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Spring Cleanup

April 16th, 2018

Now that the snow has melted (for the most part) and the ground is starting to thaw, the means spring cleanup is in full swing. By far, the biggest chore in the spring is raking all the gravel out of the lawn. Plowing all the snow we get, results in loads and loads of gravel being deposited in the lawn. It’s hard graft raking it out, but it needs done as early as possible in the spring so as to not smother the grass.

This winter was especially bad because we had a few thaws in the middle of winter. That means the driveway gets soft and more of it is scooped up and left in the lawn with the piles of snow.

It’s a big chore, typically it takes me 8-10 hours to get it finished. I usually work on it for an a hour a day or so until it’s finished. This week, I was able to dedicate 4-5 hours to it, so I’m really close to finishing it up. Once this chore is done, it’s time to move on to cleaning out the gardens of all the dead plant material. I will also be adding layers of compost & mulch to most of the garden.

What’s your biggest spring cleanup chore?

Making Way

October 8th, 2015

I’m making way in the garden for more things next year. That means thousands of strawberry plants are coming out. There are still plenty of strawberries out there, just not the ridiculous amounts that we had this summer. I left at least half of the plants and I’m debating cutting that in half again. Strawberries do best when the exhausted plants are pulled every couple years and the young plants are allowed to get established. I also like to move them to a new spot for crop rotation purposes. The nice this about berries is that they migrate on their own.
pulling Strawberry plants
I tried to find people locally who were interested in plants, but no one seemed to want them. Oh well, I guess they’ll compost down into something lovely to feed the garden. Yesterday I was able to finish pulling the rest of the plants and get a layer of compost spread over the row. Next spring it will be ready for whatever I decide to plant, maybe something edible, maybe just a cover crop.

What chores are you finally getting done in the garden?

Mowing, Mowing, Mowing

June 4th, 2014

Last night we picked up a new vintage Cub Cadet garden tractor.  We’ve been looking around for one, mostly so I can mow the lawn way faster than in the seven hours it currently takes me with our little 20 inch push mower.  I love to mow and I love to push mow, the exercise is great and it’s a deeply satisfying job.
push mower
This little mower is a champ, we purchased it for $100 about fourteen years ago and it’s still going strong. Mr Chiots had to do a few things to it this spring to get it running, but it’s been mowing and mowing and mowing this season.
Mowing 2
Mowing 1
Lucky for us we got it from our neighbor who bought it new way back in 1988 (at least I think that’s the year).
mowing (2)
I am the chief mowing officer around here, in fact Mr Chiots barely mows. Mowing is one of those chores I thoroughly enjoy, even at seven hours a week. It will be nice to get it finished in at least half the time though, that will leave more time for other garden chores, chiefly adding new ornamental flower beds.

Who does the mowing in your family and what kind of machine do you use?

And So It Begins Again…

April 12th, 2014

What? Weeding of course…
weeding 1
weeding 2
My biggest opponent is quack or couch grass. It’s a tenacious foe, but I will come out on top! Last year I battled valiantly and it receded, this year will be the same. Perhaps by next year I will have it eradicated from the potager behind the house and most of the big garden behind the garage.

What’s your most tenacious weed?

Le Potager du Chiot’s Run

October 4th, 2012

My to-do list is super long, especially when it comes to cleaning, office work, and other things. All of those things are being put off in order to get the small potager behind the house planted in crops that will hopefully provide something fresh for our plates this winter. It may be too late to plant things, but I’ve got nothing to lose but a few packs of seeds.

This garden is approximately 20 feet wide on all sides making it almost a perfect square.

Before I could plant anything, the garden needed clearing of weeds and past prime plants. The weed were tall and all going to seed, not a good thing. Letting weeds go to seed only means much more work in the future. Surely you’ve heard the quote “one year of seed equals seven years of weeds”. I will do just about anything to not let weeds go to seed in my garden.

This garden is a small kitchen garden located right off the enclosed back porch. I will use it for herbs, lettuces, and other edibles that I want to grow in small quantities and things that are harvested while I’m cooking. Back in Ohio, I had all my herbs growing in the flowerbeds directly around the house for quick harvests.

While I was filling my wheelbarrow with weeds, I spent my time making future plans for this space. I’ve always wanted a traditional four square garden filled with mostly herbs (here’s a great illustration of a four square garden). This little garden will eventually morph into that. There will be rock walls on the lower side to hold the soil back in the garden, on the upper side there will also be rock walls to hold the lawn back out of the garden. By doing this I can level this space a little more for my traditional four square garden.

I’m going to call it “Le Potager du Chiot’s Run”. It’s kind of funny that the name of this blog is French, since I don’t speak it, but I do speak Spanish. I decided that all things around here will keep with the French theme. The chicken coop will be named something French as well, perhaps “Chez Poulet” or “Maison pour le Poulets” (any suggestions?).

Until that happens, it’s going to be a small working kitchen garden. Yesterday I managed to plant a whole mess of mesclun, ‘Winterbor’ kale, a few different kinds of carrots, and cilantro. Then I got rained out.

Hopefully today I can plant the remainder of the cleared area with beets, more kale, spinach and radishes. While I’m doing that I’ll keep dreaming and planning the future of this space.

Do you have different garden zones for different kinds of edibles, close to the house for quick harvests, main crop areas, etc?

Reading & Watching

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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.