Monday, April 25

Strawberry Spinach video

I planted some strawberry spinach today. I found this video by Growing Your Greens on youtube. I can't wait to see this plant in my own garden.

Saturday, April 16

Eco-Day and French Breakfast Radishes

It was a cold and blustery April day, but the crowds still arrived for Eco-Day at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm in Wells, Maine. We explored the booths, Farmer's Market, and saw a baby pig, goat, bunnies and chickens. Best of all, a multitude of amazing kites took advantage of the strong wind.

We were given some French Breakfast Radish seeds. I'm curious about the name of these radishes-does anyone know why they are called Breakfast Radishes? I did a little research but couldn't find the origin of the name. I learned they have been cultivated since the 18th century, have a mild flavor, and grow 3-4 inches. I'm going to plant some tomorrow and send Michele some to try in her garden, too. Anyone interested in ordering some French Breakfast Radish seeds click here.

Laudholm Farm is a wonderful place to hike and enjoy wildlife. For more information visit

Wednesday, April 13

My Daffodils Bloomed

by William Wordsworth 

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Monday, April 11

Free Garlic Plants-Portland

On my way to work this morning someone had put out four pots of Garlic with a free sign on them. As often the case in Portland, people put out their excess plants on the curb for others to take. I really appreciate this unexpected treat!

Sunday, April 10

Caroline's Garden in April

 The first crocus of the year. My crocus have special meaning to me. These belonged to my grandmother. She was so proud of her "Jumbo" crocus. They were planted around her hydrangea tree. When we were cleaning out her house to be sold, I dug up some of her bulbs and transplanted them under my cherry tree. They are beautiful, but they never get as big for me as they did for her.
 Daffodils will open soon. I also have some tulips coming up and soon the vinca will bloom. I also found a little patch of cilantro that survived the winter.
 A view of my fenced in garden. Lots of work to do once the snow melts. Compare the snow level to the February picture in the sidebar. We've come a long way since then!
My new little greenhouse.

Saturday, April 9

Note to Michele: Greenhouse, Onions and Cats in the Pea Patch


Thanks for the information about your community garden. I've never participated in a community garden before so it helps to know what to expect. I'll keep you posted.

This morning I put together the small greenhouse my children gave me for my birthday. It only took a few minutes and I'm impressed considering it only cost $20 at Big Lots. It seems stable and also includes two solar powered flood lights. I also saw a source of free old windows and may pick up a few to build a cold frame.

I walked my property yesterday assessing the condition and things that need to be done. I discovered a pine tree uprooted in the forest. I'm not sure when that happened but I think it is recent. So that makes two trees I've lost this winter. 

My raised bed filled with onions and chives is coming to life. I have chives, garlic chives, yellow onions and Egyptian onions. I'll tell you more about the Egyptian onions soon. I can also send you a few of the bulbs to start your own. This is a most entertaining plant. If you plant some, you'll see what I mean.
I've encountered a problem with my pea patch. The cats think I've tilled the soil just for them and are enjoying digging in it. I discovered a large hole in the center of the patch. Any suggestions?


Friday, April 8

Note to Caroline: New Community Plot

Very excited to hear about your new community plot. That is great that you were allocated space and I can't wait to hear how the plots are set up. Generally every community garden has a set of "garden etiquette" rules depending on who is setting the garden up.

My garden is part of the Portland Garden and Recreational Program so it may have more formal rules than your plot will have. It seems like the biggest no, no is to have a weedy plot. We have rules on weeding like we must show that we have made a start on weeding our plot by May 1st of each year and by June 1st half of our plot must be weeded. Ask if there are any garden amenities included. For example we have a water hook up for each plot. The water is turned on from March 30th to October 30th.

We also have access to a limited amount of basic gardening tools and mulch. Garden work parties and work groups seem to be common events at a community garden, especially at the start and end of the season. From what I can tell you usually attend these if you are able to and it is a time when everyone works on the garden all at once.

There might be other odd rules too. For example, we have a list of things that we cannot compost that normally you could and there are no trash cans to place trash so we must take it with us. I was also surprised to find out what plants were considered invasive here as some of the plants were things we commonly plant in the Midwest. I don't think you will have a problem with this because you have always lived and gardened in New England.

You must tell me more and check to see if there is a Garden Manager. It is nice that you may be able to fulfill all your green produce needs for your family with this additional space. I have enclosed the following link to the page of rules for the Portland Community Gardens.

Note to Michele- Signs of Spring in Maine

Hi Michele,

It seems to finally be Spring in Maine for real- not just by the calendar. The maple trees have stopped running and we boiled down the last of the sap. I planted a patch of peas a week ago. Yesterday, I saw the first crocus blooming outside a shop. Last night I heard the first spring peepers peeping. These little frogs signal spring every April.

Another sign of spring- the fishermen are out at night catching Smelt as they swim up the brooks to spawn. Near brooks, trucks line the roads late at night. I remember this spring ritual when I was a child. My father made wire fishing baskets on long poles. I felt sorry for the poor fish, but my sister loved to eat plate after plate of smelt. In May and June, the Alewives will run and the same technique will be used to catch them. Most people don't eat Alewives, but they are food for other fish, and lobstermen use Alewives as bait in their traps.

We still have some patches of snow on my property, but that should be gone soon. It makes me think of a Robert Frost poem I love:

A Patch of Old Snow
by Robert Frost

There's a patch of old snow in a corner
That I should have guessed
Was a blow-away paper the rain
Had brought to rest.

It is speckled with grime as if
Small print overspread it,
The news of a day I've forgotten--
If I ever read it.

Good news- I obtained a plot at a community garden so will be able to plant so much more this year. As you know, full sun is a problem on my property, so this will allow me to grow so much more. It's a good sized raised bed in full sun, so I'm overjoyed. Now I just have to get planning! What veggies do you think I should grow at the community garden?


What to do when it is just too Darn hot to Garden?

It has been a very hot summer everywhere. From what I have been told it is normal to get 100 plus days from the months here from  May to Oct...