This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

lettuce varieties

I wanted to record photos of the lettuce varieties I am growing this fall. They are a nice mix of colors. All except the Simpson did well with the summer heat. The Simpson bolted and I had to harvest it before the head was full. I think the Skyphos has grown the slowest, maybe because it was under the squash leaves when it was small. I think it may also be the prettiest.

lettuce Butterhead Green, Ermosa 081 lettuce Butterhead Green, Ermosa 082 Butterhead Green Ermosa

lettuce Butterhead Red, Skyphos  071lettuce Butterhead Red, Skypho 072 Butterhead Red Skyphos

lettuce red summer crisp Teide 063 lettuce black seeded simpson 067 Red Summer Crisp Teide and Black Seeded Simpson

lettuce green summer crisp Nevada 068 lettuce green summer crisp Nevada 065 Green Summer Crisp Nevada

Can't say any of these are my favorites, like Big Boston or Prizehead or Oaky Red Splash.

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i've got mail

mouse in the mailbox 111 There's been a field mouse in my garden mailbox for a couple years now. I looked in today and seems he is gathering extra fluff for the winter.

the meadow

rock meadow 053 rock meadow 057 rock meadow 050 This is the meadow next to our community gardens. Its been overcast and rainy the past couple days. The late fall wildflowers are blooming and the leaves are starting to show a little fall color in places. There's a big tree at the left of the meadow photo that came down in a windstorm last week.

The meadow was mowed about a month ago. It was waist high and just filled with flowers before that. Mostly tansy and milkweed. Some asters, goldenrod, Joe Pye weed and wild garlic. Every year it has a different mix of flowers.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

garlic shipment is here

My garlic shipment is here!!! I'm excited to get it in the grown a bit early this year. Maybe this week? (I was too late last year.) I have my potato bed dug and ready to go for the garlic. I'll add a couple inches of compost, turn it under, and then its ready to plant.

e-how asked me to do a couple of videos on planting garlic. I am hoping to do these this week and will post links.

I ordered the garlic variety "Music" from Territorial.

I like to plant a full 12 x 3.5 ft bed (about 80 or so cloves) in my garden each year. This gives me enough to eat all year and plant for the next year. (My harvest this year was poor because I planted late and didn't mulch.) I have 6 big heads saved from my harvest this year (mostly "Duganski", 8 cloves per head). I'll add to it the 8 Music heads I just got (6 cloves per head), plus some sprouted supermarket ones I want to try. Some will go to my parents garden too.

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aerial

aerial 006

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last seedlings

last seedlings of the season 024 These are my last seedlings of the season. They will go out in the cold frame soon. Maybe tomorrow. I will pull aside the cucumber vines and pull out the eggplants to make room for them. These are mostly salad greens. Spinach, lettuce, escarole and arugula. A few broccoli's. I just love a cold frame full of winter spinach!

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

pumpkins on the doorstep

pumpkins046
I bought these pumpkins at the supermarket. They're not home home grown.... (but the supermarket is local)

It just takes up so much space to grow pumpkins. Even though I love them. I've been really pleased with my garden's production of butternut squash routinely. But when I grow pumpkins in my small space, sometimes they produce well, sometimes they don't. Always they take up a LOT of space.

I gave my pumpkin seedlings to my parents this year for their big garden. They got many pumpkins, but not really so big.

I am thinking to save seeds from all three of these. Especially the striped one. Then maybe I will go back on all I said above and grow a big pumpkin patch in my garden next year. What fun.

I noticed this morning that the squirrel has tasted each of the pumpkins. A little bite out of each. Fortunately not more than one bite. There must be better food out there for now. By November, the squirrels will tunnel through to get to the seeds. I am planning to use at least the red one for myself (pumpkin bread or pie) and will bring it inside if it looks like it is at risk of being eaten by wildlife.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

skippy in his garden

skip 110

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

photos of our community garden

Copy of 175Copy of 161Copy of 112 Copy of 119Copy of 111Copy of 085 Copy of 095Copy of 105Copy of 106 Copy of 109Copy of 118Copy of 121 Copy of 124Copy of 130Copy of 138 Copy of 167Copy of 162Copy of 158 Copy of 150Copy of 155Copy of 143 Slide show - 53 photos of our garden plots

Its fall, the season is over and most of our garden plots are looking pretty raggedy. Some still going strong, some have already been put away for winter, some just look neglected. We usually have a fair amount of plots that get overgrown with weeds.

That's mine in the lower right. Still pretty full of food crops. Dahlias and nasturtiums are doing well too.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

community garden meeting

We have an "Input Meeting" scheduled for our Community Garden tomorrow evening. We'll discuss what's most important for a community garden to provide, how do we give all gardeners a voice, and how do get things done. Our Garden management gets plenty of input about what gardeners want the Gardens to provide, but fewer ideas on HOW to get it done.

I don't know if these are common issues for community gardens. I'm curious about the experience of other community gardeners.

Our Community Garden is unique for our area as we're large (148 plots covering 2 acres) with a diverse mix of gardeners (since we have no residency requirement). We have a wonderful multicultural mix of all sorts of gardening styles and gardener personalities.

How is your Community Garden managed? Do all gardeners have a voice? What services does the garden management provide to gardeners?

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today's harvest

harvest 183 Ahh, the greens in the garden are super now. I picked red and green lettuce today for our salad, escarole frisee too. And so many peppers! (Peter Piper picked a peck ...)

My spring broc's are still producing tons of side shoots - they get smaller and smaller, but still yummy. (Fall broc's are coming.)

I stir-fried a mix of bok choy and mini broc-sprouts for dinner tonight in bacon fat with garlic. I also made pork fried rice, with egg, Thai hot pepper and lots of onions. Fresh garlic in both. We added a chilled Chardonnay. It was a nice Monday evening dinner.

frisee 188 chilis 191 bok choy 189 poblanos 186

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

thyme for fall

thyme patch 110

On the first full day of fall, here are photos of my thyme. Gnome is doing a super job of tending it!!!

My mom gave me this variety from her garden. It's very winter hardy and has grown for years for her (northern MA). It encroaches on her lawn as a nice low mat, good for waking on, with pretty white blooms for the bees.

thyme 119

In my garden, I have to pick it often to keep it from overgrowing the young blueberry bush next to it. It sprawls past my fence and over the stone walkway. I grab handfuls for marinades, salads and garnishes. Thyme goes with everything!

Judy, my plot neighbor at the community garden, asked about thyme and I look forward to bringing her some. I'll also plant some in my plot. I wonder if it could be a ground cover for my paths? I'm imagining walking on it as I tend my vegetables. Ahh!

I also have another thymely story. (What's the symbol for a terrible pun?) We drove to upstate NY yesterday and stopped (in the middle of a much too long drive), at a rest area (McDonald's and all) to walk Skippy. In back lawn, they had the most beautiful patch of thyme. Of all places!! At least 50 by 50 ft. A low, dense thyme, very fragrant. It was in full bloom with deep beautiful purple flowers tended by honey bees. I have never seen deep purple blooms on thyme! I used one of Skippy's little waste bags and took a piece for my garden. I'm looking forward to another variety.

thyme 081 thyme 129

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Friday, September 21, 2012

dahlia

late summers flowers 096

downy woodpecker on late summer sunflowers

downy woodpecker on sunflower

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Skippy

I haven't been taking many photos of Skippy this summer.  I don't know why - he's as cute as ever. And always very good company. Here are a few photos from the past month. A bit of salt water, a bit of fresh water. And lots of gardening.

skippy portugese water dog P1010022
skippy portugese water dog P1010017 skippy portugese water dog P1010014
skippy portugese water dog 116

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