How Does Your Garden Grow?

Maybe it comes from my living in the woods for so many years or it could just be my somewhat offcenter nature,but no matter how hard I try my garden always ends up looking wild and woodsy.Not for me those neatly trimmed hedges and borders marching along in perfect formation.If I plant something it’s bound to spring out and do something crazy.It’s not that I don’t appreciate a well sculpted garden look,I do,but I find myself drawn to the more natural woodland style.I like feeling as if I just stepped into a clearing that no one has ever been in before.(in the case of my year end garden that’s often how it DOES look!)
So today I went out armed with my trusty spade and trimmers to wage war on the rampant growth.Even though I say I’m not going to tolerate that wild morning glory, every year I weaken when it starts to bloom.How can I chop it away when those beautiful flowers are there every morning?This year we compromised,I trimmed when needed and it was polite enough to stay in bounds……for the most part.One year (we call it the kudzu morning glory summer)it took over everything.We clipped and trimmed four lawn bags of the stuff.
Necessity dictated that I get out there today.That and the fact that I bought a bunch of perennials.I know,I know !!How to find room in my heavily planted city garden.What can I say.We had a HUGE sale at work,all perennials were $1 each,and the fever came upon me.Til all was said and done I had purchased $130 worth of plants for a mere $11.No one can blame for that surely!So by moving the daylilies and eliminating some flower pots I was able to fit in purple asters,black eyed susans,sedum,several kinds of ferns and a hosta.The hosta is one of those gigantic kind,I’m a little apprehensive,but excited at the same time shedsfirst.
Part of my make room for plants plan was to get rid of my tomato flower pots.Next year I’m going to ground,or rather the tomatoes are.I have a perfectly good fence and I though,”espalier!”I’ve never done it before,but since it works so well to train a fruit tree along a fence,why not a gigantic tomato plant?So Mr. Mortgage Lifter and Co. will be growing right in the soil and being carefully trained to grow along the fence.In theory I think it sounds like a plan,we’ll see how it works out in fact.
I was so glad to see that the earthworm population has really increased,a sure sign I’m doing something right.My soil isn’t Victory Garden quality yet,but it’s getting there.Compost,compost,compost!
We gardeners seem to always be looking ahead while also enjoying the present.Tidying up the garden for it’s seasonal sleep,enjoying the weather and smell of the earth, while dreaming of next years garden.Not to mention the anticipation of garden catalogs arriving in January!It’s all good don’t you think?

Garden Elves


By Sarah Kinbar

Thank you, Halle, for your help gardening today! Not only did my little girl carefully place each herb plant in the soil-filled container, she was also with me at the nursery when we picked out the plants.

As I looked at each herb for sale, picked them up and smelled them, and decided what to buy, I glanced to my side to see Halle imitating me. She pored over each plant earnestly, and then asked if she could be the one to choose. How could I say no?

One of gardening’s joys is sharing it with those you love, and over the past few years, my children have been integrally involved. Not long ago, all the neighborhood kids gathered ’round to help me replant a bed, and in the process they learned the importance of amending soil, planting with enough space between each plant, and placing larger plants in the back and smaller ones in front.

It is tempting to make quicker work of gardening by going it alone, but I suggest gardening with your children so that they can experience the creative power of hands in the soil.

A shout out to Carol Paton, who posted this beautiful garden photo on our Facebook page recently.

by Beverly DeMers

Most of you know by now my fondness for the heirloom tomato, Mortgage Lifter. So imagine my pleasure when Sarah sent me the fall issue of Heirloom Gardener magazine to read. Looking through the articles made me even more aware of the importance of not only gardening organic, but of using heirlooms whenever possible.

The photos are vibrant and lush, a real feast for the eye. Just seeing the cover gave me an urge to grow squash (this being the wrong time of year for planting I had to settle for buying some acorn squash and baking them). Great photos aside, what could have been “just another gardening magazine” has been taken to a higher level. It’s as if a group of gardening friends sat down and swapped ideas with you. Heirlooms really are an integral part of a gardening legacy that’s been passed down through generations.

There are some very informative (and interesting!) articles on topics such as growing wheat, corn, raising turkeys, starting an artisan cheese business, canning, and growing roses. Many include some yummy sounding recipes–I can hardly wait to try the polenta recipe on page 69. Whether you’re a casual gardener or a hardcore homesteader, you’ll find something to interest you here. I know I’ll be growing garlic this year, thanks to the extremely helpful article on page 73. Give me bruschetta and I’m a happy woman!

So overall, this is a magazine full of helpful hints, inspiration and information. One of those you refer to often and place in your “keep” pile. I can hardly wait for the winter issue!

I just have to share this polenta recipe:

3 c. milk

1/2 tsp.salt

1c. coarse ground Floriani cornmeal

2 Tbsp. butter

1 clove garlic, diced

pinch of cayenne

1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

Bring milk and salt to boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream. Stir in the butter and garlic. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened to the consistency desired. Remove from heat  and stir in the Parmesan. Serve hot and enjoy! Mangia!

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