5 Ways To Be A Better Vegetable Gardener Without Lifting A Shovel Or Spending A Dime

rp_territorial-seed-company-seed-catalogs.jpg

1. Order seed catalogues. Amateur gardeners buy seed packets off the rack at Home Depot. Serious gardeners place orders with trusted seed houses. Once you’ve placed a major order with Territorial, Johnny’s, Irish Eyes, or your favorite regional seed seller, you’ll be on their list and – soon – on everyone’s. This isn’t a bad thing. Seed catalogs [Continue Reading…]

An Ode From The Savoy Cabbage Patch Girl

rp_PB072767.jpg

I have grown the perfect Cabbage Patch Kids Cabbage. I could fit my 14 month old into the wrapper leaves of this beast without too much work. I don’t want to fish for complements here, but really – have you ever seen a nicer cabbage? The cabbage in question is named Melissa, and she is a savoy [Continue Reading…]

An October Garden Tour

rp_PA101901.jpg

Beds are thinning out. Things that are picked are not being replanted. The loss of the beans and squash certainly changed the profile of the garden. But there is still so much good stuff out there. Here’s how my garden is looking right now: First planting of savoy cabbages look – sorry, this isn’t very [Continue Reading…]

Fall The Wife

I’ve been thinking about this. Fall is my favorite harvesting season. If I had to marry a vegetable growing time of year, it would be Fall. Spring is a virgin. She makes you wait. You want Spring in April, but she doesn’t actually put out until late June. I’m all for keeping it buttoned up [Continue Reading…]

Yield Planning

rp_P8309910.JPG

After, “When do I plant?” the hardest gardening question to wrap you head around is, “How much do I plant?” Everyone, from high-rise gardeners with a few pots to big time farmers with thousands of acres, has to annually decide how much of their land they will allocate to each crop they want to grow. [Continue Reading…]

Dawn In The Garden: Mid-August In Pictures

rp_P8189439.jpg

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

rp_P8098975.JPG

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

rp_P7047292.JPG

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┬ásleeves. 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

rp_P6196185.JPG

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

rp_41ZGnMSF1mL._SS280_.jpg

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…]