Hidden Pond Farm & Garden Updates
October 26, 2018
The Final Garden Update of the 2018 Season!
I love whoever put this wooden bench in The Chef’s Garden facing the pond!! I am sitting, facing the sunny South all bundled up and contemplating this past garden season.
We are just past Wednesday’s full moon, and we got our first killing frosts last week and it has continued to be freezing at night since.
Looking forward to seeing the entire Hidden Pond team at the end-of-the-season employee party on Sunday afternoon; I am planning to make a big salad of what’s left of the greens in both The Farm Garden & The Chef’s Garden.
If anyone has any suggestions for next year’s garden plantings, I like to take notes while everything is fresh in my mind.
Attached pictures are right now from where I am sitting in The Chef’s Garden at Earth and some frosty radishes in the farm garden from when I got here this morning.
September 22, 2018
It is halfway between the lightest and darkest time of year- the sun is lower in the sky and the days are shorter. Now is a good time to start taking some Vitamin D!
We have some frosty nights coming up so I wanted to invite you all to gather some Basil (and Sacred Basil) out of the gardens~ I harvested a big tub for the kitchen already and there is still so much more!
The Sacred Basil, or ‘Tulsi’, is an adaptogenic aromatic nervine and immune tonic herb, yummy in waters & tea (and dessert!), with tradition use in Ayurvedic medicine. It is also such an amazing cocktail garnish – one of my favorites!!
Ready for harvesting: baby kale, arugula, radishes, pea shoots, nasturtiums & some ‘Trombocino’ squash. Also, right in front of the squash in The Farm Garden is a lovely golden-colored edible flower/ culinary herb called ‘Mexican Mint Marigold.’
The dahlias are finally flowering in The Flower Garden!!! Just in time! The sunchokes in The Chef’s Garden are flowering too (the tall sunflower-family plant on your left as you are walking toward the fire pit, on your left.).
This coming week I will be cutting back the sunflower jungle up at Earth (the chipmunks are making a mess!!!), replacing The Farm Bar’s summer arrangement with mums and pretty cabbages and probably harvesting those sweet potatoes! 💟
September 3, 2018
Wow, what a difference between today and yesterday – thank goodness that the weather changed because all of the lettuce that is starting to come in the farm garden was beginning to melt! The greens love COOL weather, and so do I!!!
Wedding season starts tomorrow which I’m excited about because I also tend bar. And I know I’m a sap but I love seeing our Hidden Pond wedding couples and meeting their different friends & family members – I have even been known to tear up during speeches!! 😅
The gardens are winding down a little but still looking beautiful. The birds are now eating from the heavy heads of sunflowers (the sunflower seeds we eat come from much bigger sunflowers).
In The Farm Garden, we have new radishes and broccoli; baby kale, lettuce, arugula and mustard greens are all ready to harvest. We are still gathering a lot of cucumbers and baby tomatoes and digging up purple potatoes. There are also pea shoots as part of a cover crop which you can gather from The Farm Garden as well as self-seeding parsnips.
We have harvested several melons from The Earth Garden and figs off of The Farm Bar. Tons of Serrano peppers, Chef’s biodynamic farmer friend’s special cherry tomatoes, so much sweet basil! And of course all of the beautiful edible flowers: marshmallow, orange cosmos, hyssop, and marigolds, just to name a few.
The Flower Garden is bouncing back now that some of our younger guests have returned to school (I do miss them!).
Decorative mums will be added to the pool boxes next week and adorning other areas as well. I’m attaching a photo of some edible flower ice cubes I made for a luncheon benefit event we did last week – Very cool!
August 20, 2018
I hope everyone is getting some time to care of themselves in this earthy late summer time, nourishing and taking some time to enjoy the fruits of your labor (even if it’s just for a breath). In the Traditional Chinese Medicine five element theory, this time is for doing just that- the late summer Earth element, all about building integrity, savoring and nourishing to prepare for the season shift ahead.
Another way to do that is through taking plants as daily tonics- I made some Elderberry syrup today from the Elder that is ripe in The Chef’s Garden to be used in a cocktail for a special event we have coming up. Though toxic raw (cyanide precursors!), they are very nutritious when cooked: protective to the vascular system with all of those juicy anthocyanidin pigments as well as being a well-researched antiviral agent (think natural flu shot). It is a traditional herbalists’ remedy, often combined with local, raw honey, sometimes lemon and spices for added medicinal benefit!!
We have had some ups and downs in the gardens this week! I am so grateful for the lovely Fabia, who is a school-teacher from Jamaica, for helping me and learning with me for the past month. She has been beyond helpful, harvesting all the goodies from the garden and keeping up on the weeds! We have been re-seeding and transplanting where some crops have finished: various Lettuces, Chervil, Kohlrabi, Broccoli, Kale, Mustard Greens, and Radishes. We have also been fertilizing and side-dressing with organic compost to help the ones that are still coming in like Tomatoes, Melons, and Cucumbers.
Unfortunately, the squirrels at The Farm Garden ate ALL of the open-pollinated sweet corn on our day off – it was a disaster and they made quite the mess. We have covered that area in a green manure and a cover crop of Peas & Oats. Also, the Pumpkin vines had vine borers – which, by the time you really notice them, it’s too late!!! Next year: nematodes as a preventative control.
The summertime pool boxes are looking a little soft so we will be transferring them around Labor Day. Get ready for all the decorative Mums for the Fall.
The Flower Garden has been very popular with all of the new flowers (and I keep adding more)- the guests are cutting as fast as they can grow!!
It has been a lovely time for the hummingbirds and I’m thinking of putting a little hummingbird feeder in the gardens this week coming! 💟
July 30, 2018
It is hard to believe we are already a week and a half into August! Hopefully everyone is getting some time to enjoy Summer. We have gotten some much needed rain and thankfully some of the humidity has left us today – the plants really love it but it can be difficult to work in!!
Our main priorities over the last couple weeks have been staying on top of the weeds and harvesting for the kitchen. We have also been seeding and planting in places where some of the Spring/early Summer crops have finished up: Fall Lettuce where the garlic harvest came out, mustard greens where the bachelor buttons finished at Earth, and much more.
The sunflowers are 8-12 feet tall and blooming gloriously, the guardians of our gardens. The cucumbers are really happy this year, growing up the sunflower stalks. We have been harvesting tomatoes, eggplants, and Serrano peppers in The Chef’s Garden (and competing with the vermin – some kind of chipmunk or mouse is caching the eggplants in piles under the melons for later munching!). We have caught and relocated a few tomato horn-worms too. The corn in The Farm Garden is beginning to come and all of the Basil is super full and lush.
We have put a framed print of Judith’s beautiful watercolor in The Potting Shed as well as a chalkboard listing what is ready to pick right now! We have also been hanging some cut flowers for drying in there.
Some herbs worth mentioning in The Chef’s Garden that would be lovely additions to the kitchen or bar right now are: Lemon Balm, Tulsi, Dill, Anise Hyssop, Marshmallow, Echinacea flowers, Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Passionflower, Vietnamese Coriander, and more! Also feel free to harvest a little Lemon Verbena from the pool boxes as it is flowering beautifully right now, smelling delicious and really tall! Just remember to be nice to the plants when you are harvesting, only topping and cutting back to the next node so that it continues to bush out.
The cut-flower garden is having a hard time bouncing back from all of the activity. We have been watering, deadheading and fertilizing to try to keep up as it is definitely seems to be a favorite for our guests (Same with the carrots in The Farm Garden, a favorite of the children – we have seeded more and are now just waiting for them to grow!!).
Have a lovely weekend everyone, attaching a few more beautiful photos I took of the garden today. ☀
July 27, 2018
Happy Full Moon!! And many thanks for all of the rain we have seen this week – it was much needed!
This has been a busy week; it is the make or break point for the gardens. I think we have managed to get most of the weeds under control in the past couple days ( I think most of you know by now that the definition of a weed is whatever you don’t want to grow). For instance, our chefs in the Earth kitchen like to use Oxalis and Purslane – two very common and yummy, nutrient-dense ‘weeds’. The trick is to find them their own spot as to not compete with the other crops.
Yesterday, we got so much good work done with the help of a few extra hands! Finally got to pull out the moldy Phlox from the cut Flower Garden and replaced it with gorgeous blue and purple Delphiniums. We also added in some white Echinacea and white Asiatic Lilies to help balance out the color scheme.
Today, we planted some Broccoli and seeded some Lettuce, so they will be coming into their fullness just in time for the cool fall weather that greens and Cole crops like.
We attended to the tomatoes in both the Farm Garden and Chef’s Garden, pruning off any yellowing leaves or signs of blight and spraying with an organic copper, an anti-fungal agent.
Fabia and I also thinned out the corn and fertilized with Blood Meal, as corn is a heavy nitrogen feeder. We have also been fertilizing regularly with a Maine-made seaweed fertilizer.
What’s ready: Cucumbers are happening, Basil, Lettuce, Green Beans, Summer Squash, Zucchini, and so many edible flowers!! And the Tomatoes are beginning to ripen, very soon! We will have to have another garden walk soon.
July 9, 2018
Everything is exploding in the gardens!! Summer squash and zucchini have started; peas are still going strong in The Farm Garden, as are head lettuce, baby carrots, and Hakurei turnips. The Chef’s Garden at Earth is so full — The tomatoes in the long bed are still green but the plants are huge, it won’t be long now!
The basil in front of the tomatoes is also looking pretty lush. In the paths between the tomatoes & peppers is a wonderful nutritious weedygreen called Purslane which is really high in vitamins and minerals as well as Omega 3’s.
The Elderflowers have been blooming for the past week (the main ingredient of St. Germaine liqueur) which will soon be Elderberries; both of these have medicinal benefits. Elderflowers are a gentle aromatic-diaphoretic (makes you sweat) which you would take to help blow off a fever (safe enough for kids) with an affinity to the upper respiratory tract and Elderberries are an immune and anti-viral tonic helpful for warding off the flu!
The Lavender is in all of its full glory at The Farm Garden – definitely check it out & watch the bumble bees <3! Waiting for the sunflowers to open any day now!
What have I been up to the last couple of weeks? Mostly keeping on top of weeding and watering as well as harvesting every week for the kitchen!
The flower garden is starting to really bloom and look beautiful! We have slowly been replacing some flowers: trading some Phlox that suffers perennially from powdery mildew, with lovely hydrangeas. The Liatris is opening up as are the Zinnias, Rudbeckia (also known as Black-Eyed Susans), & Snapdragons. And I just planted some full grown Dahlias that are about to bloom. The scissors & vases are in the shed for the guests to cut their own flowers and they can fill at the spigot on the side of the shed. We have newly marked the flowers with a sign and arbor so that it is clear where they are!!
Hope everyone is getting to enjoy some of the sunshine!!! ☀
June 25, 2018
Hello everyone and happy Summer!!
That big rain storm we got with the full moon was much needed – everything already looks greener and I swear you could sit in the gardens right now and watch the plants grow. Perhaps we should install a camera and we could make a little video of the plants growing if we sped it up. The sunflowers come to mind…
Last week was the Summer Solstice which means the longest day of the year, so cosmologically we have made it to high summer, where the sun is the highest in the sky and the days are the longest.
The corn in the 3 sisters planting (native traditional companion-planting of corn, beans, and squash) is already knee high. And it’s not even the 4th of July yet!
All the veggies are flowering: Peppers, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Melons, Beans. They will be ready for harvesting soon!
What’s ready now: Basil, Tulsi, Chamomile, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Peas, Bachelor Buttons, Nasturtiums, Begonias, Marigolds (edible flowers), Mint, Oxalis, Red & Green Sorrel, Lavender, Garlic-scapes, and Amaranth, a heat-tolerant green, grain, and sometimes cut flower (Jamaican Spinach – Glenroy from the kitchen taught me today that it is called “Callaloo” there and he was really excited it was growing in the guest-garden!!).
The flowers in the boxes at the Serenity Pool are all edible garnishes. Outside lunch service team: please feel free to garnish your drinks with these plants. They look gorgeous this year, thanks to the daily watering!
This week, we used an agricultural vinegar spray to naturally kill the weeds growing in the rock-pathways, works great and is quick.
I also spent some time in The Flower Garden- weeding & making the entrance more apparent for guests which included painting a sign and making demo bouquets. Zinnias, Veronica, Penstemon are flowering now. We will still be filling in next week with full-grown Dahlia’s.
I love my job! Today I was given the task of making a faerie house village near the lodge where guests’ children can play making faerie houses. We now have a faerie-sized pool & swing set – Maybe the faeries will come to play at night!
June 15, 2018
I decided to write today’s Hidden Pond Garden Update while sitting next to the big rock under the Hawthorn trees in The Farm Garden, watching the white petals fly with the wind across the bright clear sky. As we approach the Summer solstice, the longest day of the year, most everything has been planted in the ground. The nighttime rains are a blessing and the birds are laying and hatching their eggs.
This week, after Wednesday’s New Moon, Ryzen and I seeded some more greens behind Earth: Saltwort, lettuce mix, and Red-Giant Mustard. I also harvested some for Earth and the Bar to use during tonight’s dinner service. Everyone should check out and smell the flowering Sage.
This morning I got to pull up some carrots with some of our young hotel guests in The Farm Garden and show them where the paths were, etc- it was wonderful!
PLEASE HARVEST SOME CHAMOMILE. Respectfully rake your fingers through tops of plants, grabbing just flowers while holding bottom of the stem to prevent it from pulling out. I already harvested some for the kitchen but there is so much at The Farm Garden – we want to leave some of it to reseed, too!
Next week I will be fertilizing and topdressing with compost and planting The Tree Spa boxes with herbs for the practitioners to use in their spa treatment preparations. We will help to redecorate the entrance table at Earth & painting a sign for the cut flower garden. I will also explore inoculating ome woochips and installing a garden pathway this month.
June 1, 2018
Wow, the weeks are just flying by in a whirlwind! If you haven’t gotten a chance to walk around the The Farm Garden & Chef’s Garden, please do – everything grows so fast this time of year, definitely a time of accelerated growth!!
Chef and I will be coordinating a couple Hidden Pond & Earth staff garden tours next week, since I have planted so many different things everywhere.
Harvest-able now: baby mustard greens, baby red-veined spinach & sorrel, pansies, sweet Cicely, Turkish rocket, rhubarb, lovage, applemint & mojito mint, lemon balm, chive flowers, chamomile, eastern hemlock tips (use like spruce tips), and sage!
I have gotten much of the planting done already: The Farm Bar, Serenity Pool boxes, Earth Chef’s Garden, The Farm Garden, and the flower garden. Left to do: filling in, more seeding when the lunar cycle changes and for the baby seedlings to grow, grow, grow!! Next week I’ll be finishing up planting, tightening everything up, filling in, and making sure the name tags are out. I still have to plant tomatoes in the farm garden, and potatoes, shallots and squash at the end of sunflower bed at Earth. Planted underneath the sunflowers will be a Peas and Oats cover-crop blend- the nitrogen fixing peas will help with soil building as it can get pretty dry there. The milky oats can also be tinctured into a lovely replenishing yin, nervine tonic and can be used at the bar.
If I am out in the gardens, please come out and talk to me- the formal ‘open garden’ time for is 10-12 when I’m in on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays but feel free to find me anytime!!
May 18, 2018
Just a little garden update for the first two weeks of this growing season-
I’ve been busy prepping all of the beds for planting time! Which for the most part, is not quite yet as it is still really cold at night. It has definitely been a long, slow Spring. I seeded some peas and greens, both of which are cold-tolerant (and even like it!). The average last frost date in Maine is May 21st and you usually have to watch out around the full moon. I was focusing on trying to get some seeds in the ground this week and next week because the moon is waxing – the waxing moon raises the water table and encourages upward and outward energy (i.e sprouts)!!! Today I seeded Sunflowers and a field peas/ oats cover-crop mix in the large box by the pond as well as Sunflowers and Nasturtiums in The Farm Garden. I made a pretty little pea-trellis down at the farm garden too, with fallen Birch.
As you can tell, we replaced all of the 6×6’s in chef’s garden and yes, they do look bright now but they will fade quickly in the sun. If they do not fade fast enough, we will work on a natural dye for the wood as these are organic gardens!
Next week we are going to be doing the majority of our planting, just before Memorial Day, but also before the last full moon in May (which means we may have to cover up some plants with blankets!).
I have a wonderful helper, Ryzen who has been assisting me with the rush and keeping all of the plants watered! Also, a huge thanks to Mike who built a gorgeous new tiered raised bed in the chef’s garden that will soon be planted with tomatoes and sweet potatoes (& more).
A funny story- I was wearing lavender essential oil and a bumble bee kept swarming around me in The Farm Garden and continued to crawl into the lavender. I think I tricked him!
I am thinking the first class should be on TONICS and STEWARDSHIP. Feel free to pick the Pansies and the Rhubarb at The Farm Garden!
March 30, 2018
Winter apple tree pruning is important and today, Dave & I tended to Hidden Pond’s ‘orchard’.
A few tips: don’t be afraid to make bold cuts to benefit the overall health of the tree, while sleeping in dormancy before any buds have begun to form. Less branches= more fruit.
First step in apple tree pruning is to remove any diseased or dying wood, always coming back to the beginning of the branch and making a cut at a slant so water does not settle there and make an environment hospitable to disease.
Second, remove all branches facing directly up or down as well as suckers at the base of the tree.
Third, uncross crossed branches and work to open the canopy of the tree. The common expression is “vase shape” and this is for proper aeration because apples are prone to fungal issues.
Can’t wait to see all the fruits of our labors this Fall!
July 1, 2017
It’s the Fourth of July weekend and the peas are just beginning to be pick-able in both The Farm Garden & Chef’s Garden. Also, greens in both gardens! At The Farm Garden, there is an array of greens: Orach, Arugula, Amaranth, Red Head Lettuce, Chrysanthemum, & Tuscan Kale are all planted together – they are at the perfect phase for picking. With these greens please choose one leaf and cut all the way down to the end of the stem and avoid take all of the leaves on one plant, please.
Another reminder: when picking Basil, only harvest down to the next set of nodes that are growing. By harvesting this way, the plant will continue to bush out and produce more! We will have to have an educational harvest demo for the kitchen very soon!
I put a garden journal in The Farm Garden’s potting shed yesterday. Please feel free to encourage guests to write in it – I will write in it as well as write down what is ready to harvest.
I am starting some cucumbers in pots the beginning of next week to plant on the willow trellis when the peas are done producing. And I just bought some lovely seedlings from Frinklepod, too – bigger Peppers, Eggplants, some cut flowers, and cabbage.
The Elderflower is also blooming at Earth which is making everything smell sweetly delicious up there! At my cocktail class yesterday in the garden, I made an Elderflower Collins (my class attendees called it the ‘Cass Collins’)– this flower is used to ease sinus and upper respiratory inflammation as well as a tea to burn off a fever (called a diaphoretic as it induces perspiration).
June 16, 2017
Everything in the gardens grew so much last weekend with the heat wave which accompanied the full moon! The Hawthorn behind the farm garden is flowering and it’s full of honeybees🐝
Summer is officially here next week, and I’m really welcoming the warmer weather so that the heat-loving plants like peppers and basil will begin to thrive!! The greens and peas love cooler weather, though so it is a trade off… Here’s some of what I have been up to:
-More planting and filling in with more edible flowers & garnishes
-Plant labels everywhere
-Created ornamental containers by The Farm Garden
-I’m making hanging burlap planters for 3 ‘upside down’ tomatoes along porch at Earth
-Taught a Cocktails and Mocktails class in the garden (in the potting shed) today.