Archive for the ‘cold frames’ Tag

05-12-2016 Journal – Garden Aches & Pains!   4 comments

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I hate missing a scheduled posting but it happened this week for the first time in almost a year. The weather turned bright, sunny, and beautiful and I got swept away with garden preparations and grass cutting. By the time I was finished it was much too late in the day to sit down and post something.  I’ve been waiting five long months for these first spring days and I enjoyed the hell out of them.

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Along with all that enjoyment came the inevitable aches and pains.  The morning-after reminded me just how many muscles I have in places I’d forgotten about . . . and they weren’t happy. Oh so sore.

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My better-half and I spent some time and money this week visiting a number of local nurseries and were able to purchase almost everything we needed for the initial plantings.  We  bought, cucumbers, zucchini’s, various hot pepper plants, pea pods, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and even some early kale plants. Add to that a few dozen marigolds for a little color and we’re ready to start planting next week. We also picked up quite an assortment of herbs to replace plants lost over the winter and a number of new ones as well.

I even got a little carried away and started transplanting a few things from the flower garden to a more prominent position near the driveway.  It was a backbreaker trying to get this bush moved but it appears to have survived the trauma and is doing well.

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‘Before’

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‘After’

We’ve filled our cold frames with plants and they’ll remain there until I’m sure the weather will remain warmer and no frost in the forecasts. Regardless everything should be planted on or about Memorial Day.  Then it’ll be time to relax and let Mother Nature do what she does best.

These few photos are the first of many I’ll be posting this summer. We should have a really productive garden which will hopefully fill our pantry shelves for next winter.

I NEED TO ORDER MORE BEN-GAY!

05-02-2015 Journal – Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere!   Leave a comment

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I’m standing here shaving this morning and finally noticed just how tanned I’ve become.  The weather has warmed a bit but it’s still cold at night and during the day in the shade. It’s becoming rather annoying but at least I’m getting a good base for my Summer tan.

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Even though I continue to whine about the weather it doesn’t seem to be bothering the plant life all that much.  As you can see by the pictures the plants here in Maine refuse to wait for Summer to arrive.  Flowers are shooting up and blooming everywhere regardless of the cold weather.

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Even the garden wants to get going and right now.  My asparagus patch that I planted early last year has started sprouting which makes me very happy. I can’t eat any of it for another year but it looks as if we’ll have a nice large patch we can harvest from next summer.  There’s nothing better than fresh from the garden asparagus coated with a little butter.

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The rhubarb is coming in nicely and I look forward to harvesting it for the first time this year.  I see strawberry/rhubarb pie and a dozen jars of rhubarb jam in my future. This Fall should be a good all around harvest.

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The cold frames are filled with lettuces and a collection of herbs waiting to be planted.  The lettuce will go in next week and the replacement herbs the week after.  I’m planting a larger patch of parsley than normal because we’ve used up just about everything from last summer.  A lot of basil for making pesto and a number of Rosemary plants too.  We can’t seem to enjoy our meals fully without using fresh herbs whenever possible.

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More yard repairs are needed and a few spots need replanting.  I made the decision to purchase a new lawn tractor this week and I’ll pass my older one over to my step daughter and her husband.  One large headache finally dealt with and now I can go forward to enjoy my Summer.

2015 has already made a great start and it should be a warm and pleasant Summer.   I also see a beach day very very soon.

05-15-2014 Journal Entry–Back to Work!   Leave a comment

After thoroughly enjoying my day-off and cruising around the area with my better-half it was once again back to work.  It seems that we’re finally free of the frost for this year so we I began planting the next group of plants which included black beans, green beans, wax beans and snap peas.  Any or all of these are delicious to eat fresh from the garden but they also can be canned without losing their flavor.  Normally we use them as part of the vegetable mixes we make for use through the Winter in stir-fry’s.

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The vegetable mixes are usually the last thing we do before closing down the garden.  The mix can contain any number of veggies that are left over at summers end. We try to make a number of different assortments as you can see by the photo’s.

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The better-half has been trying unsuccessfully for years to grow gourds.  She gives them a great start in the house under glass as you can see. Then they are moved to the cold frames before final planting. We decided this year to move some of the gourds out of the garden to a spot closer to the house where they can get sun and be better protected from the weather.  We’ll cross our fingers and hope for the best one more time.  In my opinion it’ll take a minor miracle to get them to grow large enough to produce anything useful. She’s forever the optimistic and is certain it’ll work this year. Half full is her manta in all things.

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I wanted to plant the jalapeños and cayenne peppers but stopped myself.  As a rule peppers do best when they have warm nights so I decided to wait another week or two. I’ll be able then to put the cucumbers, zucchini, and squash in and finally be done with the garden planting. So for now they remain in the cold frame.

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My winemaking efforts continue and that red wine I mentioned in an earlier post has completed it’s hard fermentation and moved into glass jugs and sealed with air locks.  It’s now just a wait of a few months for the jugs to clear.  Eventually gravity will cause all of the yeast to drop to the bottom of the jugs and I can siphon off the clear and finished wine.  I have to say I love the smell of yeast and wine when it’s fermenting.  I wish some company could bottle that smell because I’d make sure my man-cave was always filled with that fragrance.

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While I was cleaning and organizing my man-cave I was pleasantly surprised to find this bottle of wine.

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This is a bottle of blackberry wine that I made back in 1986.  I’ve recorked it a few times over the years and each time I’ve taken a small taste.  It’s pretty potent after all those years but I think I’ll put it back in storage for a few more years before I try it again.

04-23-2014 Journal Entry – More Garden Prep!   Leave a comment

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I’m making today an official day of rest.  For you religious folk out there today is my Sunday.  No gardening, no home repairs, and no shopping.  It’s a do my workout, post my blog and relax kind of day.

I’ve been working steadily for the last week and one by one the projects and problems have been solved and accomplished. The damage caused by my better-half’s derrière to the garden’s raised bed has been repaired.  It wasn’t a tough job just a little time consuming.  It’s amazing to me just how in a few years time good old Mother Nature is can totally destroy a piece of untreated lumber. 

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This was a raised bed I built a few years ago and in two years time I was forced to replace three sides of that rectangle. It was initially built with  untreated lumber I had laying around.  Three sides to the bed were totally rotted but the fourth side I didn’t replace at that time.  I used pressure treated lumber for the replacements, made the repair and moved on.  It was that remaining untreated board that I just finished replacing.  I tried to take it out in one piece but it crumbled in my hands as I lifted it out. Hopefully this repair will last a while longer and I won’t be replacing anything for quite some time.

I no sooner finished that piece of work when I started preparing for the next project on my Spring To-do List.  As I mentioned in my last post the set of steps on the rear of my house had been badly damaged by the falling ice and snow from the roof.  A quick trip back to Lowe’s to purchase another load of pressure treated lumber and I was ready to go.  In years past when this has happened I just replaced the broken railing with exactly what had been destroyed.  Not this time.

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I spent some time designing a much heavier and stronger railing for those steps that I hope will stand up to next years ice fall.  I’ve tried everything to eliminate the ice problem including attempts to rake the roof with a snow rack with a twenty foot handle.  The back of the house is just too tall for that.  So the railing I just finished should be able to take the hit from the ice without exploding into a zillion pieces.  I won’t know until next Winter just how good or bad my design really is.  I can’t explain to you just how much ice we have on that roof and how much it really weighs.  I can tell you that when the ice finally let’s loose the entire house shakes on it’s foundation.  The first time I experienced it I almost had a heart attack, I thought we were having an earthquake.I put the finishing touches to it yesterday and I’m pleased with the results. That was the last major repair needed and now I can focus on the garden.

One of my smaller garden projects was to build another large cold frame. I built a small one and have been using it for a few years and it’s saved me a lot of money in plant replacements. With this screwed up Maine weather another large cold frame makes a lot of sense,  I’m also building one for the better-half’s daughter who has created her own garden over the last two years that is slowly turning into something special.

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During our house remodel a few years ago I rescued a few windows and put them into storage.  They make the perfect top for cold frames.  I finished mine this week and have hers almost completed.  Once they’re both installed I can finish the cultivating of the garden and get the fabric placed into the frames.  I do the fabric installation early in the Spring which helps to warm the soil in the frames and eliminated the weed problem. Once that’s complete I’ll remove the plants from the cold frames and replant them one final time.  Then it’s sit back and watch them grow until late summer when the canning can begin.

It seems the springtime work is never done and unfortunately it never is.  It’s been requested that I frequently update the progress of this garden through the summer months and into harvest time.  I’ll be doing just that and will try to keep it interesting with as many photos as possible.