Dawn In The Garden: Mid-August In Pictures

Mid-August and everything is growing well but my little squirrel heart tells me fall is in the air and just around the corner. I’ve got ripe tomatoes and lots of beans and cukes and zucchini. The fall stuff is mostly in and growing well and the late summer flowers are adding some pretty to the place.  [Continue Reading...]

Roadtrip! Peppers, Sun, And Locavorism

Because summer refused to come to me this year, I went to summer. Yesterday I drove to Eastern Washington, a region as dissimilar from Western Washington from a gardening perspective as Iowa. I was visiting a friend and, for the first time, stomping around her garden. Lots of wind farms on the drive out. Eastern Washington [Continue Reading...]

It’s Harvest Time

Yes, summer has been elusive, but that means best quality cool weather crops like lettuce and broccoli. The warm weather stuff has been slow to ripen but I’ve got zucchini and greenhouse cucumbers and the very first cherry tomatoes. And – excitement of excitement – tiny little green beans. I can’t wait to eat fresh [Continue Reading...]

I Wish Somebody Would Have Mentioned…

When you prune a hop vine, wear long sleeves. And a ski mask. Those things are mean. There is no such thing as weed free straw. It is possible to have a hard time growing zucchini. It’s not you; everyone had green tomatoes in late August. The best fertilizer is the gardener’s boots. There will come [Continue Reading...]

Total Potato Fail

I am having the darndest time with the easy plants this year. The beans, the peas, the broccoli, the berries, the onions, the beets, the lettuce, the squash, the artichokes…all thriving, but the crops you just can’t mess up? Well, they’re messed up. The garlic went tits up due to white rot and my potatoes are [Continue Reading...]

The Barrier Method Of Carrot Protection

We live in Carrot Fly country. I’m not sure why, but it is commonly accepted in Western Washington that you will not grow a decent crop of carrots without some sort of barrier to protect them. (Talking about barrier methods of carrot protection makes me snicker.) I’ve lost most of my unprotected carrot crops to [Continue Reading...]

The One Edible You Must Grow

Herbs. If you grow nothing else yourself, if you buy all your lettuce and tomatoes and chard and cucumbers at the market, promise me you will at least grow your own herbs. Now I might be bit biased because I did my culinary externship at a restaurant known for its herb-enhanced cuisine, but I can’t imagine [Continue Reading...]

Garlic Rust and Gardener Waterworks

Last year, Nick really got on board with the gardening thing. His support and assistance and enthusiasm is what has allowed my backyard garden to become our urban homestead. The gateway plant, the crop that drew him into the entire gardening ethos, was garlic. Nick was so enamored of the way hardneck garlic scapes curl and twist, [Continue Reading...]

Homebrew Husband Plants Something!

A few weeks ago, our garden witnessed an unusual event: I planted something. Usually I confine myself to hard labor, philosophical musing, or self mockery and only get down and dirty with the plant life when following specific orders (“no, more to the right…now turn it a little…”). But fresh back from the Seattle Tilth [Continue Reading...]

Sowing Peas in Guttering: Wherein I Grudgingly Admit This Technique Rocks

Every American gardening book I own says you absolutely must direct sow peas because they loathe root disturbance. Every British gardening book I own advocates sowing peas early in the season in a length of guttering. They always use this exact phrase – length of guttering – and whenever I read it, my internal dialog [Continue Reading...]

Seed Starting 101: When You Didn’t Quite Get To It – Quality Nursery Seedlings

You may be looking around the gardening web right about now thinking to yourself, “Oh, shit. Was I supposed to start a bunch of seeds last month? Is it time to be transplanting my seedlings out?” Well, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, as I do, congratulations! Your procrastination has totally paid off. Our [Continue Reading...]

Garden Inventory: April 2011

April is a month for delayed gratification. Our minds and palates are eager for peas and carrots and spring onions and asparagus but the garden just isn’t there yet. At the same time, this month requires a huge amount of work, in the planting and tending and hardening off that will mean bounty in a few short [Continue Reading...]