Tag Archives: vegetables

Let’s Do This Again Next Year!

Now that we’re in mid-September, the little veggie garden I started is finally kicking out lots o veggies! Check it out. This is what I picked this past weekend. Still plenty on the way.

 

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Veggie Garden Update

Here’s an update on my veggie garden. As you may know, this is my first attempt to grow veggies, so I am probably making every mistake in the book, but that’s how one learns, right? That and many YouTube videos. In my case, I usually have to make mistakes twice before I get it, so who knows what next year’s garden will look like.

Here’s a tally of what I did and what I got:

  • Peas – Purchased starts from Flower World in Maltby. They were labled “sugar or snap” peas, so I’m not really sure what I got. They did quite well and were the first things ready. They’re all done now and I pulled them.
  • Lettuce – Also from Flower World. Butter Crunch grew quite tall. Great Lakes Head not so much. Both varieties were somewhat bitter so I am going to go with Romaine next year.
  • Pole Beans – Also from Flower World and transplanted on the same day. It’s early September and I finally have beans!! Picked my first handful a couple of days ago. Not many beans on such a large plant, but perhaps it is too dense?

  • Tomatoes – Purchased Brandywine starts from Molbaks. as well as Green Zebra and Yellow Pear starts from the local PCC. I finally have three ripe Yellow Pear tomatoes. I am still waiting for everything else.

  • Cucumbers – Purchased starts from PCC. They have gotten quite huge but have yet to turn green. A few have turned gold and I finally picked one yesterday. They taste pretty good but are still a bit underripe.

  • Carrots and Beets – Both planted from seed. These have grown very slowly and I lost most of them. Perhaps it’s the soil. Or maybe when in full sun they got too hot?

  • Zucchini – Planted from seed. I planted these pretty late; the plants are steadily growing but have yet to flower.

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Summer is Here! Garden Update

Despite a pretty good April and first half of May, the last month of spring here in the Pacific Northwest has been business as usual. I think we’ve had two sunny days since mid-May. At least yesterday, the first day of summer, the sun came out for a little while, although filtered by high clouds. In amongst the crazy schedule of caring for my parents, I managed to work a little in the veggie garden yesterday and realized I haven’t shared any pictures of it lately on my blog. In fact, I rarely find time to blog, especially since there is no internet at my parent’s house. I’m looking into Clear 4G (formally known as Clearwire).

Here’s what the garden looks like now. In early May, back when there was sunshine, I had transplanted some small starts of peas, beans, two varieties of lettuce and three varieties of tomatoes. I’m not surprised the tomatoes haven’t taken off. This is a common thing here in the northwest when we don’t get sun. Nonetheless, the tomato plants are about three times as high as when I transplanted them. I decided to get some of that red reflective plastic mulch to help them out. I also just sowed some beets and some carrots; that’s what the newspaper is down for. I am curious, though newspaper is commonly used to keep seeds moist when first planted, is there any danger of toxins in the ink leaching into the soil? I read that using an old beach towel is effective too, so maybe I can scrounge one up somewhere around here.

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Working the Yard

Here are a few photos of our yard after spending some time working it. One of our projects this year was getting rid of a flower bed to the left of our driveway. It was a wonderful English garden when we moved in seven years ago, and we kept up with it for a few years. But due to lack of time, it eventually regressed into a weed pile. Over the past year, we cut everything down, covered it with black plastic, leveled it to match the driveway, layed weed cloth and had some 5/8 minus gravel brought in. We now had a big pile of stony subsoil like much of what is all over our property.

My grand scheme was to take this soil and use it to fill our new garden beds. However, the soil is mostly clay, so amendment was in order. I used an organic blend recommended for this area. I now have my first bed ready for planting.

I have been slow getting the veggie garden going because of a week-plus of rain resulting in weeds getting out of control in our flower beds. So, the veggie project had to be put on hold so I could weed the beds and apply some long overdue bark mulch. I need a lot in backyard too, so I had 5 cubic yards delivered. Here are some pics of our front yard, along with my gardening buddy.

I think we might be able to get to the back yard next week after I get the veggie garden planted. LOTS ‘o’ weeds. (Not that you can tell from this picture.)

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My Garden Project vs. The Hunger Games

I just wanted to update everybody on my garden project. As you may recall, I proudly posted a few weeks ago my grand intentions to start my first ever vegetable garden. I have this little strip of wall on the south side of our house that (if we’re lucky, read below) may get about eight hours of sunshine during the height of the season. So here is what my garden area now looks like:

You will notice that I have made great progress from what it looked like three weeks ago:

Now if you have had at least a nominal amount of morning caffeine to be alert and observant today, you will have come to the conclusion that I have in fact made absolutely no progress on my garden.

Oh that’s funny, coincidentally a few seconds ago a commercial for the news came on in which the anchor said “When will winter finally let up? Get Jeff’s forecast tonight at 11.” That is too crazy since I was just ready to insert this next picture:

I kid you not! I was about to post this picture (which I just did, in case you were paying attention) and say something like the following, which is almost like a confessional, so imagine I am at one of those 12-step meetings where I say:

“Hi, I’m Kelly, and I’m a Californian” at which point everyone says “Hi, Kelly” to be supportive. And then I say “I haven’t had the sun for 10 days” at which point I hope they have something like a 10-day coin to hand me for my sufferance, along with a tube of tanning paint. For you see, my friends, when it comes to weather, I am a total wuss.

Never you mind that I have lived up here in this substance we call “Seattle Sunshine” for most of the last 30+ years. (By the way, that is slang for any of the following: “rain”, “spotty rain”, “increasing rain”, “showers”, “mixed showers”, “partial showers”, “partial sun”, “cats and dogs living together” and combinations thereof.) You would think that I would be “acclimated” to this miserable weather, but if anything, I have become less tolerant.

Meanwhile, there have still been plenty of indoor projects to occupy me. Primarily, a DVR full of shows to watch like “The Voice”, “Alcatraz”, “CSI”, “Person of Interest”, “New Girl”, etc. Also, watching really cool movies that just hit the theatre is, by their very nature, an indoor activity. (Not many drive-in theatres up in these parts.) By “really cool movies” of course I am referring to “The Hunger Games”. And since I’m not outside gardening, I felt the little ecard above was priceless. (Really, it didn’t cost me anything.)

I will say that I have made some slight progress on the garden project: The Methodist church at the bottom of our little hill had a vegetable gardening workshop this evening which I attended. It was conducted by the owner of Gardens Alive Design, Kirsten Lints. She provided a lot of useful information, especially with regard to local resources, such as the local master gardener’s association website and a place to get soil tested. Thanks Kirsten!

I learned that at the very least I can start some seeds inside, so that is going to be my next step. I will keep you all posted. Meanwhile, happy Hunger Games!!

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My New Project: A Garden!

We have this little alley on the south side of our house that currently serves as 1) a way to get the backyard from the front yard 2) a place to put the lawnmower, and 3) a place to put spare lumber. Other than those spectacular features, it doesn’t have much going for it. Except this: It gets a lot of sun in the summer. I was tempted to put the word sun in quotes. This is, after all, the Pacific Northwest, which is notorious for its rainfall, exacerbated by the current La Nina pattern. Because we live midway between the Puget Sound and the Cascade foothills, we get even less sun than Seattle. So today, for example, it started out sunny, but high clouds have already moved in to mitigate the free flow of rays, while Seattle is still sunny. Okay, I’ll stop complaining.

This year I am going to take advantage of some of that “sun” and build some raised beds in the strip between the alley sidewalk and the house and plant all sorts of vegetables and maybe some razzles. Makes me think of that song by the Beach Boys, “Vega-tables”.  I went down to Molbaks and picked up a nifty book called “Backyard Bounty, The Complete Guide to Year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest”. It tells me everything I need to know to start a garden and keep it going. I have never done this before, so I hope the book is good.

Here is what our alley way currently looks like. So we can call this our official “before” picture. I will be blogging about this project, of course, with lots of pictures. So, away we go!!

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Time for Soup

Here’s a winter favorite called Chicken and Vegetable Soup Romano from the cookbook “Two At The Table” (cover pic and link below). In addition to diced cooked chicken and pasta shells, it has tons of vegetables: onion, celery, green pepper, green beans, carrots, diced tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash, and chickpeas. Despite what the recipe says, give yourself a full hour and throw in a couple of bay leaves for additional flavor. When I’m in a hurry, I stop off at the local PCC and pick up some roasted chicken breast; otherwise, I would need to cook my own chicken (sounds like a metaphor, doesn’t it?). I alway double the recipe so I can use up a full can of diced tomatoes and a box of chicken broth.

The recipe comes from this book, available on Amazon.

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