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Articles written by Alexandra Fitzgerald

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  • Putting the Garden to Bed

    Alexandra Fitzgerald, The Times|Dec 30, 2021

    The garden got the better of me this year. I always start out optimistic and start way too many seeds and then pack them into every square inch of the garden. In blissful denial about how many weeds could creep in after the first good rain, I slack on putting down any mulch or weed barrier fabric, thinking I'll have time to get it down in time. Spoiler: I never do. This year the tomatoes grew into a veritable jungle. I pruned them back a bit, but eventually, they got out of hand as well. Soon...

  • Fall Garden Musings

    Alexandra Fitzgerald, The Times|Oct 7, 2021

    We've been lucky so far and have dodged any potential early frosts. On the first of September, it got down to 34 degrees at our house. Yes, you read that right. We managed to squeak by and have since had only one other night in the thirties. I've been dutifully harvesting the tomatoes that have all finally started to ripen. Better late than never! Since mostly giving up on the garden for the year (I know, shame on me), I'm not super worried about prolonging the season. I'll glean the tomatoes,...

  • Adventures in Apple Grafting

    Alexandra Fitzgerald, The Times|Sep 2, 2021

    Well, I hate to say it, but I've almost set aside the garden for the year. My unwillingness to weed the sunflower starts from the raised beds, and my naivety of thinking they wouldn't get that big has ended in an eight-foot-tall jungle. Luckily for me, the birds love it, I'll consider it not to be a total waste. I've been able to get some small tomato harvests which is better than last year by a long shot. I don't know if it's the cold nights out here or that I get herbicide drift multiple...

  • Flowers in the Veggie Garden

    Alexandra Fitzgerald, The Times|Aug 5, 2021

    While I'm a sorry excuse for a flower gardener, as anyone who's seen our landscaping would agree, I'm a huge fan of flowers in the vegetable garden. In fact, sometimes the flowers do better than the veggies. One of my favorite annuals is the tried-and-true marigold. There are so many colors, and you can even choose dwarf varieties that will easily fit into the smallest garden. You can also easily save seeds to plant again next year. Nasturtiums are a gorgeous option that gives tons of blooms....

  • July Garden Updates: Garlic, Shallots, and Onions!

    Alexandra Fitzgerald, The Times|Jul 15, 2021

    The garden is really picking up pace with the hot temperatures and full sun. We took a quick trip to the coast over the holiday weekend and came back to not so much a garden as a jungle. Weeds are a constant battle, and I spent a cathartic few hours pulling them as fast as I could before they could go to seed and cause 10x more weeds next year. The garlic, onion, and shallot beds were close to harvest and woefully full of sow thistle, so I opted to dive in and harvest everything. If you're...

  • Plan now for your fall garden!

    Alexandra Fitzgerald, The Times|Jun 24, 2021

    It's weird to be thinking about fall when it doesn't even feel like summer has hit its stride, but here I am, planning what seeds I need to start to ensure I have cabbages and carrots galore. Gardens in Waitsburg are typically about two weeks ahead of my garden's microclimate; however, I start planning two weeks ahead of folks in town when prepping for fall. Around my garden, there seems to be some sort of cold spot in how the air settles at night coupled with a higher elevation. As such, I...

  • You win some; you lose some

    Alexandra Fitzgerald, The Times|Jun 17, 2021

    Every time I think I have the garden dialed in I'm reminded that I don't. Such is life. Overall, May has been kind to our garden with stable weather though a bit cold in our area (the last frost was May 20th). It has, however, been incredibly dry, and I'm thankful for drip irrigation on timers. One of the only upsides to the lack of rain is that the weeds aren't too bad yet. We haven't been subject to any herbicide drift so far this season which has also helped the garden flourish. But while...

  • Raising Backyard Chickens

    Alexandra Fitzgerald, The Times|May 13, 2021

    Have you ever had pet chickens? Neither did I until a few years ago. After a nasty bite from a vicious kindergarten class parakeet, it took me a while to venture into the avian world again. While I live a bit outside of town, I wanted to talk about raising chickens in town. It's relatively easy and completely manageable with a few considerations. I'll give a list of resources at the end of this article if you're ready to dive in. The Basics: All chickens need food, water, and safe living space....

  • April Showers bring...?

    Alexandra Fitzgerald, The Times|Apr 8, 2021

    Well, it's April, and I'm still rather behind on the gardening chores. No news, I suppose. Every year I print off a 12-month calendar from the web to keep track of the garden chores and notable occurrences in the garden and around the farm. Maybe it's the biologist in me coupled with a poor memory that makes the garden calendar so useful. To date, I'm working on year five of the calendar, and it's a surprisingly helpful reference tool. I often use the previous years' calendars to remind me what...

  • March in the Garden

    Alexandra Fitzgerald, The Times|Mar 11, 2021

    Every year, spring sneaks up on me. February plunks along at a snail's pace, we get a few feet of snow, and I think there is plenty of time yet before spring. Then the snow melts off, and the yellow crocus are in full bloom less than a week later, and I realize I'm already behind. Every year never fails. Word to the wise; if you're planning on growing some of your veggies from seed this year, you better purchase those seeds quickly. A somewhat positive trend from the pandemic is a huge surge in...

  • Growing Food at Home

    Alexandra Fitzgerald, The Times|Apr 9, 2020

    While 2020 certainly has been off to a rocky start complete with a major flood and pandemic, I seek solace in the promise of another spring and the simple joys of harvesting my own food helps to keep me steady. After a chilly early March, I'm thrilled to see the apricot tree has started to bloom, the rhubarb is poking through the soil and the spinach is germinating in the raised beds. I've sown an inordinate amount of seeds in my basement under grow lights and have dragged my husband into... Full story