Category Archives: Plants

Garden Update

Hey hey! It’s ‘mato time again!

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One of the tomato plants is producing tomatoes like there’s no tomorrow while the other ones seem content to keep growing upwards and outwards.

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We’ve been having some unfortunate strawberry casualties in the garden. Ants have been gnawing them to pieces before they become ripe. Mummy put some ant traps out there, we’ll see if those work.

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Oh man, the first yellow squash has poked its adorable leafy-greenness up! I’m so excited!

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The sage is doing it’s thing quite nicely without any help. The basil is a bit on the developmentally challenged side, it seems happy enough to stay the same size that it has for the last month. I’m going to not post about it until it decides to join the big kids at the grown up table.

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Those potatoes are still growing with some freakish determination. I literally watched them grow 1/4 inch in three hours. INSANE. I really should find some more dirt to cover them up with. Then we’ll have lotsa potatoes.

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The peas are still climbing upwards and onwards as peas tend to do.

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But now they’re accompanied by flowers! Pea flowers mean pea fruit which means peas in my tummy!

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Oh man oh man the parsnips have ARRIVED! At last.

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Those carrots continue to be lame. Only half of them germinated and they germinated right next to each other! Soon I’ll have to thin the suckers out (and yes mom, you DO need to thin carrots. I’ll just do it when you’re not looking anyway.).

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Blubbery blobbery blooberries!

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The beans are still kickin’ it in the fast lane. They’ve got their first set of adult leaves to compliment their enormous baby leaves.
I feel like I just posted about all of this stuff. Has it already been a week? Sheesh…

What am I?

I went for a little walk with Mummy and Willow this evening and found this sweet little plant growing by the road. Now the question is, WHAT IS IT!? It’s so cool! I’ve been through my Pojar and I couldn’t find it in there (it looks a little wee bit like One-Sided Wintergreen, but that’s not it). It might not be a native plant, but I can’t figure out how else to go about identifying it. Can you help? It’s too cool not to investigate just a little.

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Sorry I didn’t grab any foliage, maybe next time.

Mason Bees

I’ve wanted to keep bees since I took a beekeeping class at Evergreen last year. The proble, however, is that bee hives take a while to get going, are large, and I want to be around for a few years when I do it so that they have time to really get established. That’s for honey bees though.

I’ve been hearing rumblings about mason bees for a while and I decided to do some research. Mason bees are solitary little creatures. The female lays her eggs in existing wood holes and pollinates your garden. Apparently two or three mason bees can pollinate the equivalent of a mature apple tree each spring. Neither male or female bee is able to sting. While they don’t make honey they do pollinate your garden. Plus mason bee houses are super easy to build. All you have to do is find a thick block of untreated wood (between 4-6 inches) and drill 5/16″ holes as far into the wood as you can without drilling through the other side. Space the holes 3/4″ apart. Block should be erected in early spring and placed at least three feet above the ground.
Position block to face southeast, allowing it to get morning sun. That’s the basic house.
I found this sweet one over at Free Range Living where there’s a great explanation about mites and how to clean out your bee house. You can buy all manner of mason bee houses if you don’t want to spend time constructing one yourself.
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This has a very sweet exterior… I can’t figure out how they deconstructed it to get to the insides (see below photo). I would LOVE to have a little bee house like this! It looks really easy to clean out and take care of (plus it’s home to leaf cutter bees as well!).trays

It might be a little too late to start this for this year, but it might not be. My garden is just starting to bloom so maybe some mason bees would move into my house if I made one this week. Maybe not. It’s on my list!

Paydirt Never Smelled So Lovely

I heard tell (via. Little House in the Suburbs) that if I girl were to go into Starbucks and ask them for their used grounds, they’d give them to you…. for FREE! I’d tucked this little tidbit in the back of my brain for later. Well, it turns out that “later” was today! Shawna and I stopped in to a Starbucks to see if we could get some grounds and we walked away with a 5 pound bag of the beautiful stuff. We stopped into one more on the way home and got two MORE 5 pounders.

You might be asking yourself why I would want used coffee grounds. They make wonderful, black compost. You can stick them in a composter and leave them to do their thing or you can toss them right into a garden and let all that good stuff sink in among the roots of your plants. Either way it’s totally free and it smells so good (much better than poop). Starbucks even sticks them in these nice bags and sets them by the doors for you!

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The three bags we picked up in about ten minutes of driving (for once I was glad Starbucks is everywhere).

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The difference between the three bags of grounds and the clay dirt we had before.

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And everything all spread out! That was about 15 pounds of grounds and a 3 x 3 foot box… it looks like one of the stores didn’t bag the grounds right because they came out in a soggy nasty mess. I don’t know why that one was so full of liquid. It’ll dry out and look like the other two bags soon though.

Doin’ the Right Thing

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The gardens at Edgefield.

Get this. Multnomah County owns the 46 acres across from Mcmenamin’s Edgefield in Troutdale. They were planning to sell it for housing development, but then the economy took a dive. This Thursday the Multnomah County Commissioners are voting to make the space an emergency farm to feed poor people. It would be powered by volunteers and (in the beginning) the 2 acre farm could potentially feed 500 people. The irony is that Edgefield used to be a poor farm 100 years ago… and now things might be coming full circle. Nice. Oh I’m so excited! Imagine what they could achieve with all 46 acres…

Garden Update

Well, it’s that time again. Yes, it’s garden time. Ya’ll should be glad that I don’t post about this stuff every day (although I do go out and fawn over it several times a day).

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Those ‘taters are looking quite pretty today. They’re getting to be really big and no sign of flowers yet… so I think they’re going to get much bigger.
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I think I might stick to doing beans and peas! Sheesh. I need that instant gratification (I can see these guys growing, they move so fast!) and the carrots are definitely not doing it for me.

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Mom and I went to Burns feedstore yesterday and got some patty pans (left) and slicing cucumbers (center) and then in the picture below there are some beefsteaks and a roma tomato plant (along back of box) and some chickpeas (yes, those are some red curlers sheltering the chickpeas). I’ve never done chickpeas before, so that should be interesting.
dscn0662dscn0663The thtwabewwies are ripening up… Mom’s been sneaking some of the riper ones. There is nothing better than fresh strawberries still warm from the sun.
dscn0660My carrots! They’re…. doing things. Slowly. Boooorrriinnnggg…. Still no sign of the parsnips either.
dscn0656But their pea neighbors have already made it up to the second string! Woot!
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The basil is also doing things…. slowly. I hope they’ll make it. My hopes aren’t high, they seem to be really weak and prone to falling over.
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The sage, on the other hand, was off to a slow start but it seems to be making up for lost time. They’re sturdy and I can see some little “real leaves” poking up between those little baby leaves already.

Eatables Update

It’s that time again, time to check in with the garden greenery. This past week I planted the beans and parsnips in the beds. Hopefully we’ll see some action in a couple of weeks from those guys. The only seeds I have left to plant are brussels sprouts, cucumbers and squash!

strawberries_42The strawberries are growing dandily, they’re even starting to blush a little red around the edges and sending out runners.
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Both ‘maters are doing really well, there’s a good handful of green tomatoes on both despite the crazy weather.
carrots_45Oh man, the carrots have finally decided to put in an appearance. I was getting really tired of waiting.
peas_43The peas are still chuggin along. Some of them are trying to strangle their neighbors and others are climbing right up my rather unattractive trellis. Maybe some flowers will start to appear soon. That would be cool.
basil_54Inside, the basil is still popping up, doing their thing in the window.
sage_55And I even found a tiny sage plant, it took long enough didn’t it? I think so.
blue_flowers48Our Forget Me Nots are so happy and pretty! We got a plant from one of our neighbors and found the other somewhere in the yard. The bees love them and, if you get real close, you can smell them faintly.
potatoes_39Potatoes grow between the roots and the top of the plant, so if you keep adding more dirt around them as they grow, it’ll creat more potatoes as the plant grows taller to reach for the sun. I added a couple of inches to the taller plants today and I think I’ll just keep slowly mounding dirt as they grow at their own pace.

The Garden Update

Well, it’s been about a week since the last post about the garden and it’s high time I documented all this growth! It’s been a very good week. We’ve been battered and bullied by wind and hail and tons of rain but that hasn’t seemed to bother any of the plants (with the exception of the tomatoes… they’ve definitely seen better days).

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Every last one of the potatoes has decided to poke their starchy little heads up! It’s very exciting. They’ve been growing at least 1/4 inch a day, the blue potatoes are about four or five inches tall now and the yukon gold’s have only been up for a few days and look how big they are already!

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The peas are going gangbusters, especially since they’ve finally reached their trellis. I’ll have to tighten things up a bit after all that stormness.
peas_13Ooooohhhh! Look at them twine! It’s pretty darn cute, if you ask me. And you did ask me, right? Good, I thought so.

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Peas peas peas…
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Oh, and I’ve more or less neglected to tell you about the beds in the front yard. So far we have chives, pineapple mint, apple mint, spearmint, mint, blackeyed susans, poppies, lemon verbena, thyme, sedum, forget me nots, and tons of other plants neither mummy or I can remember. It’s going to be so good this summer!

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Oh and P.s. the artichokes are doing really well too! Go artichoke go!

No sign of sage seeds or carrots yet… sigh… I feel like Pongo and Perdita in 101 Dalmations after the puppies were born… or something. Too far? Yeah, probably.

Baby Basil

Wow! Look how teeny it is! I check on these little paper pots four or five times a day and surprise surprise, something actually happened this morning! I think I can spot another even teenier one coming up in another pot but I’m not going to go poking around or anything. I’ll save that for when I check on them again in the next hour, and again four hours after that, and then again right before dinner… etc. etc. etc.

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The Garden

The Garden centers around a community garden that was started after the Los Angeles Riots in 1992 and happens to be the largest urban garden in America. It was 14 acres of farmland on the outskirts of Downtown Los Angeles maintained by the South Central Farmers. After 12 years of work and love, the farmers got a notice saying that the land had been sold and that the farm was going to be bulldozed. The movie documents the farmer’s struggles and what is currently happening with the property. I always feel stressed when I see this trailer. To have something so simple and beautiful as a community garden turn into ground zero for a political struggle is amazing and heart wrenching. Gardens should be happy and for everyone.

Thanks Kitsune Noir for reminding me about this movie.