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Will It Bloom?

October 11th, 2011

Early this summer I planted hyacinth beans to grow up my porch posts. I was inspired by the ones growing up a beautiful arbor in the vegetable gardens at Monticello, on my visit the previous summer.

They’ve been growing and growing, all the way up the top and then flopping back down, but there are no blooms yet. There’s not ever a bud in sight.

I don’t really mind though, they did a great job growing up and blocking the sun on one the south side of the porch. They’ll also provide lots of organic matter for the garden when they get nipped by the frost. Perhaps next year I’ll plant some morning glories in this spot instead.

Do you have any plants that aren’t quite performing as you expected this summer?

The Algonquin Mill Festival in Carrollton, OH

October 10th, 2011

Mr Chiots and I have a fall tradition; to kick off the fall season, we always attend the Algonquin Mill Festival with some friends. It’s an old timey festival featuring lots of steam engines, the main one being a big grain mill which grinds flour that you can buy at the festival. They also use this flour in the pancakes that a local club makes and sells. We always kick off our time with a big plate of hotcakes, which we smother in homemade maple syrup that we take in a jar.

After a hearty breakfast we spend taking in all the sights: the old saw mill cutting logs, antique farm and garden equipment, local artisans are doing everything from chair caning to wool rug hooking. I set up a slide show so you could see all the sights. To view in full screen click on the icon in the top left hand corner, click the same icon to exit full screen mode.
[flashgallery folder=”Algonquin_Mill_Festival”]

Do you have any great fall festivals in your area? or any thing you do to kick off the season?

Quote of the Day: Indian Summer

October 9th, 2011

Generally, the first frosts will be followed by fine, bright, warm days, the glorious suspension of what is certain to come, that perfection of weather is called “Indian Summer”.

Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd in Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill

Technically, we haven’t had our first frost here at Chiot’s Run, but we’ve had temperatures in the 30’s already. The tropical plants in the garden are showing their discomfort, brown crispy edges on their leaves, some have died back completely.

For the past few days and most of the coming week, we’re having temperatures in the 80’s during the day. It still gets down into the 50’s at night, so as not to fully fool you into thinking it’ll stick around. I do love Indian Summer, it’s kind of like the last piece of cake, always make sure you savor it because when it’s gone you know there’s no more. This is something Lucy, the resident chiots, is very good at this.

For the last couple days and the days to come, you’ll find me out in the garden, planting cover crops, weeding, mulching, raking, emptying pots and all those things you do to put the garden to bed. There are always so many chores in the fall, but I’m glad they always come during that perfect weather.

It won’t be all work and no play, I try take some time to simply sit and enjoy the weather. My favorite way to enjoy a little down time in the this time of year is to simply sit on the front porch watching the breeze blow through the colorful leaves.

Do you have an Indian Summer in your climate? What’s your favorite way to take advantage of a nice day?

Tiny Cactuses

October 8th, 2011

Remember back in the spring when I started a flat of cactus seeds? I ended up with six or seven tiny plants from my pack of seeds. In May I moved the flat out to the front porch so they could get some sun and warmth. Little did I know, our little outdoor cat thought this flat was her new bed. When I finally discovered what she was doing, there were only two tiny cactus plants that survived. I quickly planted them in tiny pots and put them in a sheltered place on the front porch so they wouldn’t get knocked over or trampled.

They stayed out all summer long and grew very slowly. I just transplanted them to slightly larger pots before bringing them in for the winter. Even though they’re 10 times bigger than they were this spring, they’re still teeny tiny little plants.

Just how tiny are these little plants? Here’s a penny for scale:

I love that even though they’re still so tiny, they’re so different, it takes a macro lens to see those differences fully. It may take a while for these to get to a noticeable size, but that’s OK. I think they’re kind a cute. I certainly won’t have to worry about making room for them in the living room since they won’t take up any space at all!

There’s something so interesting about tiny plants. I have a collection of miniature herbs in the garden, each of them growing no taller than a centimeter. Among these are a few different varieties of creeping thyme, Scotch moss and Corsican mint. Plants come in such a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes, I’m happy to have some of each here at Chiot’s Run.

Do you have any favorite teeny tiny plants?

Hoping for Some Down Time

October 7th, 2011

The other evening, Mr Chiots and I were out walking the resident Chiots at dusk, talking about the year so far, our feeling about it and looking forward to the winter. Usually I’m bemoaning the fact that I won’t be able to garden, but this year I’m ready for a break. We’ve had a really busy year, both in our business and in the garden. I’m looking forward to being able to spend some more time reading all the books on my winter reading list. I want to snuggle up in my favorite reading chair with a cup of homemade hot chocolate and a few great books. (BTW Tender is a fantastic cookbook/gardening book hybrid, Toast is good too, but not for the uber conservative)

I’m also looking forward to planning my 2012 garden (which may be even bigger than ever if everything falls into place, more on that later when we hear final work). This winter I plan on spending a lot of time researching cover crops and coming up with a three year garden plan with crop rotation and cover crops worked in to maximize my growing space and increase soil fertility.

Are you ready for winter or your next season? What are you looking forward to most about the change?


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.