2010 Garden Photo Gallery

Thanks to the recent acquisition
of a digital camera, recording
life at The Living Way
has become easier
and faster to share.
We hope you enjoy these photos!

Apricot trees
Plum trees
The Harvest!
Wild Edibles

See the end of our
garden season


Concord Grape
107 pounds
See it here!


2010 Garden
Line Up:

celery, lacinto kale, red kale, winterbor kale, black cherry tomato, sungold tomato, sugar sweet tomato, tomatillos, leeks, green leaf lettuce, red lettuce, sweet basil, tai basil, parsley (curly and italian)

Sowed direct-
string beans (two rows of green and one row of yellow wax), chicory, happy rich asian greens (my all time favorite because they produce prolific 'perpetual' small heads of broccoli), endive, Detroit golden beets, red bull beets, Red cyclindrical Beets, Flag Pole Beans,
three varieties of onions.

My lovely Lovage and I...a beautitul harvest for market- 5/25/10!

Garden Log 2010
Notes and quotes from The Living Way backyard farmer

It was overcast but warm again today with a slight,
falling mist when I went out to the garden for yet
another last time. Reluctantly I pulled up the arugula
plants. I had hoped to keep them in the ground a
little longer, but I knew in my spirit that it was time
to call it quits. The arugula filled a large plastic
bucket. Then I clipped the last small but green Winter
Bor Kale. Lastly, I cut more of our parsley. I left the
rest to cut another day, since I didn't want to have
too much on hand. I will pick the remainder soon,
so that we can enjoy fresh parsley one more time.
As a grand finale today, I rounded up more crop
covers and brought them into the house. It was
a doggy job, but it had to be done.

What a warm, sunny day today! I celebrated the
gorgeous day by heading out to the garden to look
around and begin gathering up the row covers and
tarps. In the warmth of the sun, I treated myself to
washing off my garden tools in the last of our rain
water and let them air dry. This is the first time that
I've had time and opportunity to accomplish this
wonderful task. Next I will oil them down before
tucking them away for the year. Thank you, YHVH,
for the gift of time to do this small, but meaningful
exercise in garden maintenance.

It was a lovely, warmer day today, so I went outside to
harvest some of our last growings. As I lifted and peeked
underneatht the row covers, our parsley, oregano, and
arugula smiled back at me with wide, green grins! In
spite of the cold and ice, they were feeling fine! I picked
down on all of them, pulling up half of the arugula plants
and then decided to keep the remaining greens going for
a little longer. After all, we can only eat so much at a
time. Once inside, the greens made their way into our
salads, soups, and salad dressings. Home-growns are
still 'o-so-good!'

We awoke this morning there to light snow on the ground
and freezing rain. The sight confirmed that my 2010
gardening days were all but done. Winter was here. Later
in the day, the sky cleared and the sun came out long
enough for me to empty the compost and pick the last of
our Lacinto Kale that by now was laden with snow and ice.
When I picked the leaves, they snapped with life which I
felt was a sign that they were still alive! Hopefully they
will revive enough to make their way into salads, smoothies,
and raw soups! I will save the last harvest of arugula and
parsley for another more convenient time and sunnier day.

With the temperatures dropping daily, I decided it was time
to pull the rest of our beets. When I went out to do so, I
was sadly surprised to see that yesterday's strong winds
had blown off most of the row covers. My much-loved
Golden Beets were frozen into the ground as were the few
Red Bull Beets that were left. Despite their condition, I
pulled them up and brushed off the frozen soil as much as
possible before bringing them into the house. In light of
this loss, I could tell that it was time to let the garden go.
I was able to harvest another small row of Goldens that
fared well. The arugula and parsley I decided to keep
covered until another day when I had more time to pick
them. I also left our kale which continues to grow well.
I'm glad it likes the cold! Having home-grown greens to
harvest at this time of year is a special treat.

Today I marched out into the garden to take advantage of
the sun for pulling the rest of our Red Bull Beets. I lifted the
row cover for the last time and peeked at the beets. They
were ready to see me and come inside. I quickly pulled and
placed them into my garden cart, wheeling them carefully up
the incline to the house. Before bringing them in, I took one
last photo. The leaves were still beautiful shades of reds,
highlighted with sharp greens. The artist in me was ecstatic.
If only I had time to capture them in paint! For now, we'll
enjoy eating them instead!

Today was overcast and cool, so I decided to begin harvesting
our Red Bull Beets. When I pulled off their row cover, what a
glorious surprise! The beets were tall and beautiful, waiting to
be picked. I wasted no time in pulling them out of the ground.
One of the first to come out was what I termed a 'community'
beet, i.e. several beets growing together. It was a huge
specimen! I took pictures and then paraded it into the house
for 'show-and-tell' and a weigh-in. The beet tipped the scale
at 3.75lbs. See this hunker

For the last few days I have been planting our garlic. This
year I planted five varieties. Usually we plant only one
that a local farmer gave us several years ago. We
perpetuate the previous season's harvest by saving
the big cloves for planting next year's crop. However,
this year our garlic crop was smaller than usual. Most
likely this was because I planted it in an area of the
garden where the soil is not particularly fertile. So,
we decided to purchase garlic bulbs from other local
sources to augment our usual supply.

It was a bright, sunny day today with fairly good wind, so I
marched out in the garden this morning with great
determination to prepare a garlic bed for next year's crop.
I cleared away the dead cucumber vines (and happily found
a few cukes hiding!) as well as the dead zucchini plants.
There were a couple good-sized zukes still growing on a
couple plants, so I left them to grow a little larger. Then I
raked away the straw mulch and weeded the area, carrying
off the dead debris to our waste pile that will go to the dump.
In the afternoon, I went out and worked the soil into five
rows, 'hilling them up' so that I can plant our garlic. When
I finished, I felt good about my accomplishment! Since there
was a frost warning for tonight, I brought out our row covers
and snuggled in our herbs, arugula, beets, and peppers.
I also harvested our sage, basil, and oregano for dehydrating.
All in all, it was a busy, delightful day for this backyard

Life at our house is sometimes entirely too eventful! Each day
we pack in a host of activities which, for me, include daily
trips to the garden. Though it is becoming late in the season,
our backyard farm is still producing well. I am bringing in
assorted greens, tomatoes, herbs, and an occasional cuke
or zucchini. While vines and plants are winding down, activity
in the kitchen is on high as we process the harvest for daily
meals and future storage. At this time of year, we wax
creative with dehydrating: various-flavored crackers, fruit
leathers, tomatoes, cukes, summer salad combinations and
who knows what more?

Today I made my rounds in the garden and poked through
some of the weeds, remainders of wild edibles, and dying
vines. I had fun finding hidden produce here and there. I
brought in several tomatoes to ripen plus many tomatillos
that we enjoy eating in our salads and raw soups.

Late this afternoon I began clearing a bed for planting our
garlic. I will prepare the area and plant within the week. It
is good to plant garlic mid-October at the latest. I am hurrying
the process amidst all else that needs to be done. Soon it
will be time to place row covers on our crops in order to
protect them from frost. For me, frost is a bad word.
Nevertheless, I know the garden must come to an end.
Though being a backyard farmer demands considerable effort,
I do appreciate having safe, 'fresh eats' at our fingertips.
Home-grown always tastes better!

Here I am again...another month later as I endeavor to keep up
this log as best as possible. I admit to being somewhat
overwhelmed by the tending of this year's garden, since
everything is growing so well and so quickly! Abundant summer
warmth and rains have graced all of our plants with extra good
growing. As I hover over all the plants and tend their needs, I
liken them to 'friends' or children that beg my attention and
nourishing. It seems that I never have enough time to do all
that I want to do out in the garden, but I have concluded that
what I do accomplish is enough, perhaps more than enough!

We are enjoying a record harvest and eating the freshest and
best possible food around. I have been bringing in greens
, zucchini, summer squash, beans, herbs,
tomatoes, and
tomatillos for a few weeks now. As of this writing, I am doing
well to handle the harvest. Our concord grapes are now ready
to pick, and the picking will be challenging since the grapes are
growing on both sides of the fence that borders on our local
school's football field. This fact necessitates my walking two
blocks to access the football field when the gate is open, so
that I can reach the grapes that grow on that side of the fence.
Years of this 'picking practice' have proven challenging,
especially on the arms, since the grape-laiden baskets are
heavy to lug long distance. This year I might need to transport
them in our car!

In the meantime, I am having fun seeing my garden friends
grow up to maturity, watching the leaves turn fallish colors,
observing our wild edibles go to seed, and bidding farewell
to old garden faithfuls. So it was that a couple weeks ago,
we said goodbye to our twenty-three year old apple tree
in the backyard. Suffice to say, many of its apples were
enjoyed and many lunches were savored under its friendly
shade. All is now but a happy memory as life moves on.
For a look back at our once-beautiful apples whose variety
yet remains a mystery (I have a hunch that they were Cortlands)
click here.

A whole month has passed since working on this log. Shame on
me! My only excuse for this lapse of communication is that I have been immursed in tending our garden: planting, transplanting, trimming, hoeing, mulching, staking, and most
of all...weeding. Nevertheless, I have also been busy harvesting
our beautiful organics: endive, chickory, basil, parsley, lots of
dill (!), lacinto kale, red russian kale, red bor kale, oregano,
sage, mint, thai basil, nettles, barley grass, and most recently
arugula, summer squash, and zucchini! What a thrill it is to
see the garden grow into delicious raw meals. Daily trips into
the garden are a welcomed balm amidst a life of many demands.
Each year the garden is different, and this year (thanks to
abundant sun, warm temperatures, and rains) every plant is bursting with life. They almost sing as I take my daily walks through the jungle of green. Tomatoes are ripening beautifully.
I picked our first few Sun Gold tomatoes last evening and popped them into our salads. These yellow jewels are among my
favorite varieties. I planted mostly yellow tomatoes this year,
since they are less acidic. I also tried a few new tomato varieties: Frosty's Heart (heirloom), Black Cherry, Orange Blossom, and Sun Sugar. I'll let you know which ones we like
the best! Most likely it will be a difficult call!

I am also enthralled with how our our Red Amaranth is growing this year. It is breath-taking. Amaranth is considered to be a wild edible and cultivated for its seed value. The leaves can also be used in salads, etc. Since amaranth does not agree with me
as an edible, I regard it as an ornamental. The tall, stately stand is a stunning 'sculpture' in our garden, a veritable show piece of
visual delight. As I enjoy this new friend, I can see many oil paintings coming on!

It was another HOT day today with temperatures in the 90's.
Our tomatoes love it! I was out early and picked more black-
berries. For lunch I made us a Coconut Custard Smoothie
(delicious!). We then topped off the smoothie with a bowl of
fresh blackberries. I'm glad there are more ripening. It's a
special treat to pick-your-own right in the backyard. Raspberries
will be next to ripen! It was too hot to do anything more in the
garden today. Nevertheless, I looked it all over and pulled a
few stray weeds just for the fun of it.

Time has escaped me in recording our garden's progress!
Nevertheless, all is growing well thanks to beautiful summer
sun, rains, and diligent work on my part. I have weeded nearly
the entire garden, planted almost every inch, and keep tucking
in more seeds and seedlings wherever I can. Each year I tell
myself that I'm not going to plant as many vegetables, but I
can't resist. Gardening is fun and most of all wonderfully
rewarding, especially when all you eat is living food. I have
mulched the whole garden with a bed of fresh straw which
thankfully keeps down any weeds that dare pop up. I amuse
myself by walking the garden and lovingly watch over each
and every plant. By the end of the season, I know every plant
by heart! So far I am harvesting large armfuls of herbs and kale.
Our sugar snap peas are coming along slowly, since I had to
replant some. I planted three varieties of beets and they are
only about two inches tall right now. I wish they would hurry up
and grow taller, since I love beet greens! One of my last
plantings was arugula, an all time favorite of mine. I had a local
greenhouse grow seedlings for me, since we have too many
flea beetles in our garden that are quick to devour the seeds as they poke through the ground. As professional growers suggest, I have covered the new arugula seedlings with a row cover and 'sealed' the sides with dirt. Evidently this is a fail-safe technique for growing arugula without flea beetle interference. We'll see!
In the meantime, stay tuned for our next garden report!

This morning I went out and picked blackberries from our very
own backyard. A few weeks ago I was surprised to find many
blackberry brambles growing along our fence line. Suffice to
say, I was delighted. The bright berries were nestled among tall weeds and wild edibles. I picked over a pint and will go back for
more another day. We enjoyed the fresh blackberries with a
special smoothie today.

Today I was up early and headed out to the garden. The morning
was crispy cool and bright as the sun started its ascent.
Thankfully our two days of rain ceased in the night, drenching
the land with welcomed wetness. I took advantage of the early
light by fertilizing all our plantings. I use a foliar spray of
Miracle II agricultural blend, a truly miraculous blend of organic
minerals that encourages growth (over 200% yield), extends plant
life (for an extended harvest), and strengthens plants, making
them more resistant to disease. I have used Miracle II
Agricultural Blend for several years with astounding success.

After fertilizing, I began harvesting herbs for us and the market.
I picked most of our oregano, the harvest being so bountiful
that what we cannot market we will dehydrate. I also picked
lemon balm and mint for market. The herbs were a beautiful
sight as I gathered them into baskets and proudly paraded
them into the house!

Rain again today! Please don't let us have too much rain,
Father! We don't want monsoons in Maine to drown our garden!

Rain today! Thank you, YHVH!

Once again I am lax in recording progress in the garden.
Perhaps monthly updates are more appropriate for one like
myself who is most often in a constant state of motion. As
the days pass along and time and weather permit, I am
happily out in the garden, digging, tugging, and lugging.
Being the sole proprietor of the land, there is much to do!
By now I have weeded much of the garden and have started
to plant. A couple weeks ago I planted our sugar snap peas,
snow peas, and regular peas. Though I am not a 'pea' person,
I enjoy growing them for occasional eating on my part. Other-
wise, I gravitate to the greens department. Nonetheless, in
addition to peas, total planting includes: seedlings- celery,
lacinto kale, red kale, winterbor kale, black cherry tomato,
sungold tomato, sweet basil, parsley; direct sowing- string
beans (two rows of green and one row of yellow wax), chicory,
happy rich asian greens (my all time favorite because they
produce prolific 'perpetual' small heads of broccoli), and, last
but not least, endive.

Today at the Waterville Farmers' Market we purchased
more seedlings: ace peppers, orange blossom tomatoes,
sun sugar tomatoes, and italian parsley. I hurried to plant
them before the next rain!

Our local newspaper, The Morning Sentinel, published the
photo of our blossoming plum tree as shown
here. I liked
the photograph so much that I now use it as my deskstop
background. The photograph almost takes my breath
away! It's one of the first digital images that I've taken.

5/26- 6/2
Away at our cottage! No gardening!

Today we went to the seedling sale at FedCo's in Clinton.
Going up to this friendly, folksy cooperative of farmers big
and small is always a welcomed venture. As usual, the seedling
selection was overwhelming. What to purchase is always a
challenge, since each variety looks and sounds so wonderful.
After careful consideration, we bought celery, lacinto kale,
tai basil, black cherry tomato, sungold tomato, and cobra
onions. Once 'hardened over' (which took a couple weeks),
I began planting on the new moon...May 17.

It has been nearly a month, since updating this log. The lapse
of entry is not without good excuse: I've been busy discovering
the garden again! Thanks wonderfully sunny, warm days, I
weeded and thinned our herb beds. With a little help from a
friend, the larger garden has been weeded and cleared of
debris from last year. Soon it will be time to plant. All of our
herbs are growing with gusto. That we are harvesting nearly
all of our herbs so early in the season is remarkable. Fresh
lovage, sage, oregano, lemon balm, mint, comfrey, stinging
nettles, and parsley is coming in by the handful and baskets
full. The aromatics are finding their way into raw soups, salads,
entrees, and home- made dehydrated crackers. Today I
planted nearly twenty strawberry plants that were gifted to
us. I'm having fun finding remnants of last year's garden that
happily survived the winter. Among the survivors are collards,
red russian kale, parsley, and pansies! Some of our pansies
miraculously stayed green all winter. One pansy plant is now
sporting a lovely yellow bloom!

After the morning clouds cleared away, it was a beautiful,
sunny, warm day. The temperature must have been in the
70's. It was hot in the sun! I worked on our compost bin,
emptying many (accummulated) bags of garden waste. The
pile was mushy and high! I leveled it off and began covering
it with good, dried garden waste (last year's garlic stems,
herb stems, etc.), then I covered the bin to let it settle/work.
Next I untarped the barn door. What a treat to let the light
and air into the lower barn again! Now I can access all our
garden tools and equipment. Before lunch, I picked a large
handful of dandelion greens. We ate outside in the sun and
fresh air. What a treat!

After lunch I worked more in the lower herb garden and then
cleared and raked the bed where the Jerusalem Artichokes
are planted. Tomorrow I hope to plant the Sun Chokes that
we picked up last week at the Seed Swap and Scion
Exchange. I look forward to putting them into the ground!

Another gorgeous day! I celebrated by going out and
harvesting our first dandelion greens! They were a tender,
mild addition to our noon salad.

A beautiful day to be outside! This afternoon I spent time
looking over the garden and happily saying hello to many old
friends: our garlic is up (this year's as well as last's), our
Egyptian onions, chives, lovage, parsley, oregano, comfrey,
stinging nettles, motherswort, lavendar, and lemon balm. I
celebrated the on-set of the season by starting to clean up
the lower herb garden. I cleared the lovage patch and
worked to uncover the St. John's Wort. After last year's
torrential rains, I hope the St. John's Wort returns.
Dandelions are already taking over the garden. I like them,
but not that much! I'll plan on harvesting some soon for our
salads and juice!

A gloriously warm, sunny day! We celebrated by eating our
lunch outdoors. Afterward, I worked to clean the upper herb
garden by the house. I peeked under the mulch straw to see
how our thyme was doing. It looked back at me with a big,
green smile! I was happy! The mint patch is starting to green
up, too. Soon we will have early herbs!