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Cedrus Libani

May 23rd, 2019

I’ve always admired Cedar of Lebanon trees. There’s just something about the size, the form, and the coloring of these trees. All of the ones I’ve seen in person are small, around 15-20 feet tall, I’ve only seen the mature specimens in photos and on film. When I visited Paris in early April, I spent one day walking around Jardin des Plantes. This garden wasn’t even on my list of places to visit, until I read ‘American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic’ on the plane ride over to France. One day, while Mr Chiots was in a meeting, I took the subway up and spent a few hours walking around this lovely garden. That’s where I spotted this amazing Cedrus Libani.






Cedar of Lebanon is marginally hardy in our zone, technically it should be, but that isn’t always the case. Some cultivars are hardier than others, I’ve recently found a cultivar that’s supposed to be the hardiest of all. I’m going to be purchasing seeds for this variety to give them a go. While I’d never spend $150 on a tree that may or may not survive, I am more than happy to spend $10 on seeds to give them a go. Here’s a great article from Arnold Arboretum about hardier strains of Cedrus Libani.

Do you have any trees you’ve always admired and wanted to add to your garden?

Friday Favorite: Renee’s Garden Seeds

February 22nd, 2019

If you’ve been reading here for a while you know how much I like Renee’s Garden Seeds. Not only does Renee do lots of wonderful things to encourage gardening (like donating seeds to school gardens), her seeds are specifically chosen for the small home gardener.

One of my favorite things about Renee’s is that you can get individual packets of seeds that contain several different varieties of vegetables. This is such a money saver for the home gardener, not to mention it limits the amount of seed you have to store from year to year. You can find a wide variety of options with multiple varieties in each packet. I’ve grown her multi-packs of: beans, zucchini, beets, broccoli, lettuce, radishes, scallions, and carrots.


I’m in the process of figuring out just which items I’m going to be ordering from Renee’s, I’m thinking radishes and beets for sure. The ‘Catalina’ spinach is also a favorite of mine.

Do you like to grow multiple varieties of each type of vegetable?

Patience, Patience…

February 18th, 2019

This time of year it can be difficult to keep excitement in check for the coming gardening season. The seed orders start arriving, the days are longer, the sun shines brighter and warmer, and things are starting to look like spring. It’s easy to get overexcited and start seeds way too early, I’m guilty of this as much as any gardener! It’s really best to wait and transplant things at the correct time. When held too long, plants get bigger and have more transplant shock, thus it actually sets them back and there’s nothing to be gained by starting them early.

Here in Maine, we’re lucky to have MOFGA (the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association). They have a wonderfully handy chart for seed starting and transplanting times. (here’s a link to their website where you can copy and print out a copy)

I have this printed out and hanging right by my seed starting area. I’ve noted in different starting dates for things I like to start earlier or later and I’ve added things to the chart that they don’t list (like basil). This would be an easy reference to copy and amend for your specific planting dates and climate. For example, I find that starting celery earlier than their given time works better for me. I also start onions a bit earlier (in the next week or two) as I like them to be a bit bigger at transplant because otherwise, I have issues with the robins pulling them up. This coming week I will be starting my early onions, which are ‘Purplette’ from Johnny’s Seeds.

Have you ever started seeds too early?

Friday Favorite: Soil Block Makers

February 1st, 2019

Many years ago I purchased a soil block maker and have been using it for seed starting. It’s a wonderful tool, both for practical reasons (no plastic seed starting flats needed) and for the plants (reduced transplant shock, air pruning of roots). My old soil block maker started to get rusty and some of the welds were failing, so I purchased two new ones at Johnny’s Seeds. Lucky for me, they were on sale!


I have always used the 2 inch maker, this year I purchased a smaller one as well. With the smaller one I should be able to fit more lettuce seedlings under my grow lights, thus maximizing that space! I have already started a few flats of seeds, onions will be started quite soon. Then the gardening season is up and running….

Do you have any great tools you’ve discovered to recommend?

Better Late Than Never

December 12th, 2018

Last winter I did a great job of growing microgreens and herbs for our meals. I had great intentions of starting flats of green when we got back from Israel, but catching up with work and life got in the way. Yesterday morning I finally got two flats started; one filled with spicy microgreens and the other with cilantro.

I put them under the woodstove to warm up, this should help germination rate and speed. After the soil was warm, I put them on top of my grow light stand, which is in the same room as the woodstove and very warm up that high.

Hopefully in 10 days or so we will be enjoying the microgreens for breakfast. Now I just need to remember to start another flat next week.

What are you doing this week?

Seeds and Sundries
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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!

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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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