Waiting Game

Spring in a Northwest garden is like an on-again off-again relationship. One day it's sunny and dry and I'm out there in bliss. The next day it's pouring down rain with a definite chill in the air. Better to just avoid seeing each other.


Garden Dreams

A garden is an act of hope. A belief that something started now can result in something beneficial later. It is a visual reminder that life is cyclical, not linear. A living mobius strip in that there is never a beginning nor an end. There is always something happening in a garden, even if subtly so. Old things are always becoming new things in some energy is never created nor destroyed kind of way. I think a compost pile and a garden plot are about the most beautiful way to understand this.


Pretty Jars

Mmm, we had pear butter on toast this morning. We made the pear butter last fall and I just cracked open a new jar this morning. I also put a jar of dilly beans in the fridge for a crispy cold snack later. I love how the ball jars with the fancy silver rings look on my refrigerator shelves. I love knowing exactly what's in each jar down to the smallest ingredient. There's something "full-circle-ish" about enjoying last year's harvest and canning work while preparing spring soil.


Planting Weekend?

I'm sensing a dry enough spell to get in the garden again this weekend! I'm going to get in those peas... hoping it's not too late. More lettuce. I think I may go ahead and plant the beans. I also think we should plant carrots in the new bed and I may go crazy and plant sunflower seeds. If I'm feeling really spunky, I may go ahead and buy the tomato starts. If so, I'll plant the zucchini and cucumber too. I can't remember if I bought dill seed and cilantro yet...

Guess my chore the rest of this week is to go through the seed packets again. I'll look at the soil temperature suggestions and do some guess work as to what's next.

I also need to separate some of the garlic that's up and spread it out. I thinned the radishes last Wednesday. Time to put out some fresh beer too... it's slug weather now that it's a little warmer. It's been cold enough so far to hold them at bay, but not now!

The broccoli and beets are up. The lettuce had a growth spurt last week, as did the radishes (they liked being thinned). The onions are looking really big and most of the garlic looks healthy. The sage is flowering... poor confused plant. I'm contemplating cutting it back so it doesn't flower yet. The bee balm and lemon balm are wanting a bit more sun and the mint is just biding it's time.

I'm also itching to do some fence building. I really want to get our west side fence replaced this year. We plan to put in an arbor and a gate. We have visions of making a removable section so we'll be able to bring in larger equipment later if we want - such as a bobcat to do some grading. Soil would be easy to dig for fence posts right now. We'll see... we don't have a design yet and we know how important a good plan is : )


Squash Family

This one's for Kristen. Kristen asks when I plant zucchini. I LOVE zucchini. Mostly because I've probably had as much success with it as I have had with chard... almost, but not quite. The one enemy of zucchini is a cold night and lots of moisture. The squash family in general, I've found, suffers from powdery mildew in my little northwest plot. It's a quick growing plant, especially during our hot/dry months in Oregon. So, I wait on this one until I know spring is nearing an end. I actually often plant zucchini starts though so I can wait a little later.

This year I'm aiming for having zucchini planted by the end of this month (because it's been really rainy and I can't plant until the soil dries out a little bit, otherwise I would probably do it this weekend. That and it's been extremely cold this month). I plant it in mounds too because they like to drink. You build a little hill up around the plants and then dig out a little moat around the hill. This allows you to give the plant a good big soaking of water that goes directly to the roots and away from the leaves. The less overhead watering the better.

Powdery mildew likes moisture on the leaves and cool nights. It grows just like it sounds - as a white moldy looking splotch that will eventually take over the entire leaf part of a plant. It's inevitable in the fall here in the northwest, but you can avoid it the rest of the year. Don't water the plants at night except on the hottest of weeks. Watering in the morning allows the leaves to dry before the temps get cool. Watering in the morning also gives your plants a chance to soak up all the moisture they can before the heat of mid-day begins to evaporate the water into the air. So, it allows for better water use management too. If you water in the middle of day you loose a lot of the water (you just paid for) as it simply disappears into the hot air. It also gives your plants a chance to soak up water that helps them get through a hot day! On those 90 degree plus weeks (when we actually have day after day of hot) I water at night so the plants can have a full night to soak up the water. Those nights it usually stays warm anyway. ONLY water at night in the NW when you have a plot in direct sun and it's been above say 90 degrees for at least 3 days in a row!

I plant my zucchini first, fall squash later.


Winter's Winning

As expected, Spring is raining down hard on Winter.
Winter clutches Spring tight in the morning and late at night.
I know the ending to this story, but it feels like Winter just might win.