in the garden

This summer has not been my summer to be in the garden…at least not as much as I’d like…

But today, time and circumstance allowed and I was able to get out there!

Phew.

1.garden gate

I pulled weeds, cut back tomato plants, and harvested a few goodies…

in the garden

garlic

from the garden

swiss chard

corn

buttercup squash

pepper

peas

cucumber and kale

aug

I was amazed by what was growing – despite the neglect and lack of water.

Thank you plants.

SO much green!

What have you been growing…?

Enjoy.

xo

planting garlic

Have you ever done it?

I hadn’t until last week.

I was given three beautiful home grown (thank you Mim) heads of garlic and decided this was the year I would experiment with growing garlic…we enjoyed one head and used these two for planting…

1. garlic heads

So I asked a few gardener friends of mine if they had ever grown garlic and most had…all agreed it had to be the simplest bulb to grow.

Finn and I broke apart each bulb and then headed out to the garden…

2.top view peeling

3.Finn peeling garlic

4. heads pulled apart

5. close-up cloves

It was a beautiful day. The mosquitos were quiet, the sun was warm and the ocean could be heard…

7.holding clove

It’s so simple – if, of course you already have a garden or area to plant in…

Make little holes. We went about 2 inches apart. 2 – 3 inches deep.

6. make holes

Pop a clove in.

8. little hand over row of holes

Cover.

9. cover with dirt

Cover well.

10. cover well

Tamp gently.

11. tamp down

Water (not shown). Finn moved right along to picking carrots…but you can see the completed row of garlic behind him…

pulling carrots

Mulch garlic bed well for winter (still have to do). Wait for spring…

So, have you ever planted garlic?

how does your garden grow?

Mine has been up and down…the weather has been anything but stable…covering, uncovering, planting, re-planting, attempting to harden-off young plants, though not too soon as we’ve had such cold, wet weather – though tomorrow the forecast is calling for 80+ degrees! What?

Todays weather was extraordinary! So while Finn napped I quickly planted nasturtiums and zinnias outside and started to transplant leeks, but the nap did not last long enough…there is always tomorrow and tomorrow will be sunny again…thankfully!

Here’s a glimpse at what is growing…

baby lettuce

baby lettuce

more baby lettuce aka mesclun mix

more baby lettuce
   aka mesclun mix

         baby spinach

baby spinach

close-up baby spinach

close-up baby spinach

       young kale

young kale

 swiss chard beginnings

swiss chard beginnings

tomato plants

tomato plants

cucumbers in waiting

cucumbers in waiting

scary scarecrowEvery garden needs a scarecrow, right? Hat and flannel, from the dump, of course…

snail on brick

Unfortunately, too many of these have made their way into the garden…too many – where do they all come from?

first harvest

first harvest

The first harvest of spinach was such a treat! It was a small harvest, but oh so appreciated…there’s nothing like picking veggies, out of your own garden, and then using them, immediately!

So much work, though so worth it…don’t have enough space for a backyard garden? Try container gardening…especially for the more expensive vegetables and herbs like tomatoes and basil. One plant can yield so much, why not give it a try?

Though, I must admit, I’ve had no luck with my red onions. I started them, in the ground, from seed and they never germinated… I’ve never grown onions before and this year, it seems I won’t be either…any suggestions?

Just because something doesn’t go according to plan the first time, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try again. Gardening is so much about trial and error and learning from others, why not start now? You can grow incredible vegetables and save money – all the while knowing what is in your food as well as where it came from…you can’t put a price on that.

enjoy and happy gardening!

spring on the coast of Maine

Spring is a busy time of the year around here…lots needs to be done in preparation for the upcoming (and exciting) summer season!

The lawn mower needs to be tuned-up, the garden needs attention, flower beds are cleaned and baby seedlings need to be transplanted – wood still needs to be hauled and the fire still burns…Here’s a peek into what we’ve been up to as well as a look around what surrounds us …

1.finn with pitchfork

2.Finn spreading seaweed

Finn helping to gently turning the soil, then spreading locally collected seaweed…

Spring cleaning time…washed pots for transplanting, drying in the sun…recycled from the transfer station, of course.

3.transplanting potsFinn is never one to sit and watch, so he filled the pots with potting soil…

4.finn filling pots

Mission accomplished…

5.pots filled

A few parsley plants being transplanted…

7.tansplants going in

6.parsley plant in hand

Next, morning glories…

8.morning glory seedlings

Tulips just beginning to open outside our front door…

9.tulip opening

10.tulips and greenery out front

Lichen ever growing on rocks in the back.

lichen

Lilac blooms in the fog.

lilac blooms

Spinach growing in the backyard garden.

spinach in the garden

And the centuries old Linden tree, standing tall in the original ‘front yard’… apple trees ’round the back. Early one foggy evening…

fog

Peonies pushing up…I love peonies.

peonies

Spring in Maine.

Foggy, misty, cool, warm, sunny, breezy, calm … fire still burns through the night.

Ahhhh, spring…

Enjoy the weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!

xoxo

gardening woes

Our first frost. It happened. It took my lovely morning glories, nasturtiums, marigolds, cosmos, zinnias and basil. I knew it would, but the hopeful part inside me thought, perhaps it won’t be a real frost after all, maybe they’re wrong…well, they weren’t. All of my beautiful flowers – gone. Basil plants – blackened. No way around it – it’s getting colder – my gardening days are coming to a end. I took this photo the day before we were expecting frost – the flowers are all now all pulled…

Even though some things are coming to an end, it’s time to get excited about next years garden – I’m already thinking about it; what to plant and where, when to begin seedlings indoors, and what needs to be done to the garden itself – fence repairs, soil amendments, pest prevention, etc. It’s all so exciting to me. Fresh veggies, pure, clean, real – all in my backyard. Yum. Here was the last of my green beans, tomatoes and coriander, picked the night before the big frost…


Now, I’m getting ahead of myself here. I am still enjoying fresh veggies growing out back and here they are, swiss chard,

lettuce (the pumpkins and green beans are no more),

carrots, small but growing – hopefully they make it,

baby spinach

and parsley.

All are doing just fine… for the moment that is. So until mother nature decides to bring in the winter temperatures, I will continue to enjoy the luxury of picking and eating my own homegrown, organic veggies.

Have you ever thought about growing your own? Try it – you just may be surprised by your own green thumb…and don’t let a lack of space/yard stand in your way, container planting is perfect for a lot of plants. And what is true of so many things is also true of learning to garden; you need to educate yourself, ask questions, experiment, and most importantly, try. And keep trying – every year is different, you just never know what may come of it…
In all my eighteen years of gardening, I’ve never had basil like I did this year – it was phenomenal. If I had given up years ago, I never would have known that I can grow basil, nor would I have experienced the pleasure of so much basil. In the past I’ve been unlucky with lettuce too – this year it was incredible. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

This first frost has also made me realize, or rather, come to terms with, the fact that we will now be using our wood stove again. Not daily (we still may have a few warm days left) yet, but every night for sure and soon there will be a constant fire burning in the center of our home; day and night, night and day – the eternal flame…so while my garden isn’t requiring much of my time, the wood pile does…

The photo (above) was taken the night before the frost – usually I don’t bring wood in through the front door like this, but it was warm enough to, it’s a shorter distance than the usual route and the mosquitos are gone for the season. Aren’t those vining flowers lovely? Sadly, they are now part of the compost.

Enjoy the leaves while they last…

And keep warm…enjoy.

garden goings – on

late July is beautiful in Maine – everything is growing and growing. Lots of veggies are ready to be picked, blueberry season is here and so many more flowers are ready to burst – summertime…love it!

Today I picked my first crop of green beans and baby carrots…(and wasn’t eaten alive by mosquitos -a pleasant change to say the least) yeah for summer in Maine!

I’ve been enjoying lettuces, swiss chard, kale and beets on a daily basis for awhile now…

so to add carrots and green beans is exciting and a welcome addition – eating those crisp green beans straight from the bush is so summer to me! I’ve also been enjoying lots of basil and patiently waiting for the tomatoes to grow and ripen…

The satisfaction of being able to cultivate, plant, tend, pick, prepare and then enjoy my own home grown food is incredibly illuminating – the joy (and relief) of knowing where my food is from and what was put ‘into it’ – priceless…everyone should be so lucky.

Eat local food, eat well, be happy…enjoy.

driftwood

Driftwood is a part of my daily life…approaching our home you can’t help but notice our rather large collection outside and once inside you’ll find driftwood mirrors, sculptures and furniture throughout the house…you see, I co-own a small driftwood based business with my partner, Michael. He collects, designs and then builds art and furniture from this found wood and I take care of all the ‘business’ stuff. That’s not to say I don’t help out with the design end of things, I certainly do; we collaborate, he builds. This weekend he just completed an incredible folk art style running horse for a client in DC. It’s pretty cool that he takes pieces like this (below)…

And turns them into this…

This piece needs to be packed and shipped out early next week so thankfully the weather was perfect yesterday for a photo session – not too windy and not to cloudy. We set-up the barn for the shoot and I photographed throughout the day utilizing the natural light coming through the open barn doors…

while I was shooting I also needed to ensure our son (who is 2 and a half) was happily busy…Michael had the brilliant idea to turn the photo paper tube into a ‘tunnel’ for Finn’s toy car collection – Finn kept busy ‘working’ behind the scenes…

while I captured some incredible shots of this beautiful piece…

Finn also couldn’t help but take a peak around the corner…he loves to ‘help’ – he is a part of everything we do from gardening to cooking to furniture making to finding treasures at our local transfer station.

We are the ultimate recycling family…what do you love to recycle?

enjoy.

the simple life

Quote

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” John Burroughs

The irony of the simple life is that it’s not always so simple…is anything? 

What’s your idea of ‘the simple life’?