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Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful

March 16th, 2017

You’ve probably heard about the big blizzard we had roll through New England on Tuesday. It dropped 16-18 inches of snow outside, on the garden that was bare and thawed just last week. Snow in March isn’t uncommon, though this much snow is a bit of a surprise. That’s Ok though, I have loads of lovely plants under the grow lights.

The first batch of lettuce seedlings need thinning, that means I’ll have a homegrown salad later this week. The alyssum and violets are starting to germinate, I’m hoping they will provide some needed color very early this summer.

What’s growing under you grow lights?

Out They Come

January 7th, 2016

Waaaayyyyyy back at the end of the summer I put sour cherry and plum seeds in the fridge to stratify. I noted on my calendar that they needed to come out at the end of December. This morning I pulled them out.
stone fruit seeds
Now that they’ve had their dose of cold treatment hopefully I get a few of them to germinate. Some of the tart cherries have already germinated, so into small pots they will go. None of the plums are germinating.
Tart Cherry Seedling
I’m really hoping to end up with a few lovely trees for myself and for a few friends, we shall see. It’s always a gamble to do projects like this, but I don’t lose anything but a little time if they don’t germinate. I’ll keep you posted on their progress.

What fun things are you doing this week?

Winter Activities for the Gardener

December 9th, 2015

I appreciate living in a climate where I have 3-4 months of winter in which gardening outdoors is pretty much impossible without a greenhouse. While I spend a lot of time reading about gardening during the winter months, I still want to get my hands in the soil and nurture plants. What is a gardener to do? Attempt to start interesting plants from seed.
This year I have a few interesting things to try, most exciting is the Cedar of Lebanon seeds along with a large leafed magnolia. I also have seeds of various plums and sour cherries in the fridge getting their prescribed dose of cold weather before putting them up to see if I can nurture a few little trees for my orchard. I’ll keep you posted on my efforts, perhaps in 100 years there will be a Cedar of Lebanon to be enjoyed by those living here at the time.

What sorts of fun gardening things do you do in the winter?

PermaNest Trays

March 4th, 2015

I have a love/hate relationship with those black plastic seed starting trays. I’ve been gardening long enough that I’ve used pretty much every type of seed starting tray there is out there. The black plastic trays work the best for me, but I really dislike how cheap they’ve gotten in recent years. I used to be able to use them for 5-7 years, now they barely last one season. After looking at PermaNest trays for a few years, I finally purchased a few this year to give them a try.
permanest 1
I must admit that I was very happy with the quality of them when I opened up the box. The tall domes with sliding vents are a very rigid plastic, the bottom trays are super heavy duty. I have read reviews on the internet with gardeners saying they’ve had them for 20 years.
permanest 2
They have bottom trays, thinner top domes and the very rigid tall domes with vents. They are all very high quality and I can see that they will last me many years to come.
permanest 3
What I’m most happy about is that I will be able to use my soil blocker with them. They are definitely strong enough to stand up to lots of wear and tear. I will no longer have to worry about cracks and holes in the bottom trays and water leaking out all over the place.

What’s your favorite seed starting tool?


April 19th, 2014

Last weekend I started my tomato seeds. I’m doing this a few weeks later than I usually do, but spring has been long in coming.
tomatoes 3
tomatoes 1
I’m growing a few new varieties this year, the ‘Beaverlodge’ types from Territorial. They are supposed to start producing at 55 days – we shall see if I’m harvesting fruit in late June. The best part about this variety is that if it does well it should be producing fruit for canning before late blight arrives.
tomatoes 4
This year I’m going to try grafting a few. I purchased the grafting seeds and am hoping to get enough rootstock to graft one of each of the heirloom varieties that I’m growing. I’ll plant them side by side with their non-grafted counterpart and look for any differences is disease resistance, growth rates and fruit production.
tomatoes 2
I’m most excited about my favorite tomato ‘Principe Borghese’. This beauty is the perfect tomato, small, delicious and a prolific producer. I love that it can easy be dried and tastes just like sun dried tomatoes. It also roasts up perfectly for my roasted tomato passata.

What’s your favorite tomato?

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.