‘Tis the season for apple

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imageimageEvery September I am so excited for the chance to cook and bake with apples. Truthfully there is nothing that I do not like about the apple tree. From the flowers in Spring, the chance to climb them, the fruit they offer and the wood use later for smoking, this tree is awesome.

This September is no different from any other year for the apple anticipation that I experience. However, this year I was pleasantly surprised to discover neighbors who have apple trees with an abundance of apples. Hooray! Did I mention that these neighbors are generous and deliver these apples by the bushel to my door? Double hooray! Some of the smaller, gnarly apples go straight to the pigs, but most of them are being used in our kitchen which is just wonderful.  Read More

2015 Garden Efforts

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20150810_174548This year was definitely a learning year on the garden front. We planted several gardens and had varying success, from a good yield, to a zero yield, depending on the plot. Our main vegetable garden provided a robust harvest, but could have certainly been better if we had planned a little more effectively, weeded more consistently and managed the plant growth better. Overall though it provided enough to enjoy through the summer and also can and dehydrate a fair bit.

Our “animal garden” was a complete bust, providing no pumpkins or corn. I think that was a combination of soil prep (or lack of) and also inadequate sunlight.

The raised beds (we have 6) provided a crazy growth once they got started, but were very slow to start relative to the main garden. We are looking at a second harvest of peppers, tomatoes and a number of herbs. We also got a great crop of basil, mint, catnip and other similar crops.

Lessons Learned:

  1. 20150809_104807Soil amendment is key, especially in the first year.
  2. Mounding, or otherwise protecting from flooding pays dividends! (Jessica’s idea and it saved our garden in heavy rains)
  3. Properly staking fruit heavy plants early is a must before they get away from you.
  4. Watch the full sun path and plan for the canopy of near by trees to fill out if you are looking in early spring.