Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The tree

So, yes, the original Soundharvest property has been sold. The apples, the blueberries, the figs (which must be ripe right now), the hen house with stained glass, the raised beds and the marsh. It is sad if I let myself think about it that way, so I don't.

What I do think about instead is this tree. It's a live oak,
old and huge and beautiful, and it shades the tiny old cottage at what will be the new Soundharvest homestead. Though not too far away, I will garden in an entirely different microclimate than before. Very dry instead of mucky (the water table is 5 feet down!). In NC and on an island, but closer to the Labrador current than the Gulf Stream, so no where near as warm in the winter months I fear. I have a lot to learn!

BUT, I'm there only on weekends now. Jobs must be worked and bills paid as you know! Bouncing around through friends lovely guest houses and beach getaways. Nice, but unsettled! New adventures are good, and I am smack in the middle of one. This tree though, I know where to find it, and it is mine and I am hers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Garlic time

The garlic tops had started turning yellow and had lost their umph, and for me it is now or never to harvest this batch! With all signs pointing towards harvest time, I pulled the bulbs. I placed them under roof on a slated rack to start drying.

They will need a few weeks to dry before storing, so will finish the process at the new house. If it appears they are not mature enough to properly dry I will peel them and store the cloves refrigerated, in oil. Although not as big as last years heads, the garlic looks beautiful.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Unanticipated beauty

The cherry dining table, some couch cushions, a lamp and two Le cruset pots head to the home of a dear friend. They look so pretty on the lawn in front of tall trees that we planted as tiny saplings. Note that the pennywort has sensed I have surrendered.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Keep on laying

It worked, and the obvious glee of their new family completely offset the sadness to see them go. OK, it did for a little while.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


The garlic is maturing early this year. I pulled one, thinking it would be "green garlic", tender like green onions, only to find that it has developed its papery coating and soon will be ready to harvest and dry.

This is extra good, good news. Why? Because I treasure my home grown garlic, and my Soundharvest homestead is for sale, and under contract. I know, it shocks me every time I say it. Please come with me through this transitional time. Let's see how gardening and all that goes with it fits into this new phase. More later.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


There is a bumper crop of apples on both trees this year. They look so beautiful. A few aphids here and there, but not enough to require any effort on my part! I should thin them. I really should.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


After the strangest winter and spring ever, I finally have a substantial harvest from the garden. Lettuce, a giant pile of it, in many colors and textures! It tastes wonderful and it makes me happy. This small mountain is what was left after sharing with friends and neighbors. I even picked a few snap peas. Isn't it great to finally, finally have warm sunny weather and garden vegetables?

As usual, I am behind on planting. But, now that it finally is warm, I will be getting some beans and cucumbers in the soil. It has been a couple of dry weeks, so I have to wait for Friday's rain to moisten the beds. I am so ready for hot and humid!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Beaten and blue

The gale force winds here at the coast last weekend gave my hot pepper, tomato, and basil plants a real beating. They look weak and pitiful. New leaves are coming out though, and they will be fine before long.

The biggest news in the garden is how well the blueberry plants are responding to the long, cold winter. Each of the three plants (and three varieties) is bursting with berries! Funny how weather that really knocks one fruit back (I lost all of my early figs to the last late freeze) seems to give another a boost.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The potatoes know

This is what I found when I reached into my potato bin for the end of last year's crop. The spuds weren't ready to be dinner, they knew it was spring and were hoping instead to be planted for a new crop! Sorry potatoes, too late now and I am saving the space for other crops this year.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Catch them, quickly!

I know I just posted, but this is time sensitive. If you have not yet cleaned up your winter damaged ferns, run! Do it now!

Here you see a before and after photo. Had I waited one more day, all of these new shoots would have been open and mixed in with the old, damaged leaves. It would have taken 10 times more time and effort to prune around them. So get out there, catch them before they get ahead of you!

Springing up

The tiny species tulip bulbs I planted a few years back continue to naturalize and multiply. Aren't they beautiful? Traditional hybrid tulips won't make it past a year or two here.

On the edible front: snap peas are up! It is a pretty spotty stand, however, so I will push some extra seeds down into the empty spots. Since it finally may be getting warm they might catch up.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Permaculture 101

I use the mixture of chicken manure and pine shavings that I clean out of the coop as both fertilizer and mulch for shrubs and perennials. Since I apply it in a raw form, not composted, I don't want it where it could splash up on fresh vegetables. Keeping my own yard as self sufficient as possible, using rather than throwing away, is one tiny permaculture practice I can be proud of.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Are you wondering what those last two photos where? I just left you hanging. I blame it in on confusion from seeing the first sunshine in months. So, the last post had two photos: the weeds in my beds (mostly annual bluegrass) and my flat leaf parsley.

Here is the second winter survivor, garlic! Also, my rosemary bushes had gotten huge again, at least 5 feet across, so they were chopped back down to nubs. Sure hope they respond properly! This is one of the branches covered with purple flowers.

Monday, March 10, 2014


After the coldest, wettest winter ever, finally a sunny day. My raised beds are much drier than the flat ground around here, so I was able to take two beds from weeds to snap peas! I am very excited.

Only parsley and my garlic plants survived the vegetable eating dog and the winter. They are beautiful. I hope these peas will pop up to join them soon. Lettuce comes next. It is so late compared to most years, but this truly is the first chance for spring planting. It feels very good to be out in the soil and sun.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Don't give up

Despite all other signs to the contrary, a daily harvest of eggs and swelling buds on the maples and blueberries promise me that spring is here. It certainly is keeping itself well hidden beneath cold, wet winds and gray skies, but I will not give up hope. The hens promise that warm sunshine is coming. Eggs don't lie.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wickedly beautiful

We are having a highly unusual ice storm here. It is supposed to last through today and tomorrow, then hang around another day as temperatures stay in the 20s. I just wanted a little snow. Instead I have porch screens turning into textured glass.

Friday, January 17, 2014

After the freeze

The heavy freeze we had last week left its mark on the garden. It dipped down to 17, and then stayed in the 20s for 24 full hours afterwards.

The best news is that the garlic, left unprotected, came through with flying colors. Here is one of the plants, with a new sheen of frost this morning. Harder hit, as expected, was the broccoli. The close up of a leaf shows the impact that a freeze of this level has on broccoli leaf tissue. The main stems are fine and, if left in the garden, would produce new leaves and side shoots in the spring. I'm done with these and soon will need the space, so I'll pull them up this week.

Last, the tangerine has lost all it's leaves, and many branches are beginning to brown. It will be awhile still until I can fully determine the damage. I expect lots of heavy pruning of dead branches will be needed!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hens and the vortex

Hens can handle cold. Hens can handle wet. What they can't handle is cold AND wet. The ladies got a huge dry pile of wood shavings in the coop to help keep them warm tonight, and lots of dry straw in the run to keep them off the wet ground tomorrow. They should be fine now, no matter what the polar
vortex brings!

Citrus and vortex

All I can do with my medium sized tangerine tree is wrap the trunk to try and save the plant, if not the existing branches. It is just too large to do more. I am trying to hold a bit of today's soil warmth for the young tree. The full sized tangerine will just have to struggle through unprotected. It has lost branches before, but lived and produced again.

The tiny lemon and grapefruit each are getting a full blanket. I will be thankful if any of them survive, and I know that at the least many branches will be lost. Is it worth this risk of loss to pick tangerines in my yard at Thanksgiving? Absolutely.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


All signs point to temperatures dropping into the teens tomorrow night and staying well below freezing for a couple of days. Knowing that, I picked the rest of my orangequats, my tender broccoli buds and my one cabbage. Although possibly not necessary, I also picked the carrots. They were full size and beyond, and since they are in raised beds, much more likely to freeze than if they were below ground level.

The broccoli plants probably will survive, with damaged leaf edges. They mostly will serve to produce leaves for the hens for the rest of the winter, so I am not concerned. I have no kale this year, but if I did it would be left out, no worries.

My garden was fairly empty this fall, so I don't need to consider a light cover to trap the warmth of the day for the cold snap. The young garlic should do fine on its own, at least I hope so. Maybe I will give them a few inches of leaves just in case.