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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?

So Long Garden

November 6th, 2018

The 2018 garden season is pretty much officially over. I have to plant garlic and harvest some lettuce and broccoli, but other than that it’s pretty much clearing out the dead plants and seeing how high I can get the compost pile.

There were grand plans of adding hedges around the main garden and perhaps even starting the main walkways as well, but time seems to have slipped away quicker than we realized. As much as I really enjoy the gardening season, I’m ready for a bit of hibernation. I’m ready to get my sewing room moved and to start working on all the sewing projects I’ve been saving and planning over the summer. While the days get shorter, there’s still plenty to do to tidy up the garden. I’m busy pulling in all terra-cotta pots and organizing them into my gardening area under the garage stairs.

The longer evenings are allowing more time for reading, something I don’t have tons of time to do in the summer. In the evenings you will find me warming myself in front of the wood stove reading a book, most likely with a cat sleeping nearby. There’s something lovely about living in a place with very different seasons, it helps us appreciate and enjoy the things each one has to offer.

How’s your garden waning as winter comes along? Do you have any favorite winter activities that you can’t do during the busy gardening season?

A Winner

July 16th, 2018

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I planted a new variety of pea, ‘Sienna’ from Johnny’s Seeds. Around here, I’ve mostly grown heirloom peas, so this variety was a first for me. Overall, I’m really happy with it. All the pods came ripe at the same time, allowing me to harvest the entire row, pull the plants, and replace with something else. These peas are kind of like determinate tomatoes, very convenient if you want to process them all at once.

It was nice to harvest all of them and not have to be picking peas every couple days. Processing them all at once for the freezer was also very convenient, no small batches to process every week or so. If you’re growing peas for freezing, I highly recommend giving ‘Sienna’ a try. I also appreciate that they are ready to pull from the garden a month or so ahead of ‘Green Arrow’, which means by the time I’m pulling the other variety, I’m already going to be harvesting lettuce from the space where the ‘Sienna’ peas were growing. If you have a small garden, maximizing space is a great reason to consider this variety.

Are you growing any new varieties this year? Do you love them or prefer others?

Blink and You’ll Miss It

May 10th, 2018

The first summer we moved into our house here in Maine, I planted bloodroot in a small damp, shady area behind the house. It’s been slowly growing, thriving in the area where not many things want to grow.

It’s such an amazing little plant, if you blink, you’ll completely miss the blooms.

As soon as I start working outside in the spring, I make it a point to check on the bloodroot every day so I don’t miss it. On Monday I noticed it was blooming, by Tuesday evening when I went to point it out to Mr Chiots, it was already fading. The blooms only last for about 24 hours.

Do you have any fleeting flowers in your garden?

Grow Light Salad

February 12th, 2018

A few weeks ago, I seeded four flats of various types of greens. Arugula won the race to the dinner place, we enjoyed a delicious salad on Saturday morning for breakfast.

Being one of my favorite greens, I’m happy that arugula won the race. In fact, we could have harvested enough for a salad in the middle of last week, I just had some greens from the grocery store in the fridge already. It’s exciting to be harvesting things from under he grow lights. In the future, arugula is going to be my go-to winter grow light crop.

Are you harvesting anything for your plate at the moment?

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.