Appreciating the Master Gardener

hydrangeahill

The Gardener himself, bending over to pull weeds on Hydrangea Hill

I tend to the kitchen garden and the west wing garden around here, but Mr. Mims tends to pretty much all the rest. Although gardening is a combination of skill, timing and hard labor, it can also be highly creative. Coming up on our seven year anniversary of our homestead, I am looking around and seeing his master touch everywhere. His latest contribution is a resting spot for people and birds too…

Plans to Plant

pots

Pots waiting to be potted.

Today was a shopping day. I missed my garden. But tomorrow is a planting day. I have plans to put these two couples to bed, and nurture some grapes and blackberries. Two things you could never have enough of for jam and juice or just fresh off the vine. If all goes well they will outgrow their pots in a year or two. Then we’ll find a spot on the grounds somewhere, for them to flourish.

damage

The heavy rain cut a trench through the middle of my asparagus bed.

We had some heavy rain and even hale yesterday, and now the ground is soaked and I have some repair work to do in my garden. If the Big Daddy isn’t too muddy, then Mr. Mims will put in his lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower starters. I know he has some corn, but what he really wants is okra. He’s determined to get an early crop of okra this year. Last year there was a weather mishap every time he planted okra and we never did get a good harvest.

 

Mobile Gardening

A Smiling Gardener on Wheels.

A Smiling Gardener on Wheels.

I’ve been weeding and carting loads of chicken dirt (top soil and chicken manure) and rolling and raking and hoeing too, for the last couple of weeks, with my feet and hands and my wheel barrow. When Mister Mims showed up yesterday with the golf course gardeners cart, well, I was all smiles.

Lavender in Winter

There are many flowers and smells and sights to gush about in the spring and summer, but some plants offer pleasures year-round. Lavender is perennial and evergreen. Lavender leaves smell just as strong as the flowers. If you rub the leaves between your fingers the scent will stick with you for awhile. The leaves are a grayish-green in winter. I have both the English and French variety growing. In the winter time you can’t really tell the difference between them. Continue reading

Not According to Plan

It’s been almost a month since I wrote about working on a new garden bed, and the majority of that time it was raining. Mr. Mims bought new timber, and the plan was to make the frame for the new raised bed over the holidays so that the boys could fill it with compost and chicken waste for me before they went back to school. I wanted the mixture to marinate in place before spring.

Bear inspects the timber...

Bear inspects the timber…

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Taking Stock after the Summer of Rain

Canned pickled cayenne, sweet peppers and chow chow, sitting on my pantry shelf.

A summer of record rain fall diminished our expectations for most of what we planted this year. Now, with unusually cold weather this week, we are bringing in the last of our crops.   Even with less than what we planned, we have enough. What’s more, after my husband completed the chicken coop and we successfully raised fourteen hens, we now collect fresh eggs every day from our chickens.

Instead of the nightly watering rituals that we kept up each summer since we moved here to Greenville in 2009, in the summer of 2013 we did a lot of sitting inside watching the rain wash our gardens away.  There actually was a short spring season with strawberries, cabbage and even artichokes, before the heavy rains really got started. We also managed to have a short fall growing season with some drier weather. Last year our okra was washed away every time my husband planted some seeds. This year okra is one of the few fall crops the we have harvested, along with some broccoli, eggplant, and greens and lettuce, a variety of sweet and hot peppers, and sweet potatoes.
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