Archive for the ‘rosemary’ Tag

10-09-2015 Journal – Deconstruction Continues!   Leave a comment

I found myself somewhat motivated yesterday after beginning the Fall cleanup of the garden a few days ago. The least favorite task I have in the Fall is the one I  completed yesterday. Most of you are familiar with the term “compost pile” but never have had the pleasure of using one.  Today was my turn.

After removing the garden fabric as I mentioned in a previous post it was time to get serious. I spent some time yesterday uprooting all of the better-half’s marigolds. They’d grown so large that they completely filled  my trailer. I then pulled any additional weeds from the frames and took the combined load to the compost pile set aside for 2017.

DSCN0191-1

DSCN0195-1

I continued in the herb garden by removing the rosemary plants that I cleaned and immediately placed into the dehydrator.  I love the smell of fresh rosemary and my hands will probably carry that aroma for the rest of the day.  On top of that the downstairs of our house will smell of rosemary for a couple of days at the very least.  I then removed the remnants of the radishes, pea pods, cabbages, and carrots from the smaller frames and off they went to their compost pile.

DSCN0193-1B

Then the hard work began. I removed the tarp from the current compost pile and began filling the trailer.  I have to remind you that as a general rule compost had a bit of an odor.  Fortunately the longer it sits the less it smells. This pile was more than two years old and only a little bit stinky.

DSCN0192-1

I took four trailer loads of compost to the garden and spread the contents evenly over the frames.  I’ll let the garden rest for a day or so because they’re forecasting rain for tomorrow.  I definitely wouldn’t want to be knee deep in wet compost because I’ve been there before. Never again. Once things have dried out completely I can return and rototill the compost into the soil.

One more solid day of work and the garden will  be finished for this year and won’t be touched again until May of 2016. I may be forced to wait a while until the weather decided to cooperate which it hardly every does.

05-10-2015 Journal–Herbs, Herbs & More Herbs!   Leave a comment

The excellent weather will be ending tonight if the forecasters are accurate so I’ve been scrambling to get a few things done before the rains arrive.  The second wave of plantings were finished yesterday.  I spent some time removing a few dead plants from the herb garden and then replanted twelve others.  I put in extra parsley and basil plants and after drying in the Fall we should have enough to last the winter.

DSC_0002

‘Lots of Oregano’

I replanted all of my Sage plants because for some unknown reason they all died.  I hate losing plants that I’ve had for years but there isn’t much I can do about it.  I really thought the heavy snow cover for most of last winter would’ve helped keep them healthy and happy.  As usual it appears the apple-mint, spearmint, peppermint, catnip, and oregano will be huge.  In just the last few weeks those plants have grown four inches and are spreading everywhere.

DSC_0004

‘More Basil’

The new mower arrived last evening and I spent this morning going over all of the equipment and controls.  I finally fired it up and spent an hour learning to operate the machine. It’s much smaller than my last tractor but it cuts very well and is easy to steer around the many obstacles on the property.  Next week I’ll pass the older tractor over to my step daughter’s husband. They should with a little TLC be able to use it for a few more years and possibly even longer.

DSC_0005
‘We Always Need Rosemary’

Next week with the better-half out of town I’ll begin purchasing the next batch of plants and place them into the cold frames.  Cherry tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, cucumbers, and pea pods lead the list.  Just after Memorial Day I’ll get everything else planted as quickly as possible. Then it’ll be time to retire to the deck to relax and watch things grow for a month or two.

DSC_0006
‘There Are Chives Everywhere’

I’ll  stock up on some good brandy and a case of Chardonnay and that’ll be my contribution in helping Mother Nature in getting my garden to flourish. 

The sunshine and deck beckon.

10-05-2014 Journal Entry-Garden & Yard Work!   Leave a comment

With the weather slowly but surely changing from Fall to Winter the final work to harvest the last of the herbs and to compost the garden needed to be done. My better-half had the day off and we both knew we had a few hours of hard work ahead of us. It was the last of our major tasks for the Fall.

DSC_0010

It was hard labor for a while as we shoveled compost into our small trailer and delivered it to the garden.  Not only does the compost reenergize the soil but it also helps to refill the frames with much needed soil.

DSC_0016

We filled the trailer three times which allowed us to cover the entire garden with approximately three inches of compost.  We took special precautions with the rhubarb and asparagus because they require additional protection from the coming snow and cold weather.

DSC_0018

In a day or so I’ll add some lime to the compost as well as a general fertilizer.  Then I’ll rototill  the entire mixture thoroughly and let it sit until Spring.

I wanted to dry and store more herbs but a surprise hard frost last week killed off ninety percent of my basil plants. Fortunately I harvested some of the plants before the frost but it still irritates me to see any of them go to waste.  Mother Nature always seems to get her fair share of things whether we like it or now.

DSC_0013

It’s difficult here in Maine for cold-sensitive plants to survive the winter but I’ll never stop trying to find a way.  Instead of harvesting all of the Rosemary and Parsley I decided to compost the plants heavily and then later in the season cover them with a thick layer of leaves.  I’m hoping that for once I can have a Rosemary plant that survives the Winter and is able to get larger and stronger each year. Probably just wishful thinking but we shall see. 

DSC_0005B

‘Harvested, Cleaned’

Only about fifty percent of this parsley was harvested  in the hopes that it would retain enough energy to regrow in the Spring.  I cleaned and washed the parsley, removed the stems, and placed everything into the dehydrator.  In four hours it will be dry enough to crush and place into air tight jar for later use.

DSC_0008B

‘And Dried’

Our harvested black beans have also been dried and stored. There seems to be more than enough for a few good meals.  It was our first year growing them and we haven’t decided whether to plant them again next year.

Once all of the days labor was completed we sat down to relax, have a drink, and discuss possible improvements and repairs of the garden for next year. One of the most interesting possibilities is the construction of a much larger cold frame that will be eight feet long and two feet wide.  This would allow us to grow a variety of lettuces and radishes well into late October and even early November. Anything we can do to extend the growing season is well worth the effort.

We’re almost ready for that damn snow.  Bring it on…..

05-16-2013   2 comments

After today I came to truly understand why I’d never have made a very good farmer.  It’s one of the hardest working careers someone could possibly pursue. I was advised by my nursery owning friend that the final fear of frost had finally passed and now I’m free to begin planting my garden.  I’ve been waiting patiently for this day for weeks which should explain just how stupid I can be.

While my garden is not a full fledged farm, it still requires a great deal of work and attention to be successful. My preparations for this summers garden started last Fall when I composted the entire garden.  It’s continued until today with making the decisions on what will be grown, how much to plant, where to plant, and when to plant.  I purchased the majority of the plants early but it was too cold to plant them.  I’ve had them stored in a cold frame for almost two weeks until the fear of frost had passed.

I started my day today by planting kale, spinach, beets, kohlrabi, and a selection of new herbs.  For the second year I’ve been forced to replace a number of herb plants that didn’t survive the winter.  It’s frustrating as hell but it’s something I’ve learned to live with.  I added thyme, lime basil, dill, cilantro, rosemary, and curry to the already existing plants.  The herb garden is now complete for this year and I hope I can harvest enough this Fall to get us through next winter.

After having a quick lunch I began planting the remaining plants I’ve been nursing along for all these weeks.  I planted my zucchini, yellow squash, and pickling cucumbers.  A few years ago I picked up a tip from an old gardener on how to grow these types of plants.  He explained that when planting just place a partially crushed hard boiled egg a few inches beneath each plant to provide extra nourishment during the early growth weeks.  I tried it for the first time last year with excellent results.  I grew a number of plants with eggs and an equal number and type without.  There was a marked difference in the size of the plants with eggs as well as the amount of squash, cucumbers, and zucchini s they produced.

After completing the planting I watered everything by hand to help them get established.  I then hooked up the sprinkler system and tested it.  As always problems arise at the worst times.  One of the sprinkler sections refused to work requiring another hour of my time to repair it.  One last job was to de-slug the garden.  Our worst problem here are slugs that can be really destructive if not properly controlled.  I spread a sufficient amount of pellets around each plant to begin the battle for this year.  I’ll be forced to do this at least three more times this growing season to keep those damn slugs under control.

Water every day, try to chase away the deer, rabbits, and other creatures at night and maybe the garden will be a success.  Expect the worst and hope for the best.  I couldn’t even begin to understand how farmers with hundreds of acres ever get all of their work done but I’m glad they do.

Hopefully after today I can sit on my deck for a few months and watch everything grow.  Then it will be time to harvest all the goodies and prepare the garden for next year.