Archive for the ‘plants’ Tag

04-12-2016 Journal – The Garden & So It Begins!   Leave a comment

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I’m being as lazy as I possibly can this morning and looking ahead to the beginning of a labor intensive Spring which is scheduled to begin on Thursday. Regardless of the cooler temperatures and crappy weather Lowe’s will be making a delivery which means much more work and a few aching muscles for me.  It’s confusing for me to be so eager to get started with a project that will hurt so much but I’m forced to deal with the realities of the situation.

The garden is only moments away from becoming my main focus for at least the next three months. During that time I’ll be adding additional loam to all of the frames, fertilizing, and rototilling everything in sight to help loosen the soil.  Then it’s just a matter of setting the fabric in place in all of the large frames to eliminate the need to weed this summer. Completing a general cleanup will then allow me to sit back and relaxing  until the warmer temperatures decide to arrive.

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Then comes the numerous trips to a selection of nurseries to purchase plants, plants, and more plants. Building and installing a few new trellises for the beans and snap peas as well as a box of .22 caliber ammunition for the assassination of the damn skunk. There are indications he’s already been visiting the property this year and I really have to get serious about ridding myself of him. With my luck he’ll have three or four relatives who’ll show up after his demise to make me even more crazy. It’s a wait and see situation for me, for him, and for them.

Welcoming the end of a rather lackluster winter season is something I’ve been looking forward to for months.  In another month or two I’m sure to be complaining about the garden, the heat, the humidity,  and wishing for Fall to arrive as soon on as possible. It’s a vicious cycle that we all seem to get  caught up in every year.

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Here’s my all time favorite garden quote. If it isn’t a little off-color then how can it be one of my favorites?

"A dirty hoe is a happy hoe."

05-16-2015 Journal– Squirrel Peace Treaty!   Leave a comment

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I’m happy to announce that a peace treaty has been reached in my eight year struggle with the squirrels.  Every place I’ve lived and gardened over the years I’ve been forced to deal with those little delinquents who insist on driving me insane.  I’ve tried just about everything but I’ve never gotten the upper hand. 

Seven years ago we were inundated with a population surge of red squirrels. They’re much more aggressive than the grays and caused a great deal of damage to my deck and feeders.  I spent some money for ammunition and was able to thin the herd a little.  After tons of research and the expenditure of more money than I care to think about, I found feeders the little bastards couldn’t get into.  They continued to visit my deck and tried over and over again to piss me off without much success.

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One side of our property faces a wooded area where gray squirrels dominate and on the other side of the property the trees are filled with reds.  I was beginning to feel overrun like the last guy at the Alamo.  I hated shooting them so I continued  looking for a way to make peace.

Earlier this year I decided to try misdirection on them by installing a squirrel feeder behind the house.  It’s easily in reach by both factions but it also keeps all of them away from my house and deck.  Now they can battle amongst themselves for the food I supply and I get to sit back and watch the fun.

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Finally I have a little piece of mind.  I had to buy the feeder and the corn to put in it but I can live with that. As you can see from these photos these little guys have no fear of humans, especially this human.  I walked around taking these photo’s and he never blinked an eye.

His new routine begins every morning around 7:30 am.  He shows up for his breakfast and then climbs back into the trees.  I’ve made peace with the reds but the grays have yet to attempt a visit to the new feeder.  The war will continue between them but for a change I won’t be stuck in the middle.  It’s worth every penny.

05-09-2014 Journal Entry–Plant Shopping Day   Leave a comment

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“Spring Has Definitely Arrived”

Yesterday was one of those days I look forward to every year.  My better-half and I both love this time of the year regardless of the work involved.  It was a day spent traveling around southern Maine visiting nurseries and buying the plants needed to complete this year’s garden. We like making a day of it and we visit as many nurseries as necessary to find the plants we’ve decided to grow.

For many years now we’ve shopped at a small nursery or what once was a small nursery along the border of Maine and New Hampshire.  In the intervening years that nurseries reputation has spread and it’s no longer considered  little.  Healthy plants should be the goal of any nurseryman or woman and these people are the best. We tend to find their plants healthier and produce better than those purchased elsewhere.  We spent at least an hour roaming through their greenhouses and making our selections. We picked up a few jalapeño and cayenne pepper plants and a selection of herbs to replace many of the ones that didn’t survive the winter.

We found some beautiful cherry tomato plants that should keep us in salad tomatoes until Fall.  Those kind of tomatoes are also added to our vegetable mixes and canned. There’s nothing like having a selection of tasty garden veggies in the middle of a cold and snow covered February.

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“The Rhubarb is Up”

We purchased a number of pickling cucumber plants that should deliver many dozens of cukes for making our Bread & Butter and Dill pickles as well as sweet and hot relishes.  If this year’s production is as good as last year we’ll be very busy come September.

One of the items my better-half desired was a licorice herb.  It’s leaves have a heavy licorice scent when heated.  I personally like fennel or star anise for that flavor but I’m keeping an open mind for now.  It would be a nice surprise if this new plant were easier to grow than the others and tasted better.  We found the plant at our fourth nursery we visited and were very pleased.  That plant can be difficult to find but certain nurseries are known for carrying the more unusual plants and we know them all.

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“The Sprinkler’s are Installed”

It made for a really pleasant day and we returned home tired but happy to have found everything we were looking for.  We should also have an excellent selection of herbs to harvest and dry this year to fill our requirements for the winter. Another week should get us past the danger of frost for this year and all of the new plants will be planted and left on their own to flourish for a month or two.

Our last purchase next week will be a large number of really fragrant marigold plants. We’ve learned over the years to plant them in and around the gardens to keep the critters away. Apparently small animals and even deer have a real aversion to those flower and their strong odor.  If that doesn’t work then I may be forced to go the high-tech route.  I have a neighbor who installed a system last year that has a motion activated sprinkler. If visited in the middle of the night by deer or other animals the sensors detect the animal and shoot a blast of water at the trespassers to scare them off.  It sounds too good to be true but I’ll keep an open mind.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

This morning is rainy and gray but the plants need the water and I need some time to loaf.  We’ll be back at it soon enough.  A few hours on the X-Box today should clear my head nicely.

05-10-2013   Leave a comment

Our fear of snow and frost has finally past and I can get on with our Spring and Summer plans.  I’ve been sun burned once already and now I’m taking extra steps to be a little more careful. With the remodel in the house completed I can now center all of my attention to the yard and garden.

I visited a friend yesterday who lives nearby and owns a small nursery.  He is a supplier of plants to many of the local and larger nurseries in southern Maine.  He’s been very helpful over the years in educating me on growing plants in this State.  I decided to shop around a little because every year he offers plants for sale that many others in the area do not.

I started looking through his new greenhouses and I couldn’t stop myself from loading up on plants.  I have a fairly large cold frame at home and I purchased enough plants to completely fill it and then some.  I filled my car with hot peppers, pickling cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and mustard plants.  It was an excellent start for the season.  I also purchased seedlings of three types of lettuce, spinach, and a couple cherry tomato plants.  I’ll be planting the cold resistant plants today but waiting another week before  starting anything else.  The weather here can be weird at times with unannounced frost occurring well into May.  I’ve been burned before so I won’t let it happen again.

Every garden has issues and mine is no different.  I’ve been trying for years to grow big, fat, and red tomatoes with absolutely no luck.  We instead plant the cherry tomatoes which always thrive in the same damn soil.  I had the soil tested and added whatever was needed to get it balanced properly and still no success.  I love making my homemade pasta sauces and salsas but it’s always much better when made with freshly grown tomatoes.

I finished construction of a new type of trellis for my beans.  I’m planting both red and yellow climbing beans which should completely fill this trellis in no time.  We always do well with them and eat those beans all winter long.  There is nothing better  to eat on a cold February night.

I’ll be looking for some kale seedlings in the next few day as well.  Our harvest of kale last summer made our winter soups pretty damn tasty.  I just wash it, blanch it and the freeze it.  I like it almost as well as frozen spinach and I’m hoping I’ll have the same success as in the past.

My better-half is obsessed with sun flowers and required me to set aside an area in the garden for them.  She usually plants a large variety of sizes and colors including the mammoth plants that can get 10 to 12 feet tall.  At the end of the season we allow the heads to dry and they feed hundreds of birds for a few weeks.

Well, the plants have been transferred into the cold frame to await a warmer week. I installed my simple but effective sprinkler system which should keep all of the plants well watered and healthy.  Now all I have to worry about are Mother Natures little helpers.  Deer, rabbits, squirrels, horn worms, and all of natures other little inconveniences that make gardening such a challenge.

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