Friday, October 26, 2012
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Hm. Looks more like a jungle than a garden. It will be interesting to see how the squashes do next year, when they'll have this size area all to themselves. I'm told one vining squash can happily take over 25 square meters. We don't have that much space for them, but they'll have more than they've got just now.
Otherwise...tomatoes are finally starting to think about getting ripe, some of them. The Spawn ate the first ripe cherry tomato from one of our container grown tomatoes, but I'm looking forward to the big 'uns out there in the garden. Peppers are maybe thinking about turning colour too. A couple of 'em actually look kind of sad--may have gotten some sort of mold, I suppose. We grow that really well.
The Spawn's got lots of flowers blooming in her row. Her jack-o-lantern pumpkin plant has finally set a fruit too, so she may get to do a jack-o-lantern on her very own pumpkin this year. I'm not letting her grow so many nasturtiums next year though. I'm not letting ME grow so many either. They're all over!
The herbs are...puttering along. The basil isn't doing too badly, but the dill is just barely doing anything. There are a couple of decent sized tobacco plants though. Just planted some coriander and parsley for fall harvest. Yum! I also just planted some kale in the herb row, since that's where there was space. Or rather, where there was space not being taken over by squashes!
Next row, green onions are finally harvestable. The Spawn has decided they're like giant chives and she's been pulling them and eating the tops. The Better Half gets the bottom part. They both seem reasonably happy with that arrangement. Beets are doing well. I planted to give us a steady supply (I hope) until it gets too cold. Seems to be working so far. The cauliflower and cabbages are nice and leafy, but otherwise not doing much.
Chard is good. Lots and lots of the stuff. I tried two new to me varieties this year, Perpetual Spinach, which all bolted and Verde di Taglio, which is also now bolting. I think I'll stick with Bright Lights, which makes leaves as big as my body and never bolts. And for spinach, phooey on Galilee, which has bolted as soon as it get four leaves every single time I've planted it, spring, summer and autumn. Bordeaux did a bit better, but it bolted pretty quickly. Olympia is good though. It gets some respectable growth before bolting. The purslane is doing very well, as is the vegetable mallow. I planted a bunch of leaf amaranth, which should be ready to start harvesting soon. Pretty stuff and tasty too.
Should start getting some cucumbers soon. The zucchini is going into summer overdrive, which means I need to start dehydrating. And, of course, the other cucurbits are enthusiastic, as I said. I'm seeing some decent sized stuff in amongst the leaves already, so starting them indoors may actually give us truly ripe squashes this year! Keeping my fingers crossed.
We've just started harvesting from the broccoli. So very, very tasty! I need to work on getting a good succession of broccoli next year. But I do hope to be able to freeze at least a bit this year for winter eating. Or we might just eat it all. Even the Spawn likes it!
Um...more greens, right. Spinach and chard. This is the...third and second round respectively, so just starting to harvest and eat them. Harvest and freeze, in the case of much of the chard. I suspect I'm going to get tired of frozen chard and beet greens.
Lettuce is doing well, though we're not eating as much of it as the Better Half would like. Some has gotten swallowed by the squashes. Some has gotten swallowed by a small rabbit that we've been seeing the garden. Some has been for us though and is darned tasty. Got one head starting to bolt though, so it'd better be for dinner tomorrow.
Bush beans are doing fairly well. They're meant to all be for dry beans, but the Better Half was impatient for green beans and forgot. The corn has just started silking. It looks so small, doesn't it? It's a dwarf variety and never does get any bigger. Still makes sweet corn though, which is all that really matters to the corn enthusiasts of the household.
The pole beans are nicely strung up on nylon netting. We've gotten a few of the Scarlet Emperor runner beans already, but the others are either just starting to bloom or not even thinking about it yet. Laggards! Oh, the picture is just illustrative of the netting. It's from a couple of weeks ago and doesn't reflect the current state of bean growth.
Potatoes are all blooming. Some are almost done blooming, so we'll start restricting their water soon. Our heat wave will be over by then, I'm sure. Maybe I should say our three or four days of summer will be over by then....
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Last week the Spawn got sick. She spent a whole day doing basically nothing, though I had the opportunity to read aloud for hours and hours and hours. She's still got the snot, but has otherwise recovered.
Maybe because she'd just been sick, she was most sympathetic about my go at the virus. She advised me to get lots of rest. She said that because she liked looking at pictures when she was sick, she would paint pictures for me to look at. She painted several like the one below of our garden. She also gave me a small cardboard tube which she'd painted silver. I guess I know what to give her next time she's sick....
From left to right, that's a pumpkin, a delicata squash, the squash leaf, a chard leaf, the leaves of a beet, and a tomato plant.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Monday, June 4, 2012
Okay, not really from the fridge, nor yet from the hallway gallery. The Spawn drew these today and decided they should be in HER room. For which I can't really blame her in the least. I think they're pretty cool. Not sure I'd have had the patience to do all those pine needles when I was five.
This is several fairies with ivy leaf houses under a pine tree. She used a stencil for the ivy leaves, which is think is wonderful. That's why we have a big box of stencils.
In this picture it's raining. There are several fairies in the tall grass, which hides them from predators. Unfortunately, two of the fairies have had their wings bitten off! I suspect this last explanation of being after the fact when she realized she'd forgotten their wings. But maybe not. We've lost a couple of ducklings to predators lately, even though our grass is MUCH taller than what she's drawn here.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Of random interest and so I can find my links easily, we have seeds from:
Adaptive Seeds (way too much interesting and unusual stuff)
Baker Creek (great heirloom seeds, if not necessarily the best for this region)
Botanical Interests (primarily flowers and herbs from them)
Fedco Seeds (not local, but decent stuff and excellent prices--their seed potatoes are pretty decent too and certified)
Fertile Valley Seeds (not much, but all good seed)
Horizon Herbs (fantastic medicinals)
Johnny's Selected Seeds (aimed toward the commercial grower, but good seeds and fantastic germination information on the packets)
Kitazawa Seed Company (Asian veggies, mainly)
Nichols Garden Nursery (lots of good heirlooms and OP seeds)
Sand Hill Preservation Center (more heirlooms and a good source for cover crop seed and sweet potato slips)
Seeds of Change (based out of NM, but had some stuff I needed at the time--they seem to be owned by Mars, Inc. now)
Siskiyou Seeds (fairly local, not a huge selection but all excellent for this region)
Territorial Seed Company (the biggest really local seed company--decent seed, but not my favourite any more for no particularly good reason)
Tomato Growers Supply (mostly solanums and I'm not happy with their seeds, not going to buy from them again, no matter how tempting the varieties)
Uprising Seeds (more local, organic, heirloom stuff)
Yikes! Maybe I should go plant some of those seeds now. Gonna start another round of super-early-season tomatoes (all less than 70 days) and maybe some more lettuce. Those a two things you can never have enough of. Maybe I'll go plant some more bee food too. The plan is to plant a pound of bee feed seed in patches all around the place. Should be pretty and useful at the same time. Some of 'em are even culinary/medicinal too!
Saturday, March 3, 2012
This year though, I hope will be a year for GOOD experiments. We have tapped several of our big leaf maple trees. We started too late to get a great deal of sap, but it's been enough for us to make a cup or two of syrup. Tastes just like maple syrup, even.
We're hoping we no longer have a duck deficiency. That'd help with the slug issues. I have to figure out how to keep them from stomping the smaller plants in the garden though. I'm thinking chicken wire might do the trick. Or it might not. You never can tell.
Big experiment is making soil blocks for some starts instead of using pots. I've got two of each tomato variety we're trying this year, one in a pot, one in a block. The theory is that transplant shock is less with blocks. We shall see how they do. I'm going to try direct seeding some too, which goes very much against conventional wisdom for this area. I've been told that the six week start for...well, starts, only translated to a three week gain in harvest. Might make it worthwhile to just direct seed some of the earliest varieties.
Someone has tried to convince me to do an experiment with manganese, but I think I'll wait on that one. Then again, maybe not. I'll see how I feel when it's time to plant corn. In the meantime, we'll plop some minerals and some llama poop on the garden and start a'plantin'. We're even going to put in a few asparagus plants this year, since it seems we'll be here longer than we thought.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Here we were doing an experiment of sorts. The green layer is water with food dye. The yellowish layer is cooking oil. You then add Alka-Seltzer or some similar fizzy stuff. Hey, presto, bubbles of green water rise and fall through the oil. Further experimentation needs to be done to determine if it can be made to look like a slightly less manic lava lamp.
Here you see what happens when you empty the bottle into a bowl and add some paint. It should be noted that plastic Pooh figurines get especially oily when dropped into such a bowl.
This weekend we went in search of snow. It was our first trip to Mt. Hood, which is just plain silly, given how close it is. There was indeed snow. Lots of snow. The Spawn was introduced to the delightful idea of being towed around in a sled. The only thing we didn't manage was a nice mug of hot chocolate while watching the snow fall. Next time, maybe.
Oh, and the snow DID fall. Quite heavily it fell. It was really lovely and made me soooo glad we're not at snow elevation.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Preheat oven to 218C/425F.
In a large bowl, whisk well the following:
85g (2/3C) sorghum flour
107g (2/3C) superfine brown rice flour
120g (1C) tapioca flour
2T dry yeast
1T chia seeds, ground (that's 1T before grinding)
2t plain gelatin
Warm 1 1/3C milk-oid (real milk or non-dairy milk) to 43C/110F,
to this add:
2t olive oil
2t cider vinegar
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. This will make a thick batter, NOT a dough. Using a silicon spatula (or something of the sort), spread the batter onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper--my pan is 30cm X 35cm/12" X 14"--or two smaller baking sheets. Here you can let the dough rise for half an hour which is the preference of the Better Half, or immediately bake it, which is the preference of the Spawn. Bake for 10 minutes, flip the crust(s) and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven and top as you wish. We usually brush the crust with olive oil, then put on cheese and olives, this being the best way to do it according to the Spawn. Bake topped crust until cheese is all bubbly. Remove and watch in awe as the Spawn eats more than half the resulting pizza.