Tag Archives: garden

June Challenge Update

Now that summer’s (finally) in full swing, it’s time for a gardening challenge update.

independancedays20091    seed2seed_challenge_200x


  • most of my planting was done back in spring, but I have added succession carrots, bush beans (purple, green and wax), lettuce,  more zinnias and morning glories 


  • lettuce, scallions, dill, parsley, chives, sage, thyme, snap peas 


Reduce Waste:

  • continue to carry water bottle, reusable bags, reusable containers, cloth napkins, etc.
  • compost

Preparation and Storage:

Build Community Food Systems:

  • the biggest development was the birth of the little horse, who will help build our local food system by attracting children and adults alike to our farm market
  • visit local farmers’ markets
  • of course, visit my family’s farm market for anything I can (strawberries!!!)
  • Ed continues to help at his brother’s aquaculture business

Eat the Food:

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Spring Challenge Update

I haven’t been updating a lot on my challenging adventures here on the blog, but I do regularly update on my Garden page.  I’m participating in the Independence Days Challenge and the Growing Challenge: Seed to Seed this year.

seed2seed_challenge_200x       independancedays20091

Here’s what I’ve done this spring (March-May):


  • 6 apple trees- macoun, empire, jonathan, northern spy, snow apple, orange pippin
  • berry patch- heritage red raspberries, anne (white) raspberries, jewel black raspberries, royalty purple raspberries, chester blackberries, saskatoons, boysenberry, huckleberry
  • veggie garden- (see garden pagefor specific varieties, they’re too long to list here) lettuce, carrots, scallions, leeks, peas, spinach, cabbage, dill, chives, parsley, basil, lavender, borage, thyme, sage, pansies, zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, potatoes, tomatoes (canning, slicing, grape), peppers, cucumbers


  • lettuce, scallions, dill, parsley, chives, spinach


  • nothing so far

Reduce Waste:

  • continue to carry water bottle, reusable bags, reusable containers, cloth napkins, etc.
  • compost

Preparation and Storage:

  • continue to stock pantry with dry goods
  • made plans with sister-in-law to share equipment and work together to can tomatoes

Build Community Food Systems:

  • local food movement unit in my Botany class
  • visit local farmers’ markets
  • of course, visit my family’s farm market for anything I can (strawberries!!!)
  • Ed continues to help at his brother’s aquaculture business

Eat the Food:

  • continue to cook from the freezer, using our pork, beef, fish and shellfish
  • cooking form the pantry’s supply of jams
  • used up frozen fruits and almost all of frozen veggies
  • continue to cook from scratch with the best possible ingredients I can get


I also joined Jena on the Git ‘Er Done challenge, but I haven’t done all that much around the house.  We finished our pantry and then moved outside.  I’ve been working on my flower gardens and getting them back in shape for the season, and I also worked on seeding some wildflowers along the edge of the woods.  I should keep track of all the handy-man things Ed does around the house and then I’d have more to write!  I think I’m going to add my crafty projects under this category, since I seem to need some help actually getting them done.

So what challenges are you participating in? How are you doing with them?


Filed under Food, Gardening, Home, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Outside, Sustainable Living

Spring Break Gardening

This week is spring break and I’m planning to enjoy the time off on my vacation.  The sunny location I’m visiting is right in my own yard.  I spent today outside in the gardens, cleaning up and getting ready for the growing season.  When all the work was done, I grabbed my camera so I could post an update.


I started the day by planting  more raspberries, this time Royalty Purple, and some Chester blackberries.  The photo above shows leaves on the Heritage Red raspberries we planted about a month ago.


In the vegetable garden, the mixed baby lettuce is starting to emerge, which is the first among the many different lettuce varieties I planted.


The peas are up and stretching toward the sun.  I hope to see their tendrils wrapping around the wires before long.

I weeded and cleaned out the front and back flower gardens, as the hydrangeas, bleeding hearts and peonies are coming out of dormancy.  But the flowers already in bloom stole the show.


The daffodils are still beautiful, as more and more of them open each day.  I’m already scheming to plant more of these bulbs up around our mailbox in the fall.  The one day of planting is well worth the show in spring.


The potted pansies are still showing off, thriving with the chilly evening temperatures.


What’s going on in your gardens?


Filed under Food, Gardening, Home, Living from Scratch, Outside, Sustainable Living

On the Bright Side

I’m usually an optimist, and depressing is just not my style.  Sure, times are hard, but walking outside and taking in all the beauty around me makes me smile.


More daffodils are opening.


I can imagine what this patch will look like in full bloom.


The spinach that overwintered is starting to grow again, and the bright green leaves are a welcome sight in my mostly empty garden.


A johnny jump-up that seeded itself in my flower garden.  Walking by and spotting this little guy made my day.

What simple things make you smile?


Filed under Gardening, Home, Living from Scratch, Outside, Sustainable Living

Victory Garden


In the last few days, our temperatures have gotten up to the high 50’s and I’ve been taking my seedlings out for some sunlight and throwing open the windows.  It feels so good to have fresh air flowing through the house, and I know the seedlings are appreciating the warm afternoon sun.

I sat outside with my plants today, my collection of seeds, a calendar and journal.  I’ve been thinking about incorporating more flowers into my vegetable garden, both as companion plants and for beauty.  I drew out my plans for the vegetable garden and chose which seeds I’ll plant this coming weekend: Johnny jump-ups, peas, lettuce, cabbage, mache, spinach, broccoli, leeks, and scallions.  I can’t wait to get my hands back in the garden soil.

Some of the raspberries that I ordered arrived today, and since they’re bare root, I need to get them into the soil soon.  Ed and I will plant them tomorrow in the spot we’ve chosen for our berry patch.

What’s going on in your garden?


Filed under Food, Gardening, Home, Living from Scratch, Outside, Sustainable Living

Sick and Tired

I’ve spent the last 24 hours with a stomach bug.  I hate being stomach sick.

But I’m really sick and tired of winter.  Now, normally, I love snow.  I like that winter is cold, and I enjoy getting outside to take pictures in the snow.  I usually enjoy the four seasons.  But after three months of being cold, I’m tired of it.  Right now I’m watching the wind whip snow around outside my window.  The sun is shining, but it’s deceptive because it’s really cold out.  I’ve had enough and I’m so ready for spring now.  I’m ready to get outside, get my hands dirty in the garden.  Even weeding sounds like fun now.  Watching my tulips and daffodils pushing up out of the ground and bloom.  Seeing the Johnny jump-ups’ smiling faces.  Watching my flowers come back to life: lilacs, bleeding hearts, peonies, hydrangeas, roses.   

So, for a little cheer, I’m reflecting on my flower gardens from last year.


Angelique Tulip


Endless Summer Hydrangeas


Knock-out Pink Rose




Morning Glories


Picking daffodils from the abandoned house up the road last spring.


Filed under Gardening, Home, Outside

Winter Vegetable Garden

Sunday Stroll

When I went out this morning, I planned to use my new camera (thanks to mom and dad!) to snap pictures of where I want to plant apple trees, put in a bird/bee/butterfly garden, and build a chicken coop.  Spring has been dancing around in my mind lately, so that’s what I was thinking.  The temperatures today are supposed to be around 60, and it was pretty warm when I went outside.  I walked through the garden gate to daydream about sunflowers, lettuce, snap peas and tomatoes, and instead I decided to try pulling up a carrot.  I’d heard that carrots left in the garden until after the first frost are especially sweet, and I’d been waiting to try it.  I was surprised by how easily the ground released the bright orange carrot, so I decided to pull up all the carrots while the ground was soft and make hay while the sun shines.  Now I only wish I had planted more carrots in August, so we’d have more throughout the winter.  Mental note for next year.  I also spotted some of the turnips I planted on a whim peeking up out of the ground.  I’m honestly not a big fan of turnips, but mashed like potatoes they’ll do.  I’ll have to go pull them up tomorrow.  The spinach I planted late in the fall is small but alive, so I’m planning to cover it with some hay to overwinter it to have some extra early in the spring time, if I can restrain myself from picking and eating the little leaves now.


These carrots are even nicer than the summer ones.


A purple globe turnip peeks out of the soil.


A spinach plant will have to wait for spring to keep growing.


The carrots in my new garden hod sitting in a snow bank.

To see who else is strolling today, visit the Quiet Country House.


Filed under Food, Gardening, Home, Outside, Sustainable Living