April 10, 2012
last week, richard and i went to southern indiana to visit his sister who lives near evansville. along the way we stopped and stayed at the old rooming house in new harmony, indiana. new harmony was a site used first by george rapp and then robert owens as a social ‘utopian’ experiment; an early attempt at an intentional community i guess you could say. it’s a beautiful town and many of the buildings and structures used by the rappites and owenites have been preserved.
during our trip, the temperatures were summer-like (mid 80’s!) and we actually went swimming in the lake at lincoln state park after a hike. the water was a little chilly, but to me it seemed like the first time you go in in early june; a little chilly at first, but after you get in it feels great.
now that we are back home, the weather is more seasonal, with a freeze warning just last night. no worries in the garden as everything we have growing there is cool weather hardy. in fact, our veggies seem to thrive when we have a dip in the temperature. we did cover the grape vine and peony however. one thing that is noticeably absent this spring is rainfall. we have actually watered our gardens several times so far, and i can’t say that i remember ever having to do that this early in the year. richard mentioned that we are 2 inches behind in rainfall, so i’m a bit concerned about what’s in store for the gardens this summer.
so far we have been enjoying fresh greens; i have been harvesting ruby red lettuce that i started early in our cold frame and to that i add emerging lettuce thinnings, early radish thinnings, volunteer kale and cilantro. every now and then i pull a small carrot that has overwintered and add that too. just in the last week our asparagus has popped up. it all adds up to some yummy meals!
March 20, 2012
happy first day of spring!
richard and i have been hard at work in the spring greens garden. even though the photo might not look like it, there is a lot going on: i have planted a variety of heirloom lettuces, arugala, and spinach. we also have planted radishes, beets, carrots, and oh, i mustn’t forget peas! we have planted sweet peas, which are grown for their flowers. sweet peas are one of my favorite flowers, and i grow them in honor of helen and scott nearing. the other pea is the sugar snap pea which is a favorite of richard’s. along with the pea plants we have built a trellis for them to climb on to. richard did a really nice job on the fence post/ tree limb supports, but i’m not so sure of my twine grid job. after the peas are done we hope to put summer squash and cucumbers that we will trellis too, so i hope my twine job will also hold the weight of the squash and cucumber. keep your fingers crossed for me.
in other garden news:
the garlic is very happy and loving the fertilizer that we applied a month ago.
the newly established compost is heap is coming a long very well. we are turning it to keep it aerated and letting the rain keep it moist. it’s starting to cook ; when we turn it we can feel some heat and also see steam ! this is a good indication that we are on the right track.
i have successfully started lettuce and spinach early in our homemade cold frame (see straw bales and windows at south of garden).
we have started the arduous task of eradicating invasive brush and richard has cleared out a ditch full of it, with the earliest work started in december. this is a very big, long term project and one we will work on as time allows. you have to start somewhere, right?
the turkey vultures have returned and i’m afraid that the eagles have gone. we have 3 species of woodpecker that we enjoy at the feeders. we bought a vinyl record album of bird calls from cornell university, and it’s very enjoyable to listen to.
please note: we are about 1 to 2 weeks earlier on planting this year. this is due to a very mild winter and an extremely warm spring. this past week we have experienced high temps in the upper 70’s lows in the 50’s and 60’s, and have record highs predicted for the next couple of days. we have a weather radio that we keep in the kitchen and listen to in the morning, it’s a great way to know how to plan your workday. we have lots of windows open airing out the stuffy wintriness. also, i fall into fits of sporadic spring cleaning jobs.
never a dull moment.
March 1, 2012
hello and happy march 1st!
richard grew these birdhouse gourds a couple of seasons ago and we made them into homes for our feathered friends last winter. i really appreciate how utilitarian growing and using this particular gourd can be. we didn’t get too fancy by painting them, although, i think a coat of some sort of weatherproofing might be a good idea. however, i don’t think i would be able to put them in the compost heap if they were treated with some sort of paint or varnish. the birds moved in last spring and seem to like them very much and that gives me a good feeling.
we are starting to work on a 3 bin composting system made from standard wooden skids which we have on hand. large amounts of compost are essential for a healthy, fertile, soil and plants. along with the compost bins we have also set up a simple cold frame made from bales of straw and old single pane windows that were laying idle in the attic. i have planted various lettuces and some spinach as well. of course, i’ve got the elusive (for me anyway) corn salad in there as part of my desire to learn how to best make that delicious herb grow.
February 27, 2012
i thought i would post one more of my snow pics. what a difference a few days makes! the snow is gone and i’ve been busy happily spreading beautiful horse manure on the garden. this is a busy and exciting time for gardeners. i enjoy preparing the garden in the spring. last fall i read the gardening memoir grow the good life by michelle owens. i truly enjoyed it and was definitely inspired by her gardening experiences. i’m always so interested in learning from those who have boldly gone feet first into gardening and are not afraid to admit all of the crazy mistakes they’ve made so that the rest of us may learn. thank you michelle!
A late winter poem courtesy of www.poertyfoundation.org
BY JANE COOPER
February 16, 2012
there are a couple of barns bordering the back of our property, and as i was wondering around this past weekend with my camera i noticed, for the first time, this door. the barns are now just used as storage for large equipment, but i wonder what this door was used for back in more productive times? who used it?
richard and i have been busy starting pepper seeds and tomato seeds. unless we start receiving large amounts of rain, i think we should be able to get the spring garden put in very early this year. last year the spring garden was very successful planted in march. tomorrow the weather is predicted to be sunny and high of 51! if it’s not too muddy, i’d like to sow some lettuce seed. i’ve tried for years without much success to grow corn salad (also known as mache). it’s very tasty but only thrives in very cool conditions (so i have read). i did plant some last fall to overwinter in the garden, and thought since we have had such a mild winter i might have had some pop up, but so far, no. i haven’t given up and have some more seeds ready to sow this spring.
if you have a powerful blender or smoothie machine a great way to get your greens is to make a green smoothie; a staple for raw vegans. it’s like springtime in a glass:
handful of spinach, kale, chard, arugala or any tender green that you favor or have on hand
you could also add grapes, blueberries, pineapple or any other fruit you might like or have on hand
water or fruit juice. just enough to get it moving around. a few ice cubes if you want.
whirl away and enjoy! an excellent end of winter tonic :).
February 8, 2012
here we are into february and still we’ve had no real snowfall to speak of. it’s not that i’m complaining, actually, i’m grateful in many ways for the mild winter; anyone who heats with propane could appreciate that. luckily, we have a wood stove that helps to supplement the high cost of heating with propane.
i took this photo last week while hiking in the margery carlson nature preserve; it’s my across the road neighbor. i like how the little bit of green moss peaks out in the sea of brown leaves.
richard has started seeds for this years garden. it’s always exciting to be able to get to work on the garden. we saved a lot of seeds from last years garden so this is a bit of an experiment for me. i’ve never done much seed saving before, but i think it’s definitely the right direction to go. richard is a member of seed savers exchange . it’s a great organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. we have started a few variety of pepper seeds and also some ‘mystery’ seeds richard found in the basement; it will be interesting to see what (if anything) sprouts up from those. i love a good mystery :).
i have tried a new yoga dvd featuring teacher jason crandell. i shouldn’t be surprised that he credits rodney yee as one of his influential teachers. i recently heard an interesting interview with william broad on npr’s fresh air about the science of yoga. broad mentions that there is a new movement in yoga that makes yoga more assessable and safe for all of us. he cites the iyengar method of yoga as yoga that uses props and modifications to make yoga safer. i can appreciate this as someone who , at almost age 50, wants to get the most benefit but with less risk of injury.
i’ll leave you with a link to a recent video i found on you tube:
January 25, 2010
the seed catalogs have started to arrive!
iwas told in the library today that we have had nine consecutive without sunshine.
i knew it had been a long time.
while editing through my latest photos, i came across these shots i took of my garden through a very foggy window.
i’m starting to understand how the garden must feel this time of year.
this coming spring, i’m hoping to get an early start. i enjoy growing (and eating) early greens and i also want to be a successful carrot grower. i love the smell of freshly tilled earth; you can’t get more organic than that. i’ll spend my long winter nights pouring over gardening books, seed catalogs and dreaming of the day that i have my hands back in the soil……until then…..