buddha of the mesclun mix

Threat of frost over.  Things are finally happening in the garden, with a little prodding from us, a spade, a hoe and a rake.  Here’s a little peek at all the activity happening lately:

blog07 I put a prosperity Buddha in with the mesclun mix seedlings.  No garden is complete without mysterious thingies in it.  Yesterday we found a little, blue marble that had probably been underground for 15 years or more.  JR thinks he could have lost it there when he was a kid.

blog06Prosperity working already.  These salad greens take 3-6 weeks to mature.  So far we put 30 in the ground!

blog02Muddy boots.  Requisite Maine gardening gear.

blog09These are the guard cats.  The photo is deceptive – they look like they are on the lookout but the gray one is actually sulking because the brown one just hit him in the face.

blog04Rhubarb already growing with some perennial seriousness.  A gift from the past gardener, so years of pie + jams to come.  Plus, these bright, yellow surprises that woke us up out of winter slumber a couple weeks ago:

blog03So good + yellow.  When they wither I’m going to make a summer flower garden on top of them with sunflowers, hard red wheat, coneflower, cosmos, marigolds and more.  But secretly I’m waiting for the daffodils to come again.

blog05Despite some nighttime visits from the deer over the snowy months, the blueberries we planted in September are doing fine and buds are already sprouting.  You can see a little nibbled bit to the left of the triple bud.  Evidence of ungulates!

blog01Spinach beginnings.  Can’t figure if these are going in the garden or will stay on the porch.  Nice to have some greens extra close to the kitchen.

And, in closing, I’m sorry, but in lieu of children I just have to:

blog12blog11~~~

What are you growing this year?  Do you have any planting traditions for good luck?

late summer garden – update

crops

crops

Remember these guys?  I planted them late July in hopes of getting a last little bit of growth before the frost.  They’ve made quite some progress – I hope they make it!  Just a little… bigger… before they come out of the ground.  Mesclun’s almost ready, kale is getting there, spinach is a bit slow-going…

mesclun's almost ready

mesclun’s almost ready

kale just needs a few more days

kale just needs a few more days

very baby spinach

very baby spinach

We’ve also added some blueberry bushes to the mix.  The ultimate goal is that this backyard is predominantly a source of food, not a large expanse of grass for husband to mow.  Check ’em out:

blueberries

blueberries

Who knows — maybe those little buds will produce berries by the end of the month!  Stay away, frost, stay away…

high summer gardening

new home in the summer = surprise flowers every week

new home in the summer = surprise flowers every week

Let’s not kid ourselves.  There’s about a million other things I could be doing today instead of crouching, wrist deep in dirt, trying to eke another harvest out of the summer.  But when the spirit calls you have to answer, so I did.

Two weeks ago I requested today off since it was the last official day of our lease at the old place — with careful planning about a laundry load of sweaty clothes we were able to move everything and clean everything with a week to spare.  So I find myself with a free day in the middle of the work week.  Hurray!

Sure, there a lot of things I should be doing.  And they’re on the list, don’t worry.  #1 is screen printing some more onesies for the Etsy shop, #2 is screen printing some t-shirts for Metal Feathers‘ show on Friday.  #3 is sanding allllllllllll theeeeee spackle off the living room wall.  But I added #4, high summer gardening, and did it first today.

quick crops

quick crops

I’m new to gardening and when we left our old place we left behind six tomato plants, eight greenleaf lettuce plants and a rogue vine of summer squash and cucumbers in the community garden.  I can visit it about once a week when I go to work at Mayo Street Arts, but it was sad to not have something I could walk to to check on my little crops.  Being a newbie, I had no idea that even in our *cough* SHORT growing season in the North East there are crops you can plant from seed as late as early August and still get a ‘winter harvest’ which I had to try.

IMG_0260

broccoli!

A visit to Skillins‘ nursery across town yielded quite the future crops, just need to figure out where in the yard all the greens will go when the seedlings are ready.  I bought broccoli seedlings that had already started as well as seed packets + trays for kale, mesclun and spinach.  In a few weeks they should be ready to stick in the ground.  There were also some ‘seedlings’ that had gotten way too big for their britches that I brought home.  One healthy bunch of basil made its way to an oversized pot for all my pesto and caprese dreams:

touch the basil

touch the basil

I love when you bump up against basil in the garden or the kitchen the totally overwhelming smell the leaves release.  I love you, basil.

We had tried to grow habanero in the community garden but it was quickly overrun by the rogue summer squash.  New garden lesson #1:  believe the packet when it says to plant things far apart.  Just because you don’t believe your thumb is green enough doesn’t mean that vine isn’t grow 6′ long by the end of June…  Anyways, I found a healthy, flowering habanero plant with some vegetables already growing so I put that in the cart for another go.

spicy

spicy

I still want to try and get some catnip growing since I know it does so well in Maine soil – the cats are loving their new outdoor status and their little hearts might just bust out of their chests if I give them yet another reason to love frolicking in the back yard.  Lastly, I hear that if you want to plant blueberry bushes you should do it the year before, in August or September, to help the roots establish in hopes of berries the coming year.  So a future plan for berries is definitely in the works!

Now with dirty fingernails and renewed inspiration (home gardening is so freaking rejuvenating, it’s unbelievable) I’ll spend some time sanding walls + making prints.  Coming back soon with some more goodies, like how to make a natural, herbal mouse repellent and some updates from the creative endeavors of Little Eye.  Don’t be a stranger!