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The Toy Box

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Ripped out the Peas

Post  Lavender Debs on 8/1/2010, 12:08 pm

Maybe a better title would be, "Clipped, snipped and generally unraveled Pea Vines out of my SFG"

These were the first crop to be planted in my Toy Box, they produced heavily and out lasted so many other squares. I should have put their nitrogen rich selves into the compost bin but that would have involved more chopping than I was up to on the hot, humid afternoon.

New life in the Raspberry row. It makes a handsome mulch but will probably draw the crows and raccoons because I did not pull off the old pea pods. Maybe some of the nitrogen will leach into the dead soil that brought new life to just one of the canes.

There was more then enough pea vines to mulch under the apple tree as well. Of all the peas I grew in the Toy Box, these Golden Sweets were far and away the best. I thought they were only going to get a couple of feet tall. It was actually nice to find out that they could get so tall. I did not think that I could plant my favorite shell pea, Maestro, in a square foot garden because at 4 feet they would be way too tall. But I am sure they will be fine. Now I need to find a snap pea that I am happy with. Snap peas are the only peas that my husband really eats. Now comes the delightful task of deciding what will go into the garden to replace them for a season.

On a side note; the peas were all planted 16 to a square in a 6-inch box. The box was under-filled with MM (It was my first SFG ever and I made this rookie mistake of not putting in more mix then I thought was needed.) This box has peat and vermiculite but only one kind of compost –homegrown. The homegrown compost is not magic; it just does not have any wood product so the nitrogen does not go to breaking down the wood but is completely available to the plants. In addition it is full of living soil organisms, the most obvious of which is worms (and the occasional frog). I read so many people bemoan that their SFG produced beyond expectation the first year but was unimpressive the next. Not everyone says this, just enough to catch my attention. Before SFGardening my philosophy has been to feed the soil that feeds the plants. (ie keep the worms happy) It worked well in the Toy Box but it is only the first year. The truth will begin to emerge next year. As the season winds down my plan is to remove the grids and spread a layer of homegrown compost over the squares, sprinkle cornmeal over everything (worm candy) and cover it all with a layer of crass clippings. I know I risk contaminating the mix with weeds by putting in grass so that is still up in the air. It is only the 1st of August, there is still a little time to refine this idea.

Green bean time! Provider is coming on strong. Empress and Dragon's Tongue (wax) are loaded with blossoms.

Deborah.... settling in to worship Elohim who provided the garden for the beauty, our satisfaction, and dinner
Sunday morning, August 1, 2010; Humid chill in the AM. SW wind to 10 mph helping to clear out a good deal of the cloud cover later this afternoon. Should reach 70 by suppertime but the humidity will make it feel too hot.

Lavender Debs

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Happy Birthday Chris!!

Post  Lavender Debs on 8/2/2010, 11:25 am


This kind of morning fog does not usually start until a couple of weeks into September. Usually it means that the day is going to be very hot once it "burns" off. I dunno about this year, normal never came.

Deborah... celebrating 33 years of being a mom today.

Monday, August 2; Pea-soup fog in the AM. Clearing predicted for the afternoon with highs into the upper 60's and maybe all the way to 70.

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When you go looking for a surprise

Post  Lavender Debs on 8/5/2010, 9:52 am


When I go looking for a surprise I usually find one. It seems like life has settled into some kind of routine. In spring there is change every morning. In late summer it seems like there isn't much new except for another healthy patch of weeds up against the fence that still needs the ministry of the weed whacker. But the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23


This isn't from my SFG but it is in a large container of MM. Bea was right, Oregon Spring is the first to ripen in Northern climates, even in wet, cold, western Washington.

We are leaving for a wedding this weekend and I still have so much to do before we can get on the road. There is an amazing amount of work to do in the garden; August just seemed to sneak up on me. But one thing I need to be sure and do is to remind my veggie loving son that if he wants to have a taste of the first tomato, I would be a happy momma if he waits until we get back on Sunday. I even have fresh, tender lettuce in box 4. Just when I thought tomatoes were only coming in green this year!

Deborah… who really thought that since the first tomato to make a green ornament was a Siltz that it would also be the first to ripen.

Thursday, August 5; Possible Thunderstorms this morning but after they roll out the sun will warm the land to the upper 70's to mid 80's. May be another muggy day.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Ha-v-v on 8/5/2010, 10:01 am

What beautiful pictures !!! Im so excited the fruit is coming!
Have a great time with your time away and good weather for your garden !

But the
steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an
end; they are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23


Thank you for that last quote as well Smile One of my most favorite things to stand with and had lost sight of for a few. One of the things I try to keep in mind for myself when its dark inside. I have been encouraged.
Ha-v-v

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Wait ...was that me complaining about being too Hot?

Post  Lavender Debs on 8/15/2010, 11:40 am

I love the tangled mess that box 3 has become. She has been putting beans on the table most nights. Her black plum paste tomatoes look abundant but until the little green clusters turn red it is only a tease. She holds more fennel, a few green persimmon tomatoes, a little basil and cilantro, lettuce that is still sweet and a small minnie red bell pepper that finally is setting fruit. Somewhere in that beautiful mess is a square of carrots.

This is supposed to be a Dragons Tongue Wax Bean. I knew about the purple stripes but thought it was supposed to be yellow. Maybe if it gets full size it will yellow up. I have not grown many wax beans in my life, but it seems like the few I have grown turned yellow by the time they were this size. I'll give it a few more days.

Clusters of Black Plum Paste tomatoes teasing me with their green abundance.

Speaking of tomatoes, there are a few garnets in the garden. This is Siltz. I thought that Oregon Spring would be first, and technically she was, but when I went to pluck her candy red self from the vine, my finger squished grossly into her mushy end. YUCK! She was quickly flung over the fence into the gully below. Chopped calcium was sprinkled on the soil mix and compost tea feeding began. The Siltz that I plucked last night was as firm as could be, bright and beautiful. I can see blossom end issues with the yellow tomato in this photo, something I missed live and in person because red is so rare in my garden.

After church I will copy Hanna (of This Garden Is Illegal fame) and have a tomato tasting for Siltz. No one talks about Siltz being an outstanding tomato, just that they produce red for the salad in cold climates. I hope to be surprised.

A cold weather hot pepper, Czech Black. Really quite pretty I think, but just how hot can it actually be if it takes heat to make heat?

If I had to choose a disappointment in the garden, I would choose broccoli. This is Nutri-bud, an early broccoli that was not at all early. It made scads of little side-shoots but never enough to cook for dinner. They are a yummy treat in the garden, but I remember the bok-choi making seed heads that were just as big and even sweeter as snacks. All in all the bok choi was a better crop with useful leaves AND seed buds to snack on. In all fairness, I have never grown nutri-bud or umpqua, so I don't know how they compare with broccolis that grew in my traditional garden in Robe.


Looking like another pretty day in the PNW. I will try to not complain.



Don't laugh but the PNW is under an excessive heat warning with highs into the mid-90's today. Chance of a breeze from the north.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Momma Pajama on 8/16/2010, 8:40 am

Looking good! Pretty tomatoes - I have only had a few ripe "Stupice" tomatoes so far, although the plants are full of green ones. My 2 "Brandywine" have not set ANY fruit.

My question, what did you use for "chopped calcium" to cure the blossom end rot? I have 2 zucchini, in 2 separate beds, and ONE of them has constant blossom end rot and not the other. I must have used different composts in each bed. Thanks!

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 8/16/2010, 11:09 am

I have the same problem with my zucchini. But I am not a zucchini fan, I grow it because I was gifted with a start and my son loves zucchini (where did I go wrong?).

I get calcium tablets from my bathroom where the supplements sit. Mine require 4 a day for a full RDA dose (what ever that is.... 1000mg?) They are like chalk with a coating. I lay one on my cutting board and using my big French knife, I slice thin, they crumble as I go. Then I sprinkle them on the soil above the root ball. Belfreybat posted the idea except that she chops "several" (??) tabs and puts them in the watering can and gives them to her Tom's as liquid (It was a while ago, I think that was what she said ...there is a whole thread somewhere)

I bought 1 Brandywine from Skagit Valley co-op. It has set two tiny fruit that are just as green as can be. There is another bright red Siltz and scads of green tomatoes. (Siltz is closely related to Stupice but is said to be larger) My husband and I ate it yesterday. It was actually pretty good. To me it at least had better taste then the hydroponic clusters from the grocery. I saw red monster tomatoes at the Everett Farmers market on Sunday from Wenatchee and Yakama. I passed over them though even at almost $2.00 a pound I wanted to put some in my basket. I was just afraid they would taste like the amazing tomatoes my grandma grew in the black loam of Oak Harbor (when I was a child) rendering my Siltz tasteless. However, if they have them at Mukilteo on Wednesday I am going to snag a few!

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Megan on 8/16/2010, 6:33 pm

@Lavender Debs wrote:I bought 1 Brandywine from Skagit Valley co-op. It has set two tiny fruit that are just as green as can be. There is another bright red Siltz and scads of green tomatoes. (Siltz is closely related to Stupice but is said to be larger) My husband and I ate it yesterday. It was actually pretty good. To me it at least had better taste then the hydroponic clusters from the grocery. I saw red monster tomatoes at the Everett Farmers market on Sunday from Wenatchee and Yakama. I passed over them though even at almost $2.00 a pound I wanted to put some in my basket. I was just afraid they would taste like the amazing tomatoes my grandma grew in the black loam of Oak Harbor (when I was a child) rendering my Siltz tasteless. However, if they have them at Mukilteo on Wednesday I am going to snag a few![/font][/color]

You are making me homesick! I've shopped at Skagit Valley Co-op (got my muck-kickers there), and Mukilteo is an old friend. Smile

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Rosey Fingerlings

Post  Lavender Debs on 8/18/2010, 9:08 am

You should see Mukilteo now Megan. It is no longer a state park, the city has it now. They went right to work with "improvements" that I thought would ruin the beautiful park I remember from my childhood but they managed to keep the essence of the beach and make it much more user friendly. Their Farmers Market is held there. It has actually become a happening place, always seems crowded AND there is still no entrance fee. I'm guessing the farmers pay a fee to set up there but general public just drives right in.

From three small seed potatoes came this bounty of Rosy Fingerlings. What a feast!

The clouds have come back this morning. There is a promise that they will drift away this afternoon but highs are only predicted to reach the mid 60's to lower 70's. Might be a good day to clean house.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Megan on 8/18/2010, 8:01 pm

Wow... what a beautiful bounty of fingerlings!

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  CarolynPhillips on 9/23/2010, 11:30 pm

This has been a wonderful garden diary== glad Boffer showed it to us.
But where did you disappear to Deborah?

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 11/7/2010, 12:47 pm

I'm happy you like it Carolyn (and good to meet you, even if late)


When flying faster than the speed of.... uh.... students (not so much light), everything becomes a blurr. Last I remember, Ray and I went on a late August vacation. When we got home, my class (homeschoolers) met me with a pile of papers. I had been assured that school would start after labor day. Someone made an executive decision to start it the week I was on vacation. Just when I could see the bottom of my in-box, we went hunting for a week. I talked Ray into spending the extra money for gas (longer trip) and nights at a KOA in Ellensburg, WA so I could have internet access. I was able to answer questions, keep up with those who were not (keeping up) and still take the puppies for day hikes. I did not grade any papers though. Another pile.... and new students when I got home (and more, and more) I finally feel like I can breathe again.

I think it was the lazy days of summer that kept me from getting my winter garden going. I did not feel lazy, but very little of the winter garden was planted. While cleaning up the summer garden I saw a few goodies that might get us through a few more weeks. These are full size carrots. Eating them will have to wait. Ray and I are on day 11 of Phase I of The South Beach Diet. I miss carrots! I miss apples and pears too.

Does this count as winter gardening? I put pea straw down as mulch around the raspberries and the apple tree. Now I have a fall crop of snow peas!

There will be fennel, leeks, and chard (the same chard that I planted in February and March is still going strong. Kale and Collards were a wash). Pumpkins and squash did not happen this cold year, neither did thecucumbers. I had buckets and baskets of green tomatoes.... that I forgot about when I came home to all those papers that needed me. Ray through them out a few weeks after vacation. My poor Brussels sprout was shaded out by peas and tomatoes. I saw it just today, I don't think there will be sprouts for Thanksgiving.

There is a great organic mega-market not far from my home. Maybe I'll check out the produce aisle.

Silver skies, fixen to drip. Highs in the lower 50's. Neither nice nore nasty outside, children still laughing and shooting hoops in the park below the house.

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First Snow

Post  Lavender Debs on 11/21/2010, 11:39 am


By the light of day it looks more like frost, but it did fall from the sky last night.

Slow but steady North wind. Chance of light snow today (Sunday) and more on the way tomorrow. Cuddle time all day today, the highs and not expected to reach 40 in my garden.

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Frozen Dinners

Post  Lavender Debs on 11/22/2010, 12:45 pm


I was sure, after we had such a dreary summer, that an equally dreary winter was coming. This one is bright and beautiful, at least it is today. I'm fairly sure the Chard will not survive the bitter cold with such a shallow layer of snow.

It has been a long time since I have dug carrots out of frozen ground. Last time that I did it was for New Years and was in the Mountain Valley. If it suddenly warms up the carrots will not be fit to eat. The fennel looks completely shriveled, but the little spring leeks look very nice.
Deborah.... doing sweaters and hot tea. The puppy in my lap is to keep my soul warm.

Serious cold! Fine crunchy snow falling thickly. Wind is from the Frasier River Valley in Canada. My Canadian neighbors must be really cold! 29/25 with snow clouds; at 9:45 AM it is 26 degrees F.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Megan on 11/22/2010, 7:43 pm

Thanks for the update, Debs... I've missed you!!!

I have one forgotten carrot in my high-rise. The top doesn't look very big at all and I have no idea what the root is doing, but I'm leaving it in, too. Good luck with your chard!
lots o

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24 hours later.....

Post  Lavender Debs on 11/23/2010, 12:26 pm


The snow that came down was the fine dry kind. It did not pile up much. The kindergarten teacher (KIRO weather lady) is predicting that we are done with snow for a while. Rain on Thursday. Usually this kind of weather does not come until the last couple of weeks of January, first couple of weeks of February. If not for my carrots I would proclaim my love for such days.

I like the sunny essence of Fennel (with orange slices and meyer lemon when I can get it) in my Turkey. Should I mention that there are two very pretty bulbs at the ready in my refrigerator?

Deborah.... off to boil eggs and start pie (tartlets at least) but first, a hug for Megan!

Clear, cold sky over frozen gardens. At 9:50 AM it is only 22 degrees. I just cannot get warm. If the electric bumps off there is plenty of static in the air.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Megan on 11/25/2010, 8:30 am

Awww..... Thank you! BIG hug

I completely understand about having mixed feelings on the snow. I love snow, but I would be feeling sad for my carrots, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 12/18/2010, 6:23 pm


The year began with hope, it closes with joy. The wind finds a way to creep icy breath right to my flesh, even with coat and gloves. The first season of the Toy Box ends and I find that I still have plenty of carrots.....and plans for next year.

I have been a vegetable gardener for thirty plus years and am delighted to know that I still have things to learn. It keeps my mind working and my body moving.

There were successes. Siltz tomato does not know when we have a bad tomato summer. There were bragging tomatoes from the first of August to the end of September. She is always welcome back to my eden. Though black plum paste was a crazy early tomato, it still needed heat to ripen. She will have another chance to show me what she can do but I'll be scoping out a bigger plum if black plum is going to be so slow to ripen. The persimmons were incredibly good. She can come back too. The down side was how few tomatoes per plant and the cracks near the stems that yucky crawly bugs liked to hide in.

Broccoli seemed like a bust in the SFG. Most of the pics I saw on the board were unimpressive.....except for quilt beas purple cauliflower, which admittedly was not broccoli, but it did have the right look. I thought it was just me. This winter I am going to read up on what it is broccoli needs and try again.

I loved the purple podded Golden Sweet snow peas. For Shelly peas I'm going back to maestro. I thought I wanted short vine peas for SFG. The Goldens WERE NOT short vine and did just fine. Better than just fine.

Beans- provider was so good, the best of all I grew. I missed having my french fillets. I'll look for some of those.

As for everything else? I have ten pages of cyber-notes to skim for next year.

With clean hands and a full root cellar,
I'll get dirty with you next year.
Debs

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Re: The Toy Box

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