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Showing posts from August, 2019

Growing Pole Beans on Corn Stalks

This year I gave "Three Sisters" companion planting a try, planting my pole beans in the same row with the corn alongside the squash. The harvest from all three crops has been amazing.  Green beans are growing 8 feet in the air, their vines emerging over the tippy-top of the corn stalks.  None of the plants have had issues with garden pests. The practice  of Three Sisters planting is centuries old and comes from Native American tradition.  I didn't need to use a trellis for the pole beans since the bean vines had corn stalks to climb.  Typically when planting pole beans in with the corn, it's recommended to give the corn a head start, waiting to plant bean seeds until the corn is a few inches tall. I didn't do that. I planted everything at the same time during the first week of May.  Beans and corn sprouted up together simultaneously and as they grew the bean vines wrapped around the corn, climbing up and over it, sometimes climbing out into the air and acros

Seed Saving for Next Year's Garden

This year's vegetable garden did exceptionally well and I believe that part of its success is due to the presence of so many flowers in the garden.  Not only did I plant a wildflower bed adjacent to the vegetable garden, I also planted rows of flowers in between several of the vegetable beds.  I was able to plant so many marigolds and cosmos due to having saved the seed heads from the prior year -- I had a giant paper bag full of the flower seeds!  Earlier this spring, my daughter and I dumped the entire bag across two long rows in the garden.  We then scattered a package of wildflower seeds nearby. Recently I came across an interesting book that explains the benefits that flowers bring to vegetable gardening, Vegetables Love Flowers: Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty , by Lisa Mason Ziegler. I had stumbled upon the bounty that planting flowers alongside vegetables brings -- and Ziegler lays out the reasons in her book.  Not only do flowers deter many garden pests, th

Summer Garden and Pantry Tour

Every year, I learn something new from my friends who enjoy gardening.  It's fun to discover what grows well in our area and gather tips for organic ways of dealing with garden pests.  With patience and perseverance, we get through each growing season learning a bit more.  It’s usually around mid-August that I find myself ruminating on the lessons learned. This year, I learned how easily the garden grows when the soil has been heavily amended with compost and the empty space in the rows have been covered with mulch. Everything grew enormously. Row covers over the cruciferous vegetables prevented them from getting cabbage moth this year.  It's the first time we've ever used row covers. My husband found the best deal for them on Amazon and helped put in the arches and stakes to hold up the covers. I didn't think I would ever actually be able to grow broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage - and have a harvest - but we did indeed have a small harvest of these wonderfu

Removing a Towering Laurel Hedge

Clancy from Catelli's Excavation came out today and in three hours removed about 150 feet of overgrown laurel hedge that surrounded our front yard.  We're so excited that the towering hedge has been torn out, as we can now see the front door of our 1940's Cape Cod house. Clancy's mini excavator was perfect for this job. At 8 feet tall, the laurel hedge was a monstrosity blocking the entrance to our front door as well as making it impossible for us to see the barn and mountains from our first-floor windows.  While the privacy the hedge provided was nice, the openness with it being gone is even more appreciated. Laurel grows like a weed with a root system that has to be removed to prevent it from becoming re-established in the future.  Soon, we'll get the tractor out and till a couple feet down along where the hedge has been removed to loosen up the soil, removing any remaining roots as we go. Perhaps a flower bed along the drive will go in its place.  La