Saturday, December 22, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside...

As Christmas approaches I decided to check out how the p-patch garden was doing. The spinach and broccoli are still growing but very slowly. If they survive until Spring I may get a chance to harvest one or both of them. As for the main plot...most everything is covered with leaves and burlap. I trimmed the fuchsia back last month. Surprisingly, the hellebores are all showing new growth (see pics below) and are just waiting until the end of January or early February to really take off. I'll probably remove all the old greenery at that time as it's still in pretty good shape (aka minimal black mold spots). Also, the cyclamen coum shows development too, as can be seen in the pic below. I have high hopes for the perennials this coming Spring which will include: four hellebore, a handful of cyclamen coum, a foxtail lily, countless scilla, and a couple hundred lilies.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Holiday Festivities at Swanson's Nursery

Swanson's Nursery kicked off the holiday season with a holiday open house last night. There were reineer, shopping discounts, free booze, and hourly drawings. I didn't find anything to spend my money on but did snap a bunch of pics.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Putting the Garden to Bed

I found a supply of burlap at Cafe Vita on Capitol Hill at their roaster. The main plot is officially put to bed. Interestingly, my cyclamen coum has sprouted underneath one of the hellebore plants. It won't bloom until next February though. Also, I'll have to prune the fuchsia after the first frost of winter. Otherwise, besides picking some spinach and broccoli, there won't be much to do until next January.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Winterizing the Garden

Since temperatures have become decidedly cooler, and the rain has returned for the duration, it's time to prep the beds for winter. I pruned the fuchsia and removed the larger call lily from the main plot. Also, I processed decomposing leaves through the chipper/shredder and produced a lightweight, fine compost that I distributing across the plot. What I really need to find now is burlap so that topsoil doesn't blow/wash away over the next few months.

As for the second plot...I have broccoli and spinach growing. I've transplanted the spinach evenly across the space to maximize the yield. It should be ready to pick within a few more weeks, depending on the weather.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Autumn is Upon Us

As I write this I think back to how great this year has been for Seattle gardeners. The weather has been consistently warm/hot since early July (although, we could have used some more precipitation). The rats have all but disappeared, or been consumed by a ferret in the garden. And, my crops have produced record amounts of veggies, particularly the corn.

On another note, I have planted a fall crop of spinach and broccoli and hope to harvest both before the next hard frost (most likely in late November or early December). I've also planted a bunch of new perenials including: tulips (shown below), foxtail lily, hyacinth, scilla, and camassi. I've removed the summer lily and alstroemeria, and plan to dig up the larger calla lily.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Late Summer Blooms

So, we've made it to September and the excellent (aka warm and sunny) weather continues. A newscaster mentioned that we have had 45+ days without any form of precipitation so those warm-weather plants are thriving. I've just recently begun harvesting my second variety of corn and am pleased to discover full, edible kernels for all my efforts.

Furthermore, my collection of free cyclamen hederifolium corms (which died back completely last year) have sent up several square feet of flowers (see below). The makeshift remay sun barrier I erected certainly seems to help keep early day sun from blasting the area in question. At the very least, the barrier diffuses the full force of sunlight, and let's the plants thrive.

As for my other potted purpurascens is in full bloom. A couple of the other pots are hinting at recent signs of growth. I need to relabel all of the pots as everything was transplanted after the last disastrous windstorm knocked everything over (i.e., piles of shattered clay pots, soil, and corms).

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wouldn't You Like to be a Pepper Too?

The bell peppers are coming along nicely, and I have begun harvesting the first variety of corn ('Golden Jubilee'). The second variety is just recently begining to form ears, and continues to grow taller.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Summer Flowers

I thought my Dicentra 'Burning Hearts' had bloomed and finished a couple of months ago. Fortunately, both plants are making an impressive resurgence. Also, the summer lilies are looking particularly spectacular (and smell even better).

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer is Here

Temperatures this July (after three years) are finally back to realistic levels. Seattle has been consistently in the 70s and on occasion the 80's as well. Also, the rain has limited its appearance to every other week rather than every other day. As you can see above, my corn is finally hitting its stride and has yet to blow over from the infrequent windy days. Last year my corn blew over because the stalks were too tall and thin (lack of sunlight).

In other news, I've been picking and shelling peas like crazy, and eating the rest. My freezer now has a several-month supply of shelled peas. The cippolino onions were a bust. They got too much water the last couple of months and rotted. I managed to harvest a few that look edible. I'm going to plant some different onions later today that I picked up at Swanson's Nursery. The weather is warm enough by now they should fair better.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Wet June

As June begins to wind down I'm still waiting for Summer to kick in completely. This month has had some great warm days (low 70's) with plenty of sun, but Seattle is currently inundated with cooler temps and plenty of rain. Thus, my onions are suffering. The corn is coming along nicely, but could definitely use more heat.

Fortunately, the peas are growing like crazy. I will probably begin harvesting the first ones within a week. Also, one of the aluminum support poles (far left in pic) broke off at ground level and I discovered a half-fallen trellis one afternoon. I have tried to butress the broken pole with two other ones, and have position more vertical poles behind the busiest growth in hopes that the pile of peas will remain upright. Also, one of my 8-foot steel poles (front corner) is starting to bend over from the weight of all the vegetation. Since the workable soil in this spot only extends down about 12 inches, I am unable to drive any support poles down as far as I'd like. I will continue to add compost each year to give the plot a few more inches of workable soil. Anyway, I have tried to provide some extra support to this pole with some anchored string. Hopefully this will help keep the pole from leaning over any more.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Rain is Back

Temperatures rose above 60 degrees for several days and the corn sprouted. Also, intermittent rain has definitely helped everything along, especially the peas and spinach. The temperatures are cooling off a bit for a couple of days and I hope this will allow the spinach to produce before the warmer Summer weather causes the plants to (inevitably) bolt). Also, in the background, the campanula ('Birch's Hybrid') has bloomed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

May Showers??

 Isn't May supposed to have rain showers? So far, this appears to be a record month for lack of rain. I've been trying to get out to the patch ever few days to hose everything down. Over the last week, the temperatures have been 60+ degrees and I'm concerned about the peas and beans (they just sprouted). As the pics show (taken last week), the peas are still struggling along, but are finally showing some new growth. Also, I've been harvesting spinach regularly. The onions are looking great. The calla lily plants are looking good as well. The more developed plant has even produced a bloom.

This Saturday I'm planning on spending some time cleaning up the plot (removing dead foliage, cutting back the tulips) and planting some corn starts. I need to check out Swanson's and pick up some corn as temperatures are warm enough to plant them. And, of course, more weeding. Thatch grass and fireweed is still present throughout the plot.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

End of April

Well, it looks like the spinach is ready to begin harvesting. Also, the last of the tulips have finally bloomed, and the dicentra 'burning hearts' has sent out the first few crimson flowers.

A couple of days ago I began a new compost pile. There were plenty of leaves and lots of grass to build from. Also, I added two bags of coffee grounds from the Ballard Starbucks. Today, I turned the pile for the first time and ended up getting roasted by the heat emanating from the middle of the pile.

I replanted another bag of Alderman peas, but many still did not sprout, and a lot of sprouts from the first bag were ravaged by cut worms. As the picture shows above, I have tried to protect the successful plants with mini sticky note tubes to fend off attacking worms. Hopefully, the plants will get better established. Fingers crossed.

Finally, I discovered some celery starts a week ago at the Bellevue Nursery. I planted them toward the front of my plot so they will get full sun, and not be blocked by later vegetables (e.g., corn, beans).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Color of Spring

Well, the weather is still behaving erratically. One day, it will be warm and sunny, whereas on another day it will be wet and cold. Thus, I'll have to hold off on any warm-weather plants. I have planted two separate groups of Alderman peas. I pre-soaked (sprouted) and innoculated these seeds to give them a head start, and covered them all with remay, as the birds will eat unprotected seeds.

As the pic above shows, my hellebore are in full bloom, and several of the tulip bulbs from last year have re-bloomed. I'm definitely planning on getting some more bi-color tulips next fall as the crimson ones look absolutely stunning. Also, there are some spinach starts in the background that are beginning to take off. My two dicentra 'Burning Hearts' plants have survived and show signs of green growth.

Monday, March 19, 2012

First Planting of the Year

I was busy last weekend planting this year's first vegetables. I planted pre-soaked Alderman peas, spinach starts, and cipollino onions. Although the temperatures are still rather cool, the hellebore is in full bloom, and the first tulips are showing fantastic coolers. Also, I harvested all my broccoli in order to make room for the peas. I know that the erratic temperature fluctuations may kill/rot these plants, but I'm taking the risk. Peas really need to be in the ground in March, and Alderman's more so (they take around 95 days to mature. Typically, harvest them first week of July).

Last night, I got an inch of hail/snow at home in North Seattle. I'm hoping that Interbay, being closer to the water, fared better. Otherwise, I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping the warm daytime temperatures sustain everything.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Early Spring

Well, it looks like my broccoli survived Winter. Also, the hellebore is beginning to bloom. Finally, can you spot the honey bee checking out my scilla (2nd to last pic)?

Monday, January 23, 2012


(a pic from my office)

ok, I guess I jumped the gun in the last posting because during this last week we got a blizzard in Seattle. So, several inches of snow accumulated within two days. I did manage to put the burlap back down over emerging bulbs (for what it's worth), but I am pretty confident that the broccoli is now beyond care.

And, as quickly as the snows came, they quickly disappeared. Temperatures raised, rains came down, and the snow melted pretty quickly. But, that's not the end of it. Seattle also got a lovely wind storm a few days ago. It managed to knock over the lightweight plastic shelving system on my deck (the one with all my potted cyclamen) and create more problems. I've now repotted my cyclamen for the fourth time since I've begun collecting them. Needless to say, the stupid plastic rack goes. I'll have to brainstorm an alternative solution, but the pots will just have to sit in the corner of the deck on the floor.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A New Year

Well, January is here, and weather reminds me of October and November. This has to be one of the mildest winters on record. December was certainly one of the most dry. There was very little rain. Also, I remember only a few nights that got down to below freezing. The fact that my broccoli is still alive attests to this.

Yesterday I got outside and got some work done in my plot. I folded up the burlap and raked up and removed the leaves I laid down a couple of months ago. They were quite dry and hadn't decomposed much. Also, I tried to clear out as much of the weeds (there are plenty) that took root since last fall.

Some of the perennial bulbs are beginning to poke up above ground, and I noticed some new growth with the hellebore and cyclamen coum. I expect to see these plants start to take off by early February (maybe sooner with such warm weather). I just hope there is no major cold snap yet to come.