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.

Monday, September 15, 2014

carrots

Copy of IMG_9757 I looked up the cause for carrots splitting - uneven watering. I didn't know that. I suppose its not bad to have only one split carrot in the bunch. But I have lots of bifurcated carrots. Hmmm. Rocky soil. I'll keep working on that. They all tasted great.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

today's harvest

today's harvst_9657

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fall seedlings

fall seedlings_9639 fall seedlings_9638 fall seedlings_9629 fall seedlings_9627 fall seedlings_9627 fall seedlings_9626 Weather permitting, these little seedlings will all grow to full size and before cold weather and low light prevents their growth. I'm hoping to also have extra to cover and harvest during the winter.

The seedlings include all sorts of varieties of: lettuce, arugula, escarole, broccoli, bok choi, mustards, and Asian greens.

garden aerial

garden aerial I'm hoping this is an "in-between time" and that once again this year the garden will be full. I have lots of fall seedlings planted. Weather permitting. It looks like the last "ladder" photo I posted, but I've planted lots of little fall seedlings since then.

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Sunday, September 07, 2014

pear harvest

PILES OF PEARS 1925 A great year for pears. I picked about 150 today. Bartletts and Kieffers. They filled my trug and I had to struggle to get the bucket into and out of the car.

I've read recently that its best to chill freshly picked pears at 30*F for 4 days or so. Then they can ripen at room temperature. Last year I didn't know this and didn't get the best ripening I am hoping chilling will help. I have lots of pear recipes marked in my canning book.

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pullets join hens

I have big news about my little pullets. They have joined the big hens in the coop! Yeah pullets!

Every day at about 4 or 5 pm, I've been letting the new pullets out of their dog crate to roam free. They forage in the woods and generally stay under cover. I used to let the big hens out regularly too, some times all day, but, after seeding the lawn, we found they were eating so much grass seed that I kept them in their coop.

Well, now the seed has sprouted and today at 5 pm I let all four hens out to forage. At night fall, all go back to their roosts. In the past, the pullets have always gone to their private dog crate and the big hens to the coop.

Tonight I found them all in the coop!!!! Maybe I can put the dog crate away and have one happy chicken family now.

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a perfect late summer day

It was a fantastic day for a Garden Tour! Sunny, low humidity, low 80's. The fall garden colors are approaching. And the late summer harvests are in full swing. I have to admit that our Gardens did not get much of the Garden Tour traffic. We're the outsiders. We got a couple visitors. But our new-effort fund raising did quite well with just the standard Meadow walking traffic. Most walkers seemed happy to consider a donation or to buy T-shirt. Our Garden fees pay for upkeep of the Meadow, Parking lot and our Gardens. Its the first time we've gotten together to do fundraising. It was fun!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

preparing for our Garden Tour

There is a local Garden Tour that includes our community Gardens this Sunday afternoon. Woo-hoo! Come visit us!

Sustainable Belmont has organized the event and it includes a number of local organic gardens. Our community garden is the first stop on the Tour. There are many exciting gardens on the tour.

The Green Garden Tour – September 7th, 12-3 pm Come visit some of the most sustainable gardens in Belmont and talk with their miracle-workers! You will find everything from hoop-houses to compost know-how; beautiful perennials to delicious annuals…and yes, a bunny tractor! Pick up some new knowledge, commiserate on the dry season and enjoy the day with us. Printed maps are available at the Beech Street Center that day (12-3) or download the brochure: Sustainable Belmont Green Garden Tour 2014. You can also follow this link to our Google Map of the Green Garden Tour 2014.
We are doing our best to spiff up our late summer gardens before the event; a bit of weed whacking here, some mowing there. We'll also be doing some fund-raising by selling our Garden T-shirts. The shirts were designed by a community gardener. We have 2 colors available: sky blue and gray-green. We've priced each shirt at $16. From this, about $11 dollars of each sale will go to our garden programs including Rock Meadow Conservation, Food Donations, Organic Gardening Education, Distribution of Late Blight Resistant Tomato Seedlings, and our Native Flower Gardens. Its the first time we've done any fund raising, so we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

today's harvest

harvest _9576 From my community garden plot.

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Monday, September 01, 2014

late summer garden cleanup

garden after cleanup 9513 What a beautiful Labor Day weekend! Here's my new garden. I put a ladder out in the yard and did what I could to get a good perspective. Its hard to do as good as that second floor window over my garden that I used to have. But this new garden is awesome. Its teaching me all sorts of things about growing vegetables and getting a new garden up and going.

This weekend I pulled dead pea vines, spring broccoli plants, early bean plantings and about half of my cucumber and summer squash vines. I cut down and pulled out my tomato plants, which have been hit by late blight (I will bag up the infected plants, let them fry in the sun a while, then dispose of them in the trash so I don't risk overwintering of the pathogen). This cleanup has opened up lots of space for fall plantings. I have a few trays of seedlings that have been growing slow, but I will plant out and see how they do. I have also been able to find some nice fall seedlings at local garden stores.

Also, I am trying out some hoops. My husband is helping with these (actually, he's setting these up for me...). I would like hoops with row cover over any brassica plants I grow in this garden including my fall broccoli, kale and bok choi. Cabbage worms are very bad in this area, though they should die off as the fall approaches. I'd also like to try tunnels for winter growing.

Below is the "before cleanup" garden photo and a closer-up shot of my buddy, Skip.
garden before cleanup 9508 garden and skippy 9515

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so happy about Ecotulips

I got the checkout to work at Ecotulips!! I placed a nice order - its making me think about Spring. I even got a 10% off coupon code to work. Yippee. Their shipping rate for my big order was only $5, pretty good. And I feel good that I am saving the bees and buying tulips grown without chemicals.

I think I was probably just too tired last night to type an order form properly.

so annoyed

EcoTulips made the cover of Organic Gardenng Magazine and I loved the article and photos ... BUT then I spent a hour tonight trying to place an order and I can't get the website to work... Can't even find an email to ask for help. Too bad, as the article looked nice, it's time to order tulip bulbs, and I love organic. I'll probably buy locally, but not organic, tomorrow.

















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