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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

THE GARDEN IS IN!

                                           "Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade."
                                                                  ~Rudyard Kipling~

Hello everyone! This weekend we worked at planting the garden.  After working all day for three days, I'm happy to report it is in.  Now for the next four months, my time will be spent weeding and watering, harvesting and preserving.  This is no lady-like, garden-gloves type hobby garden, but a real "provide food for the family" garden.  It takes up the better part of one suburban lot and yields enough  to feed a family of four,  plus plenty  left over for family and friends.  There are five plots each about 30 feet  long by 6 feet wide, plus we grow grapes and blackberries  along the fence and  have a strawberry and blueberry patch.  On a second lot, we have a small "handkerchief " orchard  of semi-dwarf apple, pear and meddlar trees. Since we are vegans (for the most part) all we really need to buy is flour, yeast, sugar and coffee and a few other staples.  Unfortunately, we also indulge too often in a bit of cheese or eggs to bake with, hence we are not true vegans.  But if we were in a bind, we could live off this garden, and in the summer, we often do, not stepping inside a grocery store for weeks at a time.  Not only does that save a lot of money, it saves a lot of calories because I'm not good about  fattening and unhealthy impulse buys!   All of our plants are started from seed, including the onions, which make it very economical.   One plot is dedicated to our favorite type of food, Italian.  All the tomatoes, peppers, onions and eggplants are old heirloom varieties.  If you are going to go to all the trouble to grow a garden, why settle for ordinary varieties that you can find in the grocery store?  It's so much fun to taste something that perhaps the pilgrims ate.   Each year I plant something unusual.  Last year it was broccoli rabe, which was a disaster.  This year, it's woad, an herb used for dying.  So far the plants look like they are doing great.  Oh! By the by, the roses I started  died from neglect when I was sick, so my apologies to those I promised one.  But if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  I'll give it another go and see what happens. What have I got to lose?  Here's on of my favorite quotes about gardening:

"A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust."...Gertrude Jekyll

Pretty much sums it up doesn't it?

 Above is a picture of my "wild" front yard garden.  Right now the Jupiter's Beard  and the honeysuckle (hummingbirds love these vines)  are in bloom.  Later it will come into its full glory when the hydrangeas and roses make an appearance. I love this time of year, so full of hope, so full of possibilities!

54 comments:

  1. Hi Jane! Beautiful, just beautiful! Your garden is so wonderful, I love the design, it is such a peaceful place, and so well thought out. I hope you reap a bountiful harvest of flowers, herbs and vegetables! Thanks for the beautiful picture and for sharing your gardening plans with us. Have a great day ahead! With Love, Delisa :)

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    1. Oh thank you, dear Delisa! I love to come out on the porch in the morning and just soak it all in. Of course I don't have my spectacles on, so I can't see all the work that lies ahead. Ha! I was just out transplanting some wild strawberries. There's always new adventures.

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  2. Your garden looks so beautiful, very fresh and healthy! You and your family are very well deserving to have a great harvest from all that hard work! I love all the sunshine in your yard...that is one thing I miss about living where we came from in Port Huron...plenty of sunshine, but only three trees! & those we planted on our lot :)
    ~Have a wonderful week & God Bless~Lisa

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    1. Yes but your wooded lot is so serene. If I didn't have a garden I'd plant a forest in my back yard! Lot's of maples and I really want a chestnut. God Bless, too, Lisa!

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    2. I am with you on the forest, Jane, they are so serene and cool. I would hate to live away from trees. Lily. xxx

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    3. You'd love it here, Lily! We have two state parks and a national forest all within a ten mile radius. Just this past week all the leaves have emerged from their winter slumber. It's so green!

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  3. I think your wild front yard is beautiful.

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    1. Thank you! It's really at its prettiest when the hydrangeas and roses are in bloom but since I mentioned it in the previous post I thought I'd show a picture of it now.

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  4. Your my hero, Jane! I wish we had that much room to garden but we don't so we do what we can. I love hearing about your ability to feed your family from this garden. Homegrown fruit/veg is so superior to store-bought isn't it? Please share more about your garden, meals, canning, etc. I find this very interesting and helpful.

    I don't think you keep chickens, do you? Are you allowed to in your town? We can't keep them here in suburbia but it's something I think would be fun to do. :o)

    Have a beautiful day,
    Sandra

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    1. Doing what we can is all we can, isn't it Sandra? Our village doesn't allow chickens so I buy mine from the farm that's located just around the corner, just outside of the city limits. If I had to do it all over again, I'd buy a place in the country, but it's all a trade-off isn't it? In the village we have a good water supply and sewers. And garbage pick up (love those guys). A lot of places are allowing chickens within the city limits, so who knows? They certainly don't make any more noise or messes than other pets, so I really can't see why a limited amount is out of the question. My neighbor had a solution. She said to raise them inside!

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  5. Your gardens are wonderful! Everything is laid out so nice. And your front garden too. I wish I had more neighbors like you! It would be a wonderful neighborhood. I know you will enjoy your fresh produce this summer. You reap what you sow right! love,andrea

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    1. Wish I had a neighbor like you, Andrea. Wouldn't it be fun to chat over the fence. And I could give you lots of fresh produce. I had to toss a lot of asparagus and rhubarb into the compost bin, we just couldn't keep up with it. It felt very sinful!

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    2. Hi! I have tried four times to grow rhubarb and it just disappears the second year! I don't know why those hollyhocks grew so tall...because it is in a shallow garden of only eight inches of dirt that we put on top of a sidewalk! The base of the plant is so thick, I will have to saw it (to remove it) when it is finished and then work on the roots in late fall or winter so I don't upset the other plants around it. We will have to be neighbors in eternity :)

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    3. It's a deal, Andrea! I know how blessed I am to live in an area that has some of the richest soil on earth. The perfect blend of clay and sand. It makes anyone look like a master gardener!

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  6. Jane, it is so gorgeous and green! I love your orchards, that would be so great! I do what I can with my space, which I love. I wish I could have more fruit trees though! I agree though - my garden isn't a pretty glove type of a garden, it is a get your hands dirty kind of a garden! I love it that way though!

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    1. Yep, Jane! I already have permanently imbedded dirt in all the little ridges of my hands. Even after doing the dishes and a shower it doesn't come out. Bet hand models don't garden! Gardening is one of the most rewarding hobbies, isn't it?

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  7. I love how exciting it is when the garden is put in, I love watching the veggies and flowers grow. Your garden sounds wonderful, lots of different fruits and veggies to enjoy. The woad sounds interesting, I have never heard of it before. The two quotes were great, especially the one by Gertrude Jekyll, very true!

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    1. Hi April! I got the idea to grow woad after watching the History Channel show The Worst Jobs in History. Being a dyer was one of them. It creates an indigo dye. I love experimenting with old-timey recipes and methods. Once its ready to use, I'll have to write a post about it.

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  8. I couldn't help but smile when you mentioned that your garden is not like one of those gardens where you use lady-like gloves, ha, ha! And here I was thinking you had a pair of lace garden gloves hidden in your bedroom drawer. :) But seriously, your garden is HUGE! I think it's almost as big (probably bigger) than the plot of land our suburban house sits upon. It must be a real blessing to have that kind of garden where you can grow real food for your family.

    Don't worry about the roses. We have a few in our backyard. If you weren't so far away, I'd send you a few that you could plant in your yard and say, "See, I really do have roses!" Tee hee! :)

    Blessings!

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    1. Ha Mara! I guess you have me pegged for more of the Ma Kettle type rather than the Queen Mother. And you'd be right! Well, it's the thought that counts, when it comes to the roses. Thank you for that! Soon all of mine will be blooming, which is an exciting time around here. Our house is transformed into a fairy tale cottage.

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  9. That is my dream Jane, to eat everything I can from our garden. It is a slow process and also one that takes dedication...but I know that we can do it. We just have to do it and that is it!

    I truly enjoy your 'wild' garden...it makes me smile - :)

    Thank you for sharing...

    m.

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    1. Just take it one step at a time, Maria! This garden started out as just one small plot. Thanks for the kind words! You don't know how much I needed to hear something nice today.

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  10. Dear Jane,

    Your garden is as big as I wish mine were! I have lots of herbs and other goodies in pots, and a couple of small plots, but we're using Mother Nature's garden, till we get our own big garden space. :)

    May all your produce be blessed, as you share so graciously with others.

    Love,

    Marqueta

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    1. You can do so much with Mother Nature's garden, you hardly need a true garden, Marqueta! You've really inspired me to learn more about foraging and herbal remedies. Just sent out an order from Amazon for a book by Rosemary Gladstar on making herbal concoctions. That along with all your informative videos, ought to have me prepared for whatever may come our way!

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  11. Jane, What a great garden! I didn't grow up vegan by any means, but I remember many, many summer meals consisting of vegetables from the garden. I'm trying to make sure we eat at least three vegetarian suppers a week and so far so good. I know everyone is different and I admit to having a love of flower gardens, but something seems so much more "real" about a vegetable garden to me...perhaps because that is what I grew up with.

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  12. Hi Shara! Eating out of the garden is certainly the thrifty way to go. My grandmother had the best of both worlds when it came to gardens. She would plant a row of annuals between the rows of vegetables. She lived on a farm and had a huge garden. She, along with my grandfather, grew all the vegetables to supply the church's harvest meal. They also raised the pork for it.

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  14. HI Jane~what a beautiful garden you have!!! I just love your blog posts. I especially like "Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem" on your side bar. I have been trying to learn Hebrew. The language has 4,000 words, but it is very hard to learn. I am not giving up, though. Thank you for the wonderful post!! God bless you, Rose

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    1. Hi Rose! I really need to move that further up my sidebar. Just not very technologically gifted so once I get something to appear, I hate to disturb it! Good for you for learning Hebrew! Have you ever seen Rabbi Lapin's show. They explain a lot of the Hebrew language. It's so fascinating, for that matter his entire show is fascinating. I think it's called Ancient Jewish Wisdom. Every little pen stroke has a meaning. Did you know that "man" has an extra little stroke to signify that man is apart from all the other living creatures. That's why the excuse "It's just my nature" doesn't cut it with the Lord. We are supposed to rise above our nature.

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  15. Hi Jane! Sorry your hydrangea buds froze. I get nervous when the weather plays tricks on my plants like that! I think I'd be too nervous to be a farmer. I owe my hydrangeas to you! Who'd think you weren't supposed to prune them in the fall?!! ha. I followed your advice from last summer and they are wonderful..thanks! I have a hard time being patient with rain. At least you don't have to water your gardens or wash the car! I wish I had a flat, sunny yard like you...then I could have a real vegetable garden! love,andrea

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  16. You are as busy as ever, Jane! I always love reading about Sweet Briar Cottage. You are truly a person who works hard to make their dreams come true. You are an inspiration. While I haven’t visited much lately, I do think about you and your life a lot. You’ve always inspired me to “do” instead of just “think”. As you’ve said, it’s hard work to live a simple life!! (-:

    I’m very sorry to read that you were quite sick – and that I missed that. I hope and pray that all is well for you now. I am looking forward to watching your gardens grow again this season!

    Sandy

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  17. You should be proud of your garden! Tastes all those homegrown things better than from the store? I think so. My tomatoes are so much better. I eat them straight from the plant.

    Thank you, dear friend, for your nice comment on my blog.

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    1. Tomatoes freshly picked from the garden taste as good as apples. And the peas rarely make it to the kitchen. My heart broke for you when I read your blog, dear Jedidja. Remember that our lifetimes are just a blink in eternity. I would like to send you a cyber hug!

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    2. Dank je wel / thank you!

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  18. May I come back, Jane? I have missed you so! You always brighten my day! I love your "wild" yard! It is wonderful and you are so efficient with your crops! It makes me long for you to come plan mine. I think I suffer from too much space and too many dreams! LOL

    Frankly, m'dear, your "simple life" is simply perfect, in my eyes! I would love to retire EARLY and not LATER, but life isn't working that way. But, I am learning a lot along the way, right? LOL

    Has your sweetheard retired permanently yet?? If so, you two will be found dead from exhaustion because you work so hard together! :)

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    1. Everyone is always welcome here, Matty. No retirement yet but we are looking forward to the day when we can work all day together. Then you'll see the Farmer MacGregor garden I always dreamed of having.

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  19. I have been lazy and did not plant my garden during our lovely wet spring (first one in long time) and now it's gotten hot already here in the deep south, I was thinking I may skip it till fall, but now I'm feeling ashamed of myself for my indolent ways-I may get that garden in yet!

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    1. Well maybe a few tomatoes plants would be enough, Charlene. What's summer without fresh tomatoes? The weather has been so cold here, there's not much happening in our garden. It's hard to believe that in a few short months it will be actually producing food. I'm always in awe of the miracle of a garden!

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  20. dear jane,
    your garden is wonderful.i love reading your post.
    like your wild front garden.
    have a nice time,
    love regina

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    1. Hello Regina! How have you been? I hope the warmer weather is helping with all your aches and pains. When will you be posting some pictures of your garden?

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  21. Hi Jane,
    Your garden looks wonderful!
    Every year we plant and we never know what kind of harvest we will have. Our blackberries are just coming on and we are beginning to get lots of tomatoes and green beans. Our zucchinni for some reason this year is not doing well.
    I didn't plant any flowers this year except a few marigolds ~ too much going on. But there is always next year!
    Hugs))

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  22. Hi Laurie! We can never tell either. This year the deer are a particular problem. They've already eaten the cabbages, broccoli and the tops of the peppers (I didn't even think they liked peppers). How I envy you already getting tomatoes. I think a tomato sandwich is probably the best thing in the world. I have one plot that isn't very good it has so many rocks, that I use for a cutting garden. Just took a peek and the cosmos are started to pop up. Hope the deer don't eat them!

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  23. Stunning... gorgeous... industrious. I am very impressed. :)

    Blessings, Debbie

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  24. Hi Jane! How are you this evening? I hope that you had a nice day. We had a tremendous thunder storm this afternoon. Everything is incredibly green and growing this month. I know we are going to appreciate all this rain once summer gets here. I had a really nice weekend, we had a little party and invited a few friends over. We had five children under the age of five! Wow, I wish I could bottle their energy! We set up a little playroom for them in the dining room and we all had a real good time. Barkley loves kids and I think they thought he was a big stuffed animal. :) I made a giant pot of spaghetti and meatballs, a chocolate mint cake and a pineapple upside down cake. I am a little bit worn out but in a good way. This is a quiet week so I am able to rest up a little. Have a lovely evening ahead! Delisa :)

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    1. Your the hostess with the mostest, Delisa! Did you use that recipe for the chocolate mint cake that you posted? I'm glad to read that you are feeling well enough to entertain. Please keep the rain down your way for a few more days. Need to get our porch painted!

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  25. Dear Jane,

    You are one the reason why staying away will be hard. Your friendship, your wise words, your no-nonsense attitude keeps me convicted and questioning myself often. All in a very good way!

    Thank you for your friendship... May Our Lord continue to make you a beacon for all of us ladies that visit you often.

    Maria

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    1. Dear Maria! I pray that you have a fine time in your journey of discovery. If ever you need anything please don't hesitate to e-mail. Godspeed, dear friend!

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  26. Hi Jane! Sorry your comment disappeared. I hate it when that happens..because you can never be sure if it really disappeared and then you have to recreate what you said..ha..

    Ha...true about rabbits and math and that name my daughter picked out. Not a very convenient name...I need a shorter one.

    I know, now I have a reason to look at antique/resell shops. Plates and nicknacks...that would be fun.

    I rarely bike. But I like to have the freedom to do so. I just go in my development. My husband tries to drag me out to a park or something...but I'm not adventuresome. I love bike baskets too. They are so pretty...just something about them. Well, I suppose you'll be doing a new post soon! love,andrea

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  27. ✿✿⊱╮
    Fotos lindas... lugar encantador.
    Boa quinta-feira!
    Bom Feriado!
    Beijinhos.
    Brasil
    •.¸¸✿⊱╮¸¸.•

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    1. Olá Inez! Acho que ficando animado sobre o tempo suficiente quente para plantar um jardim parece estranho para alguém do Brasil ensolarado!

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  28. I certainly admire your determination. Good for you to be growing so much food instead of having to purchase it. Right now in our part of the country, it is extremely hot and dry--my husband is watering his (small) garden, and putting grass clippings around the plant to help hold in moisture. Your pink door is so pretty!

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