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Seaweed Mulch

July 31st, 2014

My tomato plants in the potager behind the house are much deeper green, more compact and overall much better looking than my tomatoes plants in the main garden behind the garage. I was trying to figure out why since the soil is very similar in both gardens and the plants have been treated almost exactly the same. The plants in the back garden have actually been fertilized more than the ones in the potager.
tomato plant
Then I remembered that the plants in the potager have been mulched with seaweed from when we buy lobsters. It acts as a seaweed tea of course, every time it rains the plants get a low dose of healthy nutrients.
seaweed mulch
Seaweed is a dynamic accumulator, it also contains loads of minerals and micronutrients. I don’t harvest seaweed for my garden, but whenever I get it when we purchase lobsters it goes right around my prize plants.  Comfrey is a good alternative to seaweed if you don’t live near the ocean.  I also grow massive amounts of comfrey to use in/around favorite plants.  I always throw some in planting holes because it stimulates root growth & development.  Comfrey deserves it’s own post, more on that wonder plant later.

What’s your favorite local mulch product?

Holy Blueberries Piggos

July 30th, 2014

We have the pigs in an area by the back garden that has a small patch of high bush blueberry bushes.  They were overgrown with weeds, something blueberries do not take too kindly too.  We knew the pigs would chomp down the weeds and possibly root a little around the bushes.  That wasn’t a huge issue though, I figured I could simply take cuttings to start new bushes. I didn’t think much of the bushes until yesterday when I noticed they were heavy laden with GIANT berries.
blueberries 1
The pigs had decided to use the area around the bushes as their latrine after chomping down the weeds. They have only rooted a little bit around one bush. I plan on moving them shortly and filling back in with soil and the bush should do just fine. The size of these berries is incredible. I’ve been growing/picking blueberries my entire life and I’ve never seen berries this large. They’re flavorful too, not watered down as sometimes oversized fruit is.
blueberries 2
Funny thing is that I read in a very old (circa 1880’s) livestock book that pigs fed with wheat middling have very high quality manure, some of the best pig manure you can get. I didn’t think much of that until now. The pigs have been getting wheat mids in their feed every day. In return I get giant fruit, I think next I’ll be putting them in the orchard under the fruit trees to improve fertility in that part of the garden.

What kind of manure or fertilizer have you found to work best in your garden?

One More Chicken

July 29th, 2014

I’ve been collecting little statues to hide around the garden for quite a while. I have a few cats, a face and now I just got this sweet little chicken.
chicken statue
I simply love it and am actually thinking it might be perfect atop a large trellis. The best part about this chicken is that it requires no feed. There’s definite value in having art in your garden, whether it be a small statue, or something else. There’s a winery nearby that has wonderful wind powered art and I’d love to add one to my garden someday. I’ll have to try to get photos of it next time I’m in town. I’d also love to find a few pieces made by local potters, there’s always room to tuck in a special piece somewhere.

Do you have any statues in your garden? What kind of garden art do you like most?

Racing the Rain

July 28th, 2014

I always wait until there’s a rainy day in the forecast to plant anything that needs to get planted. The result is usually that I’m racing the rain to get things planted so I don’t have to water them in. Yesterday rain was supposed to come around 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  That gave me the entire morning to plant all the perennials and flowering shrubs that have been sitting in their holding area for a month or so.
I ended up finishing up planting leeks just as the rain started. It was a very successful day, I managed to plant: 4 flowering bushes, 2 peonies, 2 roses, 15 perennials, 100 leeks, 15 celeriac plants, and 40 onions. There are still a few things left in pots that I didn’t manage to get to, but we will have more rainy days next weekend.

Are you ever racing the rain to get garden chores finished up?

Quote of the Day: Janet Kilburn Phillips

July 27th, 2014

“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.”
-Janet Kilburn Phillips

planting boxwood
I was talking with someone recently who was mortified of planting perennials because “Once you put them somewhere they can’t be moved”. I am not that kind of gardener, I move perennials all the time. In fact I often purchase perennials and plant them in a holding area of the garden while I decide where to put them or move other perennials to make space for them. In my garden I move any plant, small trees, shrubs, annual and perennials. As long as you get a big enough root ball and water well for a month or so just about any plant can be moved. In fact, many perennials do much better when they’re dug up and divided every few years.  Gardening is the ultimate form of art because there really are no mistakes, it’s all part of the process.

Do you have any gardening fears?


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.