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The Edible Garden

August 24th, 2020

This is my 8th summer gardening here in Maine, the edible garden is the best it’s ever been. That’s to be expected, all the additions of compost are really improving the soil structure, and the garden is almost expanded to the full size that we have been planning.

I still need to add fruit trees, berry bushes, grape vines, and a few other items, but overall it’s really starting to settle into place and look fantastic. It no longer looks like a new garden. It’s filled with tons of self seeded flower: anise hyssop, verbena bonariensis, echinacea, dill, coriander, and rose campion.

This year I added a tithonia hedge on both sides. Not only do these help with wind, they provide lots of food for pollinators, especially monarchs. Now that I have 120 feet of them, I notice the hummingbirds are loving them as well. It’s a constant buzz of activity and it is proving to be a great add for reducing the wind in the garden.

The vegetables are all producing well, some things I have cut down on this year, some I have increased. At this moment, the tomatoes are the stars of the show. Here in Maine, we have a short window to enjoy tomatoes fresh off the vine and we savor each and every one. The ‘Sungold’ tomatoes are especially stunning right now, I enjoy watching them ripen downward.

Overall, it’s been a great year for the edible garden. No doubt all of our years of improving the soil are finally paying off. We look forward to layering in more and more seasonal foods as we finalize the plans for this lovely space.

What are you harvesting and loving at the peak of ripeness right now?

Gold Medal Tomato

August 18th, 2015

I harvested my first big heirloom beefsteak tomato, which is quite nice for our area. The other beefsteaks are a few weeks away still. It’s no wonder this tomato is called ‘Gold Medal’, and aptly so.
Gold Medal Tomato 2
They’re large tomatoes, with good flavor and quite beautiful color.
Gold Medal Tomato 1
It’s a delicious tomato, in fact I took one to a cookout on Saturday and everyone loved it. I harvested another one yesterday and we enjoyed it for breakfast and dinner.

How are you tomatoes doing? What’s your favorite beefsteak?

Happy 4th

July 9th, 2015

When I was younger, I remember my mom always trying to have a ripe tomato by July 4th. She used wall of waters, started planted early, and did all sorts of things to have tomatoes extra early. This year, I started ‘Glacier’ and ‘Stupice’ in early April. I planted some in the garden and some in pots. The ones in pots produced lovely ripe tomatoes on the 4th of July.
first ripe tomato 1
first ripe tomato 2
This isn’t too bad for Maine with no greenhouse. Next year I may try growing some in a low tunnel to see if that hastens ripening.
first ripe tomato 3
If you live in a colder climate, consider starting a few cold tolerant varieties and grow them in pots in a sunny location. The warmth of the soil in a container will help them grow and fruit faster.
first ripe tomato 4
I also realized that I haven’t yet published my list of the tomato varieties I’m growing this year, it includes a few old favorites and some new and exciting ones as well. I think I might wait until I start getting a few ripe ones so I can show you what they look like.

What’s the earliest you have harvested a tomato in your garden?

The First of the Season

August 4th, 2014

Last Thursday  I plucked the first ripe tomato from the vine and popped it straight into my mouth.  There was no saving to share with Mr Chiots, very selfish I know, but he doesn’t care since he doesn’t like tomatoes quite as much as I do.
first ripe tomato
This is a ‘Tess’s Land Race’ currant tomato, the same one that ripens first just about every year. I find that I enjoy this lovely variety until the big beefsteak tomatoes come on, then it’s simply too tedious to harvest the tiny tomatoes. I’ll pick them if I need something extra for a recipe, or if I want little tomatoes for a salad. But once the beefsteaks come on they are forgotten.

What tomato variety ripens first in your garden?

Seaweed Mulch

July 31st, 2014

My tomato plants in the potager behind the house are much deeper green, more compact and overall much better looking than my tomatoes plants in the main garden behind the garage. I was trying to figure out why since the soil is very similar in both gardens and the plants have been treated almost exactly the same. The plants in the back garden have actually been fertilized more than the ones in the potager.
tomato plant
Then I remembered that the plants in the potager have been mulched with seaweed from when we buy lobsters. It acts as a seaweed tea of course, every time it rains the plants get a low dose of healthy nutrients.
seaweed mulch
Seaweed is a dynamic accumulator, it also contains loads of minerals and micronutrients. I don’t harvest seaweed for my garden, but whenever I get it when we purchase lobsters it goes right around my prize plants.  Comfrey is a good alternative to seaweed if you don’t live near the ocean.  I also grow massive amounts of comfrey to use in/around favorite plants.  I always throw some in planting holes because it stimulates root growth & development.  Comfrey deserves it’s own post, more on that wonder plant later.

What’s your favorite local mulch product?

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About

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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