Monday, September 18, 2017

Gratitude, Autumn & Final Plant Nursery Days of 2017

It's happening...the end of summer and the beginning of fall. We can hardly believe it's true, but the plants, the sun, the birds, the insects and the calendar all agree. We are so grateful for all of you that purchased our homegrown, super functional and beautiful native plants and planted them in the world to do their work. THANK YOU.

In deep appreciation of you and of this planet we are offering a fabulous sale for the end of the 2017 growing season. This Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday (9/19, 9/21, 9/24) from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. we are offering all plants buy 2 get 1. That means: buy 2 plants at regular price and get one free of equal or lesser value.

Take our end of season VIDEO TOUR.

There are no limits on the plants you can buy two get one free so this is your moment! You can find the plant list on our webpage and if these times don't work for you, but you really, really want some plants message us. We are sold out of some species and the last three open days will be first come, first serve so we apologize in advance if the plants you want sell out. There's always next year!

We are planting more plants almost everyday on our property because we really can never have enough plants in the ground and it's a great time of year to plant. The roots have time to establish a bit and soon the fall rains will arrive making for easy work. I mean, who can resist these blooms?! (Certainly not us!)

The girls are hanging around the nursery showing off their cuteness, of course:

They are also helping me water plants in, which makes it so much more fun!

Autumnal beauty is arriving here daily and the important late season pollinator plants like Riddell's Goldenrod are hosting myriad bees and wasps and delighting us with their rich color.

South-bound Monarchs are feasting on Goldenrods, Asters and Mexican Sunflowers. (VIDEO) It's truly a magical time of year and we wish you the happiest of falls. Next blog post we will take you far from our home into the mountains of VA.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Peaches, Tomatoes, Caterpillars & Video Entertainment

Fall is settling in it seems so summer produce is slowing down, but the past few weeks put us to work processing food, running our plant nursery and soil consulting business and observing all the magic of nature calling this land home.

A friend shared oodles of peaches with us that we turned into jam. Imagine this mid-winter!

Our windowsills and any open surface are routinely covered in produce waiting for processing - which sometimes makes cooking a challenge in a small kitchen - but we are beyond thrilled with all this pure chemicals, no pesticides, no GMOs....just sunshine, water, plants and their pollinators.

All the milkweed we grew for 2017 sold this past week to several different monarch raisers, which made us so happy for the caterpillars and for the plants which really didn't want to be in pots anymore. We are seeing our fair share of monarchs here now and lots of caterpillars, which is encouraging.

Viceroy caterpillars munched through some of our young cottonwoods, which responded with more leaves. It's such a cool butterfly and plant so I made a video.


Steve found our first Giant Swallowtail caterpillar this year on our Hop Tree, which is in the Citrus Family (Rutaceae). I checked our Prickly Ash (also Rutaceae) and found another. We are beyond thrilled! This specific butterfly is what we hoped to attract when planting their caterpillar food plants. Success is so deeply satisfying. What you do in your yard and with your land makes a HUGE IMPACT on local wildlife. Videos are becoming a thing, I think. 


We also made a video highlighting the seed crazy American Goldfinches and the fabulous American Plum. There is so much coolness here we can hardly stand it!



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Late Summer Garden, Pepper Mulching, Tomato Hornworms = Fun!

 It's peak summer and it's beautiful.

Steve is master of so many trades and as he works his true devotees follow with excitement...

This summer he is tackling a project we've talked about for years....a lean-to greenhouse. He is building this with all salvaged materials so our current pricetag for this project = $0.

This is on the south side of our green barn, which he salvaged from the burn pile when we moved here. It's a happy place now.

Gourds and winter squash that self-sowed are faring much better than winter squash we intentionally planted so that means there is something I need to figure out.

This year, with the cool temperatures, our winter squash grew very little and with that slow growth, they couldn't hold their own against the squash vine borers. Next year I need to figure out a way to co-exist because we love Squash Vine Borer Moths and winter squash!

The vegetable garden is managing itself in many ways now and is such a beautiful place to spend time.

We posted at the beginning of the summer about cover cropping tomatoes and peppers and we think it's working great. The peppers look fabulous and we are preserving them and utilizing them in numerous ways including tomato glut sauce, salsa, green chile fermentation and drying. It's amazing how quickly this mulch breaks down when you have lots of little decomposers in the soil working their magic.

Peacework Sweet Peppers:

Poblano Peppers and Aster, Fern and Ebony:

The middle bed is newly sown to Crimson Clover for planting in next year and to protect the soil over the winter :

Our tomatos look exceptionally terrible this year due to the cool, wet conditions, but we are still harvesting oodles and oodles and have plenty to share with the always fantastic Tomato or actually more common Tobacco Hornworm. Long ago at the first garden I worked at I was taught to kill these beautiful caterpillars that turn into the also beautiful Carolina Sphinx Moth. (Check out one of the plants they pollinate. WOW!) This practice felt so very wrong and made me feel AWFUL. Then I realized I can just share so we plant an extra plant or two and all is good for them and us.

Our onions are all harvested and we are using the tops to mulch our beets so the soil is covered. The beets looked terrible prior to this and now they look so healthy and happy. Protecting the soil is obviously key.

Our King of the Early beans kept getting munched and munched by rabbits early in the season, but they are setting their dry beans, which we will enjoy all winter long. We would love to grow many more types of heirloom, dry beans; the beans are often fabulously colored and have such rich taste.

Another project the phenomenal Steve is tackling is our first, small high tunnel. This is the base and I just planted the open two beds to all our winter crops: carrots, beets, kale, spinach, chard, cilantro and parsley. The full bed is our superstar sweet potato that sprouted and gave us slips, then offered its still super sweet flesh to us to eat. We so hope we get more.

I have to end with Mexican Sunflower or Torch - one of our most favorite annuals - for its beauty and the nectar so loved by Monarchs and the seeds so loved by birds.

Happy, happy.