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Seed List

March 12, 2013

Still have writer’s block.  It seems more likely that a rant will come out if I speak/write these days, so best to keep some things to myself, gather my thoughts, and try to post something halfway useful to other folks.  Not too much photography going on here lately either so I decided to go with last year’s garden pics, and this year’s seed list.  Both fall in the dream category!

Moving along into spring we have been hearing the tree frogs daily, the ravens are setting now and only occasionally showing up for their egg breakfast, and we got the cover back on Greenhouse One so it can begin drying out enough for some serious planting.  The other sign of spring is tomcat piss everywhere, if you don’t already know this, cats and plastic are not a good mix :p  Instead of scratch and sniff, we have to sniff everything plastic before we pick it up.  Nothing worse than being marked by a cat secondhand.  PU!

Tomato buddy

Tomato buddy

Not too much new in this list, mostly my old standby pantry fillers with a newbie here and there thrown in for good measure.  A lifetime of gardening and I still swoon over new (new to me) vegetable varieties.  Sigh.

Tomatoes:  Costoluto Genovese, Bellstar, New Girl, Pantano Romanesco, SunSugar, Jasper, & Japanese Black Trifele.  Jasper is the only new one this year, and I have to say last year Pantano Romanesco surprised me.  I bought the seeds on a whim, barely paid attention to the “highly productive” toutage and really didn’t pay much attention to it (it really, I only planted one) until it was time to start cooking those puppies down into sauce.  They were big and many found their way onto hamburgers but one day when I was oven roasting tomatoes for sauce, I ran out of time and patience, which is often during high preserving season, and I decided to make them into soup instead.  Best. Laziness. Ever.   I love that soup, and the watery nature of those tomatoes was perfect, I roasted them with herbs, alliums and olive oil and that was it.  One trip through the food mill, and on to the canner for processing.  I’m in love.  Oh and they were very productive, still pumping out green tomatoes when I ripped all the tomatoes out of the greenhouse.  For all you folks who can grow tomatoes reliably outside, you have no idea what a really good tomato tastes like to us here in cool, maritime Cascadia.  A greenhouse is worth it just for that alone in our climate, well and all that other stuff too.

Peppers:  Numex Joe E. Parker, Padron, Flavorburst, Ace, & Red Ruffled Pimiento.  Peppers are another marginal crop for me, without a greenhouse I would be eating green peppers all the time.  When I was little I thought peppers only came in green, because that is all they can muster in the garden outside.  I love green peppers, a favorite childhood snack, but ripe peppers, and hot peppers, oh my.  We eat as many as we can stuff in during the season, and freeze the rest, with the exception of Padron.  I let the last of those get ripe and made some farmstead hot chili sauce.  A must have for eggs!


In the brassica department the list is way too long:  Broccoli, romanesco, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, mustards, salad turnips, rutabagas and way too many salad and braising greens to list.   Same with salad stuff, my lettuce seed box is embarrassing, as is the other salad greens we like along with lots and lots of chard.  I am always ready for greens after a winter of roots and squash.  But it’s nice to have a break both ways.  My tastes fit the season pretty well, I don’t know what came first?  The seasonal eating or the garden capabilities?

Other staple crops like onions are as follows:  Stuttgarter, Dakota Tears (recommended by a reader) Red Long of Tropea, Walla Walla Sweet, Blau Gruener and Bandit Leeks, and some shallots a neighbor brought over the day they showed up to help us wrestle the greenhouse plastic.  No name on that one – Larch Mountain Shallot I guess.

Root crops here are pretty much the same too from year to year.  Purple Viking potato and new to us Nicola potato, Red Core Chantenay carrot, Napoli and Nelson carrots, Lutz and Detroit Dark Red beets, Brilliant celeriac, Turga and Harris Model parsnip and Joan rutabaga.  Oh and mangels for the cow…which actually mostly went to the chickens this year.

Same with squash, not much variation from year to year.  I save seed so that limits me a little on being a variety fanatic.  As usual, Sweet Meat, Naked Seed pumpkin, Cocozelle and Raven zukes, and maybe this year, a yellow called Golden Glory.  Other cucurbits are Marketmore, Lemon and National cukes, and Delicious PMR 51 melons.

Last but definitely not least, the corn and beans.  I love canned green beans, I have no idea why, well actually I suspect it is because my gardening mentors served green beans with a dollop of Guernsey butter mixed up with a little bit of sugar.  But that aside, I like green beans any which way, bacon, ham, onion, it’s all good.  So I grow a purple bean for canning that my gardening mentors shared almost 30 years ago and Maxibel haricot verts for summer fresh eating.  Between the two that keeps us in green beans.

I feel compelled to continue growing the Calais Flint just to keep it going here in my cool microclimate, and my sweet corn love affair is pretty much over.  We eat it fresh, and I freeze some in jars for soup but that’s about it.  I’m trying Spring TreatF1 this year, the past three springs have not been conducive for good corn-growing in my locale.  In a normal year, at my elevation extra-early, 65 day corn takes 95 – 100 days to mature and that is in a normal year.

So that is the state of the garden planning here so far.  I didn’t list flowers and herbs, but that all has its place too in the garden, but it’s getting to that time of the year that I need to be gardening and not blogging, he he.

Are you trying anything new this year in your garden?

60 Comments leave one →
  1. Diana Smith permalink
    March 12, 2013 10:52 am

    Grew the Dakota Tears onions last year and they were the biggest onion I ever grew in a horrid drought year.Kept fairly well but were so good tasting. Two are spouting which I’ll replant for seed. Trying red torpedo onions,too plus growing the Joan rutubagas which you recommended a couple of years ago. Our growing conditions are nothing like yours and had a horrid drought last year so busy installing an irrigation system and planning on trying some items in the greenhouse. Time to turn the rye under but garden too wet with 2″ of glorious rain this weekend. Plenty enough planting to do in ghouse. Only have a couple of boxes and they are planted with early spinach,lettuce,beets and carrots. Sure hate/love my cats who can resist newly dug dirt. Have to cover with chicken wire. But cant complain that I only had one house mouse this year!!

    • March 12, 2013 2:41 pm

      Diana, I’m looking forward to trying them, I think maybe it was you that recommended them? I gotta get busy this week and get some stuff going. Sounds like you got me beat!

  2. Shirley W. permalink
    March 12, 2013 11:05 am

    Hi! I just came in for a lunch break. I am planting some columnar apples. They are not supposed to need too much pruning which is good since by the time I will be able to let apples get ripe I will be over 60. I taste tested some last year at the Home Orchard Society and Portland Nursery’s apple tastings last fall, baked a pie out of each of the three varieties and dried some and they were pretty tasty. Not as yummy as the gravenstines that I usually buy but yummy. I also bought a raspberry that is supposed to do well in a pot and is thornless called Raspberry Short cake. Since I now have two toddler grandchildren I think the thornless will be fun for them.

  3. Theresa Katuski permalink
    March 12, 2013 11:23 am

    Oh… If only I could get a garden to grow … Something.
    We moved out to a quarter section in northern Alberta, Canada. My modest garden in town was always a success; not the case out in the bush with 70+/- growing days without frost.
    But , that hasn’t been my biggest troubles both years that I attempted to put in a garden. First year I broke pasture to make my first farm garden bigger… And planted that year. Was overcome by some sort of deed/root maggot that infested everything!!! It raibed for three weeks straight; 13″ My garden was flooded and potatoes rotted. And then the weeds.
    Like a green carpet from hell.

    Next year I only attempted one row of potatoes, a day after planting it rained for four days straight. Garden flooded and potatoes rotten again. I have discovered my garden plot must have a “hardpan” and poor clay soil to boot.
    It brings me to tears to think if it, oh and in case you need that boost of “it’s not that bad in my corner of the world”, where I live we still have snow to mid-thigh. And forecast calling for another 12 ” Wednesday.

    • March 12, 2013 2:39 pm

      Theresa, oh my I’m too much of a wiener for that type of climate! I like my mossback 🙂

      I hope you have better luck this growing season!

  4. March 12, 2013 11:52 am

    I’m going to try squash again…..I missed it and I’m too cheap to buy it. I’m also going to try and find these Dakota Tears you’re talking about….they sound like they might do well here. Your photo’s are great b.t.w. 🙂

    • March 12, 2013 2:37 pm

      Linda, I owe you a birthday ((((((hug)))))))!

      I hear you, I’m too cheap to buy much of anything in the way of food. 😉

  5. March 12, 2013 11:56 am

    If you are still having writer’s block, I would love to hear more about your wood stove in the ktichen and how you cook on it. Like a how-to. One of the farms we are looking at buying has one and yours is the only blog I know of where you’ve mentioned having one and actually using it.

  6. wildriver permalink
    March 12, 2013 11:58 am

    Pseudacris regilla Nice little frogs.

  7. March 12, 2013 1:43 pm

    It amazes me the multiple varieties that you grow. Do you ever have a problem with cross pollination when you save seeds? I have a tendency to stick with one or two varieties at best.

    • March 12, 2013 2:32 pm

      CQ, on things it matters I only grow one variety. My biggest staple that matters is winter squash and I only grow one C. maxima so there is no chance that anything will cross. The other stuff, I can either time pollination, plant on far ends of the gardens, or I also rotate seed saving, like chard one year, mangels one year and beets the next. I can easily save enough seed from one beet steckel crop to last 3 or 4 years. It takes some thinking cap time, but it’s doable.

  8. Chris permalink
    March 12, 2013 1:49 pm

    What do you mean by the ravens coming in for eggs?? Do they steal your chicken’s eggs and by setting, do you mean they are already on nests??

    • March 12, 2013 2:28 pm

      Chris, oh my, those are our two oldies, Shotwing and her Significant Other. They are setting on their eggs now, so only one comes for an egg, before that time they usually “help” us do chores. They don’t cause any problems, and haven’t seemed to get out of hand because of us sharing the bounty. One pair of their children live at the the other end of our farm, and these two nest in our watershed and keep a close eye on us. I know they can be terrors if they are in great numbers, but it doesn’t seem to be the case here in the 20 years we have been offering up eggs. I need to write the raven stories one day – they are very entertaining.

  9. Nick permalink
    March 12, 2013 2:17 pm

    How do you eat all those vegetables? They sound delicious!

    • March 12, 2013 2:21 pm

      Nick, well lets see, I made a chicken pot pie the other night, and it had onions, carrots, yellow cauliflower, romanesco broccoli and one leftover chicken thigh in it. I made big one so it made two dinners. It takes a lot of vegetables I guess, and we like the variety.

  10. March 12, 2013 2:40 pm

    My first comment. Love your blog & have gone back to 2008 reading slowly to savor. You are a woman after my own heart, I would rather be in the garden or the barn than the house anytime. I really like your house pictures, the character. We have the same idea about being in debt. I wonder if some of my friends in their mcmansions are as happy as I am in my little shack that we have had paid off for 20 plus years! Not broken ground in the garden this year as we are having a cool spring so far. Just today the plum trees are starting to bloom, and it is about too cold for the bees to be flying. Beth in Ky.

    • March 12, 2013 3:01 pm

      Beth, Hi! Thanks for reading, too wet and cool here too except in the greenhouse, so I’m concentrating on starts this week and hoping for a little sun soon!

  11. Bev permalink
    March 12, 2013 3:14 pm

    It is always interesting reading what you grow. We really like the the Purple Viking potato that you told us about. Our garden space is limited. At 3,000″ we tend to stick to our tried and true. We love the Jumbo Italian green bean (bush). A favorite from when I was a child. Most people I have shared them witth thought I had waited to long to pick. They are jumbo, stringless and tender. They freeze well. Our favorite way to eat them. Cook till tender. Cool, add thinly sliced red onion salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Yum! Our dream is to have a hoop house like yours. A smaller version. With a short season we crave tasty tomatoes and yours look so good! It is always nice to hear about something new to plant that is a success.

    • March 12, 2013 3:59 pm

      Bev, I’m glad the Purple Vikings work good for you – we love them, I’ve been doling out the last of ours, since they did not do too well last year 😦 Your bean story sound the same as ours, those purple pods get large and always stay tender and stringless. Yummy! Can’t say the same for Maxibel though, they have to be picked right away or before you know it you have next year’s seed on its way! I plant those every two weeks whenever a little space shows up in the garden or sometimes between the tomato plants too in the greenhouse. I can’t wait to get out there and be gardening in earnest!

  12. March 12, 2013 3:45 pm

    I have the opposite problem, it is probably too hot for a garden this year already. Since we left Santa Cruz, where the gardening is amazing, and moved to the edge of the desert we haven’t ever really adjusted to our new gardening environment. The fruit trees we put in last year are beautiful though.
    I would love to read your raven stories! The garden sounds divine!

    • March 12, 2013 4:01 pm

      CWC, that would be hard to take, I would be totally out of my element 😦 As it is we are already about 3 weeks behind Portland and the Valley, our daffodils are just now breaking out of the soil. It would be hard to relocate and start over, so glad your fruit trees are taking off though!

  13. March 12, 2013 4:17 pm

    Your glass house must be a joy to work in.. we also are still unusually cold, frozen ground with lettuce seeds loitering about in it.. the windowsills filled with shoots! Spring will come soon though i think.. I hope.. have a lovely week.. c

    • March 12, 2013 8:04 pm

      C, it’s pretty nice, no drafts and a little warmer than outside. We’re still able to eat out of the garden this winter, so we’re not doing too bad. Hope it warms up for you soon. Tell Daisy that Jane is getting dried up for her “vacation” and so far so good, although she is a little nonplussed about the routine change 🙂

      • March 13, 2013 3:14 am

        I will tell Daisy, she will be jealous, but every time I try to take her down to once a day her milk goes spotty again. She is chronic and I have run out of things to try, so i just milk it back out … sigh. We hope to breed her in May/June.. fingers crossed. Well done Jane, what a good wee cow.. c

  14. March 12, 2013 4:19 pm

    If you don’t mind my asking, do you have a post on how much to plant to grow enough for fresh eating and to put up for the year?
    We’ve planted a plum (methley) and a peach (floridaking) and three grape vines (thompson, flame and black monukka- haven’t built the arbors yet so they’re in buckets right now) but other than that there really isn’t much new in the garden this year. I’m trying to decide if I want to make a no-till garden in back using composted horse manure and wood chips for tomatoes or not. Okay, I do want to make it, I’m trying to decide if I’m up to the work lol

    • March 12, 2013 8:02 pm

      GarandGal, I don’t think I have such a post. It’s hard to know exactly how much to plant of each thing, and what you’ll end up with due to crop failures etc., but I plan and plant for abundance and plan on losing some of each crop to something. Usually I end up with enough :p I roughly plan for 52 units of canned or frozen stuff, or more if its something we eat a lot of. That gives me a lot of leeway, and of course we eat a lot of stuff fresh when it’s available. Yields vary so much too, and as your soil gets better, of course you get more yield. It takes 100’s of pounds of tomatoes to make 52 quarts of sauce that would last a family a year of eating spaghetti once a week. Buying canning tomatoes and checking your yield can give you a good idea of how much you might need, and keeping track of how much you eat during the year too. My 52 quart ballpark figure always leaves me some extra for “seed” for the next year. Seed catalogs usually give an estimate of yield per foot of row planted which can give you an idea also of just what you could grow.

      As for fruit, we have good years and bad years with tree fruit depending on our spring weather. Berries are always plentiful here so sometimes that makes up for tree fruit deficits 😦 Mileage may vary, and if you’re not careful can turn into a full time job!

  15. March 12, 2013 4:41 pm

    I haven’t seen tree frogs here yet, but the spring peepers are out in full force! There’s nothing more relaxing than going to sleep wlistening to them. Your seed list sounds wonderful and I love the pictures! This year I’m trying a lot of new things, mainly in the melon and pumpkin departments. The ones I’m very excited about are the Moon & Stars Watermelon, and the Rouge Vif d’Etampes (Cinderella Pumpkin).

  16. March 12, 2013 8:43 pm

    Wish it would rain here – Id love to have an ear of that red corn you have hanging over the stove. Chuck

  17. March 12, 2013 9:58 pm

    It’s colder and sunnier than it was in February and that means thick ice everywhere. So not spring for us yet.

    We will be trying those sweet meat squashes this year

  18. Sheila permalink
    March 13, 2013 7:22 am

    I am getting a new hoop house this year…well, if it ever gets built. In the old small one I am going to try my hand at a couple of melon varieties…Minnesota midget melon, blacktail mountain melon, and green machine. Living closer to the coast, we have not been able to get melons here and hoop house space is always given to peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. My husband says it is a waste of good space, but the kids (teens) would so love to have some melons. I know I should try black plastic and row covers, but those kinds of things don’t always get done. I am also trying quite a few new varieties of other things since I was running out of seed…lipstick peppers, costoluto genovese, carenten leeks, painted lady runner beans, and of all things iceburg lettuce. I love the varieties of lettuce I grow, but every now and then I like the cruch of iceburg lettuce.

    Will/Have you started all those things already? Seed packets are very often not so helpful with when to start, especially if you are shooting for a fall or winter harvest and not a summer harvest with some things. I have a few west of the cascade garden books, but even those aren’t always helpful. I’ve started tomatoes, leeks, celeriac, peppers, broccoli, and tomatillos. I will start onions soon, but I can’t decide whether it is worth it to start Brussels sprouts early or wait til June to go in the ground. I am waiting until late April or early May to start cucumber, melons, winter (may just plant straight in the ground) and summer squash, And also trying to decide when to plant the kale…the kale I plant for winter never makes it past the deer…they clean my garden out by the first week in December, this year I will be buying deer netting and planting some things in the hoop house now that I will have a chicken free one available. Hopefully, we will have a drier, warmer spring and summer this year.

    • March 13, 2013 8:58 am

      Sheila, looking forward to hearing about your melon experiences. Nothing better than a fresh melon, but it sure takes some doing here even in the hoophouse. I guess that’s why we keep flannel sheets on the bed year round 😉

      I started a few flats yesterday and will finish up today. For me it doesn’t pay to hurry and plant things under lights, so I wait until the day length is long enough to support the growing of the seedlings. The plants are much hardier that way than anything I ever grew under lights. I do use bottom heat though which is a hold over from my old conifer propagation days. I can’t plant much too soon anyway. So tomatoes, peppers, celeriac, onions, herbs, flowers and some misc. greens like bok choy, salad mustards, lettuces and such. We’re still getting greens like kale, chard, celeriac tops, chicory, and chickweed from the garden so I’m not in that big of a hurry.

      For our main brassica crops which will ripen in late summer into fall I usually start them late April for June transplanting. Many of my main winter storage crops are started when I plant my entire garden. Otherwise they never mature in time. I have never had any luck with much late August early September plantings maturing enough to either be harvestable or big enough to survive the cold. And when spring comes I want old crops out, and new ones in. New gardeners tend to want to save every last little carrot the eked out an existence over winter, and that is definitely not worth it in my opinion.

      The deer have been hungry here this year too, even with no snow cover! I suspect that as the cougar population continues to build the deer will stay closer to our dogs, so not in my plans:( I much prefer them to stay away from the gardens!

  19. March 13, 2013 7:46 am

    Green beans. I suspect we grow green beans because…well, because you’re supposed to grow green beans. That’s why we eat them too. They aren’t particularly nutritionally dense…I mean, you have to eat a mountain of them to make it count. And canning them in August really isn’t my favorite thing to do. But we do it anyway. ’cause you’re sposta.

  20. Chris permalink
    March 13, 2013 9:06 am

    Yes, yes, please write your raven stories…they are such interesting, intelligent birds!! So do you just set out a couple of eggs somewhere and they come and gather them??
    Have you read the book, Crow Planet? I had a pet crow when I was a kid,,,he/she was smarter than most of the city neighborhood kids and their parents! 🙂

    • March 13, 2013 10:26 am

      Chris, I put out two eggs out in the pasture (away from the dogs) if they are here. Otherwise I wait until they show up. This week only one is coming to get food. If I don’t see them, I wait because the scrub jays are watching too. The ravens look pretty funny carrying and egg in their beak.

      • Livia permalink
        March 17, 2013 8:31 pm

        Yes, definitely post you raven story soon. That sounds pretty amazing! Can’t wait to hear it.

  21. March 13, 2013 10:20 am

    I’m rather new to your blog and have been curious to know which varieties you selected this year. I don’t have a backyard anymore, but have a very large patio and will be planting several veggies and herbs in containers this summer — been reading seed catalogues for weeks and chompin’ at the bit to get started.

    My question is which catalogues did you use to select these varieties? The catalogues I have now are Territorial Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Potato Garden and Burpee. I have some seed starter kits for indoors and want to order my seeds this week to get them going. Thanks for all the fanastic information you provide — as an amateur I need all the help I can get!

    • March 13, 2013 10:24 am

      Cindy, some seeds are from my seed saving efforts, and I purchase some seeds too. I use Johnny’s, Territorial, Fedco, Turtle Tree, Wild Garden Seeds, Seeds of Change, Bountiful Gardens & last year I purchased some from High Mowing Seeds, and Adaptive Seeds. Not to mention drooling over lots of other seed catalogs that make it into my mailbox!

  22. March 13, 2013 11:50 am

    MOH, Thanks so much for the info on your seed sources. I have to laugh at Diana Smith’s comment: “Sure hate/love my cats who can resist newly dug dirt. Have to cover with chicken wire” — a few years ago, I dug up my back yard to plant grass seed, but I was also feeding about 10-12 feral cats every day too. I was successful in trapping them to be spayed and neutered, then released them, but the success on my yard — not so much. Life is always a trade-off, isn’t it?

    • March 13, 2013 12:14 pm

      Cindy, you’re welcome! Our cats would dearly love to sneak in the greenhouse to do their business, so we make sure the doors are closed or the pups are stationed in there 🙂

      An old-timer around here used to keep a hotwire around his rhubarb bed for that very reason. I might add his perfect weed-free, read cat box eye candy, rhubarb bed 😀

  23. March 13, 2013 12:30 pm

    I too have managed to get hold of Sweet Meat and will try them this year. I’m looking forward to the first taste so fingers crossed! Can you give an indication of how much space they take up? Do they like to sprawl or are the vines fairly compact? Better still, what spacing do you allow? And do you start off directly outside or in plugs/pots first and then harden off?

    • March 13, 2013 1:08 pm

      Carrie, how cool! They like to sprawl, I space rows 8′ apart and plant 2 plants per hill on 4′ centers. I have lots of space though, so I imagine you could space them closer and make them mind a little 😉

      If I direct seed, I plant 4-5 seeds per hill and thin to the best 2, or if I have to start in pots, I plant 2 per hill. They are pretty sensitive to root shock so the minute a true leaf appears I transplant and maybe add a cloche if it is cool still. Sounds like lots of trouble, but boy they sure produce and keep so well I think they are worth it.

      • March 13, 2013 2:51 pm

        Thanks for the info. Great. They may have to get a little more intimate here though.

  24. March 13, 2013 3:57 pm

    I tasted a new pepper last year that I am growing this year because it was so tasty….Beaver Dam. We will see how it does in my shady (that would be the pear tree I planted) garden. I am also hoping to grow some Styrian hullless squash for the seeds, but space is always an issue. We will see. Luckily I hear squash seed actually improves with age, to a point. Next year I will have more room. Yes on the raven stories! They are much less troublesome than crows I think, less mob mentality. Both very interesting birds. Our neighborhood crows get a salmon head on occasion, whenever we come back with the boat they turn up to see how we did.

    • March 14, 2013 12:54 pm

      SL, I do not want hear of any more good peppers! They remind me of apples, each variety I try is a must have! I have been surprised what a staple they have become here for meals, mostly I think because they are so easy to process and stuff in the freezer and so easy to get out and make a quick meal of 🙂

  25. March 13, 2013 9:48 pm

    For having writer’s block, you are amazing!!
    I teach third graders and we are in full force of raised bed garden prep. The kids hauled 18 bags of steer manure and mushroom compost (strange to think about those things bagged up and stranger yet to have a vocabulary lesson on manure!!), took soil temp tests, about 50′, read seed packets and looked at germination time and temps, and simply can’t wait to get their hands dirty. All the while, we write and record and draw journal style. At the end of the week, Baby Chicks arrive and you can be sure, life will never be the same in or out of the classroom. The kids are awe struck with wonder and it is a thrill to see each year. Yes, it is public school in a rural community…By Friday, radishes, peas, beets, and rhubarb will be nestled in some deep, dark soil.

    I would like to ask you: What is your source for the Hoop House you have? How long have you had it, and do you heat it and with what? I only know in the ground gardening and some raised bed gardening….Thanks for your inspiration! ~ Kari

    • March 14, 2013 5:26 am

      Kari, you rock girl! You have no idea what seeds you’re planting right now in those kids heads!

      I got my hoophouse at OBC and we also have one from Oregon Valley greenhouse. No heat, for season extension only, but you could grow year round without heat if you desire.

  26. lizzie permalink
    March 14, 2013 5:58 am

    The Consoluto is amazing, so prolific, I also grew a green cherry last year (forgotten the name) it was sweet and looked great in salads.

  27. March 14, 2013 7:08 am

    Is ‘writer’s block’ a good time to ask for a definitive ‘How to’ on successful tomato growing? Both determinate and indeterminate, indoor and out? Which of the techniques of Charles Wilbur and Carolyn Males do you favour and why? That kind of thing?

    With me, growing good tomatoes is more luck than skill, and I’d like to at least redress that to a 50:50 option! :-))

    • March 15, 2013 6:12 am

      Carrie, I am definitely not an expert on tomato growing for sure, I have come to the conclusion though that pruning too much or really much at all just lowers my yield here in our climate.

      I like Tom’s take on tomato growing in a maritime climate:

      I have forgotten what I have read about Carlolyn’s techniques :p, but Charles Wilbur is spot on about wide spacing for each plant to allow the roots to really reach out and seek nutrients and moisture, this echos Steve Solomon as well. I plant my indeterminates on 4′ centers and quit watering the first of August, and the plants always do well and get on with the ripening. Determinates I can get by with 2′ centers and they do good as well.

      I’ll try to post more as the season progresses. But for now, I’m in the no to minimal pruning method, my poor tomatoes are lucky to get clipped to the trellis once summer hits 😦

      • March 16, 2013 7:54 am

        That’s great, thanks. I have been pinching-out religiously, so that can go this season. I suspect an issue is that I mainly grow in pots – large ones, then topped with grow pots for more root depth (grow pots = the kind of plastic ring you use to deepen a grow bag). Maybe it’s horizontal space the roots need? I think I threatened to find Wilbur’s book before; it is now in the post and should arrive in a couple of days. It will be interesting to see where my pot approach fails his criteria. I have read Steve Solomon on drought gardening/dust mulching. I could perhaps squeeze space to plant tomatoes in the ground but… something else will end up in a pot! The Sweet Meat will be OKish for space because from their specially prepared hillocks they can wander about under the soft fruit.

        More tips and wrinkles as the season progresses will be welcome. Thanks.

  28. Chris permalink
    March 14, 2013 9:08 am

    One more question…why do you feed the raven pair? Is it a peace offering? 🙂

    • March 14, 2013 9:18 am

      Well, they used to come eat the eggs laid on the ground by our pastured flock and that helped with clean-up since we didn’t want “floor” eggs to sell anyway. So, I do it because they are here and asking, and they are polite. This morning one egg got buried in a molehill, thoroughly tamped and covered, and the other one got taken to the nest.

  29. Chris permalink
    March 15, 2013 4:02 pm

    Hmm, maybe they were thinking to hatch it! 🙂 That’s so neat that you have a working relationship with this pr. of ravens! They are so fascinating! Maybe by this offering to them, they are keeping the others away and from being a nuisance! You didn’t say if you had read Crow Planet or not. It’s good!

    • March 15, 2013 6:54 pm

      Chris, I think they are caching anything extra, they have stuff buried in the compost piles too. They’ll be crazy busy soon when the babies hatch.

  30. Chris permalink
    March 15, 2013 4:03 pm

    PS. Is that them in your header??

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