold Frame or Cat Sauna?

March 30th, 2011

A few years ago Mr Chiots and I built a cold frame for the garden. It’s really nice, but it doesn’t face south, so it doesn’t get as much sun as it should. But shade loving crops like lettuces overwinter well in it. I also use it for overwintering cuttings and plants I’m trying to propagate. This winter it housed some boxwood cuttings along with some lettuce and spinach.

My cold frame has a very convenient automatic cold frame hinge that opens when it’s warm to keep it from overheating. This is a great feature, I’d highly recommend getting one if you have a cold frame. I like that I don’t have to worry about monitoring the temperature, which is especially nice when I’m not home on a warm day!

I noticed yesterday when I went out that Miss Mama was sleeping in the cold frame. I guess when the lid pops open she heads in there to take a nap. I got a good chuckle out of that, it’s like her own little spa in there. I bet it feels really nice on these cold 30 degree days to sit inside a sunny 75 degree humid cold frame!

Do you have a cold frame, does is have an auto hinge? Do your outdoor animals bring you comic relief?

What a Difference a Day Makes

April 7th, 2009

What a difference a day makes in the weather here in Ohio. On Sunday it was sunny and warm with the high around 65-70. Yesterday it was cold and snowing with the lows in the 20’s – BRRRRR.
This is not uncommon in Ohio, it happens quite often in the spring and in the fall. We can even have fairly cold weather in the middle of the summer.
This is the main reason I have a cold frame and the reason we decided to build hoop houses on our raised beds.
My little lettuces & beets are tucked warmly inside the cold frame, it allows me to plant things out much earlier than I would if I didn’t have it. The good thing is that weather will be warming up this week just in time for us to get our bees (that happens on Wed).

Do you live an area with rapidly changing weather? What do you do to extend the season?

BRRR it’s Cold!

March 22nd, 2009

The last 2 days have been pretty cold here in NE Ohio. Last night the temperature was down in the 20’s again, they were calling for snow on Friday but we missed it. My lettuce is doing just fine in the cold frame, it stays just warm enough for it.
I didn’t work out in the garden, I stayed inside and started all of my tomato seeds and a few peppers (it takes a long time to seed 24 different kinds of tomatoes). I also was able to spend a lot of time in the office catching up on work I had put off earlier in the week while working outside.
This time of year in Ohio you never know what kind of weather you’re going to get. We have a saying here, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. It can be 70 one day and snowing the next. This poses quite a challenge for gardening. It’s not rare to have snow in April, which isn’t good for my little plants. That’s one reason we put hoop houses up over our raised beds; this should help greatly with this challenge.
On the bright side it’s going to be nice today and tomorrow, so I’ll be spending my days in the garden again.

I’ve really enjoyed the compost discussions the past couple days. We’ll definitely be revisiting that topic here pretty soon. I think there’s a lot more knowledge for all of you to share on that topic.

Anyone else experiencing more cold weather? Any snow?

It’s Time

March 8th, 2009

On Thursday I popped open the lid on my cold frame to check the temperature, this is what I saw.
An hour after I took this photo it was up to 75; this is just what I want to see on a 50 degree day. This means it’s time to plant my beet seeds and my lettuce seedlings in the cold frame, looks like I’ll be busy on the next warm dry day. This is all very exciting because I got my cold frame finished last fall a little too late to be of any use for my carrots. I’m interested to see how well it works for extending the season this spring and fall.
Mr Chiot’s and I attended a bee keeping seminar yesterday. We had a great time and learned a lot, I’ll be posting all about our adventures in learning about bees tomorrow.

Have you been able to do any garden chores in the garden this weekend? Are you already planting things?


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.