Friday, September 11, 2015

garden wrap up (almost)

It was a very good first year for my plot in the organic community garden, considering this parcel had been abandoned by it's previous owner and left to go to weeds.  This part of New England suffered from early blight.  I was unprepared for this, and have learned how to (hopefully) prevent a repeat disaster next year.  And the squash bugs and cucumber beetles were out of control.  This is an unfortunate side effect of community gardens if others do not take care of their plots, plants, and pest control.

Considering all that, I continually walked out of there with bags of delicious, wholesome, nutritious organic produce!  I would harvest swiss chard, green beans, beets, and squash in amounts that would have cost at least fifteen dollars a trip at the farmers market.  Overall, I at least doubled my total investment (plot, seeds, etc).

My garden "neighbors" are wonderful folks.  We share stories and ideas as well as veggies.  There's always someone who can water for me if I'm away, and I do likewise for them.

This was taken mid-summer.  The chard keeps on going!  The beets are all pulled and cooked (note to grow more next year).  The onions are drying now.  I've given away so much food to neighbors, co-workers, and family!

I experimented with VT Cranberry Beans.  One small pack yielded over two pounds of beans for this winter.  I may or may not grow drying beans again next year, due to the space needed, but it was interesting.

I've already started thinking about next year's garden.  A different layout, more flowers to encourage beneficial insects.  And the beginning of "lasagna gardening".  I have access to LOTS of pine needles, which I can use for mulch in the pathways, and possibly some sheep manure.

My small plot isn't much but my fridge and freezer are full   :)

And the squash keep coming!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Garden porn

I'm having the most wonderful summer, all smiles and play and dirt-under-my-fingernails  :)

I start each day checking my garden plot, watering if there's no rain on the horizon.  And sometimes after work I stop back to inspect, gather, and weed....and chat with my garden-neighbors.

It's been a long road to get to this space in time....I haven't been gardening 7 years (unless you count my container garden on my deck a few years back)  Now I've spent the spring and early summer turning the neglected soil, planting, weeding, weeding, weeding ;)   and now checking for little garden pests, but I'm so gosh darn pleased with it all!  I've had my fill of snap peas and there are six servings in the freezer along with ones that I've given away.  I have salad almost every day.  There's a year's worth of cilantro in the freezer and more coming, plus I'm stocking up on basil and parsley.
I'm drying lemon balm (that plant is amazingly prolific!), stevia, and sage.

Here are some proud mama photos:

12 ft x 37 ft plot

lemon balm, stevia

beets, chard, onions, kale

Italian green beans (yum!)


yes, there are small yellow squash hiding under those leaves

There are winter squash coming, pickling and burpless cukes, cranberry beans, dill, carrots, tomatoes, eggplant (hopefully!)

I was so fortunate to find this community garden.  The folks are great, and we have fun sharing stories (and veggies).  From this scruffy little patch of dirt I've gained a new batch of friends and I'm enjoying wonderful meals.

Wishing you a terrific week!


Sunday, May 17, 2015

so swiftly did Spring fly past

I can't believe it's already the middle of May and my bike is still in the basement!  Just a few short weeks ago we New Englanders were complaining commenting on the cold, snowy weather that stretched into April.  Now we live in the mid- to high-80s.  Yesterday's rain brought out an amazing crop of weeds in my garden plot so I spent a few hours there (with sunscreen and a bottle of water.)

Earlier today I had also "weeded" through my clothes closets and filled three trash bags with winter sweaters, skirts, blazers, and coats for the thrift shop.  Everything was in very good condition, and most was hardly ever worn.  I've "settled" for clothing that I wasn't happy with.  Big (costly) mistake.  The solution to not having that happen again is simple; sew more so I can have the styles I like.

I think the best most recent year I've had (as far as clothing goes) is the year I enjoyed refashioning items using my older patterns.  I still wear this simple top from 2010!  So I'll be visiting the nearby thrift shops to find some clothing with usable fabric.

Please stop by Kerry's blog to see my pattern stash on May 18th!  Recently, she asked about my penchant for the 60s/70s and I told her a little about my past  ;)
She has a wonderful blog and is hosting the 2015 Vintage Pattern Pledge for some very interesting sewing folk!

Heading into the kitchen now to make some tortillas.  They come in mighty handy on these hot days!  Just fill and pack up for lunch at work  :)

I hope you have a wonderful week!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tonight's project

Simplicity 5133 is actually from 1981 but version 3 is close enough to some of the tops I wore in the 70s, and pleased to find this mid-weight knit that would do up nicely in this style  :)  

 I've pledged to make 4 pieces of clothing from my era for the Vintage Sewing Pledge and this one may squeak in under the bell as one of those...not sure yet!

It's going to be a busy, busy day!  Working in the garden, LOTS of laundry, and maybe a trip to the second hand store to find some SHORTS now that the weather has broken  :)   I've committed to dusting off my sewing machine for this pattern tonight so catch up with me tomorrow!

Wishing you a wonderful Spring day!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

New growth!

Ah, the joy of little green sprouts!

(snow peas)

I've been working at my new garden plot a little at a time (boy, am I out of shape!).  The ground is very heavy New England loam with rocks!  Even worse, the previous plot owner had used wood chips as a means to keep down weeds (and weeding).  They were somewhat mixed in when I started and my hand-tilling mixed them further.
I've added some peat moss to the raised beds, and plan on topping everything with a good layer of leaves this fall that will be turned in next spring.

But I'm getting too far ahead of myself!  Getting back to the present, I've been doing some research on planting by the cycles of the moon.  Since it's still early, this is a good opportunity for the experiment.  In my region, I can plant vegetables that bear their crops above ground until Sunday.  Then it changes to planting things like onions and carrots during the moon's waning period.  There's a wealth of info on the internet about this, including here and here.  I'll post about my little plot as the season progresses.

Of course, I bought too many seed packets.  Everything looked so good :)  

I'm enjoying my peaceful mornings of watering before going to work, listening to the birds greet the day.  I'm hoping you also have many wonderful mornings!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

a little bit boho

My son and daughter-in-law up North are very appreciative of lovingly-made-by-hand items. Their sweet baby daughter is the lucky recipient of many quilts and clothing crafted by grand- and great-grandmothers.

But I took this one step sideways and made the granny square poncho for my DIL.  I recently posted the "almost finished" photo:

I've just added the fringe:

And it's ready to go to it's new owner!  It has that sweet 1970s look to it, kinda crunchy and earth-momma.  I think someone who likes to go on hikes, work in the garden, and take the dog for loonnnng walks would appreciate this on a cool evening.

It came together very quickly (in about a week of evenings) and I'm thinking about making one for myself.  Maybe in shades of deep green for fall.....  But let's not think that far ahead!  It's time to enjoy Spring!  Wishing you the best for the upcoming weekend :)


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

3 plus 1 plus 1

Ahhhh, this is so much better!

I received a message last Thursday that the community garden plots would be available, and to stop by on Saturday to find out which one was mine.  Luckily, the plot next to mine was not allocated so I asked for both.

They are roughly 450 square feet, which seems to be a good, workable size.  I've been there after work to get my hands dirty and even planted one packet of snap peas.

The soil is very heavy and stays wet.  It will need some peat moss and/or compost.  But for now I'm just trying to get it to dry out.  I've made 3 slightly raised beds (in the background of the photo) and turned the soil for the 4th.  That's the very dark section in the photo.  In a few days I'll turn that into another raised bed.

So that's the 3 plus 1.  The final "1" is the first well-earned blister that I've had in years  :)

I've met a few of my "neighbors", and they're great.  Gardeners are awesome when winter finally gives up and sets them out in the fresh spring air.

Wishing you a bountiful summer, whether you garden or enjoy the farmers' markets.