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Happy Monday! April 30, 2018

Happy Monday! Ask yourself what makes you come alive. Then go and do that. Have a great week!

Full Moon Phase: clarity, illumination, inspiration

Moon in Scorpio

Sun: 11 Taurus – “a woman sprinkling flowers”

Earth: 11 Scorpio – “a drowning man being rescued”

Tzolkin: 10 Owl

Skill: know there is light at the end of every darkness; ask for help if needed

True Alignments: retreating or taking a break when necessary, spreading love/good attitude, taking action when called upon, learning, fairness, random acts of kindness

Catalysts for Change: uncompromising, demanding, loose cannons, victimology, heavy hearted, turning one’s back

Emissary of the Aeon Sophia (Wisdom): Chinnamasta (She Who Expands the Mind)

Emissary of the Aeon Thelete (Will): Ian (He of the East)

One of the many intents of sharing this blog is to have a daily update. The goal of the daily update is to note special aspects that have the potential of affecting each day – and specifically how it might affect gardening.

ORACLE REPORT: At least in the short term, I will start by using the aspects from The Oracle Report. These are aspects that I have been personally tracking for years and have been paying attention to the affects.

ALMANAC: I will also report information and advice that can be gleaned from the Farmer’s Almanac . Oddly enough, there is a fair amount of crossover with Oracle Report.

LUNAR ASPECTS: While we have talked about lunar aspects within Oracle Report, I plan to do some deep diving here.

And anything else that strikes my fancy. 

We are under the energy of a Full Moon today, and have been since 8:58PM Sunday the 29th. I snapped a picture of it that I posted in my previous post about the Moon (CLICK HERE TO READ IT). Most people misunderstand the influence and meaning of a Full Moon phase.

When tracking the lunar phases, we begin when the Moon is New (which was about 2 weeks ago – April 15th). The Full Moon offers the full expression of the energy that began at the New moon. This is described by the Sabian Symbol at that degree – 27 Aries “through imagination, a lost opportunity is regained”. The New Moon users in the energy. The Full moon sees it at its complete expression. It is a time when you reach clarity about it. In my case, this speaks a lot about my garden and my blog. I have been rebuilding my garden this year. And I am now at a point where I am moving forward with it. And I feel good about it.

Also note in the diagram that we on Earth are now in between the 2 strongest forces in our solar system – The Sun and the Moon. I will talk more at length about the Full Moon. But as you see here, we are under great strains and gravitational pulls between them. This can explain a lot. Like why things get a little crazy. People get a little spun out. Accidents happen. Emergency rooms fill up.

Pay attention to how you feel and how you react during the full moon phase. It is an aspect that I consider to be fun.

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Lunar Phases – Pt.1

I think in honor of the Full Moon phase today, I am beginning an extended lesson on The Moon. Part of AstroGardens is examining and living the affect of astronomy and astrology on my garden.  Anyone who has followed astrology or Oracle Report over the past 8 years will know that we follow the moon phases regularly and talk about it at length.

So, I will be putting together short posts to explain it. That way when I throw out some blanket statement like – “It’s Full Moon and you know what that means,” you will not first think that there will be werewolves all over the place. But you might take pause if you find yourself in the Emergency Room with a couple hundred other people.

Some notes on Astronomy

In my freshman year in college, I decided to take an Astronomy class. As a business major, I was required to take a science course with a lab. I had already studied both Chemistry and Biology in high school and was looking for something different.

And Astronomy sounded so cool. I could go on star gazing tours, go visit the observatory (Palomar Mountain was only about 30 miles away and the College had a partnership there). Learning about the planets and the solar system had more of an appeal to me than chemicals and dissections.

Besides this, it was one of the few classes that I could get. San Diego State University boasted over 45,000 students at the time. Most classes were held in large lecture halls, and still would fill to capacity. You took what you could get.

Day one in the class re educated me quickly about the “fun” in astronomy. Astronomy could be better described as applied mathematics, chemistry, and physics all together.

I have never taken physics, so most of my simplistic descriptions of physics principles will be borrowed from someone else’s work who knows WTF they are talking about.

As my major would eventually change from Business to Economics (which is another applied mathematics, specifically statistics and calculus, field) the mode of learning fit right into my own abilities.

Astronomy is all about DESCRIBING what is going on in the universe around us. It provides the descriptive information that has helped us to ask some of the more important questions about life, the universe and everything.

The location of the moon in relation to the earth and the sun is a significant source of the energy that we experience here on Earth. In fact, since it is the closest object in our solar system to the Earth, while not being the largest, it exerts the greatest gravitational influence upon us.

 

The Moon, as our satellite, travels around our planet every 28 or so days or about 13 times within each calendar year. See the diagram to the left that notes the basic synodic (monthly) path of the earth around the sun.

A few quick calculations will tell you that this means that it does not accurately match up with the standard Gregorian Calendar of 365.2422 days – requiring a leap-day every 4 years (and a curse to any kid born on that day – February 29).

 

 

 

For my purposes, I will be describing the phases by the following names:

New Moon –

Crescent Moon Phase –

First Quarter Phase –

Gibbous Moon –

Full Moon –

Disseminating Moon Phase–

Third Quarter Phase–

Balsamic Moon Phase –

I bring this up primarily because you will find the lunar phases called many different things. One of the most confusing that I have found are the difference between Waxing and Waning.

Between New Moon and Full Moon, the moon is Waxing, or getting bigger

Between Full Moon and New Moon, the moon is Waning, or getting smaller

But What about the Tides?

Remember that in addition to the moon moving around the Earth, remember that each day, the earth revolves once around on its axis. This means that during the course of the day, the planet will react (bulge) as it passes the moon. This compression in and out as the planet spins causes the tidal forces in all water on the planet. This is easy to see in the case of the oceans or in a large lake, where the movement of the water can be measured. But when you look at smaller bodies of water (like the 75 odd percent of each person’s body that is made up of water).

As a beginning point, this discusses some of the basics about our lunar satellite is a good start. In the end, all of these forces have impacts on our life. In this case, we want to know about what it does to our gardens.

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Real Food Reset – Going on a Diet Today 4-27-2018

In the not too distant past, I tried an interesting diet. Actually it was 4 or 5 years ago, and also beginning in the month of May.

I came across the diet while tooling around on Facebook at the time. I had actually decided that I was going to do something, and this just happened across my newsfeed at the right time. Funny thing is that it was written and designed by a high school friend of mine who I had reconnected with in the world of Facebook. And let it be known, at the time, I did not start it with the intention of losing weight. That was simply a happy side effect.

The REAL Food Reset – 30 days to lose weight, kick cravings, & feel great!

Here is what they say about it:

Unlike a diet, a detox or a flush, The Real Food Reset develops healthy eating habits that become a platform for perfect health for the rest of your life. No weighing, measuring, or counting required!

•  tired of being overweight?

•  fed up with cravings?

•  are done letting food rule your life?

•  you need to get healthy NOW!

You are about to read the book that will teach you everything you need to know about starting your own ’30 Days,’ and continue to improve going forward using Real Food as your only tool.

With The Real Food Reset you will:

•  lose fat

•  get fit

•  feel better

•  feel results in just 30 days or even less!

WHAT WERE MY RESULTS?

As I said before, I had not decided to do this diet for the purposes of losing weight. However, when it was all said and done, I had lost 18 lbs.

At the time, what I wanted to do was a cleanse. There are many cleanses out there and many reasons to do them. My reason was simple. I felt like shit a lot of the time. Specifically, I was having trouble with extreme pain in my feet and legs when I would wake up. I was looking for something to help this. And if I would then be able to fit into more of my old clothing, what a bonus.

The results:

  1. I lost 18 lbs in 30 days.
  2. The pain in my feet dissappeared within 1 week.
  3. I learned a ton about the food I was eating.

BUT!!!

It is not easy. It takes a serious commitment. It takes serious will power. It was expensive keeping new and different foods around the house that the kids and my wife would not eat.

So I will be starting today. I remember enough about it to step right back into it. I will be talking about this a lot and tying it into the garden. It would help a lot if I were already growing a lot of this stuff. That being said, I will be able to eat some of my lettuces before the end of this diet.

 

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What’s a Victory Garden?

Victory Garden in the Zombie Apocalypse

When I began research on what to do with my garden this year, one of the resources that I found was about “Victory Gardens.”  So I must begin with everyone’s favorite resource for interesting (albeit potentially flawed) information, Wikipedia:

“Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany during World War I and World War II. George Washington Carver wrote an agricultural tract and promoted the idea of what he called a “Victory Garden”. They were used along with Rationing Stamps and Cards to reduce pressure on the public food supply. Besides indirectly aiding the war effort, these gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens a part of daily life on the home front.” Wikipedia – “Victory Garden”

Honestly the only things I knew about Victory gardens were from old cartoons and black and white kids shorts like The Little Rascals. And for anyone wanting a course on wartime propaganda, these are a great study.

But the idea was pretty simple. Back in the 30’s and 40’s, resources were scarce. We were dealing with  the Great Depression and world War 2. And people needed food. So why not encourage people to fend for themselves and grow a garden.

The funny thing is, the advice that was offered to people about private gardens was really pretty good. It offered ideas about crops to grow and how to keep it sustained. Let’s face it, the food you grow will not be all that you will need. But it does provide fresh vegetables and fruits that were not available.

So Why is This Relevant Today?

Right now, I believe that following this process of creating a Home Garden to be of vital importance. That’s me. And my reasons, while some might say sound like they are coming from the mind of a raving lunatic, are pretty sound.

  1. We have just come out on the other side of a long and protracted Recession – The Great Recession of 2008. – How hard was your family hit during this last recession? For us, it was significant. I lost my main job in 2010. On the one hand, this was sad. It was a pretty good job. On the other, it was a loss in income. And prospects were not good. To continue working in my field, I would have taken a significant pay cut. So I began working from home. And while the income is different, we have been able to make it work.
  2. The World (and our own Government) is not to be trusted – As an ardent civil libertarian, I am always concerned about the powers that control structures may have over our lives. “Don’t tread on Me” has as much if not more relevance today as it did back in the 1700’s. It’s not the British doing it to us. But it is the Anti Gun Lobby, the Global Warming/Climate Change movement, Monsanto, whoever is spraying Chemtrails all over the sky. The list goes on.
  3. Health – You have no idea what is being passed off as food these days – As I have noted in other articles, the level of processing and chemical contamination in our food and water sources is unbelievable. By growing things yourself, you can exercise better control of your food. What is your opinion about such things as Flouride being added to your water?

So for me, it is not so much for Victory, but rather for protection. Am I going to go so far as many preppers and begin storing long term food supplies, water filters, Alternative power sources? Not yet, but that may be next.

For now, it is transforming my yard into a positive growing environment that will produce healthy food for my family to eat. And if I can do so, while entertaining people and offering sound advice, then it is a bonus.

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Drugs Pt.2 – Eat Food that is as Close to as Nature Intended

Eat Food that is as Close to as Nature Intended

Making lifestyle choices with your diet are rarely easy. People make food choices for so many different reasons. And often we do not even think about it. Like why do you buy Skim milk vs Whole milk? Is it Oreos or Chips Ahoy? Do I buy apples or oranges?

These choices reflect preferences, impulses, memories and a whole host of other reasons. And there is a vast difference between an apple picked off of a tree in your backyard and a McDonald’s Big Mac.

In the same seminar mentioned in Pt 1 of this article:

What Drugs Are You On? – Pt.1

the suggestion to the issue about what to eat came in a pretty simple statement:

“Eat food that is as close to as nature intended.”

I thought about this for a long time and it makes sense.

Fruit is good. Canned fruit is good. An apple from the grocery store is better. A farmer’s market melon picked that morning is better. An organic peach fresh picked off the tree and washed with spring water . . .  You get the drift.

We all have to eat. It is about the choices we make when it is time to eat that set the standard for health. For some, it is easy. They choose a specific dietary lifestyle and stick to it.

I am Vegan. I am a vegetarian. I am a pescatarian. I eat gluten free. Sugar free. And it goes on and on.

But the “as close to as nature intended” rule is a wonderful place to start. It puts the choices we make into a ranking. And it helps us consider what level of processing we choose to eat.

What meats do you eat? Is it fast food? Do you buy it at the store? Whole foods or Acme? Is it hormone free? Was it free range or raised in a pen? Did you go out and hunt it, skin it and smoke it by a campfire? Where you live and how close you are to modern amenities (or natural resources) will be a large part of this decision.

What do you snack on? Carrot sticks? A bag of mixed nuts and raisins? Crackers? Cookies? A Snickers? Nacho Cheese Doritos with Queso dip?

What vegetables do you eat? Fresh picked tomatoes from the garden? Hot House tomatoes for $1.00 per pound more at the grocery store? Canned tomatoes? Pace Picante sauce? Ketchup?

I tries to implement a lot of these decisions here at home, with much resistance and indifference. Then, our daughter, who was in about 6th grade, was tasked with reading the book, “Chew on This: Everything you don’t want to know about fast food.” It is the school version of the Book turned into the movie Fast Food Nation. It chronicles the journey of the author who decided that he would only eat McDonald’s food for a month.

For all of my feelings about Common Core education, this was a piece that worked (though I think that it was something slipped in by the teachers who were there before the Core, and saw its value).

Two years later, our daughter still refuses to eat most fast food – especially McDonalds. And while this is not intended to be an attack on Frankenfood inc, it does point out that eating this kind of food is a choice. It has consequences.

For me, the most dramatic diet I have been on is No processed sugar. Seems simple enough until you look at all the foods that have sugar in them. Pretty much ALL processed foods. Bread. Milk. And when I did the diet, I had to add my own restrictions – I do not eat beef. The result, both times on the diet, was weight loss. Was it because what I was eating was more healthy? Or was it that I could not find food to eat when I was hungry. I will write about the details of this diet another time. But it was definitely something to try.

Which brings me back to the drugs we are taking. The point of being as close to as nature intended was to consider the choices we make. And to pay attention to what we are eating. I do not think we are intending to be unhealthy when we open a can of Pringles. They taste good. All the chemicals they add to them were developed for reasons, and your health wasn’t one of them.

Will these “crisps” kill you? Probably not today. Could you make a healthier choice? No doubt.

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What Drugs Are You On? – Pt.1

Back about 8 years ago, I heard a seminar where this question was posed. At that point, people were looking around the room to see who the guilty parties might be. It can be a controversial question, depending on the company of course. But the context was not necessarily about narcotics or recreational drugs.

The seminar was specifically a natural health and diet seminar. And the question was asking about the kinds of chemicals that we were putting in our bodies.

Prescription and Non Prescription Medications

Around this time in my life, I could identify a couple items that I was consuming on a regular basis. I was taking Advil pretty much daily for headaches and joint pain in my knees. I was taking Loratadine antihistimine daily for allergies year round as well as a rescue albuteral inhaler.

Legal Drugs

Then we were asked to take it a step further – past the pill bottles. What else were we putting in our bodies. For me, I drink alcohol socially. I used to smoke cigarettes, but quit back in 1991. This where people asked to consider also any “non prescription pharmaceuticals.” No judgements. But consider it as part of this checklist

Stimulants in our Foods

We drank a lot of soda – Diet Pepsi was our drink of choice. I always tried to stay healthy and not drink anything with sugar. But that means Aspartame and caffeine. And I drank about a pot of coffee per day. And let’s not talk about chocolate.

. . . And What Else Might Be Hiding

Take a step further in diet. What kinds of foods were we eating? Is it Fruits, vegetables and meats? Is it fresh or canned? Prepared snacks? Did we have any idea what was in the foods that we were eating? Are they organic? GMO? How much MSG in your diet? And what about your water? Do you filter it? Is your water source flouridated?

So this is the part of the post where we look forward. And today, it is homework. Let’s answer the questions everyone. What Drugs are you on? This is intended to be an honest assessment of what you are putting in your body. Include:

Prescription Meds

OTC Medications

Illicit Stuff

Legal Stuff

Dietary Chemicals

Write it out for yourself, or share it here. I will follow this up in the next few days with thoughts about my own diet and ideas on what to do about it.

 

 

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The World We Want

Part of the reason for creating the garden at our suburban home is to bring us all a little closer to nature.  They are similar to the reasons given by preppers and people afraid of the possibility of a coming zombie apocalypse. And since I read and watch a lot of science fiction and dystopian fiction, I can fall into that pretty quick.

So my thought was to consider what kinds of plants I would need to grow if, all of the sudden, food would become scarce. What would we want. What would we/will we need. It was with this in mind that I was looking into urban gardening.

And let me tell you that researching this has been quite a task in itself. After tomatos, peppers, cucumbers and a couple of herbs, I did not have a clue. So I started the task of googling and found so much amazing information. And as a result, will be growing a whole lot of vegetables that I would not have ever considered. And varieties I could never have guessed at.

And frankly, I love the idea of turning my entire property into a backyard farm. And if 60 percent of it were’s under the shade of trees, I would be doing more.

In Sol Luckman’s book Snooze, he describes the home of one of the main characters as a sort of Urban Farm. They practice “permaculture” where they can grow food all year round. I guess this works in Florida, because here in PA, the snow kind of acts as a deterrent at least six months per year. But anyways, it points out the idea of taking control of your own health and nutrition by growing your own food.

But back to the reason for the garden. Because there was a point to this post when I started it. Life is uncertain. And a look at the political culture of our world today points this out. We have Conservatives who want to protect us. Liberals who want to control every aspect of our lives. And the Neos who just want world domination. In most cases, they are all working against what I would consider to be the most important aspect in life – personal sovereignty.

While it is wonderful to think that we live in a country and a world where our opinion matters, I have seen enough of the political climate to have compete distrust in the power elites – Whether in Washington, Harrisburg, Reading, PA or even our own little Borough of Wyomissing.

I think that as far as government’s go, they would  do well to take the advice of the Rush song Closer to the Heart.

And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones who start
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart
The blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart
Philosophers and plowmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the heart
https://youtu.be/QY2iKzm62AM
Until then, I will keep my garden going and look to do all I must to keep poor family safe and protected. It is one small step I can take toward creating the World I Want.
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Looking Forward – New Year – New Moon in Aries

April 15, 2018

At 9:57PM EST this evening, the Astrological New Year will commence. This marks an important time with this blog mostly because it is a beginning point. I launched it on February 25th. And though I have added a few posts and some design work, this new year will be its real start time.

This Astrological New year is a time of new beginnings. And its energy, from the Sabina Symbol for 27 Aries, is,

“through imagination, a lost opportunity is regained “

so for the Astrology part of this blog, the message is about moving forward. And for me, the lost opportunity has been from my previous writing blog – BrighterSideNow. It’s intention had been all about positivity. When writing it, all things written had to be positive. Positive thoughts. Positive words. Positive comparisons. It began from the space of the Law of Attraction. By expressing in the positive, my goal was to attract exactly that, positivity. As a writing challenge, it was a hoot. You would be surprised at how much in our lives comes from the negative. This revelation would hit me often as I was writing. And would not even be able to write about it. So while it was a great challenge, it was a little restrictive.

AstroGardens will hold no such restrictions. Everything here is fair game. Each week will start with a Happy Monday. In fact, tomorrow’s will be:

Happy Monday! Today is a new opportunity, another chance, a new beginning. Embrace it!

I will continue to write about and share astrological aspects – including the sabian symbols. I will likely not hold myself to a regiment about it. But when the symbols speak to me, I will be sure to share whatever story comes to me. And I will also be sharing astrological aspects that specifically impact growing cycles. This is a Garden blog you know. And some of this may be important to some of the people who are reading.

And “Looking Forward” posts are to be expected. Here is one. This weekend I was beginning some of my planting. It has been cold. Too cold to put anything in the ground. And there has been snow and frost. Yesterday it was 80 degrees. Today did not get over 42. That is Spring back east. So I am starting seeds on my porch to see what comes of things.

And while looking at what what I was planting, I am most excited for lettuce. I am planning a bunch of different lettuce and leafy greens. I am looking forward to being able to go out each day and pick my salad and make green shakes. The varieties I have include:

Buttercrunch

Red Romaine

Paris Island Romaine

Iceburg

Slow Boat Arugula

Giant Noble Spinach

Georgia Collards

Swiss Chard

Red Acre Cabbage

Parsley

Cilantro

If it all comes up, I may be in trouble come the end of May. But I know a little grocery store and Organic Market stand within a mile that may be able to sell some. We will have to see. But they definitely could be an opportunity.

It is 9:30PM now. I will finish my cup of dandelion tea. Then I will be going outside soon to light a sage smudge and welcome in the New Year.

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Garden Astrology – The Almanac

Almanac

Do you read the Farmer’s Almanac?

Almanac
2018 Harris Almanac

If you don’t do you know anything about it?

Starting at the beginning of my 2018 Harris Farmer’s Almanac, the first line to its readers:

 

“Truth is indeed stranger than fiction” –Harris Almanac 2018

 

And in reading the Almanac, you find this to ring true. On the one hand, annual almanac is like the Reader’s Digest – with short articles about the weather, gardening, recipes and the like. Who doesn’t want to know about weather patterns in southern Iowa or bugs in South Carolina or how to make bread without a bread machine. Some are articles about wisdom from bygone days. Others are just trivia. Intelligent conversation starters that can be brought up while waiting in line somewhere.

 

But the articles are just window dressing. The real nitty gritty of an Almanac is the calendar. Especially before the Internet, sources were needed for people to be able to track cycles and events throughout the year. You have your calendar on the wall. The Almanac told you about what happens each day.

 

Is there a Holiday or special observance?

 

What is the phase of the moon?

 

How long is each day? Sunset? Sunrise?

 

What kind of weather are we expecting this month? (Can’t be any less accurate than the evening news here)

 

In American Culture, the most well-known Almanac was Poor Richard’s Almanac – published, written and sold by Benjamin Franklin. It is known as the place where he offered pithy, meaningful quotes. I will share them from time to time on this blog, as they often have great advice, and are funny as well. The quote for today:

 

“Lost Time is never found again.”

― Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack

 

Reminds me that I have not written enough for this blog and need to get to it.

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Transforming our Yard into a Garden

Transforming our Yard into a Garden

Since we moved into this house 20 years ago, we have had gardens. In fact, the gardens around the yard were something that we marveled at from the beginning.

We chose this house and moved in in the winter time – February and March. We could see lawns, borders, trees and bushes. But that was about it. The real makeup of our yard only revealed itself in the coming of the spring – around about April here in Eastern Pennsylvania.

What we found was a wealth of annual plant life and some wonderfully designed gardens on the back and side yards. There was a White Hydrangea, two beautiful Peony bushes, gardens bordered with Hosta and a couple Azaleas.

Other than a few rose bushes along the side, and a Lilac bush in the center of the back lawn, we have left the planters pretty much alone. We have planted flowers and groomed the bushes.

The other unfortunate aspect of the property is the large trees. We live on a tree lined street with a beautiful canopy of Lindon trees. The affect in the summer is that our street feels like a tunnel. It keeps the street 10-15 degrees cooler, which is also a plus. However, Lindon’s are messy. They drop stuff throughout the year. And the shade, while beautiful, blocks out the sun in front to the point where not even grass will grow effectively. And other than bushes, the only flowers we can plant are impatiens.

The back yard has another feature that limits what we are able to do. Right behind the house is a huge Mulberry Tree. During the month of June, the yard is a mess with rotting mulberries and bird and squirrel droppings.

From the first year, I began planting a small patch in the back lawn – the SouthEast Corner. We have planted what most backyard gardens have – tomatos, beans, cucumbers, zucchinis, peppers and the like. Sometimes we will add something different, but usually it has been just run of the mill.

Where are we going in 2018

As the point of this blog, I am expanding the gardens to grow food and herbs in the available space on our property. It came as an inspiration last year when I really wanted to be planting a bunch of herbs but did not have the time to do it since it was late in summer.

So, this winter, I began to plan out how to gain more space. In the hand drawn diagram above, you can see where I plan to plant. Much of this will require a lot of work, including turning soil, removing bushes and repurposing existing garden spaces. This blog will show it all – and offer as much advice as I can learn along the way.

In future posts, I will explain some of my thoughts and scratched from my sketch.