The Garden Crazies

I am up to my elbows in garden planning for the upcoming season.  I have gardening books, seed catalogs, graph paper and piles of magazine cut-outs littering most of the space on my desk and side table… it’s spreading to the kitchen, my night stand, even the car!!  I do it to myself every year, when inspiration first takes hold, and get overwhelmed.  But it’s a process, and I seem to need to go through it.  Then, I pare down.  This year’s contenders so far are:

Vegetables:  the usual suspects, though no eggplant this year.  I always plant it, then as the harvest starts coming in, I think, “what do I make with this? Do I even like eggplant??”

Herbs:  I’m goin’ wild with herbs this year… as it stands I only have a small culinary herb garden.  Now I’d like to add some magical and healing herbs, as well as add a few more for cooking:

-Hyssop (anise)
-Ladies Mantel
-Shepherd’s Purse
-Bee Balm
-Common Sage
-Evening Primrose

Flowers:  Pretty much I am pleased with the cutting garden so most of the flowers this year are fillers/scent-producers or garden helpers (beneficial insect attractors/bad insect repellants):

-Sweet Alyssum

The only other thing I’d like to try this year is a few night-bloomers.  I’ve already purchased a packet of Moon Flower seeds, but I’m thinking about also getting a night blooming Jasmine.

So, next up:  the ordering.  The local garden center still has one paltry seed display.  Everywhere I go to ask if they have seeds they always laugh and say it’s too early.  Hey!  Some of us start from seed and we need to get a move on, people!

A Gardener’s Bio

I first got the gardening bug about 4 years ago (2002).  At the time, we were living on a very small property (quarter of an acre) that had almost no place for a garden.  The back yard had a large overgrown wooded area and a very large in ground pool.  The front was too shaded and too close to the road to support a garden.  In frustration I built two small raised beds for vegetables in a sunny "nook" by the pool.  Surprisingly, it worked pretty well, but there just wasn't enough room to grow the amounts and varieties I wanted.

Then, in 2003 we purchased an antique house on over 2 acres.  Since then I have been in gardening heaven!  The house was built in 1789 and had many established but over grown plantings… including two 100+ year old Holly trees that soar over the house!  Although I put in a 20×20 vegetable garden the first year, we have spent most of our time reclaiming the property from vines and other overgrowth.  We’ve corralled raspberries into several "patches" and this fall planted several fruit trees to compliment the existing ones (which unfortunately are very old and not healthy) and hope to have it grow into our own mini-orchard.  I have a small herb garden outside of the kitchen, a good (and ever expanding) compost pile going, and a small flower garden that keeps me in fresh cut flowers from about March until October.

I’ve come a long way in 3 years but still have a lot I want to do and learn.  I’d love to expand the vegetable garden and, since I’ve been doing a lot of reading on sustainable agriculture, am toying with the idea of some chickens or other livestock.  We have a pen and and barn on the property so it’s feasible, but I am trying to pace myself.  As it is a friend of mine who is a bee keeper will be setting me up with a couple of hives in the spring.  I'll start there!

We have a small greenhouse attached to the house but I would love to get a good size one right near the vegetable garden in the back of the property.

I am also learning more about organic gardening.  Last year I decided to go organic and have learned so much from from the wonderful posters over at Garden Web  It should be the first place you look for gardening advice!

An intro…

Welcome! I am Firefly, headmistress and senior faculty member of Three Circle Farm School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. . Erm, yeah… Harry Potter is big in our house! Peep #1 read ALL of the books last summer and has now talked me into doing the same. I love them so far!

Anyhow, for this first post I'll talk about homeschooling.  I started homeschooling the "peeps" (ages 8 and 6) in September of 2005 because we wanted to be able to let them move along at their own paces and be able to introduce them to subjects (French, Literature, Poetry, Latin, etc etc) that they wouldn't be getting in a school (at least not at their ages). We are ecclectic homeschoolers with a definite classical leaning. The first year after dabbling in a few unit studies we came across the curriculum/philosophy of teaching outlined by Charlotte Mason. We really enjoyed the CM method but as I was continuing my research on Charlotte Mason I discovered the Core Knowledge Series and ultimately The Well Trained Mind. We all LOVE WTM and plan to use this method exclusively for the 2006-2007 school year. In the end we might wind up with a sort of CM/WTM mix… and considering we also do "unschooling" activities in the afternoon, I think it's safe to classify us as Ecclectic Homeschoolers!

So that's our story. Welcome! I hope you will poke around and find something of interest.