Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry christmas

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Skippy started Christmas morning calm and good. Posed for a few photos. Then he found a small package that smelled like lamb bones and one that squeaked. :-))) He tore them open. Then he helped everyone else open their packages. But the most fun was next - he put his new squeaky toy inside the bag of torn wrapping paper that we had picked up and he "dug" down strewing paper all around the room until he found his toy at the bottom. This was fun about 10 times. Then the kids took him out to run. Now he's tired and will nap the rest of the day, or at least until the grill get fired up.

Friday, December 23, 2011

winter reading

The Edible Garden Magazine

I came across a fantastic gardening magazine yesterday in Barnes and Noble. Published in the UK. I am leafing through it - sipping a pear martini with Christmas music playing.....

I'm getting so many new ideas for next year that I need to jot down a list. The cold frame structures are wonderful - at least 6 or 8 are photographed. I will have to think about possibly bricking the edges of mine. And I am considering a bit of a boxwood edge along my stone path. I bet this would look nice all year round.

The magazine has lots of photos of small espaliered fruit trees, terracotta forcers that look beautiful in the garden, creative paths and garden layouts, chickens and bees, polytunnels, ads for beautiful British garden tools, ahhh......

Their month-by-month of garden chores says December is time to lift celeriac, leeks, sunchokes, and the Christmas lunch potatoes. Next month we should clean the pots and garden tools (I always skip this...). In a cold greenhouse, sow leeks, broad beans, peas, lettuce. Under fleece, sow carrots and spinach. I think the British climate is milder than New England, but I always like to give new things a try. Soon the sun will be hitting my cold frame again and I bet early peas and broad beans would do well.

Midwinter is the perfect time for garden magazines.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

winter solstice

Its all uphill from here on in!!! A little more light everyday - a little closer to spring planting season.

The winter solstice occurs Thursday at 12:30 a.m. EST (0530 GMT), which corresponds to 9:30 p.m. PST on Wednesday for observers further west. At the time, the sun will be passing over the over the Tropic of Capricorn.
from Space on

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

rosemary blossom

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I brought a potted rosemary in from the yard this weekend and just noticed it has a couple little blossoms. They smell as pretty as they look....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

the juncoes are here

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I always watch for the first junco in my back yard. A sign of winter.... I had a cute first pair at my little pond today. They usually stay til the weather warms (maybe April?).

My first junco two years ago: Dec 5, 2009.

Friday, December 09, 2011

inside my coldframe

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My cold frame has a patch of greens, some herbs and a few cayenne pepper plants that are still growing from the summer. Lots of open space that I can fill in early spring/late winter. In late February, the sun will hit the frame nicely again. (Now its mostly below the neighboring house.)

This will be the second winter for my cold frame. My husband made it in March 2010. This fall, I mail ordered some green house plastic and we replaced the top panels, which had grown brittle and had several tears. The sides are all purpose plastic from the local Home Depot. In the spring we replaced the two large sides. I'm planning to replace the small front piece this weekend. This week, we duct tapped several tears in this section, but more come quickly. I am wondering if I should use a large piece of the green house plastic and drape it over the frame with sand bags to give it more coverage for the winter. I've also been thinking about a soil warmer cable, but am afraid this will cost too much (in energy costs) to be worth it. I suppose if I had planted it as well as last winter, I would do this. But this year, I didn't get many fall seedlings planted.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

sweet potato sprouts on the window sill

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My sweet potatoes I dug last fall finally sprouted this fall. As Donald recommended, I potted them up. They are on my kitchen window sill with cacti and a poinsettia.

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Monday, December 05, 2011

sinking sun

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Its only 3 pm and the sun has sunk down below the tree tops. Its glaring into the camera and across the bare kale stalks.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

late fall vegetable gardens

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Skippy and I walked through the paths of the community garden and looked at what's still growing.

I found lots of kale of all different types. Also chard, arugula, endive, escarole, leeks, parsnips, and herbs. One really nice plot of 5 inch garlic. (My garlic is very tiny since I planted only a month ago.)

Its been a warm fall - about as good as it gets for late fall crops.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

brussels sprouts photos

I found some Brussels sprouts to photograph at the community gardens today. They're mostly picked clean. But a few small ones are left on some of the stalks.

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Friday, December 02, 2011

brussels sprouts

I finally got my courage up to try Brussels sprouts. As a child - I DID NOT like them, but Eastern Standard (Boston MA) has a delicious recipe with bacon that I loved!! I've never grown Brussels sprouts, but this could be a good new vegetable to try next year.

Brussels sprouts and and kale are about all that's left in the gardens here now. Maybe I can get a photo to add here tomorrow.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

garden vegetables on the cutting board

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These are peppers from the Iddy Betty Bossy seeds I brought home from Switzerland. Just peppers from the supermarket, but son thought they were especially tasty and asked me to grow them. They did well and I will have more seeds to save and grow again next year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


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Another good week in the garden. I didn't know there was anything left to harvest. Thought small carrot and beet tops meant no roots. But when I pulled them I found lots of nice baby roots for both. Delicious!

And I hadn't looked close at my patch of fall greens to see the baby bok choy. These were excellent sauteed with garlic and ginger.

I was able to pick a full bowl of salad greens - some curly red lettuce, mizuna, cilantro, and other greens/purples whose names I don't know. (The arugula left from spring was too sharp too eat.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

flowers in my garden

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These are the last flowers of the year. In the corners and at the edges of my gardens. OK, one is actually blueberry leaves that look bright as flowers. I think they will all be covered with snow soon.