In the Garden: Early May 2020

This is late, but I’m still posting because it’s fun to look back…

We are in the midst of a heatwave here in New England, which is changing things rapidly in the garden. We had snow on May 8th and now we have temperatures in the mid 80s. It’s kind of crazy!

But I took these photos just before the heat hit, so it shows a more normal May for us.

In May, things are still waking up for us. Barely any leaves on the trees, and a lot of the grass isn’t green yet. The flower garden had bulbs I planted last spring (daffodils, muscari, and tulips) bringing some color.

For food, we are still pretty limited- asparagus, chives, and rhubarb is all I’ve harvested. The cold frame is new this year, so this fall and next winter I hope to have greens in it early (though that will reduce my seed starting capabilities, but I’ll figure it out).

May is when asparagus starts to come up here. We went from none to a lot so fast! This is my 3rd year with the asparagus bed, so I can actually harvest this year. The first year you harvest nothing, the next year only a little.

My peas went in- they don’t mind the cold

The rhubarb is also looking good. I over harvested the first year, so last year barely took any, and it’s looking great now.And in the herb garden, regular chives and garlic chives are up. The oregano I put in a pot didn’tsurvive the winter

Garlic continues to grow.

I’ve moved most of my seedling out to the cold frame. As it’s above freezing (mostly) now I put them on top during the day to soak up the sun, and put them inside at night.

And now for the flowers- bleeding heart is putting on a show, lots of white daffodils in the white garden. And this is the first spring of the blue and purple garden and I love it!

The long bed also has daffodils and tulips for the first time (it was tiny last spring and I did a major overhaul and expansion). I want to add a different color daffodil in the fall- I think there’s no dimension right now, but I’m so happy to have the color.

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In the Garden: April 2020

The garden and the outdoors have always been a place of refuge for me when the world seems like a lot to handle and my mind needs calming.

So even though it’s still early here in Zone 5, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time on gardening things.

First off, an update on the garden. It currently looks like this:

There is a flower bed down the left in the photo with blueberry bushes at the foreground. There are 5 4×8 raised beds (adding another hopefully this week!), two 4×4 beds, and a coldframe that is new this year and currently housing some seedlings.

It’s not huge, but it’s big enough for me for now and I can grow a lot of food in this space.

Since it’s early here still (we had snow yesterday), not much is going on yet.

The garlic I planted in October has started to come up – it’s much more clear in real life, but look for the green shoots.

The blueberries have buds and the rhubarb is starting to appear just behind them.

Still waiting on the asparagus- this is the 3rd year so should have a decent crop I hope!

The chives are coming up.

And there are seedlings in the coldframe. I’m just trying this for the first time, so some successes and some failures. I started dahlias from seed and they were not pleased in the coldframe.

I’ve direct seeded some peas in the lower bed with a trellis and some radish in the bed up top.

And I’ve been germinating seeds inside under grow lights before moving them out to the cold frame. Chard, kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage and more. Lots of cold loving crops!

At this time of year, it’s mostly prep still- making sure the garden plan will work, starting seeds on time (I made a spreadsheet with seeding dates), and putting compost (delivered in bulk as my own compost has been slow to get started) on all my beds to give them plenty of nutrients.

My goals for the year are mostly around better succession crops. I managed a very good harvest last year but it was kind of a glut- a ton of produce all at once. I’m going to try to start seeds multiple times this year to see if I can spread it out more. We don’t have a root cellar or a spare freezer right now (dreams for the future!) so mostly I just want to eat homegrown veg in season May-October.

But for now, it’s mostly waiting and checking every day to see what early spring flowers are popping up.

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In the Garden: May 2018

This year, the garden is on a much bigger scale. I’ve put in two raised beds for veggies (one for asparagus crowns, one for everything else), as well as created two beds for some flowers.

I’m still kind of fumbling along and figuring out everything as I go along, but so far it’s been very satisfying to watch everything take shape.

A couple lessons I learned this year-

1. I don’t have enough sunlight inside to start plants. I tried, and everything became so leggy!

2. Mice will eat flower starts. Who knew?

3. Everything takes longer than you estimate, and raised beds take more dirt than you would think!

As this weekend is Memorial Day, I’m going to pick up some veggie and flower starts from a local farm and get them in the ground. We aren’t technically frost free yet in my zone, but it’s looking nice and warm for the next week or so.

I’m excited to spend more time playing in the dirt this weekend.

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A New Englander in Atlanta, GA 2017

My recent trip to Atlanta was a perfect time to escape the late mud season in New England. That’s always my favorite time to go south- New England isn’t too pretty then and it hasn’t gotten too hot in the south for this northern girl to handle!

I’ve been to Atlanta before (see here) so this trip was mostly spent discovering new places to eat and exercise (my ideal vacation has a good amount of both!).

To eat:

Chai Pani Decatur

I had such a good feeling about Chai Pani as soon as we walked in and saw families with women in saris waiting. It was truly great food! They do a take on Indian street food and we just got a bunch of things to share. The kale pakoras were really good, but the Maharaja Lamb burger sliders were excellent! We also got their thali which came with loads of sides. They also have delicious cocktails that I recommend checking out.

Chai Pani Decatur is located at 406 W Ponce de Leon Ave Decatur, GA

Heirloom Market

This was such a random find. There was an article about fusion BBQ places in my local paper at home and I thought a Korean BBQ fusion sounded amazing so I saved the name for my trip to Atl. It was so good! And so much food! We each got a sandwich special which comes with a side and then got one more as well. There is a patio out back where you can stand under red umbrellas to stay out of the sun, hence the odd lighting. It might be slightly out of the way, but it was so good and pretty darn cheap!

Heirloom Market is located at 2243 Akers Mill Rd SE Atlanta, GA

We Suki Suki

This is a repeat place because it is just so good! Excellent Vietnamese food is served here, and next door they now have a place to sit and a Market of pop up restaurants that they call the Global Grub Collective. The pho I had was so good, but the tofu banh mi really stole the show. The flavors and textures are just all so perfectly balanced.

We Suki Suki is located at 479-b Flat Shoals Ave SE Atlanta, GA

Revolution Doughnuts

Another repeat place because they have such amazing doughnuts! I love how doughy their yeast doughnuts are, though this time we also go the carrot cake cake doughnut. The only slight disappointment was the Boston Creme- while delicious, it was not at all like a Boston Creme!

Revolution Doughnuts is located at 745 Edgewood Ave, NE Atlanta, GA

To exercise:

Core power Yoga

My sister referred to this as “the Starbucks of yoga.” Yes, it’s not very spiritual, but it was also fun! We did the class with weights and let me just say it’s amazing how much harder a couple of weights make warrior pose and triangle. 

Highland Yoga Grant Park

This was a much more traditional class in a heated space. I loved this class! The teacher (Caron Christison) managed to make it a true all levels class which is super impressive. She would suggest modifications to up the intensity or to lower it while still not talking the whole time. She also led the most killer abs session that I’ve experienced since a workshop with Patrick Beach!

Sculpt House

This class combined two things I’d never used before- a curved treadmill and a Pilates reformer. I can’t run anymore due to knee pain, but something about the curved treadmill worked for me! Maybe because it is sort of suspended and you aren’t just pounding your knees? Anyways, I loved being able to run and I also loved that with a curved treadmill there is no electric power so you control the speed by how far up the curve you run. For this class, you spend half the class on the reformer (which was so cool and seriously kicked my butt on that portion of the class) and half the class doing various intervals and sprints on a curved treadmill. They are such great compliments to each other and it was a great class, despite the technical music issues they had (an insane storm was sweeping Atlanta during class which messed up the Bluetooth). But, we had music in the end and everyone was super sweaty!

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Grace in Portland, Maine

I had heard of Grace from a friend several years ago, and was so glad to get to eat there on a recent trip to Portland.

The venue is gorgeous- it’s an old church and they have kept a lot of the details- stained glass windows, organ, wood panels, etc but ripped out the pews to make space for tables. 

The food was very good, though oddly it was the local organic salad (French Brie, pistachio croutons, figs, and rose vinaigrette) that blew both of us away. My halibut dish was great as well, but my friend found her sunchoke risotto too salty. For dessert, I tried the matcha tiramisu (it was interesting and I did eat it, but would not order again).

The food is good, but the atmosphere is better.

Grace is located at 15 Chestnut St Portland Maine 

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