Archive for the 'Garden' Category

Summer, Almost

I like our summer routine. We eat dinner at the picnic table on the porch, then wander up the yard to see what sort of berries can be found for dessert. Last night, we (the adults) picked about a pint of perfectly ripe strawberries, the sort of berry that makes all the growing worthwhile. There were also a bunch of plausibly not totally unripe salmonberries that the kids picked. I’ve had a couple so far, and some of them get ripe and tasty, but often the kids don’t let them get that far. They strip the bushes. Tim has taken to calling them ‘sharp num’. Later in the summer there will be several varieties of blackberry, thimble berries, huckleberries, blueberries, raspberries and others. But for now, it’s the salmonberries.

But last night, the first rain in a month rolled in (6 minutes shy of the record for the longest dry spell this time of year at seatac. ) The outside smelled damp and cool and earthy, as it was getting a much needed drink.

The rain continued today, and for the first time, we had a conflict between the scaffolding in the living room and the need to use the dining room table. Not bad for having it up for a week and a half already.

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Another quick garden update

I’ve now gotten 10 pepper plants in the ground, along with the tomatillo, the rest of the squashes, and some replacement chard. Today, I picked up some herbs for the herb bed, a couple replacement thymes, a cilantro, 2 basils, and a couple of rosemarys.

I also got a ‘red warty thing’ which is sort of a pumpkin/hubbard cross. I’m hoping that it amuses me.

There’s one other batch of onions to plant out, then we’re pretty much done for now. There’s some spare chard and kale that will probably go out, and the straggler cucumbers.

Next year, all the squash like stuff needs to be started April 1, 2 seeds to a pot, and not right on top of each other. The tomatoes and peppers need to be started March, or maybe even February, inside, and warm, if we’re going to be able to use them.

The sunflowers and beans continue to grow well, though there are some ants that are getting some of the bean leaves. The corn is in, but unfortunately, I planted it right at the end of a heat wave, and not right at the beginning.

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More garden

It’s really hot here. 80 in the shade hot, And today, every time I went out to move the water, there were more beans up. There were noticable differences from hour to hour. The sunflowers are up too, in quantity.

I got the tomatoes and zucchini in the ground today to take advantage of the expected next week or more of good weather. I’m hoping to get the corn and peppers in soon so they can get a little of it too.

A few days ago, I was looking at the pictures from the 3rd of June last year, and despairing that the potatoes and other bits were way behind. Well, a few hot days have cured that. Everything is loving the heat, so long as there’s water available.

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End of Month Garden Brain Dump

So. It’s hot and dry here.

– The salad this year is a lost cause. We’ve gotten three plants from three plantings of lettuces, and the spinach is just beginning to get to edible size.
– We haven’t gotten any chard yet, but the overwintered stuff should be ready for a harvest.
– The overwintered kale has been good for a few meals, but it really wasn’t that impressive for production.
– The carrots planted May 1 or so came up thickly, then disappeared. The parsnips came up and are doing well.
– The peas are just now flowering, the favas are flowering and looking happy.
– The transplanted cauliflower has been in the ground a few weeks, and we’ve only lost two plants. The more recently transplanted brussel sprouts are looking good.
– Onions are looking good, both from the walla walla sets and the seeded guardsman and leeks, then set out as tiny plants.
– There are quite a few potatoes in the carrot bed.
– The potatoes are looking good, the March and April plantings have been hilled at least once, and the May ones are peaking out.
– The reseeding of the beets is working well, we’ve almost got a full bed of them.
– Garlic continues to do well, though I not sure how the seeded garlic will do. It’s still really small.
– The parsely and cilantro have been transplanted ont and are taking to the garden well. Slugs have gotten a couple of parsely, but none of the cilantro.
– I think that the slug beer traps are working. They seem to catch the slugs, and there doesn’t seem to be as much damage now.
– The Strawberries are as happy as I’ve ever seen strawberries in one of my gardens. The transplants from the compost pile are spreading like mad, the ones from the store are putting up huge leaves and lots of berries and flowers. There are a bunch of wild strawberries around the yard, and it almost looks like they’re invasive.
– The peas in the sprawly bed are doing reasonably well. I’m digging small holes there for the squash and sprawly things to grow for a while before I turn the peas in.
– The Pumpkins are in the ground, and looking pretty good. They were started in pots about April 1. I should have started the other squash and cucumbers then.
– The zucchini were started around early May and are good enough to go out, but it would be nicer to have them bigger. The Patty Pan and Butternuts are not ready to go out yet, but might be in a week or so.
– The beans and sunflower seeds have been in the ground a week, and are just starting to sprout. It’s been a warm week.
– There’s at least one apple set that we’ve found, but it’s still hard to see many. I’m expecting more.
– There are lots of cherries, on each tree.
– There’s three plums on one tree, and one on the other. The kids ate 4 plums for snack today. Not going to be enough for a while.
– There’s at least a few peaches on the peach tree, but I’m really worried about it. It has something that looks like a rash or blight, and some of the twigs were hit hard by the weather last winter.
– The pears look happy, but I’m not sure if they’re gong to set fruit. There’s nothing on the asian pear, and one cluster that looks promising on the Bartlett.
– The Blueberries have lots of blossoms and look like they’re setting.
– The Salmon berries are starting to be ripe, and we’ve got a lot of them this year. Knocking down the blackberries did wonders for them.
– The bed is almost ready for the tomatoes and peppers. The tomatoes are ready to go in real soon now, the peppers will probably be a week.
– The Nevada peas are a lost cause, and will get turned in in the next couple of weeks and their place will be taken by corn.
– There’s another planting of Cilantro in the greenhouse, Basil, and some recently repotted Kale. There’s also some extra chard ready for infill in the bed that was planted this spring.

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A couple of Garden Panoramas

Links to the big ones, they’re 3000 and 7000 pixels wide. The originals were more like 10k and 25k wide.


This one is half a circle, from the beaten down blackberries and resurgent salmonberries, through the fruit trees, fire circle, combined sprawly bed and nevada, now more of a utah shape, and then the raspberries and the blackberries that hide the main garden. This is the big one.


The sprawly bed — it’s got favas, garlic strawberries, and peas that are doing anything, a bean trellis in the back, and a few newly planed rows of bush and pole beans. Soon to come are the sprawly things and the sunflowers.

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Chainsaw Chair

Chainsaw Chair

Take one at functional chainsaw art. This one is a little tall for Ben.

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I spent most of the day outside on the first day in the last 5 that hasn’t been a basically perfect spring day. We had an arborist over taking down 11 trees that were either threatening, damaged, or blocking much needed sunlight. They ranged from little (3″ dia) but hung up in others to downright huge (2′ dia). All of them are about 35 years old, as most of the other trees on the property are.

Sometimes, when the wind was right, the sawdust drifted down from the treetops and the breeze smelled of christmas trees. Then a 20 foot treetop would plummet and slam into the ground.

No one was hurt, not even the little japanese maple that was less than a foot from a couple big drops. This is why we brought in the professionals.

And finally, we’re seeing sprouts from the plantings from last week — the spinach, lettuce, radish, and beets are all coming up.

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And now for the early April Planting

It was 70 in the shade on the sunny side of the house, and 65 in the shade on the north. This is the first day that it’s been warmer outside than in. And 2 days straight of eating outside for lunch and dinner.

Now we get to the high volume stuff. There’s chard. And half a bed of kale to fill out the bed that didn’t quite make it through the winter. (What do you know, dwarf siberian kale overwinters better than nero de toscano. I guess it’s not so cold in Tuscany). Nevada is now half shelling peas and half favas, and the former compost pile is now an extension to that bed and has transplanted wild strawberries (that were happily colonizing the compost pile) a couple lines of sweet peas, and some dalias. The sprawly bed is also worked over, and what isn’t in (not-wild) strawberries and garlic is now 8x 20+foot rows of snow and snap peas, at least until I need it for sprawly things. It actually looks like a standard set of garden rows now.

I’m going to be sore tomorrow. Clearing the sprawly bed was a lot of work.

And on top of that, we planted seeds for starts. 2 types of onions (Guardsman and Candy), leeks, cauliflower, cabbage, 2 brussel sprouts (Franklin 80 day and Diablo 160 day), eggplant, bell peppers (red green and yellow), basil, pumpkins (small saved, big saved, and magic lantern from a packet), sunflowers ((king) kong, saved), coriander, parsely, celery, and tomatoes (free, came with the greenhouse).

Still to plant in pots, probably in a month or so, are the rest of the squashes and the cucumbers, another planting of some of the brassicas, and probably more basil and coriander/cilantro. And whatever else seems like it needs a start in a greenhouse.

(And really tasty, a pestoish mixture of basil, cilantro, serrano pepper, and olive oil. With a bit of salt. It’s gooood. )

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End of March Planting

Got some of the end of march planting done — one bed of beets and one bed of mixed salad stuff: radish, salad blend, and two varieties of spinach. There’s still some more peas and some chard to plant before I’m done for now.

Interestingly, the soil temperatures in the earlier pea beds are below where they were when I planted almost a month ago. (High 40’s then, 46-48. They’re now 43-46) The peas are just starting to show, but the favas in the main garden aren’t doing anything yet. The favas off in Nevada (well, that’s the shape of the bet) are starting to sprout now, so I guess that gets a bit more light and heat. It’s been a cold March, last year we has more stuff up by now, and the salad bits were planted two weeks earlier. Then of course, last year it Snowed in mid April, so maybe we’re not that behind.

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