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Garden update

April 29, 2009

 These pictures are from last week when we actually had a stretch of dry weather, which allowed me to get in a little garden! 


 I live in a high rainfall area, so applying lime is always important.  I apply lime in spring and fall, breaking up the total amount for the year into 2 different applications.


Music and Oregon Blue garlic.  My rows look too short when I am planting, and too long when they need weeding!  Luckily Ruthless weeded the garlic for me.  THANKS RUTHLESS 🙂  


It is my job to hoe between the rows.


 The pea row – I planted one panel of Sugar Snap and four panels of Green Arrow shell peas.  Using hog panels for trellis is the easiest way to grow peas that I have found.  I always put in the panels first and then plant my seeds.  I do the same with my beans – poles first, then seed, that way you do not disturb the roots of the plants when the plants need trellising.

It is still too early in my area to plant too much due to cold soil.  Generally at this time of year I try to plant one entire row in my garden with a variety of early crops.  Some seeds do germinate when the soil temperature reaches 40°F, but if you want to have great success aim for warmer soil.  Remember you want the plants to thrive not just survive.  I find that going by soil temps and observing what is growing in the garden weed-wise tells me more than a planting calendar, or old wives tales.  In my location I have never been able to adhere to the rules like peas on Presidents Day, or potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day and I have quit feeling guilty about my corn not being knee-high on the 4th of July.  I do keep track of planting dates in my garden records, but kind of like watching the weather man, I can usually do a better job by just looking out the window. 


Daikon seed is expensive and I will cover this with insect barrier, so I seed sparingly, since I will probably not open up the  row cover except to harvest. 


This is some pelleted carrot seed which is expensive also, but seems to do well for my first carrot crop.  We still are eating a few of last years carrots but the thought of these crunchy beauties is making me long for summer. 


 I use wide spacing between my main garden rows, but usually plant two parallel rows within that spacing.  I applied compost between my double rows, and it will act as an early weed suppressant and will slowly release nutrients as these early crops grow. 


 I seeded peas, daikon*, salad turnips*, kohlrabi, carrots and beets last week.  These seem to be what we eat the most in early summer along with salads.  By the time these vegetables are ready we will be more than weary of winter fare.   Speaking of winter fare, at the end of this row, you can see my stecklings for seed saving .  Instead of going “seed to seed”  I am roguing for certain traits and planting from “root to seed.”  This practice has fallen from favor in the seed industry due to high labor costs, so many biennial crops are planted and left to grow in row with the seed crop being harvested the following growing season.  That explains some of the variation and poor performance of commercial seeds.

*insect barrier 


 I also set out a few cabbage plants to soothe the savage beast, Ruthless cabbage eater. 


 Hopefully, these will mature before hot weather sets in.


My plain ol’ garden notebook.  Every year each garden site gets a page, and each row gets a line.  I keep track of amendment, tilling and sowing dates, varieties, rotation and type and quantity of amendments in here.  All the information I need is at my finger tips – and like any crazed gardener, it is a good read, and I find perusing it brings back fond memories of gardens past, and helps me pinpoint problems or successes.

And, note to self – be careful reading southern blogs, and just be thankful for your cool growing season and lack of pests!

24 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2009 5:06 pm

    It all looks great. I need to start a garden notebook for my new garden space. Thanks for the reminder.

    • April 29, 2009 8:37 pm

      Judy, I am excited for you and your new garden! Things are happening so fast! I admire all the work you and your family are doing on your new place!

  2. April 29, 2009 5:09 pm

    I wish I was a bit more organized like yourself. We plant stuff, loose the markers and know it is carrots but don’t know what kind. Sloppy gardening ehhh. Ok, you have once again inspired me to try something new, a system that is simple that works.

    • April 29, 2009 8:40 pm

      I rarely use markers because I lose them too 🙂 If I had to commit all the info I need to a spread sheet it wouldn’t get done. This is more the lazy gardener method, but it works for me.

  3. April 29, 2009 5:26 pm

    Looks great, Nita! Your garden looks like its well under way. What’s the white fabric for? I actually thought about you guys today. We were downtown today (field trip: Oregon Historical Society) and the Portland Market was set up across the street in the Park Blocks. We strolled through and I was “wowed” at all the gorgeous produce as well as affordable veggie starts they were selling. They were gorgeous and they had varieties that I’m interested in having in my garden. I told my son that we’d have to come back next week prepared to buy some of those starters. The next two weekends will be “gardening galore” at my house. Mentioned you in my post yesterday; started participating in Garden Tuesdays. Hope the sun graces us for the rest of the week. 🙂

    • April 29, 2009 8:46 pm

      Paula, for shame you aren’t retaining what you read! Tsk Tsk 😉 In the multi-tasking vein, I take my fabric to the garden so I can be inspired to quilt! Just kidding, it is insect barrier to stop root maggots from riddling my daikon and turnips with holes and their pesky little bodies and excrement! Not too tasty or pleasant to look at. Plus it is hard to tell they are there until you harvest.

      Thanks for the wonderful mention on your post! When you said you though of me on your field trip, I thought you were going to say I was a relic!

  4. April 30, 2009 1:31 am

    OK, you’re the maven! I feel like I’m just sticking a stick in the dirt and plopping some seed in…oh wait, um… (I am!)
    I’m still in gardening pre-school. I don’t keep a garden journal yet because all it would read is “Umm??” I have no idea when to plant things because going by The Chart got my little green babies blasted in three consecutive freezes with 80 degree weather in between…arggh 🙂 So I decided to plant TWO THINGS I hope can be eaten (which then turned into four things). The chard and kale that I had hoped were fool proof were sadly not grasshopper (or name your choice of insect)-proof, and neither was my komatsuna. I’ll just live vicariously through your garden notes and pictures and HOPE some of it SOAKS into my head sooner than later. And I’ll keep planting snap beans and purple hulls. And okra. I hope they survive my efforts…may the best plant win 🙂 Oh, and I’ve banned Jack from my side of the garden. He is an ex-Marine and went all Semper Fi on some invasive bugs on his malanga plants…with 409 CLEANER!!! (I have not admitted that on my blog yet…) It’s true…just thought you might enjoy the chuckle. 😉


    • April 30, 2009 5:23 am

      Robbyn, you are so sweet, must be all that 409! Chuckle, snort! My MIL swears by 409 for everything 😦 Will you let him back on your side if he straightens up? Ask him if he thinks 409 would work on deer!

      Ah the dreaded CHART – it makes it seem so simple doesn’t it? Just read, follow instructions and you’re good to go! Our weather has been similar, we had several 85 degree days, and now if it clears at all it freezes every night. It is a pain to cover and uncover plants all the time. That’s why I only plant a little bit this early, just in case. I guess our cool weather comes in handy though, since we don’t have too many pest problems even in the summer. At least ones that can’t be controlled with row cover or better growing conditions.

      I think you should still start your garden notebook though, it may help you see a pattern emerging that would help you avoid high pest times or wild weather fluctuations. It may seem like you’re just starting out, but it’s baby steps that become that marathon soon enough! 🙂

  5. April 30, 2009 7:28 am

    I think I could partner in a garden like that. I would never be able to plan and execute by myself.

    I love kohlrabi. I planted a few under my little plastic tent, which is still up.

    It was in low 40s when I woke this morning, and my just purchased hanging basket is in the garage for the last two days. snow in the foothills.

    • May 1, 2009 5:28 am

      Pamela, I have the luxury of pretty much stickiing to the same old garden plan that I have used for a long time. I don’t change too much so each year is usually a close repeat.

      We love kohlrabi too, my crazy parents gave it to me as a child for snacking – so I love it! Although we never do cook it preferring it raw.

      We’ve been cold too, but you are on the east side right? I guess we aren’t as cold as you, but yesterday there was heavy frost and then cool sunshine. We went to town for errands and couldn’t believe how warm it was. From the looks of the blooms we are at least two weeks behind Portland.

  6. April 30, 2009 8:10 am

    I really enjoy coming here, you are a girl after my own heart, even if we farm differently. I have wanted so much to have a green house, but I am too old now to start another project. Maybe when I retire from work, I can have the greenhouse, we will see.


    • May 1, 2009 5:29 am

      Linda, never say never or that you’re too old. You might like a greenhouse when you retire 🙂 And BTW you can keep calling me a girl!

  7. Renee permalink
    April 30, 2009 8:12 am

    Great pictures! You have been busy and things look great!!

    We have had a few days of nice weather and it sure feels good getting some plants into the ground:)

    I would like to see a few more pictures of your greenhouse:)


    • May 1, 2009 5:31 am

      Renee, we love those scant, sunny spring days too! It feels so good to get our hands in the soil.

      I’m working on a greenhouse post – although the one in the garlic pic is the chicken brooder. We are limping our collapsed greenhouses along:( But we are making it work, not ideal, but better than nothing.

  8. April 30, 2009 8:58 am

    I need to be more diligent with my garden journal. I haven’t even got my garden worked yet this spring but all this talk and I might just have to get out there this afternoon and see if it’s dry enough. I’d take Ruth-less off your hands if you’d like.

  9. May 1, 2009 1:05 am

    It looks wonderful. I took careful notes on the insect barrier crops you mentioned, that is something I’d really like to learn more about, as I don’t want to use chemical pesticides. Do you know of a good resource?
    Your garlic looks like mine! I’m so surprised at how quickly it comes up – less than a week! Wow. The green shoots are delicious.

    • May 1, 2009 5:35 am

      mangochild, the insect barrier is expensive to ship, so look for a close source – maybe Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

      Don’t eat too many of your garlic shoots, since each leaf represents a wrapper on the bulbs. Usually for green garlic we just thin plants that look like they may not get as large as we like. It sure does grow fast doesn’t it, once it warms a little.

  10. May 1, 2009 8:21 am

    Oh my goodness. You’re so organized! Love your gorgeous garden soil. It is probably heaven to work in.

    • May 1, 2009 9:55 am

      ChristyACB, me being organized is pure myth. Organized chaos is more like it… . It’s funny you say that about the soil – this is my “new” garden spot, that I have been working at for 15 years and this is the first time I have planted there and felt a connection like I do in my old garden. It’s a good feeling.

  11. May 1, 2009 11:28 am

    Your garden looks good! You are so right about reading southern gardening blogs. I get so jealous looking at what they have already planted. Sometimes I comment to my friends that they are “over-greening” me!
    I do keep a garden journal as well but probably not as detail as yours.
    Have a great weekend.

  12. May 1, 2009 1:33 pm

    Nice to run across you at Fight Back Fridays. I come here often, and it was like seeing an old friend at a new place!

  13. May 3, 2009 6:10 am

    This is my first stop at your blog. Thanks for including the photo and info about your garden notebook. I am always interested in how others keep their records as I have not yet settled on a way I can manage. It’s gotta be super simple for me. I may have to give yours a try. Thanks!

  14. groovyjoss permalink
    May 5, 2009 8:16 pm

    Love all the inspiration! I like your comment about reading southern blogs – I eventually had to sort my gardening blogs into Australian and Other, because I was getting all confused about what can be planted when. Now I just take advice and save it for the appropriate season, or for when I move into my own place and can do a lot more!

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