Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas at Bellevue Nursery

I visited the Bellevue Nursery yesterday and snapped a few pics. For a small nursery, they do a great job in decorating it for the holiday season.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Late Season Planting

Well, I visited Sky Nursery the other day and spent some money on their 30% off spring bulbs. I purchased 18 tulip bulbs (two varieties) and a 4-pack of hyacinth. I found a couple of spots in the main p-patch plot to bury the bulbs (along with some fertilizer (don't forget to feed those bulbs!)) and covered everything up with leaves. Unfortunately, I have no more burlap to lay down and am hoping this winter won't be too windy.

Also, I trimmed back the fuchsia to its base as it is dying off for the season. This plant is getting pretty darn big, almost six feet in diameter when in full growth and tends to over-shadow surrounding plants by mid-late summer.

The broccoli is still going in the secondary plot. I still don't know if I will be able to harvest it before we get a hard frost, but the weather has remained rather mild so far. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Putting the Garden to Bed

Winter may not be here yet, but Fall has definitely arrived. There is not so much as a lot of rain, but the overnight temperatures are hitting the mid-30's. I finished harvesting everything consumable about a month ago (finally dug up the remaining potatoes). As the above pic shows, I have added a layer of leaves and burlap over a good portion of the plot. I'm hoping it will slowly compost over the next few months.
Also, I have planted a few new plants. In the foreground is a third hellebore I picked up at Swansons in their clearance section ($9.00). I was surprised to find it since it looked quite healthy, and that section tends to get half-dead stuff. In the background, where the potatoes used to be, is now a calla lily and an alstroemeria. A fellow gardener gave me them both. I'm hopefully that they will both bloom come next Summer.
Now, as for the secondary plot...I've planted a bunch of broccoli starts that were free (over near the courtyard tables) about two months ago. The plants are coming along nicely, but I really don't think I'll be able to harvest any of them before Winter' first serious cold snap (note: in the last two years temps hit high 20's at least one evening, between the second week of Nov. and second week of Dec.). But, I'll keep my fingers crossed anyway. Also, the C. Hederifolium in the background came back like gangbusters. If you remember, a bit after I transplanted the plants they died back completely, with nothing remaining above-ground. I'm hoping that the new greenery will last through to next Spring. But, given the soggy NW weather, I'm not too hopeful. Cyclamen are native to much drier climates, and my p-patch plants tend to get a lot of water.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Tale of Two Sales

So, I checked out two local fall plant sales last weekend. On Saturday, I headed over to Magnuson Park (well known for sponsoring those immense Seattle Public Library book sales) and sought out the Native Bulb, Seed and Plant Sale, sponsored by the Washington Native Plant Society. The sale only filled one of the smaller parts of the main hangar and was a bit underwhelming. There was a bunch of shrubs and trees, one table with a decent collection of books, and another table with seeds. Interestingly, there seemed to be just as many orange vest volunteers on-site as there were actually customers.
On Sunday, I drove over to the Center for Urban Horticulture (near the UW playfields) and checked out the Hardy Plant Society of Washington's first annual Fall Bulb Sale. They had one row of tables outside with live plants, while the entirety of the inside area comprised dozens of boxes of bulbs and seeds. I ended up snagging a particularly attractive Cyclamen Cilicium, as well as a unique looking Cilla bulb, and some tulip bulbs.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


The corn is doing very well. So far, I picked around eight ears, and have seen no signs of rodents. Also, the temperatures are now in the 80's on a consistent basis. Wind continues to pose some challenges though and blows the stalks sideways. I've provided some support in the form of several six-foot long aluminum poles.
In other news, I have cyclamen hederifolium growing in a couple of spots that are now blooming. I planted one corm in a pot that is doing quite nicely. Once I placed it in a very shaded spot (on my deck) the plant showed remarkable growth. Also, I have a couple of plants buried in my p-patch plot that are also sending up blooms. Since that paricular spot gets several hours of direct sunlight every day, I have constructed a short-term shade solution from a burlap bag and some posts. I still need to research something more permanent if my shade plants are going to thrive.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

End of August

Where does the time go? Summer is finally showing some good weather. Thus, the corn is almost ready to harvest. I haven't seen any rodents skulking around, but I'd be surprised if they didn't make efforts towards the corn in the next couple of weeks. I have put "corn cozies" on the most promising dozen ears, but cannot afford to buy/create any more right now. Furthermore, the two bell pepper plants are showing promise and have a good half dozen peppers currently maturing. Also, I've been steadily picking beans the last several weeks. Unfortunately, a few of the plants are showing signs of club root. This is the first year I've tried bush beans, but I think I'll go back to pole beans next year.
As for cyclamen...I've determined all of the hardy varieties (hederifolium, cilicium, etc.) in my plots are getting too much sun and water. I'm going to research some taller, drought-tolerant species to place nearby and provide some much needed shade. This is the first time I've noticed the cilicium has thrived, but it's because the fuchsia grew over it. I need to begin planning my plot better, clustering less water plants and shade plants together. Currently, everything is mixed up, and several species are suffering (particularly the dicentra and cyclamen).
Two pots on the deck are currently coming along nicely. The small purpurascens tuber (two pics up) from Hansen's Nursery is showing healthy new growth, a few blooms, and no leaf die-off. The other, more established purpurascens from Swanson's, shows continuous growth, but most of the older leaves sicken and die. I don't attribute this to excess water as leaves continue to die off even when I withhold water. I'm thinking the issue is do to some form of insect or potentially a soil deficiency. Certainly, I will need to further research the problem. Finally, the intaminatum (pictured directly above (white flowers)) has gone from a couple of of leaves and flowers, and now shows much more growth, with more still on the way.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cyclamen Update - Summer 2011

Only two of my cyclamen species are in bloom and showing growth at the moment: purpurascens and intaminatum. The purpurascens I acquired at Swason's Nursery last year is the most developed and has already produced nearly a dozen flowers, as well as several new green leaves. Unfortunately, other leaves on this plant are yellowing and dying off. I believe this is due to overwatering. Which is odd, as I do not fell I have watered the plant enough to have this result. So, I am trying to let this particular plant go for weeks at a time unwatered, being careful to monitor it's condition. All of the growers I have spoken with say to only water when the soil is dry (which is hard to determine for a pot this big). Maybe I will need to do some research on getting a moisture meter. As for the purpurascens corm I purchased through Hansen's Nursery (OR), it has only produced a mere couple of leaves was just polking out of the top of the soil.
The intaminatum is also showing signs of growth (as seen above), with more new leaves still sprouting. I made the mistake earlier this year by adding too much water and lost all my existing leaves. Hence, I will be much more careful with future waterings.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Harvesting Broccoli

The crop of broccoli this year is the best ever. Moving the plants to the newer plot space was a great help; no club root (infected soil results in gnarled root structure that slowly kills off the plant) plagued my brassicas. Thus, many healthy, straight-standing, broccoli plants. The main plot space is nearly entirely infected with the club root virus. I have tried planting in different areas of the plot, but usually lose most of my broccoli crop each year to club root.

As for the rest of things...the corn in the main plot is really beginning to take off. The celery and peas are nearly ready to harvest. Also, the latest bunch of bush beans (take two) have sprouted and are growing. I guess the soil temperature is finally warm enough.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spring Veggies

Well, temperatures continue to creep slowly towards the 70 degrees, but continue to elude Seattle. This has been great for the broccoli, spinach and peas, but hinders the summer veggies. The first planting of pre-soaked corn seeds has sprouted, and covering them for the first week with clear plastic appears to have provided enough warmth for growth. In the background (first pic) you can see plastic and remay covering the newly planted bush beans, but no growth yet. Future projects include removing the remaining spinach (looking a bit scraggly) and planting the second crop of corn. Also, I am going to construct a plastic tubing (plumber's pipe) mini hothouse for some bell peppers.
The secondary plot has the peas in full bloom, and the broccoli looks fantastic (no clubroot in this patch of soil). Walla walla onions are struggling along, and I learned that the wind that blows unobstructed on this spot sorely affects warm weather crops. I'll have to keep this in mind for future crops as temperature at the garden will make or break a crop's success.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Arboretum Foundation Plant Sale

I discovered the Arboretum Foundation's annual Spring Plant Sale last weekend. It's housed over at Magnuson Park in the same spot as the semi-regular Friends of the Library book sales. The plant sale was assuredly the largest one in the area, and (as the pics show) featured dozens of independent dealers and thousands of plants. I showed up on the first day (Saturday) with about five minutes to spare and was positioned behind the first couple of hundred folks. I only had one plant on my list: Dicentra 'Burning Hearts'. Fortunately, I found the only dealer on the site with the plant and managed to grab the last one. Mission accomplished!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Coming Along...

Spring began about a week ago, but it's still quite cold outside, in the mid 40's. I planted some Walla Walla onions and more peas, but I figure they will take off when temperatures raise. Also, as can be seen in the pic, the "Ivory Prince" hellebore is in full bloom, and more tulips are showing color. Unfortunately, I didn't plan out any of the misc. tulips I buried last fall so they will probably all bloom at different intervals. I invested in another hellebore (positioned besides the first one): Helleborus orientalis 'Mardi Gras Double'

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Into Action!

Well, it appears Spring has finally arrived (actually, it began last Sunday). Things are starting to look up out at the p-patch. I'm particularly proud of my 'Ivory Prince' hellebore (top pic, foreground) that has truly made improvements over the last year. I had to trim back a lot of green leaves as a fungus had infested many of them. But, fortunately, the flower have enveloped most of the plant. In addition, the first of the Spring tulips have announced their arrival. And, I planted spinach, broccoli, and peas a couple of weeks ago. A couple of weeks ago the UW Center for Urban Horticulture held their 4th Annual Ephemeral Sale. The bucketing rain didn't dissuade many folks as hundreds showed up when the doors opened early morning on Saturday. The great thing about this particular sale is the large number of independent and alpine nurseries from outside Seattle are represented. I only picked up one plant (Cyclamen pseudibericum) mainly because I have never seen this species of cyclamen for sale growing in a 4-inch pot anywhere in-state. And, it's in far better shape than the one in a pot on my deck. Picture below...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spring is Around the Corner

As you can see in the pic, spring bulbs are starting to show around the area. We haven't had any freezing temperatures in weeks and I can only hope that will be the last of the cold weather

Also, here is a pic of one of my C. Cypriums. It's coming along nicely.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2011 Here We Come...

Well, it has been a cold, wet winter so far. November brought a couple of very chilly days (low 20's) that killed everything outside that wasn't hardy or protected. My broccoli didn't survive and I won't try again next fall for a late crop. The temperatures are just too unpredictable.

I checked out the p-patch and everything is slushy and dead. None of the early spring bulbs have shown, but the hellebore has developed several flower clusters that are just waiting for February before they fully bloom. I do have a bunch of bulbs I planted last fall in one of the deck planters that are poking up though. I'm planning on rebuilding the two hanging baskets with some flowering plants soon. I hope we've seen the last of the freezing temperatures, but I'll keep careful tabs on the forecast. Planters will get pulled inside if the temperatures threaten them. The hardy cyclamen, in pots, on the other hand, have no problem with the freezing temperatures. They all weathered the November freeze quite well.