Skip to main content

The Last Days of Summer




“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 B.C-43 B.C.)

We are in the final phase of the summer garden here on Orchard Street. It has been a fantastic year. Though I fell short on some goals, such as my intention to take part in a cooperative garden, I was able to accomplish some really wonderful things this year. My daughter, Sophia, continues to amaze me with her curiosity in the garden, especially the herb garden, and I am really proud of how much she grew as a gardener and a little person this year. Her brother, Liam who is two, really caught the fever this year and was eager to dig in the dirt whenever possible, if the truth be told he probably spent more time in the garden than I did! This was also the first time since we have moved into our home that my wife, Meghann, was able to dig around in her herb garden and it looks beautiful! I can’t wait to see what she adds to it in 2011.

We have rounded out the year by harvesting the orange and purple carrots in the garden and collecting the last of the bush bean seeds. The sunflowers are close to be being ready as well. The bees have been frantically working on the giant yellow heads, their legs heavy with pollen, as they make one last push before fall sets in. There were a lot of vegetables that we did not mention in the blog this year. We harvested red onions, lemon cucumbers and have some Brussels waiting in the garden for us as well. We lost some tomatoes to a late blight and our eggplants and romanesco broccoli never really took off. There were as many failures as there were success stories and both provided ample opportunity for on the job learning.

I think one of our short term goals is going to be building a few small cold frames from some left over green house glass that I have. One of my friends, who also had a really impressive growing season, had mentioned using some of the glass for that exact purpose and that got my wheels turning. It just seems like the logical next step to take on this journey.

One of our long term goals, starting next spring, is to expand our garden and maybe attempt to start a small seed bank. We also plan on doing a lot of research on companion gardening and using our environments natural allies to help promote growth while at the same time returning the favor to our neighbors in the plant and animal world.

I will continue to post throughout the fall and winter. There are still so many things to talk about! Book and movie reviews, techniques for the family gardener and of course Meghann may actually write an article or two herself!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Swedish Flower Hen

The rare Swedish Flower Hen has a unique story. Called Skånsk blommehöna(Bloom Hen) in their native country of Sweden this landrace breed was thought to be extinct in the 1970's. (The term landrace refers to the fact that S.F.H.'s were free to develop for nearly five hundreds years without interference from man, so to speak). But in the late 1980's the Swedish Poultry Country Club located isolated flocks in the villages of Esarp, Tofta and Vomb. The gene bank that was eventually created by the S.P.C.C. was successful and there are approximately 1,300 Swedish Flower Hens currently in Sweden.

While enthusiast of rare breeds continue to work hard to increase the numbers it is painfully obvious why they slowly fell out of favor nearly 100 years ago. Though rare and visually stunning they cannot equal the number of eggs some of the top laying hens produce in a peak yearly cycle. Swedish Flower Hens average around 150 eggs over the course of 12 months. Compare that with the nea…

In Winter

I enjoy winter when it arrives at the homestead. Though the gardens are long since dormant there is still plenty to do.The rabbits and the chickens need constant care. A couple of times a day I have to break ice from the animals water and make sure they have enough warm bedding.

I don't mind though. No matter how cold it gets. There is poetry in the garden during summer. Birds sing with triumphant melody. Soft summer rains baptize new growth. But the winter features a more solitary form of art. For the most part there is a resonating silence that is a canvas for the occasional temperamental gust of wind and snow. These same squalls force the breathe from my lungs and scatter the frozen mist before my eyes. Then, once again, there is silence. As any good steward I try not to disturb this peace. If anything, I try to move unnoticed among it.

When it is cold enough the trees will produce an individual moan as they threaten to splinter in the darkness of the woods. They all have their…

The Land of Plenty

The idea that I am about to present to you is certainly nothing new. Wonderful organizations such as Ample HarvestPlant a Row for the Hungry and countless food banks and pantries across the country have been confronting the issue of hunger in our communities head on for some time.

Food insecurity is a cornerstone of the human condition. A little research will lead you to discover a long history of charity in opposition. For example, the seventh century Irish Benedictine monk St. Fiacre who was a master herbalist eventually settled in France and practiced a reverse tithe by keeping 10% of his harvest while giving away 90% to those less fortunate.

Life is complicated, as we all know. There are no easy answers to any of the problems that plague our society but there are some very simple issues that could be addressed that could in turn have a ripple effect on a number of other dilemmas such as poverty, health and even violence.

According to the USDA 40% of the $161 billion dollars’ (yo…