Home & Garden

Making Hay - Part 1

Making Hay - Part 1

I decided on a whim to try to do a little haying this year.  And I mean a LITTLE!  In all it's probably not even equivalent to two bales of hay but what the heck!  I noticed that the field where the meat birds had been last year grew grass way taller than it had in previous years.  Doubtless that is due to all the manure the birds put down!  I also know that where my house sits was originally a hay field!  So I cut the hay using my Gravely and put it in windrows to dry!  More later!

Summer Concerns for Dogs....Fireworks, Going to Camp and more!

Summer Concerns for Dogs....Fireworks, Going to Camp and more!

Summer is upon us and, if you have a new puppy or older dog, there are a few things to consider when planning for fun in the sun.  Here are some tips and suggestions to consider when including Fido in your plans...

Taking Your Dog to An Outdoor Event:  Backyard BBQs, block parties and get-togethers with family and friends sometimes include an invitation to “bring your dog!”  If you choose to do so, be sure you plan ahead so that things go smoothly.  Always consider a public event as a training opportunity for your dog.  Wear your treat pouch and load it with delicious tidbits your dog loves.  Keep your pup on a leash so you have control over him at all times.  Here at our puppy school, we teach our customers to step on their puppy’s leash when people approach.  This way, the pup can’t jump on people who want to interact

Time to pick strawberries!

Time to pick strawberries!

Strawberry season is upon us here in Maine for the 2012 season!  And it is important to get out there as soon as you can since the season is not expected to last as long this year.  We're actually ahead a little bit since normally the picking starts around the 4th of July.  So get out there and support your local farmers!  There are lots of pick your own options.  We went to Maxwell's Farm in Cape Elizabeth but there are others.  We will make strawberrry jam with these.  In case you missed it last here is a link to the story I did last year about making jam!  CLICK HERE!

Cover Crop - Alfalfa

Cover Crop - Alfalfa

Cover cropping is an important part of soil and garden health.  Every few years, say 2-3 years it's a good idea to let a garden plot rest from all the veggies you've been planting on it.  Part of that rest period involves planting a cover crop in it that does several things.  First of all it competes with weed seeds and helps keep them at bay.  Second, if you plant a legume like alfalfa or cow peas the roots will actually add nitrogen, a valuable nutrient, BACK into the soil.  Normally your veggies scarf up all the nitrogen they can find.  Finally when it's time to replant your garden you can till in this cover crop and it will add organic matter to the soil.  If you do this faithfully along with a healthy spreading of manure once a season you will never have to use chemical fertilizers!

Gravely With Cultivator

Gravely With Cultivator

I'm preparing a garden bed for a cover crop.  It has been so rainy that this area has been perpetually wet but I thought I would use the Gravely Model Li with a front mounted cultivator to aerate the soil a bit and see if I could get it to dry out.  Normally this implement is used to remove weeds between rows of crops but I think it worked pretty well for me!

Mulching Potatoes

Mulching Potatoes

After you have hilled your potatoes up a few times and you don't have any soil left in your rows to DO any more hilling it's a good idea to mulch them.  If you can afford it buy a salt hay type mulch which has little to no weed seed in it.  Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch and again it is ok to nearly cover the leaves of the plant.  The mulch keeps weeds out and moisture in and also prevents sunlight from reaching any tubers that may come to the surface.  If sunlight hits your exposed potatoes they will turn green and become inedible!

Mulching Peas

Mulching Peas

Peas really like to have their "feet" cooled with a layer of mulch.  I'm using grass clippings here.  This mulch keeps the sun off the roots and also helps keep moisture in.  Happy plants mean more peas and I can't get enough of them!