Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Some Things Grow

My little flower patch of sweet peas, red runner beans, sunflowers, chamomile, new raspberry plants and one volunteer pumpkin plant. It is supposed to be my raspberry patch, but since the raspberry plants are new and won't fruit this year, I couldn't resist letting a bunch of pretty things grow too. Next year I promise to keep it clean so the berries can grow. This will really start to bloom in the coming weeks.

This is the same Oregon Spring tomato I showed in my last post. Look how it's grown! This type of tomato seems to grow one or two large tomatoes early, and then the following ones are small and round.
This is one of my Hungarian Wax peppers. It will begin to ripen yellow and will be fully ripe when red. Staying nice and happy up next to the house.

No pictures of the zucchini as they are refusing to grow. Been too cool I suppose. If they were planted up by the house they would be happier, but that is prime real estate saved for the tomatoes and peppers. We are still eating mostly peas and lettuce. I have lots of snap peas that need to get in the freezer today. I should pull out some pea plants soon to make way for my winter kale and brussels sprouts. But it is hard to pull out one of the only plants in the garden that we are eating from. What a strangely cool summer it's anyway! We are having a touch of sun today and I hope the zucchini are taking full advantage of it.

The tri-color bush beans are flowering and I did see a couple of tiny beans today. The purple beans seem to be growing a bit faster than the green or yellow. I am looking forward to cooking up some beans soon!

The strawberries are taking a little break from fruit, but I have seen some new blossoms so we will wait for the next flush. The blueberries are slow like last year, but they are growing. We will just have to be patient.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


This year I cheated. I bought some tomato starts from Carpinito's nursery. Lucky me, this Oregon Spring tomato is now fruiting! I did attempt to grow these from seed but the first set died from damping off in the seeding tray, and those 3-inch pots at the nursery were very tempting. I up-potted the starts into gallon containers when I got them home and slowly hardened them off until the frigid snap ended.
I begin my experiment in irrigation. We are trying out drip hoses, snaked throughout the garden. Soon, I plan to set up a timer to get the garden watered early in the morning. I hope this new approach to watering will free up more time to relax and play with the kids in the yard. Those white tents you see are frost blankets shielding the cucumber, pepper and tomato plants from the cool winds we have been having.
The peas were looking so beautiful yesterday in full blossom. I expect we will soon have more peas than we can handle. The first set on the left are Wando shelling peas, the second group are snow peas and the third, shorter group on the right (sown about a month after the first two), are snap peas. I am using two fold able, square tomato cages to hold up each group. Yes, they are bush peas, but they are so much neater when they have a bit of structure to hold on to.

The first sign that the Wando shelling peas will soon be ready to eat!
Here, we have two Oregon Spring plants and one Honey Bunch Grape tomato plant settled neatly by the house behind a row of Seascape strawberries. I love this southern spot under the eaves for growing tomatoes. There is even a big bush on the west side that blocks the wind. At night, I have still been covering the tomatoes with a frost blanket just to keep them a bit warmer. I use clothes pins to attach the blanket to the cages,and landscape pins anchor it to the ground. In the morning I just tuck the blanket under the strawberries.

I would like to report that we have had a few large bowls of salad, one topped with a few snow peas. The kids and I have kept the strawberry rows freshly harvested. It's hard to get a truly ripe strawberry as my little helpers don't mind the slightly tart ones and eat them up before they get that super sweet taste that I love.

We have also planted the following:

green zucchini
yellow zucchini
rainbow swiss chard
bulls blood beets
lemon cucumber
green slicing cucumber
sweet peppers-Hungarian Wax, Italian Sweet
Genovese basil
summer savory
green onions
bush beans-tri-color-mix
scarlet runner beans
Cascade Delight raspberry plants

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stepping Stones and Strawberries

We added 12 stepping stones down the center of the new raised garden. I plan to grow small vegetables such as chard, radishes and carrots between the stones.
I rooted around the old strawberry patch and found some "babies" to transplant into the new garden. There can never be too many strawberries for this family. You can see in the top right that I have made my first attempt for the year at seeding peas around cages. Let's see if it takes. It has been very very wet and also cold lately. High of 51 degrees today.

A welcome addition to the garden is our climbing dome. Its purpose is to keep the children engaged while I try to get some things planted, weeded and harvested. I'm sure the exercise will do them good as well. Once the children are grown, the structure will make a great trellis for peas, cucumbers or squash.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A New Garden is Built

It turns out my original vegetable garden plot was surrounded by creosote soaked railroad ties. So we relocated the vegetable garden to a sunnier spot in the yard and made it a raised bed. The old spot will be used to grow hummingbird-friendly plants.

The first design for the new raised garden didn't seem quite right.

So we tore it down and stacked the bricks three high.

Husband spent a day in near-freezing temperatures finishing the garden walls. The finished size is 8 feet by 23 feet. Then I covered the grass inside with newspapers and lined the walls with black landscape plastic sheeting.

Next, husband spent a night hauling garden soil from the front yard, where we had it delivered, to the backyard raised garden. The best Valentine's gift ever. A new, raised garden. Now it's just going to sit and wait for the worms to come cultivate. I plan to start some peas in March.