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Category Archives: Nature

The First Harvests

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It’s always exciting when we switch from planting to harvesting. This year I am keeping a record of what we get, from the multiple sites where I have vegetables and herbs growing.

My favorite microsite is my foraged asparagus.

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At the top of our driveway, where the asparagus is growing wild. Today, I got one new spear, added to the six already picked. Last year I think I counted 42 spears. Let’s see what this year produces. And, yes, that is crape myrtle, with the asparagus firmly entrenched under it.

Up at the community garden, it was time to thin the greens.

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By the way, three inches of rain will penetrate the heavy row cover. The weeds are coming in, so I weeded and thinned today.

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I have mostly kale and chard up there, but did add some recently sprouted arugula. Today’s take. Two ounces. They will grace an omelet this weekend.

Notice the chive flowers. I inherited massive amounts of chives, and a few varieties of sage in our plot. I took the best flowers to use in that omelet, and admired the bicolor sage that recovered after the winter.

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This sage is tiny but my common sage bush is doing well also. I love sage when I make pork dishes, and in tomato sauce with sausage.

Today I was also fighting the pests. On the cucumbers and the eggplant. Potato beetles on the eggplant and cucumber beetles chewing off my young cucumber shoots. Garden Safe to the rescue, we hope. I am on a 7 day schedule with this OMRI approved insecticide. These pests already killed off four cucumber plants, and made a mess of the leaves of the rest.

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If you look behind the plant stick, you will see one of the potato beetles. Soon to meet his maker, like his brethren I squashed that were noshing my pink eggplant leaves. I think I do need to cover the eggplants. And, those are weeds you see. I am trying to keep up with them, but this blasted rain just makes everything grow so fast.

I came home with this.

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Some greens. A few blossoms. The one two foot long asparagus from the driveway.

Tomorrow, I may head out to the garden in the yard and harvest spring garlic. At least three of the eighteen plants in the back yard aren’t that big, and they won’t mature enough before the heat of summer. They will flavor a few meals this week.

Not bad for mid May. I can’t wait for tomato season, but this is a good beginning.

#hocofood

Trying to garden organically is tough, but I will prevail (I hope).

Weather Or Not

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As in extreme weather. The conference.

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It may have started out sunny, but we did have a serious little storm with some lightning and thunder, so we brought the conference in from the rain.

I volunteer for field trips. This one, for ninth graders from four local schools, was the second year the Conservancy hosted all sorts of stations and presentations about extreme weather.

Want to know about power lines, and why you should be really careful around them? Let BG&E demonstrate what happens when live wires come in contact with ladders, poles, and gloves.

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Oh, and they roasted a hot dog for the students. I missed that picture. At that point, we were checking the clouds rolling in and using the resources around us, including the Office of Emergency Management’s Command Unit.

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I am always impressed by the thoroughness and the complexity of events hosted by the Conservancy. From Ava Marie’s opening remarks to the presentations all over the grounds, and the learning activities, and the displays, this was another chance to engage the community and have a fun day as well.

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It was a pretty full house, and most of the students seemed to be intrigued and interested in what they were learning.

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If only Mother Nature had cooperated and didn’t make us cancel the last session, as thunder roared and cloud to ground lightning was seen in the western sky. Oh, and getting back to the buses while it poured rain. Just what we are used to seeing around here. Wait a few minutes and the weather will change.

I love my volunteer “job”. We are never too old to stop learning, and sharing knowledge is even more rewarding. Congrats to Ann Strozyk and all the volunteers today, for putting on this conference for over 100 students.

#hocoblogs

Horn of Plenty

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Seems like when it rains, it really pours. We have gardens in the works. Foraged asparagus coming up. CSA has given us notice that we are a “GO” for this summer and fall.

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The first spear of foraged asparagus. Showed up in my stir fry last night. About six more are showing out under the crepe myrtle.

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Tomatoes planted today. Earlier than ever before, but the temperatures are saying that we need to do this. I planted 26 plants at the Conservancy and I am putting in four here at home (praying for enough sun). At least I could run out and pick a few supersweet 100s and Early Girls, if the site gets enough sun.

My new tomato this year. German Johnson. Along with my favorites. Hillbilly. Pineapple. Work horses. Sun gold. Yellow plum.

Yesterday we did maintenance at the gardens. Like string trimming and trash removal.

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It is looking good up there.

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Onions anyone? The white onions are going crazy. Time to dig up a few spring onions, and enjoy them.

I am one very tired but very happy camper these days. Fresh veggies make me that way.

#hocofood

Mother’s Day Stuff

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Like tea and scones at the Conservancy. Or azaleas at Brighton Dam. Or brunch somewhere.

What are you doing for Mom’s Day?

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What could be more enjoyable than a leisurely stroll through all the gardens at the Conservancy while drinking tea and eating scones (some of them are mine!)? Garden clubs and volunteers are there to show you the beautiful flowers popping out in the gardens. Tea is being served in the historic farmhouse. This is all on Saturday the 10th.

On Sunday, you could head out to Brighton Dam to see if the azaleas finally look like this.

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We were there today. The azaleas are coming along, but this winter did freeze a fair number of buds so they aren’t as magnificent as other years.

Whatever you do, the promise of spring time temperatures and flowers galore should take you outside to enjoy this lovely weather.

#hocoblogs

Perfection

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The weather. The garden. The grilling.

All came together to make one perfect day out here. We spent part of the day tilling, and came home to grill a good dinner.

68° and sun and breeze and no humidity. Why we live here. Spring is my favorite season.

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Tomorrow, Sharp’s Farm opens and we will be there picking out tomatoes for the garden. If you want a huge selection of vegetables, flowers, and herbs to plant, try and get out to the greenhouses. They are open Tuesdays through Saturdays for picking out plants.

It may rain tomorrow night but the rest of the week should give us more perfection.

Crank up the grill. Plant some herbs, or lettuce.

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Find some flower seeds to sprinkle in the ground. Tomorrow is Earth Day. And, come join us for a bird walk and some projects at the Conservancy this Saturday to celebrate.

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#hocoblogs

Wanting to Garden!

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I am so ready for springtime and gardening. I can’t wait to lose the winter doldrums and start planting.

The seeds I started indoors are getting out of control.

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The scarlet emperor beans are a foot high. The edamame have pushed through the potting soil. Lots of arugula ready to transplant.

The cardoons are getting feisty.

Purple tomatillo. Check. I also started a small pot yesterday with dill seeds for the herb garden out back.

We had our kick off community garden meeting today.

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There are 24 new gardeners at the Conservancy plots.

Next week. Row cover pick up. The following week. Garden work day. Next week, also is Greenfest at Howard Community College. The following week, is the coop to coop tour for the chicken coops in Howard County.

Sometime in there I need to go pick up my plants for my summer garden from Sharp’s, and put the potatoes in the ground in the yard.

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We are deciding where to put the root plants. The hoops with row cover. Where to put the tomatoes and the peppers.

Spring can’t come fast enough.

#hocofood

Searching for Signs of Spring

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As the skies in the west darken. The temperatures may drop forty degrees tonight. Storms will rip through. And, we may get one or two more snow events before winter leaves us.

Will spring ever arrive? Tomorrow we have volunteer training, including hiking, in temperatures that may barely hit freezing, as a high. That should be interesting.

Heavy rain is hitting the front of our house. Cross your fingers that our radio tower does OK. It is a year old this week.

I see no evidence of garlic in the garden. I planted it last fall, and covered it heavily with mulch. Normally by now, there would be something out there.

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This was last year on the 29th of March.

Tulips? Not very far along either. Barely seen. Not like last year when they popped above the ground in January.

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I moved the tractor up to the garage today, to get picked up for service tomorrow. I don’t think we will be cutting grass anytime soon.

This has been a cold winter. One that, I hope, will cut down on the number of destructive pests that kill my garden plants. If only it would kill the stink bugs. That would be celebration worthy.

Are you tired of winter too?

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