June Garden

Here's what's going on in my June garden.

May and June traded places this year. May was dry and warm for the most part, and yet we couldn’t get our warm weather crops planted because we had occasional night-time freezing temperatures right up until the end of the month.

June has been on the cool side, especially the first half of the month, and has rained for at least a part of the day 4 or 5 days a week.

Neither month has made gardening easy. That’s not really different from any other year – they all have their challenges.

We live on about a quarter acre, and so we use all of our yard for gardening, including the front where we grow dwarf apple trees, raspberries, comfrey, squash, calendula, and spring bulbs.Continue Reading

Lacto-fermented Garlic Scapes

Fermenting scapes preserves them for later use, and adds probiotics to your diet. The fermented garlic scapes may used in any way that you would use them raw.

Are you in love with garlic scapes? Me, too! They are great oven-roasted or grilled, in tossed salad, potato salad, or you can even use them to make pesto.

For the uninitiated, scapes are the curly stalks that form a seed head and grow on hardneck garlic varieties. It’s a good idea to remove them to allow all the plant’s energy to form bulbs. Milder than garlic, they are a treat themselves.Continue Reading

Using Wood Chips in a Vegetable Garden

Wondering if using wood chips in your vegetable garden is a good idea? We'll discuss some pros and cons in this post.

Four or five years ago, we had to have a tree in our yard cut down. We asked the arborist to chip the smaller branches, and we used those chips to mulch the paths in our raised bed garden. A year later, we discovered the documentary, Back to Eden, about Paul Gautschi and his method of wood chip gardening.

We were intrigued, and as I looked at the paths in our garden I noticed that as the chips were decomposing, the soil was becoming black and gorgeous. We’ve been mulching our garden with hay, leaves, and grass clippings for many years, but thought that it might be worth experimenting with wood chips. We’ve had some amazing results, as well as some dismal failures. Here’s some of what we’ve learned.Continue Reading

How to Grow a Pumpkin Pie

HOW TO GROW A PUMPKIN PIE: Ask a kindergartener if it's possible to grow to a pumpkin pie, and they'll likely answer a resounding yes, especially after reading to them from the Scholastic Reader, Grow a Pumpkin Pie.

Ask a kindergartener if it’s possible to grow to a pumpkin pie.

I LOVE this age. They are old enough to understand, and young enough to still be magical in their thinking. And while they get that a pie won’t grow in the garden, they’ll still likely answer a resounding yes to your question.

Especially after reading to them from the Scholastic Reader, Grow a Pumpkin Pie.Continue Reading

20 Medicinal Herbs You Can Grow From Seed

Is your local nursery's selection of medicinal herbs uninspiring? Thankfully, there are lots of medicinal herbs you can grow from seed.

Have you been dreaming of getting your garden started? Me, too. You’ve spent the winter with your nose in those seed catalogs, and you’ve probably placed an order or two (or three).

Do those dreams include an apothecary in your backyard? You know, a place where you can grow healing herbs to dry and store. To use for balms and teas, tinctures and oils.

Next time you visit your local nursery, check out their section of medicinal herbs. Chances are the variety will be less than inspiring. Oh, you’ll find lavender and peppermint. Maybe even chamomile and lemon balm. But if your daydreams include herbs like arnica and comfrey, you’re probably out of luck.Continue Reading