Posts tagged: gardening

Preparing for the Snow

By , October 26, 2012

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After what has been one of the hottest, most wearisome summers in my memory, it seems that the autumn season has finally, completely (mercifully!?) clunked into place. We had our first snowfall, which began on Wednesday night by way of a steady rain. I was delighted to see this, so armed with an umbrella and steaming tea in a to-go cup, I ventured out for an enchanting night walk. And an hour after I got back, the rain switched over to snow, falling fast and blowing sideways, blizzard style. By that time the two of us and the cat were all squashed together on the couch, side by side by side, vegging out in front of PBS. A cozy, snowy night.

The next morning, we awoke to the wonderland you see above. Cold and still and silent.

I love the snow because it’s so peaceful.

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If we back up a little bit, though, Tuesday was a gorgeous day with temperatures in the mid-70s, and I was out in shorts and a tank top getting the last of the garden chores in order. It was a busy garden day and I was exhausted at the end, but the progress felt good.

Here are some pictures from my end-of-summer preparations:

The garden in early October just after our first frost nipped a few things.

Potting up the thyme to take inside for the winter

Red Siberian heirloom tomatoes -- I'll definitely grow these again

One of the leeks from the harvest

Cabbage and potatoes just harvested

The rest of the tomatoes, picked and ready to store.

Storing the green tomatoes in the coolest spot in the house (the coat closet).

End-of-season applesauce making

Bringing some of the garden stuff indoors

Tilled in our homemade compost and made a "nursery bed" for the garlic. I'll transplant them in spring to their usual spots around the perimeter of each raised bed. This nursery bed thing is a new thought I had -- never done it this way, but I'm counting on it working like a charm.

Putting the garden to bed

Dusk, my favorite

The first snowfall

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Harvesting Our Apples

By , October 12, 2012

Well it’s been an awesome year for fruit here, since our usual blossom-killing frost mercifully did not occur this spring. And so “Make more applesauce” has been somewhat of a standing order on my to-do lists of late. What a blessing, to have so much free organic fruit! My mom’s recent comment in an email made me giggle, asking me what I’ll do with all my time once the apples are through!

The apple tree in the backyard is Red Delicious variety, but the apples are really not good for fresh eating, however they make great applesauce! So F and I harvested them all recently and I’ve been picking away at them, cutting out the wormy parts, peeling them, chopping, and then cooking and canning them.

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What kind of fruit are you harvesting this autumn?

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From Nature With Love

By , September 6, 2012

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Fresh from our garden. Luscious!!!

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Around the Garden – July 19th

By , July 20, 2012

Yesterday was a special day. July 19th is the official death date of my best friend Sonja. It will forever be “that day.” It’s been eight years since her death, and finally it doesn’t hurt anything like it used to. That awful pain has released its grip on me. I acknowledge the date with sadness, of course…but the sting of it has largely gone. If I pause to remember that terrible phone call, and the sequence of it all and how I felt, it still hurts very much. Of course it does. I’m sure it always will. But it doesn’t clutch me and drag me to the underworld like it used to; I feel so much more in control of the memories and my emotions about it all.

If you are currently toiling through grief, it is a very hard path. And it will get easier. It doesn’t seem like it ever will, but it will.

When I was in the middle of that searing grief, I was convinced it would never end. It did. You will never be the same person after a journey like that (you’ll be stronger, for one thing), but the pain will let up.

So yesterday I spent my July 19th working in my flourishing garden. What an uplifting, life-affirming way to spend that day! It was very hot, in the upper 90s, but the clouds moved in which made it much more bearable. And my strong, healing body held up so nicely, even in that heat… even through six hours of hard physical work. Instead of feeling miserable in my body, I felt strong and healthy and agile. After more than two solid years of feeling like absolute shite, I had sadly forgotten what “normal” feels like. I’m getting re-acquainted with normal!! It was so enjoyable!

Anyway, here are some pictures:

[left to right] Jaune Flamme, Black Russian, and Black Cherry heirloom tomatoes:

The peach on my 3-year-old tree is getting bigger!

I grew some Black Kabouli bush garbanzo beans this year as an experiment. It was a success, and it told me what I needed to know. They’re very easy to grow, even in areas of lower soil fertility and water levels. I haven’t yet cooked them up, but overall I’d rate them as ‘8.5/10, would grow again.’

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Everybody needs… places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength…

– John Muir

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And a Few More…

By , July 12, 2012

Here are a few more garden pictures that I wanted to show you, since I was over there yesterday. It was a brilliant weather day — not too hot, not windy, and just humid enough to make the air delicious and soft. Mentally and physically however, it was a total bummer day, so being in the garden felt vitally important! It’s such a grounding and life-affirming space, that wild and abundant garden. There’s some really intense energy flying around right now to put it diplomatically. Can you feel it? Intense situations, frustrations, and pivotal decisions abound! Nature spaces are the antidote — I’d make time to visit one if I were you.

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So what you have here are the first tomatoes of the year — Black Cherry, and the orange one further down is Jaune Flamme, both heirlooms, and both really awesome. The Jaune Flammes are always my earliest and most reliable tomatoes; Black Cherry is a new one this year, but so far I’m definitely impressed.

I put up this bean trellis on Sunday; I really love it. It creates the feeling of a cozy outdoor room, and maybe if the beans get big enough they’ll provide some welcome shade from the afternoon sun.

And here this is our living room right now. In flux you might say!

As I write you this, I’m eating a beet that I pulled out of the garden yesterday. Steamed whole and eaten plain with just a bit of sea salt, how can something BE so delicious!?

Writing to you!…

Wishing you well on this beautiful, summery night!

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A few from the garden…

By , July 10, 2012

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In My Garden – Early June

By , June 8, 2012

A new dressing of black gold (compost)

This isn’t what early June normally looks like for us — as I’ve mentioned before, we’re at least 3 weeks ahead with everything this year because of the unusual warmth. I’ve already harvested all our delicious lettuce, and everything is growing beautifully! Well, except for the things that aren’t. We have a population explosion of roly polies this year. I thought slugs were my nemesis — well they’re nothing compared to the destructive capabilities of these flippin’ bugs… and they move a helluva lot faster than a slug ever could. They’re machines. You plant – they destroy. Every year there’s always “a thing” — no matter what. Your tomatoes don’t grow, or the zucchini plants are stunted, or it’s too cold for the peppers, or the spinach isn’t happy. Or whatever. It’s just part of gardening. You expect it, but it’s a surprise each year what the failures will be, but also what the successes will be. Nature is mysterious, and I think she likes to keep folks guessing. Anyway, hopefully this year’s only “thing” will be the roly polies. They have ravaged the zucchini and cucumber seedlings; one day there’s a zucchini sprout, next day there’s a stump. Frustrating!

Zucchini stump

I don’t like buying starts from the nursery because they’re expensive, and don’t usually perform very well, but mostly because they often bring disease into my garden which ticks me off. It’s like kids at a daycare — they’re all sneezing and snotty nosed. So I picked out the least-mildewy of the cucumber starts at the nursery (below) and planted them with fingers crossed that they’ll really take off and flourish!

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But all that aside, the rest of the garden is doing beautifully!! I love just looking at it and puttering around in it. What joy it brings me!

Broad beans

Peas & garbanzo beans

What’s your garden doing?

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A Walk Through the Garden – May 24th

By , May 24, 2012

Wow, it’s been another full-on week here. I like how Trish says it — “life has been a bit real lately“!

When life gets extra real, it feels extra nice to be in my garden. My garden grounds me back to Earth!

And here’s an interesting phenomenon that I’ve noticed — if I need to take a nap in the middle of the day (usually I don’t like to), I wake up feeling mentally yucky and depressed if I’ve slept inside. But if I take my nap outside, that doesn’t happen — I wake up feeling balanced and happy and content. Nature seems to be magical that way…

So how about a walk through the magical garden? It’s growing really well! My tomato plants are exactly three months old from when I started them from seed, and some of them are blooming! That’s exciting because the past few years have not been good tomato years due to unusually long, wet, chilly springs.

Here’s the garden in the glow of the evening sun. Gardens look best in either morning or evening sunshine, don’t they.

Big turnip. (All the others are still much smaller than this!)

Parsley (L) and Caraway (R)

Broad bean flowers

Homegrown lettuce is just so awesome.

 

My baby peach is growing too!

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What’s up in your yard?

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Make a Bug Bath!

By , May 16, 2012

If you’re an organic vegetable gardener, or just a lazy cheapskate-type gardener (or both like me), then beneficial insects are at the top of your list. They’re easy, they’re free, they do the work for you. For example, I’ve never found a better way of controlling aphids than relaxing in the shade with a cup of tea and letting the wasps eat them off one by one.

All you need to do is lure the beneficials in by making your garden as irresistible as possible. One good way is to make sure you have a variety of flowers blooming amongst your vegetables. I’ve noticed they especially like herb flowers and wildflowers.

Another good way is to provide a reliable source of fresh water — just like a bird bath, only for bugs.

To make a bug bath:

1. Find a dish and some rocks; the rocks will stick up above the water and provide islands for bugs to land on.

2. Locate the bug bath somewhere in your garden. Feel free to have multiple bug baths throughout your garden.

3. Keep the water fresh; I dump it and re-fill when I water the garden.

4. It may take a bit for the bugs to discover their new bath; have patience — they’ll find it!

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