Monday, March 30, 2015

Mosaic Monday #34 - The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden


I recently read "The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden" by Karen Newcomb. No stranger to growing vegetables in small places, I found the book helpful in my ability to hone this gardening technique even further.
My little veggie plot may not be square but an 8 by 2 foot area of soil can grow more than enough beans, beets and carrots for two people.  The garden is situated in front of the three bin compost area and that's rhubarb at the end. Facing south, plenty of sun reaches all of the plants.
In the spring after planting a wire cage keeps the bunnies and family dog out.  Later this is removed with just a short fence running along the length to remind our dog this is not an area to run through or lay on in the sun. 
Newcomb describes the origin of what we commonly know today as square foot or intensive planting to being discovered back in the 1890s. It evolved to become known as French Intensive Biodynamic Gardening and with diligence a 5 by 5 foot garden should produce 200 pounds of vegetables.
The smallest plot recommended in the book is 4 by 4 feet and the largest, 10 by 10 feet.
The elements for success include an excellent quality of soil, planting vegetables close together, watering deeply but infrequently, using organic methods and utilizing techniques such as intercropping, succession planting, catch crops and growing vertically.
Drawing up a plan is beneficial and there are several illustrations in the book to follow and location of the garden bed itself is of course important.
Warm vs cool season crops is explained as is the composition of organic fertilizers.
A good list of vegetables is covered in detail for when to sow and harvest along with recommended varieties.
Each vegetable has typical problems and solutions offered as well as growing tips and storage. From this I learned when growing red beets to sprinkle a spoonful of common table salt per foot of soil to improve growth and colour. I'll be trying the salt this spring!
It was fun to try the tri-colour carrots one year but I've since stuck to my favourite, Nantes 'Starica'. Any little spaces in the long gardening bed and the small triangle at the end of the compost bins has been planted with tomatoes, scallions and basil.
Growing vegetables in containers is a way to increase yield and above is swiss chard I grew in a pot last year. Newcomb has an interesting section with ideas for growing in various receptacles and suggests looking for midget vegetables bred specifically for pots.
Here are a couple of new plants I'll be trying this year from Renee's Seeds.
The book gives a nod to popular herbs that are easy to grow and ends with good discussion on controlling pests, diseases and critters. At the back of the book is an extensive list of US seed suppliers. Much of this information, and more can be found on The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden web page.
My thanks to Ten Speed Press for sending me "The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden" to review.

Welcome to Mosaic Monday
Link the Url from a post containing a mosaic or collage about any subject. 
Please link back to this Mosaic Monday post so that your readers can find other wonderful mosaics. 
Linked posts not including a mosaic nor linking back to Mosaic Monday will be removed in fairness to other participants.
Thank you for participating and sharing your creativity!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tea on Thursday - Think Spring

We're a couple of weeks away to seeing green poking through the garden and that's when I'll be out with my camera to photo journal changes and progress.
I thought it would be fun to 'think spring' by looking back at some photos from past spring tea posts.
And some of the sugar cookies I've baked.
I need to decorate more sugar cubes which are cute to put out when company comes for tea.
We like pecan pie, I don't know many who don't! This week I tried the impossible pie recipe using Bisquick but neither hubby or I are sure if we liked it as well as the traditional. Has anyone else made this recipe, and do you prefer it to having a pastry crust? I meant to take a photo of the Bisquick pie but forgot.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mosaic Monday #33 - Goodbye Winter

As I sit writing my post on Saturday afternoon the wind is howling like a banshee and snowflakes are furiously swirling about as they head downward to cover the ground again.
With the snow shrinking rapidly the last couple of days, the pond is opening up to reveal the ravages of winter. Survival of the fittest. Yes, sadly each spring we lose a number of goldfish that weren't hardy enough to overwinter at the bottom of the pond.
My favourite weigela 'Ghost' in summer that was a Proven Winners trial shrub a few years ago. The name 'Ghost' comes from the faded greenish-yellow leaves.
'Ghost' as it appears now, chewed back to less than half its size by the resident rabbits. On the right, how my shrub looks after being processed.
Things once alive and colourful but still beautiful as seen by the winter parchment of hydrangea 'Limelight' with the sun shining in the background on the fence.
It really is spring though and do you want to know how I know?
The robins are back! They arrived as the first harbinger of spring in my garden and I'm glad there are still dwarf crabapples (even if shrivelled) left for them to eat.
I can hardly wait for sprouts to start popping out of the soil as it warms and provide some much needed spring colour.  To the blogging sisters out east who are still buried under four feet of snow, I hope you see some signs of spring soon. ♥
Welcome to Mosaic Monday
Link the Url from a post containing a mosaic or collage about any subject. 
Please link back to this Mosaic Monday post so that your readers can find other wonderful mosaics. 
Linked posts not including a mosaic nor linking back to Mosaic Monday will be removed in fairness to other participants.
Thank you for participating and sharing your creativity!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tea on Thursday - Changes

With the sun shining practically every day now and spring arriving tomorrow, I'm motivated to start making some changes. My talented and obliging web designer, Karen Valentine is working with me to create a complete makeover on the design of Lavender Cottage. I love the original design but when Karen gave a gentle nudge last year that an updated look was in order, I dragged my heels until now because I have the type of personality that doesn't like change.
I realize updating in various aspects of one's life is essential whether it be home decor, clothing or the simple undertaking of social media. Even my young hairdresser recently insisted on a different and more modern hairstyle so in recalling the term I've heard from blogging sister BJ who blogs at Sweet Nothings I said "I want to look sassy'. This must be a southern term but I sure like it! (adj. full of spirit)
Every so often I'll use this large teacup that actually holds the same amount of tea as a mug and it's a welcome change as I don't have to run to the teapot as often.
Here's a big change - no scone in sight for afternoon tea because I'm trying to lose weight.  There has to be something to nosh with afternoon tea though, a habit for years from when I was working.  A couple of celebration biscuits with dark chocolate are a little higher in calories than I'd like but I allow for them with my planning. Speaking of which, I use My Fitness Pal, a free app recommended by one of our daughters. 
Switching to dark chocolate for the health benefits was a small challenge as we grew up with milk chocolate but I find a little goes a long way with the dark for chocolate cravings.
The winter snowflake dishes and snowmen were packed away this week with the Lennox Butterfly Meadows china returning to the cupboards. Spring decor of bunnies and birds returned to the hall table and throughout the rest of the house. That's a Scentsy burner on the right and if I had remembered to turn it on you would have seen the birds on it.
Well, that's enough changes for for me right now but I foresee more in the future as the gardens awake and come to life. 
Any changes in your life? Any desire for a new hairstyle to look 'sassy' too? :-)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mosaic Monday #32 - A Cool and Soothing Ambience ☘

My book The Healing Garden by David Squire describes the colour green as one that produces a cool and soothing ambience which signifies growth, fertility and freshness.
Above are the dainty flowers of Lady's mantle.
They add a nice contrast to the mound of leaves of this plant and are a marvellous chartreuse filler for bouquets.
How calming this field of green with trees and green pasture with sheep from a local farm look.
Our pond filled with large saucer-shaped leaves of water lilies is home to a dozen or more green frogs.

An Irish Blessing
There's a dear little plant that grows in our isle,
'Twas Saint Patrick himself, sure, that set it;
And the sun of his labor with pleasure did smile,
And with dew from his eye often wet it.
It grows through the bog, through the brake, through the mireland
And they call it the dear little Shamrock of Ireland.
One of a set of teacups by  Phoenix that hubby's grandmother brought over from Ireland. What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than with a cup of Irish breakfast tea and scone with marmalade.
Signs of spring to look forward to in the garden. The green stems of cimicifuga unfurl and daffodils are ready to flower.
A fine example of shades of soothing green that can be found in a garden. 
After a couple of trial weeks, I've decided to continue putting Mosaic Monday up early on Monday mornings. (EDT) After all, it's a Monday meme and I hope it will encourage participants to come back and visit the others. I stop by and comment on each blog (except the person whom I know deletes my comments) and it may take me a few days to get around to everyone but I do enjoy seeing what you have to share. 
We have a congenial group of regulars each week and newcomers are welcome to join us. Thank you all for your support and participation to make Mosaic Monday a fun party to join.
**************

Welcome to Mosaic Monday
Link the Url from a post containing a mosaic or collage about any subject. 
Please link back to this Mosaic Monday post so that your readers can find other wonderful mosaics. 
Linked posts not including a mosaic nor linking back to Mosaic Monday will be removed in fairness to other participants.
Thank you for participating and sharing your creativity!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails