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Strawberry ūüćď Surprise

2 Jun

2021 we had aspirations for planting a fair size strawberry patch. After hearing the passion wildlife has for ripe berries, we scaled down, planted what was already ordered near the breeze way. We netted three of 20 plants.

2022 we let the survivors stay in place near a retaining wall. Surprise! Surprise! We have had enough ripe berries to have parfaits for two….five days in a row.

Runners have stretched out to start several more plants.

Great flavor!

Book Review: The Winter Harvest Handbook

24 Feb
GREAT READ on the potential and possibilities of four season gardening with unheated greenhouses.

Imagine scrolling Instagram posts and being grabbed by a Martha Stewart post referring to Eliot Coleman’s long time enterprise: organic gardening in Maine year round using unheated greenhouses. This beautiful book has many photos to support the reveal of his family’s passion: life and times growing vegetables for restaurants and markets within a 25 mile radius. Ingenuity emerges in every chapter. Crop rotation, green houses, tunnels, developing custom tools, historical research of Paris in the late 1800s, importance of facing south in the northern hemisphere, custom seeding applications and much MORE. The illustrations are outstanding.

Several years ago my curiosity was peaked by Instagram posts of a longtime friend on the launch of vegetable and flower business supporting the Jonesborough, TN farmers market. Planning involved minimal acreage and a three season planting rotation of most areas. Closed for winter months. Tilling the long time pasture area was challenging. I only briefly saw a map designating plan for plant location and seasonal rotation. Starting from scratch, I wondered how one planned compatible combinations and timing of planting/harvest…so, this Winter Harvest Handbook answered many or most of my questions and more (given the different growing zone). EF

When inspiration hits dirt

22 Apr

Back ground: Winter 2021. When will pandemic end? Seed catalogs: Shumway and Jung. Delightful dreams of spring planting. Adventure! For the first time I ordered strawberry, raspberry and asparagus roots.

The good news (maybe) is that I reconsidered where to plant strawberries and asparagus to prevent them from becoming snacks for wildlife. These are my trials/experiments…what’s my vision?

Veg in One Bed by Huw Richards, Wales

The Family Garden Plan by Melissa Norris, Oregon

Both are excellent! Great photos.

Several years ago, I followed the Instagram account (grandoakfarmtn) of Grand Oak Farm’s launch of a three season three acre project to supply farmer’s market with fruit, vegetables and flowers. I could see what they were doing, but I did not comprehend how it was orchestrated. Some areas of the field were planted with three different crops. What? How did they go together? Veg in One Bed (with photos) discusses three season gardening plan. However, as helpful as the plan is, it did not include examples with my favorite produce.

I turned to The Family Garden Plan which focuses on “likes” and growing quantities to supply the home kitchen year round. Very well done. Bible verses introduce each chapter. Illustrations and planning charts are outstanding.

My long term memory (40 years ago) of the kitchen gardens of Colonial Williamsburg Virginia kicked in. Ah! Ha! Charming. Fruits. Vegetables. Herbs. Flowers. Right out the back door. Narrow paths. Three season. Less than 1/2 acre.

Hmmmmm. There’s a future post on this subject. ūüėČ

Red, White and Blue

5 Sep

 

2020 has been the best year in seven years for Red Hibiscus.

Hydrangea and Purple Wave petunias

God Bless America!

Walk this way

30 Apr

Planting purple wave petunias concludes five days freshening flower beds

with seven cubic yards of hardwood fine mulch.

Stay at home!  2020

Spring Gardening or…

9 Apr

what are they?

 

Spoiler alert:  Amazon sells them.  (That is how I discovered the name.)

I have been in garden centers often over the years and never saw one.  I acquired them from an estate a couple of years ago.    They are:

rotary tillers (with a broom type handle)

Applied testing: ¬†It does a nice job freshening up last year’s mulch and also works well mixing homemade compost with clay type soil.

 

Acorns: Spring planting

11 Mar

We removed dozens of trees @ Owl Creek in 2019…Some had been dead for a long time… ¬†Some were volunteers too close to driveways or barn…Some were contortions of trees…bent, split, broken. ¬†Several logging projects in the past 50 years harvested hard woods…walnut, maple and oak trees. ¬†Our understanding is that oak seedlings are difficult to locate.

 

To get 2020 spring plants off to a bigger start, I gathered acorns from the backyard.  Mostly green, squirrels had not run off with them.

“How to Grow Oak Trees from Acorns” Shelly Wigglesworth Oct 16, 2018, published in New England Today, Living

How to Grow Oak Trees from Acorns

I like the idea of refrigerating with peat and barley in a sealed container over winter.

Shelly recommended discarding acorns with pin holes. ¬†They are made by “inch” worms exiting the hull. ¬†I believe the worms enter under the cap. ¬†After checking closely and drying ¬†about two weeks, I discarded 20 acorns of the 60+ I had gathered from our backyard.

Here we “grow” again…today March 11, 2020…

Responding to the loss oak seedlings ruined by squirrels going for the meat of the acorn…I have turn the table! ¬†Using a small cage to keep wild life out and protect future tree…rather than keep animals IN. ¬†45 acorns in peat pots.

Hmmmm…what yield will we have?

 

 

Winter Gardening

7 Jan

Winter gardening means trimming dried perennials and raking leaves. ¬†That is…until my neighbor gave me an amaryllis bulb kit. ¬†Delightful! ¬†(The kit includes one bulb, glass jar and growing medium.)

Jan 6 (Ephiphany)

Can You See Me?

11 Nov

Thanksgiving last year, at Nina Bay Farm, the herd of Black Angus cattle sold at auction.  The rest of the herd of burros found a new home.  The surrounding fields are leased for cattle grazing.

These burros are what remain of the herd.  I call the two on the right Jack and Jill.  Jack is two weeks old.  Jill is five months old (born June 1 and is featured in the top photo).

…..around back

Before

Seven trees shading the porch:  Removed.

The make over for the landscape will be honeysuckle free and feature natural “rocky top” ledges and outcrop. ¬†Do you see it? ¬†An artifact: ¬†brick barbecue. ¬†We plan to have wild flowers popping up in spring. ¬†Like these:

Work in Progress!  Low maintenance perennials featuring iris (state flower of TN) and day lilies, plus peonies, hostas and hollies.

For more Nina Bay Farm photos select the tab at the top of the page.

 

Acorns

10 Sep

We removed dozens of trees @ Owl Creek this year…Some had been dead for a long time… ¬†Some were volunteers too close to driveways or barn…Some were contortions of trees…bent, split, broken. ¬†Several logging projects in the past 50 years harvested hard woods…walnut, maple and oak trees. ¬†Our understanding is that oak seedlings are difficult to locate.

Our recent experience: ¬†Squirrels/Ground Squirrels consider fresh sprouting acorns hors d’oeuvres. ¬†Half of what I transplanted to containers were uprooted to eat the meat of the acorn. ¬†(Redbud, tulip and cedar trees were undisturbed.) ¬†I rescued these seedlings by moving them to the screened porch.

 

To get 2020 spring plants off to a bigger start, I gathered acorns from the backyard.  Mostly green, squirrels had not run off with them.

“How to Grow Oak Trees from Acorns” Shelly Wigglesworth Oct 16, 2018, published in New England Today, Living

How to Grow Oak Trees from Acorns

I like the idea of refrigerating with peat and barley in a sealed container over winter.

Shelly recommended discarding acorns with pin holes. ¬†They are made by “inch” worms exiting the hull. ¬†I believe the worms enter under the cap. ¬†After checking closely and drying ¬†about two weeks, I discarded 20 acorns of the 60+ I had gathered from our backyard.

Here we “grow” again…