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This Week In My Garden : : June 27

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Last week, in the garden. (June 20)

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This morning, in the garden. 

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Today I'm joining Amanda and sharing a few notes from my garden. 

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Oh, these gardens!

:: Last week, when I wrote my list of plans and tasks to be completed over the next seven days, I had forgotten how my calendar was looking. Adam was out of state for four of the seven days (he is definitely my right hand man in the garden and is the trellising master around here), Emily is wrapping up one of her courses which is taking a lot of focus and time... and then there is the little fact that we've been sitting in the middle of a soupy, swampy heat wave. Anything above 90 degrees plus humidity and I'm a wilting mess. I would make a terrible southern girl. 

:: Things are growing, especially the weeds! Goodness I have so much weeding to do. Today, just as I finished snapping these pictures, it started raining pretty heavily so I'm going to go outside and start pulling just as soon as I'm finished here. Gardening in the rain is the best, especially during these hot and humid days. 

:: The stunted little kale and collard plants are finally taking off so that's exciting. I attempted to set up the row covers I'd ordered but the wire frames are way too short for growing kale. This weekend we'll have to make do by bending tender young branches into arches, setting those into the ground and covering. I probably should have just done it that way in the first place. I have noticed little cabbage worm eggs on the underside of a few leaves though and have been removing them until we can get the covers on this weekend. I'll be sure to do a final check of every single leaf before the rows are covered - a very important step or else I'll just be trapping the little guys in there for a summer-long buffet! Ideally, row covers would have been set up at the time of planting, so the white butterflies could not have laid their eggs in the first place. 

:: It's time to thin the beans... they look amazing! I tend to grow a lot of beans as they are one of Emily's favorite vegetables so I try to do my mama part and make sure we're in good supply. Last year we froze several quarts and canned a bunch too. I don't love canned beans but am trying to have a good supply of emergency food reserves that is not dependent on electricity. This year though I'm going to try dehydrating green beans as well. Have you ever done that?  

:: Peas are filling the vein, potato plants are looking pretty, and everything in general is moving along in the right direction. I love this time of year in the garden, plants are beginning to really show off yet the pests haven't entirely moved in yet... oh, but I'm watching for them!

:: The blueberries are starting to ripen but it feels really early so I've been chanting a little "slow down" message to remind them there's no rush. July is the time for blueberries, not June. 

:: All of the beds are mulched so that is all set. Now I'll just run around pull weeds from the sprouting straw... but at least the ground will stay moist. 

:: I regret not planting garlic in the fall. 

:: The week ahead is all about weeding, trellising and thinning. 

:: I'm really going to love looking back on these weekly garden updates over the winter, as we learn from what we've done and plan for the next garden to come. For now, I'm just grateful for the space, the sunlight, and the fantastic earthworm filled soil to help fulfill this little dream of ours. Growing food

 

This week we are harvesting:

  • lettuce (3 varieties)
  • spinach
  • swiss chard
  • peas
  • strawberries
  • fresh herbs 

 

What's happening in your garden? Feel free to share a few thoughts (or a blog link)


Just Us Girls

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Over the last few days I've made a point to sit outside and soak up some sun each morning. Read a few pages, knit a few rows - a starting point to the day. I'm like a little battery out there charging under the sun's rays and it feels fantastic. 

It's been ninety degrees or above for a few days now and that seems to be all that is in the forecast too. Thunder storms predicted for each afternoon, but they never happen. It's New England, you just have to throw all possibilities into the forecast. I think a little true rain is coming later this week though, we'll be in need of it for sure by then. 

Adam has been away for several days so Emily and I are doing our best to get summer started (though she is still wrapping up a course that runs until June 28th). I feel a slow lingering ahead and am ready to fully embrace it. The front porch is calling but it needs a little makeover... I went digging around in the basement for some 'porch junk' but realized I donated most of it when we moved. So sad not to have enough porch junk! I even donated my white iron plant stand which I'd love to have right now. Oh well, I'll keep digging to see if I can make it nice and cute out there and then maybe give myself a $25 budget at the flea market this coming Sunday. I bet that will do it. I love the fun use of color on this porch.  What a nice source of inspiration. 

I thought for sure that strawberry season would be a bust with all the rain we've had this month, but it looks to be okay and I came home with a flat of gorgeous berries and jam making will take place today. Wouldn't an outdoor canning kitchen be great? A girl can dream!

Our lemon balm is lush and green, ready for its first cutting and I've got Lemon Balm Jelly on my mind in a big way. We used to make the most delicious Rose Geranium Jelly when I worked at an herb farm, such an amazing taste! I'm thinking lemon balm would offer the same sparkling summer in a jar goodness. If the recipe I come up with is worth sharing I'll be sure to do that. 

Well, I think Adam's return is about two hours away so I'm off to do a little fluffing around the nest and prepare a few nourishing things for him to eat when he arrives. He's been driving all night so I'm sure he'll be feeling that surreal mix of hunger, energized and thankful for being home, and completely exhausted from pulling an all nighter. Off I go...

Happy Monday!


This Week In My Garden : : June 20

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 {The back garden. Contains 4 types of beans, tomatoes, carrots, squash of all kinds, melons, cilantro and dill.}

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 {Strawberry and blueberry patch.}

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 {The front garden. Contains potatoes, peas, peppers, basil, kohlrabi, beans, lettuce, greens of all kinds, cucumber, shallots.}

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 {Raspberry patch.  Much of it will be moved in the fall to be with the other berries out back.}

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{A peek at the ladies and their new digs. Cannot wait to take proper photos and show you, I love it and am so grateful to my husband for making it. He who did not share my NEED for chickens on the property... ahem. }

As I was taking pictures this morning I couldn't help but think this doesn't really look like much. But then I thought, isn't that the point - to watch and take note from seed to harvest? Well, in my garden, many plants are definitely still at the (just sprouted) seed point in their journey. 

And so it begins. Another year in which we attempt to grow more and more of our food supply, with hopefully enough to share too. 

We are tending two large vegetable gardens (one close to the house, the other in "the back field," as we call it), perennial beds, and a berry patch. Our berry patch contains strawberries (getting established), blueberries (more established), and raspberries (nicely established). The raspberries came down several years ago from Adam's grandmother's homestead in Northern Vermont. They are rather exceptional raspberries, but we are a little biased. ;)

This year much of my garden went in on the late side. Not terribly, it should all catch up in no time, but two weeks later than I would like nonetheless. There was the matter of taking down a large ash tree that blocked about three hours of precious sunlight from a prime garden spot, then prepping that part of the earth for growing veggies. 

Some things were planted on schedule - peas, spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, kale and collards. Those have been in for some time now. My kale and collards were planted as small little seedlings but seem to be kind of stunted and aren't growing much at all. They aren't dying either... so I remain hopeful. It's a little weird though, seeing their tiny selves just sitting there. 

Actually, it's probably a good thing because it gave me a little extra time to source row cover supplies for those crops in hopes to keep the cabbage white butterfly from laying eggs resulting in cabbage worms... my early summer problem last year, and in years past. We determined this pest is such an issue in our area it wasn't worth growing certain crops without floating row covers, so putting up the covers will be my weekend project. (If you use row covers, make sure to put them up before there is moth/egg/worm presence - once they are there you'll just be covering them in!)

Most of the lettuce is about to bolt, but not the romaine that I direct sowed. That is still producing young tender leaves in abundance. I should be sure to do that again next year (and later in the summer).

Fencing continues to be an aesthetics issue for me, but I'm really trying to be patient. I'm truly grateful for any sort of fencing, but I sure would love to wake up one day and have it be all pretty with lots of wooden posts and cute latching gates. Even though re-purposed dog kennel panels have awesome gates and are probably the very best type of 'fencing' for keeping deer out. They are easy to install and are a fairly common Craigslist find. When people are 'done' with dog kennels, they generally just want them off their property and they can become a great score for gardeners. 

I mulched with straw (not hay) as I was told this was a good way to keep weeds down. It seems to be keeping other weeds down just fine but the straw has sprouted which is exactly what I thought would not happen. So disappointed. What is your favorite way to mulch and provide weed control?

 

To do this week:

  • Contain raspberries and provide bird safe netting. Looks to be a bumper crop this year if all is protected. 
  • Add final planting bed to the back garden and sow acorn, delicata, and spaghetti squash.
  • Mulch perrenial beds.
  • Add tri-pod poles for beans. 
  • Add row covers for kale and collards. 
  • Measure the vegetable gardens - I am curious about the square footage. 
  • Lots of weeding... darn that straw! 

 

I'm sure there's more to do but I'll try to keep the list realistic. I'm looking forward to watching my photos evolve over the summer and fall with these weekly garden posts. 

 

What's happening in your garden? Feel free to share a few thoughts (or a blog link)


Village Charm

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We took a quick trip up to Woodstock, Vermont this weekend - a little time away to celebrate a birthday, Father's Day, and a farewell to our friend who is heading to Israel for most of the summer. The weather wasn't fantastic, but we had enough breaks in the rain to enjoy the village and take in a few tours at Billings Farm and the Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park. Highly recommend both, especially the national park tour. But I'm a hopeless devotee when it comes to any kind of historical home tour - love them all. I wonder if a chapter of my life will have me as a historical home docent. I don't know that I have what it takes though, perhaps with great training... a good docent is such a gift. 

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When Adam and I lived in Woodstock our favorite thing to do (aside from climbing up Mt. Tom) was to walk the village at night. Not the main street with the shops and such, but the rambling side streets. Oh yes, that is where the warmth and charm comes alive for us. People here don't close their blinds at night, and all the homes are filled with glowing chandeliers and gorgeous early american antiques. Such a beautiful and safe place to wander. 

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We are home now and about to enjoy a few days of beautiful weather which the gardner in me is happy to hear. Things were getting just a little too soggy out there. When we came home last night I did a quick run through the gardens and was happy to see the shallots are coming up - I wasn't sure how that would go as I've never direct sowed them before, but they look good! 

Okay, I must run now. There are so many things I want to accomplish around here after being away for a few days! Isn't that how it goes? I'm happy to be home. 


These Days

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I cleaned up the screen porch after too many weeks of it being taken over by seedlings and gardening tools. Now we can enjoy the twinkly lights and rain soaked evenings - which there has been no shortage of. 

My neighbor has the prettiest flower gardens and she gifted us a bouquet of peonies and iris as a thank you for watching her pup one day. That was no trouble at all because her pup happens to be Scout's best friend 'til the end (aside from Adam - his hero), so they played and played and played together all day long. 

I've never thought of myself as a collector of things but over the last year or so I've realized that I do indeed collect a few things. No knick-knacks though, I can't do those. Pottery, yarn, fabric, well made baskets... it's hard to resist any of those things. Some new pottery came my way last week and I'm smitten with it. Taking a class would be such fun! There hasn't been a pottery wheel in front of me since high school but I think it's time. 

Speaking of baskets (sort of), you know the bolga baskets we all love? And how sometimes when you find the perfect one at the co-op (that's where we get ours), they're perfect in every way style-wise but sometimes bent way out of shape? The tag says to soak them in water then reshape. I finally did that and it works beautifully! I didn't soak them in a tub but I threw them all out on the back deck to absorb the deluge of rainfall we've had recently. Once they were soaked they actually got super hard and moldable, so I molded them to nice round shapes and let them dry. After they dried they became soft and basket-like again but retained their nice and round shape. It was pretty cool how well it worked. I've never made a basket in my life but I'd love to. My mom had a friend years ago that was a talented basket maker and they would trade crocheted crafts for baskets... I now have that entire basket collection, probably twenty of them, and they are the most well-made baskets I own. I should take a picture of them in one big pile someday. You'd love the collection too.

Let's see... Emily had her Spring formal dance and it was lovely again this year. Holy cow those homeschoolers love to dance. What a party! And I continue to be grateful to David's Bridal for being the only place on earth we can find a formal dress that Emily likes (and that fits, and that is appropriately styled). Chiffon really is the best fabric for a dancing dress, so flowy and soft. Who would have thought David's Bridal would come through? But... I'd love to go redesign their stores. No bride should have to shop for a wedding dress under harsh fluorescent lighting. Blech. 

With all the rain we've had I've been trying to keep up with all things green and leafy out in the garden. So far I've managed to pick the large and lovely lettuce leaves before each storm so nothing has turned to mush on the ground. As for the strawberries, thank goodness I remembered to put straw down because those beauties wouldn't stand a chance if they were touching mud for this long.

Well, that was a whole bunch of random - but a brief snapshot of the week around here, no less. I hope June is treating you well too, with all the good kind of busyness she brings! xo 


Oh, June. You do this every time.

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It seems no matter how I approach it, June always wins.

Or better yet, June stops me in my tracks and reminds me to slow down, look around, and notice. This is the good stuff, June says. Busy and full in the best of ways, I can't believe it's only a few days into the month. So much seems to be happening around here. 

Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, Father's Day. June!

We're on week two of company, I'm on week three of my workshop (what an incredible group has gathered), Adam is on week one of returning to work full time, and we are hopefully just days away from officially wrapping up our school year. 

There is a quick little jaunt to Vermont in the near future. Emily is bringing a girlfriend so this should be great fun. 

Summer is almost here and I have blogging plans... oh, do I ever. Because I miss it so, this fun hobby of mine. Sometimes I feel tired of hearing myself talk (blog), and so I come here less and less. But other times I just want to capture all the beauty I see and share it here. I'm choosing to trust this feeling and hope to go with it this summer. I even made my photos as big as I could manage, to set the tone. (Blog housekeeping, summer style.)

So let's allow this to be the summer of simple, beautiful moments then, shall we? Even better if they're sparkly. 

(But first I'll wait for June to release me... soon. xo)