alpine flowers at Grey Rock

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Garden Catalogs

The garden catalogs are coming already!  I remember when they used to wait until after the first of January to send them out.  I can't get excited yet.  I know I want to do more fun and less drudgery next year in the garden.  I also want to put things on automatic watering set-ups to free up away time.  I will thumb through the catalogs, but only for a source for dried flowers, one of the fun things I want to grow next year. I want to grow some heirloom dried beans, too, but I will find them in one of the catalogs that hasn't made the jump to hyperspeed. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Making A Pomander

I made a pomander.  I used an apple because it is so much easier to poke the cloves in than an orange.  Get cloves in the bulk spice area of a market or this could cost a fortune.I covered the whole thing, but you can make patterns that will dry together or add ribbon.  In the olden days, pomander which came from the French meaning "apple of amber" consisted of a ball of resin formed in part from ambergris from whales, civet and deer musk.  Spices were added and it made a hard ball that smelled good, we hope.  This ball was carried in a cover as a necklace to ward off infection and at least bad odors.  Later versions such as what I made were kept in linen closets to prevent moths.  I just like to have them around for a clovey holiday smell.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fall and Winter Gardening

If you haven't worn yourself out with summer gardening, you can think about planting crops for fall and winter.  I should have posted this in August as it is too late for this year, but something to think about if you are missing your supply of fresh vegetables from your garden. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, Binda Cloebrook has the Bible on the subject in her Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest.  It gives time tables for planting to have things to eat now.  Her information dates back to the beginnings of the organization, Tilth, in the early 1970's, and she has a friendly view of the subject.  Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest is the other book I know gives specific instructions on planting for fall and winter production.  The timing is the tricky part, more so than temperature.  If the days are not long enough and your spinach isn't already up and with it by mid-September, it just can't seem to muster the energy to make big leaves.  Root crops are perhaps the exception.  With their growth underground, day length is not such a factor, though cold days prevent the soil from warming enough for growth.  Makes for over-wintered dinky carrots that will grow again in spring though they may be hairy.  All in all, experimentation is always the best to figure out what grows well for you.  Cold frames, cloches, tunnels, and greenhouses break all the rules each extending the seasons a bit.