Category Archives: gardening

Marking the end of summer?

How do you mark the end of summer? Or are you rather likely to deny the change that happens in September for most?

For me, I will continue to grill until it is too dark to see what I’m doing at dinner time. I will spend time outside biking or sitting–maybe even more time once those pesky mosquitoes freeze their wings off. I’ll still need to mow my lawn…

So, marking the end of summer for me comes with some sort of canning activity and the consumption of funnel cake. I had my cake last week but have yet to can something. But I haven’t had time to do any canning yet. So, as far as I’m concerned, summer is yet to end even though Wednesday marks the real beginning of the semester with a faculty meeting.

Pickles anyone?


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Enjoying the warmth in frigid PA

On Friday I couldn’t help but erect my greenhouse. It snowed on Sunday night. 2 years ago I did the same and the snow crushed my poor greenhouse. This time, my pvc structure survived. And though it is not going to get above 25 today, I will enjoy a warm and sunny 70.

I may or may not grow anything in it this year, but it sure does a world of good for my mental health. For less than 100 dollars and the ability to tolerate something rather ugly in your back yard, you too can have the next best thing to a great therapist. (Shh, it’s even better because you don’t keep paying for it each time you use it!)


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If I wasn’t a psychologist…

I think I’d like to run a mission oriented suburban farming coop. Here’s the idea: Get a block of neighbors to agree to use space in their back yards for small 10×10 gardens. Each family that participates agrees to let the coop manager plant and cultivate small organic gardens. One family would have tomatoes, one would grow squashes, another would grow cukes, another peppers, etc. All the families would have to do is agree to let the manager use their water. If they wanted to participate in the weeding and care of the plants then they would get free produce when it arrived. Once the produce arrived, it would be offered for a “suggested donation” which would be far below grocery store price. The benefit to the neighbors and anyone else coming by would be that they could have access to “locally grown, organic, low-cost, very fresh produce” for their family. Such savings on the produce could be calculated showing that the coop is helping to keep the money of the community in the community.

Now, here’s the kicker. The “suggested donation” would not only cover the costs of growing the produce but allow for a small profit to be used entirely for missions work in an impoverished community, whether in the city or in another country. So, the food we would get for a donation would actually be working to feed individuals in another location.

Okay, so I’ve spent too much time daydreaming this summer…

What visions have you had that would take you in another direction?


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Resurrecting greenhouses

On Saturday, in celebration of Resurrection Sunday, I resurrected my greenhouse. Around this time last March we had an ice storm that crushed the metal frame of my greenhouse. With my father’s ingenuity we rebuilt the frame and on Saturday I put it back together. I couldn’t find my thermometer but the temp inside was pushing 85-90 degrees.

Will I grow something inside? Maybe. Right now it has a lawnchair so I can read the paper in comfort.


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Signs of Spring at my House

One year ago, we had an ice storm that crushed my greenhouse. I’m itching to rebuild it (already made the skeleton of it out of PVC with my father). But I’m going to wait up bit longer. Until then, I’m looking for the signs of Spring, such as…


Meanwhile, my parents still have this (or most of this…) to contend with:



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Blackberries and the fall

Needed a mind-clearer so I took youngest son and went to the cemetary to pick some perfectly ripe blackberries. Is it wrong to pick cemetary berries? No, they aren’t growing in enriched soil next to plots. Anyway, the berries were quite ripe and juicy. The bushes were loaded and in just a few minutes I filled my container.

Problem? Just the sharp thorns that jabbed me as I reached into the bushes to get that best berry. There is always a pain for every pleasure. Still, it was worth it. I had dominion over the thorns.

Tonight, ice cream and berries with a hint of real maple syrup over the top.


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First tomato: the taste of summer, II

Had first tomato from my garden yesterday. Ah, the taste of summer (along with strawberries and later peaches). If I had a digital camera, I would share the photo because it was one of those beefsteak tomatoes that looked so delicious (and it was). Turned it over and found it had a significant scar across the bottom at the blossom end.

Much like us. We look good on the outside but have our underbelly scars that aren’t seen until picked (or married). The good news is that it was mighty tasty. Just had to cut around the base a bit. Um, I think I’ll drop the analogy now. Not sure that we want to be doing cutting on each other (smile).


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Got any great suggestions on how to stop squirrels from eating my strawberries? I have several nice plants with ripening fruit. So far I have yet to eat a strawberry because the little varmits got to them first. I put some plastic netting over the plants but they just crawled under and took what they wanted. Worst of all, they didn’t eat the whole thing, just one bite to ruin the berry.

My 7 year old suggests electrifying the plants to zap the critters. Have any ideas?


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Greenhouse is up!

Got my little greenhouse back up today and so I’m looking forward to growing some veggies and flowers soon. But, best of all, I read the newspaper in there today. It had to be about 80 degrees inside with the door open. Does wonders for the winter doldrums.

Now what to grow this year?


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The last tomato

We at the last of our tomatoes last night. There’s nothing quite so remarkable as the homegrown tomato. The tomato is akin to eating sunshine (the peach is only millimeters behind in this analogy). You can buy hothouse tomatoes all through the winter but they never have that taste of being truly vine-ripened. Now, we have to wait all the way until next June/early July (I have a greenhouse so I can get an earlier start than some).

Sigh. I’ll drown my sorrow in a crunchy Macintosh.

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