Tag Archives: Gardening

Last fall I planted a bed of garlic.

garlic, cloves, gardening

Garlic broken into cloves.

It had been years since I’d planted garlic but we use garlic all the time and I was hoping for a good harvest. I kept the bed weeded and watered. I read up on garlic, how to grow it, when to harvest and how to dry it. As the leaves began to turn brown I decided to harvest. After all the “experts” said to harvest your garlic when the leaves were 2/3rds died back.

harvest, garden

Garlic

Was I ever surprised at my harvest! The stems didn’t seem that thick and I wondered if the bulbs would be small and not formed well. There are a few smaller sized bulbs but for the most part the bulbs are well formed and quite large. I do believe we’ll have enough garlic to get through the winter.

harvest, garden, prudent living

Abundant Garlic Harvest

 

I set up two sawhorses in our garage with an old screen door on top. It was a perfect place to dry the garlic. You don’t want to dry it in direct sun. Now our garage smells like garlic but I don’t mind.

harvest, garden, prudent living

Drying Garlic

Wonder if I can figure out how to braid the garlic?

garlic bulbs, garlic sets, garden

Garlic bulbs braided together.

 

Won’t be long before I’ll be planting garlic again.

garlic cloves, garden

Each clove is pushed into the soil.

Linked to: HomesteadSimple, ASouthernDaydreamer, SidewalkShoes, MsGreenthumbJean, anOregonCottage, BlissfulRhythm, TootsieTime, LittleHouseintheSuburbs, ThePrairieHomestead

We have ten blueberry bushes planted at one end of our vegetable garden. Some of the bushes are early-bearing; some mid-season and some are late-bearing. As a result once the berries start turning blue we have ripe berries for quite a long time!

fruit, gardening

Blueberries

I think blueberries are my favorite fruit and I just love having them on my cereal in the morning.

Blueberries are also a favorite with the birds. Much as we like our feathered friends we do not want to share our berries. With a few cut saplings, a drill and some sheetrock screws my husband made a great blueberry cage to protect the berries from the birds!

berries, protecting, prudent living

Blueberry Cage

The saplings we cut out of our woods and everything else we had on hand. Once the cage was made we covered it with netting, which we stapled in place.

berries, protecting

Corners of Blueberry Cage

At one end we have a simple opening, the netting is stapled to a post, which we can lift and open to get under the netting. With the exception of one very smart robin that has figured out how to come and go, the rest of the birds stay out. As a result the blueberries are protected!

blueberries, birds

Protected berries

I like the rustic look and I really love the abundance of blueberries!

fruit, berries

Blueberries

 

Linked to: MsGreenthumbJean , SidewalkShoes, SouthernDayDreamer, HomesteadSimple, anOregonCottage, Kadie-SevenAlive, Thrifty101, BlissfulRhythm, HomemakersChallenge, TootsieTime, LittleHouseInTheSuburbs, DeborahJeansDandelionHouse, LilSuburbanHomestead, ThePrudentPantry

Attending the seed saving class is one of the highlights of the month for me. Sylvia’s gardens are always picture perfect and it’s amazing to see the difference one month makes in her gardens. Of course my gardens change as well, but since I’m in them everyday I don’t see it so clearly.

gardens, seed saving

Sylvia’s Garden’s

 

The agenda for our July class was to check on the progress of the grains and other plants that were going to seed.

wheat, seed saving, Prudent Living

Heirloom wheat

Also discussed were protecting crops from birds and animals. When you are saving your seeds the plants need to be protected from insects, birds and animals and to do this you want to use natural methods. Sylvia covers her grains and ties a string around them to keep the chipmunks out. She’s tried traps but once the grain is ripe the animals much prefer the grain to anything she can put in the trap.

wheat, seeds, seed saving

Ripe wheat heads.

She also used a shiny  bird flash tape, which the birds think is fire! I guess it works, as we didn’t see any birds in her garden.

 protecting crops, grains

Covered grain and bird flash tape.

 

We also talked about the various isolation techniques used when you want to save your seeds as well as maintaining variety purity and vigor. Plants can be isolated by covering them with row covers.

plant isolation, seed saving

Using row covers to isolate plants.

They can also be isolated by only planting one variety.

lettuce, seeds, seed saving

Flowering lettuce.

I find the two hours well spent and I come away with pages of notes and a renewed interest in growing and saving my own seeds.

seed saving, gardening, prudent living

Our outdoor classroom.

 

Linked to: MsGreenthumbJean , ASouthernDayDreamer, SidewalkShoes, AnOregonCottage, BlissfulRhythm, TootsieTime, DeborahJeanDandelionHouse

 

Ten years ago my mother and I took a trip to North Carolina. On the way there we stayed with an old family friend in Virginia. The woman was moving things around in her garden and asked me if I’d like her English Lavender plant. I had no idea whether or not the plant would survive the trip or if it would even grow in Vermont. However, she was just going to toss it, so I rescued this poor plant. It not only survived the trip back to Vermont but it has been growing well in my garden ever since!

lavender, garden

English Lavender

I love the smell of lavender and each year I think I will get around to harvesting the flowers and each year my timing is off. This year I was determined to cut the flowers. For the past few days I have gone out in the early morning and cut the stems that have flowers. It is important to do this early in the flower cycle and in the morning before the heat of the sun has drawn out too much of the essential oils. Interestingly enough if you cut the flowers early enough, at the base of the flower, a new flower grows, giving you more than one harvest. Here in Vermont I may not get more than one harvest, we’ll see.

flowers, prudent living

Lavender Flowers

You can dry the lavender in bunches or on screens. I plan to use my lavender for potpourri.

flowers, gardening

Lavender Potpourri

For potpourri, both the buds and the leaves work well. I will also put some of the blossoms around the house in a vase without water. Hoping that this winter  the smell of the lavender will bring back memories of those warm, sunny days of summer.

dried flowers, lavender

Dried Lavender Flowers

Linked to: AnOregonGarden, ASouthernDaydreamer, Sidewalkshoes, RaisingHomemakers, Earning-My-Cape, KatherinsCorner, DelightfulOrder, Thrifty101, BrambleberryCottage, BlissfulRhythm, ThesePeasTasteFunny, TootsieTime, Stuff-and-Nonsense, AtThePicketFence, PremediatatedLeftovers, DeborahJeansDandelionHouse, ThePrudentPantry, NaturalMothersNetwork, TheBetterMom, ThePrairieHomestead, RaisingArrows, MamalDiane, DaphnesDandelions, WildcraftingWednesday

Do you love oregano?  I use it in so many ways. Usually there is a container of oregano in my spice cabinet.

spices, prudent living

store bought oregano

You may have noticed that the price of spices has increased and those little bottles can be so expensive. I also have two beautiful plants in my garden so I can enjoy fresh oregano all summer long. I decided this year I would harvest my oregano. I imagine that the oregano I’ve grown myself will be much tastier than what I can purchase.

spices, gardening

Oregano

There are actually several ways you can store oregano for use during the winter. You can freeze oregano to retain the most flavor and aroma. First you freeze entire branches on cookie sheets, then strip the leaves from the stems and put them back into the freezer in plastic bags.

spices, harvest, prudent living

freezing oregano

You can also dry oregano by cutting entire stalks from the plant and hanging them in a warm, dry, well-ventilated spot.

spices, harvest

drying oregano

Store the dried oregano leaves in an airtight jar.

You want to harvest your oregano by cutting back the oregano plant three times during the growing season. The first time is when the plant is just about six inches tall, then again before it flowers and a third time late in the summer. Well I missed the first harvest (where does the time go?) but before my plant starts to flower I decided to harvest.

I decided to try both methods. I’m trying to keep my freezer empty because our meat chickens will be ready for the freezer in another 5-6 weeks. However I decided oregano wouldn’t take up too much room.

It will be fun to have my own oregano to use this winter, while at the same time saving money.

 

Linked to: Learning The FrugalLife, TheThriftyHome, WeAreThatFamily, FeminieAdventures, ThePrudentPantry

I have a wonderful set of plans for building a three-bin composter. The plans call for purchasing various sizes of cedar, chicken wire and various hinges to make a very nice compost bin. The plans even call for purchasing a sheet of clear corrugated fiberglass to make a cover for the whole thing. The directions must be pretty old as they claim the total price would only be $130! We like to make things with what we can find for free! Luckily close to our home is a source of free pallets. The pallets are left in a certain spot and they are free for the taking. Recently we noticed a huge pile and decided to bring a few (12) home and make our own compost bin!

composting, pallets, prudent living

Free Pallets

First we located a level spot not too far from the garden or the chicken coop. The pallets were laid in place and wired together to give us idea of the size and space needed.

compost bins, pallets

Sides wired together

The ground was them leveled in a few spots and one of the pallets was taken apart to provide scraps of wood to actually attach the sides together.

compost bin, prudent living

Using scraps to attach the sides together.

Once the sides were attached together we were ready to begin composting! If you are wondering why we like to compost go back and read my post called Why Compost? I would ask why not!

As you can see Riley approved of the final project! As the bins fill up with compost we have extra pallets on hand to make a gate across the front to hold the compost in.

composting, prudent living

Three Bin Composter

Linked to: AnOregonCottage , MsGreenthumbJean, SidewalkShoes, ASouthernGardnener, TheThriftyHome, BlissfulRhythm, HomesteadRevival, thePrairieHomestead

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