• DIY,  Gardening

    In the Heat of Harvest

    Apologies for being Missing in Action for a couple weeks. I have been very busy. Just finished up a week of curling and volunteering in the Cape Cod Curling Club Summerspiel. At the same time wedding preparations are down to the wire and I am harvesting lots of fresh fruits and veggies! My favorite reusable takeout containers are working overtime. We have a mix of 4 types of raspberries, 2 cultivated and 2 wild, that ring our tiny quarter acre. I get about 2-4 pints of raspberries a day while they are in season. I rinse them and put them directly in the freezer. They are just as tasty frozen…

  • DIY,  Gardening,  Recipes

    Chickweed, Not Just For Chickens

    So recent events in the world have peaked my interest in foraging for wild edible plants. The best time to learn to recognize edible plants is not in an emergency situation. I checked out three books at the library, but I am starting with this one: From our local library Foraged flavor has some of the more easily identifiable edible wild plants. I am guessing it also has the more common types of plants because I have found most of them growing in my yard. Prolifically. Today I thought I would try out chickweed. The type of chickweed I used is not quite the same type shown in the book.…

  • Gardening

    Recognizing Volunteers

     Early weeding and turning the beds prevents me from digging up most volunteers since they haven’t sprouted up yet. It can be hard to recognize them if you aren’t sure what you are looking for. The way I avoid pulling them up is to: 1. be patient, you don’t have to pull every plant up immediately just in case it is a weed, if you’re not sure, wait a week or two for that second set of leaves2. pull up plants you are sure ARE weeds, that will make it easier to spot useful volunteers So here are a few photos of volunteers. I will try to update this page…

  • Gardening

    Fresh Ground Ivy

    Ground Ivy is another potentially invasive plant that is all over my yard. It is a creeper, growing low across the ground and rooting at stem nodes. The stem is a square shape and the leaves have rounded rather than serrated edges. It seems to prefer damp areas, partial shade and “wasteland” where nothing else is growing yet. Since it grows so much faster than anything else in the yard it can take over open space before any other plant can get established, but doesn’t take over areas that already have good coverage. It is easy to pull up, though it always seems to leave something behind from whence it…

  • Gardening,  Sustainable Community

    Garlic Mustard Invasion!

    Earlier this spring I noticed a large patch of pretty white flower on top of long leafy stalks. I thought “Wow, look at them all! Aren’t they pretty?” I hadn’t noticed them last year, there had only been a few. Also, where has the poke weed gone? Not that I want it back. I was trying pretty hard to get rid of it… By not so random coincidence, our local National Public Radio station posted about Garlic Mustard, a noxious weed that produces allelochemicals which are toxic to most plants in North America. Luckily, the toxicity is reduced over time. Garlic Mustard is invasive and as it turns out in Massachusetts it is PROHIBITED…

  • Gardening

    Magic Marigolds

    Marigolds are pretty and they smell nice. They are also very easy to grow from seed and will flower continuously if you keep up with dead-heading them. I keep the dead-heads and put them in a dry place, saving them for the following year. When spring rolls around I bring out the dried dead-heads and crumble them over the places I have chosen for growing marigolds (which is everywhere). It helps to rake the dirt a little and then tamp them in. They come up pretty quickly, in a week or so. Marigold seedlings have a distinct red stem and a red vein down the cotyledon leaves. Why Grow Marigolds?…

  • DIY,  Gardening

    Dandelion Wine

    Yesterday a friend mentioned that their mother was making dandelion wine. Do go on… I have dandelions! I can make wine from them? Then I promptly forgot about the dandelion wine, until today. Right before mowing the lawn, I looked out over a sea of little yellow heads and thought…Dandelion Wine? Yes! So I spent an hour popping the heads off the dandelions in my yard before mowing. They were so much prettier on the ground, but you can’t make wine without plucking their heads off. The dandelion heads have been trimmed to remove any stem and washed to get rid of any bugs. There are LOTS of dandelion wine…

  • DIY,  Gardening

    Keyhole Compost

    My old compost bin is a hole in the ground. This is not the most efficient way to compost, I am aware. So today I thought I would upgrade to a keyhole compost garden. We also made a rotating compost bin. The idea is that the compost in the middle of the garden will feed and water the garden so that it requires very little water or additional fertilizer. This can be as easy/simple or as extravagant as you like. I’m going for simple. First I created the compost bin for the center using chicken wire and posts. Then I put leaves and clippings in around the sides to keep…

  • DIY,  Gardening,  Thrift

    Rotating Compost

    One of those things I have always wanted is a rotating compost bin. These can cost anywhere from $100-$400 (or more). I have been plotting to do this on the thrift ever since I saw the price tag. One of my old roommates was nice enough to get me three of these big white barrels. Two are slated for water collection, but this one is now a rotating composter. So the barrel was free, we had the wood in the garage and the hardware cost around $20-$25. Thanks to Steve for doing all the cutting, drilling and screwing. I just drew up the plans. All that is left to do…

  • DIY,  Gardening

    The Lazy Gardener: Square Foot Gardening

    Each bed is drawn out to some scale and individual plants are given the space they need. I have been planning and planting for several weeks now. It’s very rewarding walking out to the garden and seeing little plants popping up in their dedicated locations. I also have quite a few volunteers this year, my favorite type of plant. I always start with a piece of graph paper. This helps in planning out where things will go and dedicating space to those plants I most want to eat. It also prevents forgetting where things are planted and accidentally planting over top of seeds that are working on germinating. I have 16 square…