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The Toy Box

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Cabbage Moths don't like mint??

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/6/2010, 5:12 pm

I have already seen a few of these moths flitting about. Dread. Apparently there is always hope. I just read that cabbage moths find both mint and oregano repulsive. That is the same as "are repealed by" isn't it? I read that I should plant oregano and mint near broccoli AND use clippings from both as mulch in the garden.

OK then. I have too much of both to just dry them and use. This sounds like I could solve two problems with one idea. Not wanting to actually plant either mint or oregano in the garden, I potted up some of each in some extra mel's mix I had just made and balanced them on the grid. I had a prettier pot with chocolate mint that I also put in box #2.



The broccoli are still just seedlings. Oddly enough, the later season broccoli has its first actual leaf but the short season type does not. Even so, the white moths still seem interested.

Why you may wonder do I have extra mel's mix? Because Ray made box #3 for me yesterday. The original toy boy now has a frame for pea trellis instead of a lid. The lid has moved to box 3 to keep the puppies out of the fresh mix.

There it is, waiting for the nights to warm up enough for beans and tomatoes. I finally gave up and put a snap dragon in the box that the early beans were condemned to.

Deborah ....who thinks it is even too cold for lettuce.

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Just in time for the cure

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/7/2010, 11:26 am

The call of an icy river and kayak has given Jason a nasty head cold. If someone has to be sick, the season of spring herbs and fresh young greens is the best time for recovery. There is an abundance of oregano, thyme and parsley for broth. Sweet bok choi, chard and spinach to wilt into soup. Chive blossoms to sprinkle on top. Mint and lemon balm to sip as tea. Even if he wasn't sick I think these would grace my table.


There is even going to be more salad. I've been watching the lettuce boxes during the chill of the last week. It seemed like there would be no recovery from the last clipping of salads in April. The sun came out for just a few hours yesterday. That was all the salad needed to spring back up.


Ray keeps asking me when there will be more radishes. All of his hard work, not just building the boxes but working at a job that gives him no joy so that he can pay for everything and all he wants is more radishes. Sweet man of mine! Last night they looked like little sticks, today they look like tonight’s appetizer.



The tomatoes are still living the gypsy life.


At night they are in my kitchen window (I tell them they have a high class room with a view)



During the day they have a conference table in the sun.

Deborah ....who wants to get out and get dirty, but needs to go back to school

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Pea Blossom

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/7/2010, 7:44 pm

Do you see what I see?

First Pea Blossom!! Whoo-Hoo!

And about those topsy-tervy tomatoes I'm experimenting with..... I always thought there was something wrong with the leaves in the adds, they look like they have been turned over, like you can see the backs of the leaves of a plant recently flipped over.





Look at these. They are trying to grow up, not down. They do not have any weight to them yet so things could change. These have survived through a few cold-cold nights. Poor things.

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Happy Mother's Day!

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/9/2010, 12:31 pm

My man pays attention. For Mother's day I received a globe artichoke start and a place to put her. While she is still young a few other green friends have come to camp out with her.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  camprn on 5/9/2010, 1:11 pm

SWEET! I wish I could grow artichokes. Yum!

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Nights are getting warmer

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/12/2010, 11:13 am

Sunday and Monday night were warm by PNW spring time standards. Neither night fell below 45 degrees. Last night it only got down to 48. The accuweather.com girls are moaning that even though it will be mostly sunny for the next week, the northwest will struggle to get to 70 degrees. So what. They are also advertising 50 degree minimums at night. As a gardener that is the important number this time of year. By the time the new moon comes I will take another gamble with early beans. I'm also going to start letting the tomatoes spend the night outside.


Ray and I went shopping yesterday. We got supplies for one last SFG (this year anyway). While at the nursery we also picked up a pot of Raspberry starts. We would have bought Marion Berries if there had been any, but alas, there was not. Look at that lawn! Wait, what lawn? There is a reason that we want to turn the yard into a garden with soil other then the native stuff.

Deborah ....ready to kick off a few blankets

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  boffer on 5/12/2010, 12:22 pm

Since you're thinking about more sfg boxes....do you want me to put your name on one of these carts? They're the perfect start for a tabletop box. Either right side up on wheels or upside down for a permanent set-up. Going once, going twice, sold? to the lady in lavender for $1...



'Arthritis in the sternum' sounds like it might hurt to bend over

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  miinva on 5/12/2010, 1:18 pm

Man do I wish I still lived in Washington, I'd take one in a heartbeat! Smile Suddenly I see myself looking at craigslist, which has never held interest for me before...

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Glory be

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/14/2010, 10:56 am

Every morning I take my first coffee with some time in the Scripture, some time on the net, then I take a stroll through the garden while the water heats up for my 2nd cup. It seems like every morning there is something new. What a surprise was waiting for me this morning.


This is a square from box #2 where I had put some WAY too early beans (even by early bean standards). We had a cold wet two weeks shortly after these went in. During the transplant phase of the moon I put in flowers for the bees. (That is Sweet with the white flowers and a snap dragon) Can you see what was waiting for me this morning? There are two bean sprouts.

I was afraid this shot would be messed up. Hiked up to Lake Dorothy yesterday and have rubber for legs today. I have since replanted two more boxes of early beans in #3.

The Raspberry canes are in. It is the new moon today so I should start more lettuce. While I still have mix and pots I think that it is also time for a cucumber or two (though they do so much better if they do not get transplanted) a pumpkin and both my squash (Sweet Meat and a Delicata called Zeppelin) At least three types of basil are sprouting out in the window. There are Sweet, an Italian Large Leaf and another package that is just a mix of different basils of many colors.

Camprn: I don't know if I can grow 'chokes. I am far north of California. I am encouraged by one of my favorite grown-up hippies who sells them for a short season at the farmers market. I saw a picture of a nice healthy looking artichoke growing on Vancouver Island which is just north of me so I am giving it a shot. So far it has one new leaf. That should be a good sign shouldn't it?

Boff: That is so kewl. $1.00? How ever would you do that? YES it hurts to kneel over. I can sit on a garden stool and reach out without a lot of pain. The next question would be where would we meet and when? I still have not got to Raintree this year. It is getting late in the season for Raintree. We are going to Ocean City the last week of May but I'm not sure we will have a way to haul it then. I will have to think how to do this.

Deborah ....who needs to get back to school

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  boffer on 5/14/2010, 12:37 pm

I was only having fun with the dollar. You can have it. I got it at auction, but I had to buy five to get one. Five...five dolla! (isn't that a current commercial?!)

Here's what I'm doing with a cart now. I'm colder than you so I still haven't planted any warm crops. I run my seedlings in and out of the garage every day. The trellis is ready and waiting for the toms in the planters full of MM.


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Re: The Toy Box

Post  boffer on 5/14/2010, 3:22 pm

@Lavender Debs wrote: How ever would you do that? YES it hurts to kneel over.

Whether you wanted it right side up or upside down, I could chop the handles to custom fit the height to suit you. A 3x6 box with plywood bottom would fit on top either way as is. It would handle a bigger box with a few simple mods.

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I have tomatoes coming up as weeds!

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/15/2010, 1:56 pm

My very first box only has home grown compost. Well, that and vermiculite-peat in equal portions. I get the funniest weeds coming up. Box #1 is the box that all the potatoes have thrived in. I am still pulling potato sprouts from that box. But this morning I pulled something that was neither a radish nor a carrot from the carrot square. If I had realized what it was (instead of what it wasn't) I might have let it grow. It was a healthy little Tomato sprout. If they are at all like the potatoes, maybe there will be more.

Second Carrot square....it was growing in here. Already had a set of true leaves.

Despite the odd "weeds" I couldn't be more pleased with the home-grown compost box. It is May 15. We had a warm late winter and a very cold start for May. This week things are heating up in the day time but the chill still comes back quickly at night. Even so, this box looks like it is doing very well.

The Bok Choi has been a treat but is putting up seed. I keep pinching them out before they can flower. Such a sweet snack. Whether I am in the mood or not, I will be having the last of the boc choi for lunch. Probably brown rice and garbanzo beans with stir-fried bok choi. Then there will be no more until the winter garden goes in. I think I'll save the smallest head to mix with chard and spinach for either lasagna or for stuffed pasta shells with Ricotta. It has been so hot in the afternoon that I have not wanted to fire up the oven. But it cools off dramatically at night, when the heat from the stove is welcome.

At first I was a little bit bummed that there was not more even growth to the bok choi. But that ended up being a positive attribute. Every time I have cut out a mature plant, another would spring up to take its place. These last three (I think there are only three) have all gone to seed at the same time even though they are at different stages of growth.

I wanted to put dill in their place but I already have two squares of carrots right next to this square. But it struck me that my Black Plum tomatoes have been nicely hardened. Black Plum is from Russian stock and apparently can take the cold and still make a nice crop of tomatoes. I chose the best of the Black Plums from the collection, one that has not been recently transpotted, and set it, pot and all (for now) in the square to get used to her surroundings.

These three squares of salad plus one in box #2 have kept us in salad for well over a month. I cut them down to nubs and they keep coming back. They are so sweet and nutty right out of the box, but if the have to sit in the fridg overnight they get that classic bite (not really bitter, not really hot, just a bite that tastes almost like a dandelion smells)

That is a Siltz tomato in the pot. She is the kind of tomato that is not supposed to grow in the box (determinate or indeterminate, I forget just now) so she is in a pot and might end up out by the apple tree so that she can use the espalier wires while the tree is still an infant. Her sisters are bright green but she is just a bit purple. I should show this to belfrybat, she could probably tell me what is the matter with her. When I lived in Robe Valley, as soon as I put one like this into the ground it would green up. This was one of the few that was still in her original transplant pot. Maybe she had used up whatever it is that keeps the leaves from going purple. She is now living in Mel's mix left over from filling Box #4.

Buttery little radish sandwiches (on white/rye baguettes with chive blossom and parsley butter) with a cold glass of Pinot Greigo or Gewurztraminer on the deck with Ray tonight should be a nice start to the evening. Wait! Is that another potato sprout back there?

Deborah ....trying to get enough vitamin D

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Friendly potato sprouts

Post  Ray'ssfg on 5/16/2010, 6:29 am

Hi Deb, I often get potato, tomatoes, pumpkin and other seedlings coming up in my beds at random. In fact have heaps of tomatoes at present despite it being the start of winter and cold at night.
Like you I have compost barrels and my local garden centre said they often don't get hot enough like a garden compost heap, so don't kill the seeds.
Everything from our kitchen goes into the barrels hence the seeds. This summer I transplanted quite a few of the self grown tomato plants and we are currently harvesting a lot of fruit.
All to do with the heat in the compost and as I have a big garden I often don't wait for the compost to get fully cooked. I have a pumpkin with 3 fruit in the front flower garden which Ruth won't let me pull out despite it taking over the flower bed.
The good part is they are easy to pull out.
Cheers Ray

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/16/2010, 11:29 am

Heat is a problem in those little bins. I missed my third day spin and ended up waiting for the 6th day (I am SUCH a creature of habit). When I opened the bin I wondered, what is all that mist coming out of the bin? It struck me that it finally got hot enough to steam. Now I am back to turning them once a week to see if that helps with the heat.

Pumpkins in the flower beds? Kewl

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  camprn on 5/16/2010, 11:32 am

Deb, I love your Toy Box!! Very Happy

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/16/2010, 12:47 pm

Me too Camp. Once I figured out your aviator, I wanted a poster of it (I guess they are called "prints" once you become a grown-up, small struggle with that)

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Tomatoes too early and Swiss chard Lasagna

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/17/2010, 4:34 pm

Ray is taking me to the ocean for the rest of the week. Whoo-hoo!

Now I have to rush to get my tomatoes into the garden so that watering is simple for the person taking care of my garden while I'm gone. I would like to wait a couple more weeks before putting them into the ground, but I risk losing them completely if I don't do this.

These are in a summer bed (box #3). What was I thinking? The three to port are Russian Black Plum Paste tomatoes. I just realized that they are too close together. In the starboard corner is Persimmon.


Ray put this bed together just for tomatoes. I should be careful with the spacing. These are the rest of the Persimmon and Black Plums. I have some Basil sprouts in those expando-peat pellets that I'll need to put into one of the gardens.

I just posted a blog about what to do with Swiss Chard at Rainsong Have a look and let me know what you do with yours in case I forgot something good.

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Just home from the coast

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/21/2010, 8:53 pm

So wet! Still, had a terriffic time at the beach! Had to run outside as soon as I got home to see if my poor tomatoes survived. They look fine.
The plant with purple leaves has greened up nicely.


This Persimmon is a nice example of the rest. It's alive! It is also healthy looking. Yea! Can you see the little bitty Sweet Basil sprouts? I thought it was going to be too cold for them too, but there they are. Surviving or thriving? Time will tell. Oh! and in the little pot, a mini bell pepper plant. It was waiting for me when I came home. It came with another pepper and a bay laurel. I thought I ordered 5 peppers. I'll have to check on that.


There's peas and peas and .....oh, wait that was the first video. These are the real deal.


Look at this! I have been waiting to see how these will look. These are the Golden Sweet Chinese peas blossoms. Is that pretty or what? This plant just keeps getting taller and taller. I am getting just a little worried about where they will end up by the time July rolls around.

Ok, so I know that it looks like I brought home the rain, but this is such a pretty pea blossom. Why bother with regular sweet peas when these pretty things with the awesome blossoms can delight the eyes AND tickle the pallet. They probably will not smell as amazing as sweet peas, but YOU CAN EAT THEM!


Deborah ....ready to get dirty (but maybe not muddy)

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  miinva on 5/21/2010, 9:50 pm

Oh my goodness! Your Golden Sweet Chinese peas are beautiful! I'm off to research them! Very Happy

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Spring is a tease

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/22/2010, 1:37 pm

Now that I am settled in front of the computer with my Rudy Valentine tucked under a fleecy blanket at my side, the sun has brightened my garden ....yet again today. I already stood in a drizzle to take my pictures. I was thinking it was time to make another video because the sun was so bright after a morning mist but alas, by the time I got out to the deck with camera at the ready the rain had returned. May seems to be coming to an end the same way she began, chilly and overcast. Rest a while longer. Actually the nights are normal for a Northwest May. Upper 40’s for the last two weeks. Even into the low 50’s for two nights! But the daytime temperatures are why I keep a sweater at the ready. Most days this week, we will not reach 60.

There are four kinds of peas in this garden. The very tallest are the Golden Sweet Snow or Chinese Peas. I just read that they will get 6 feet tall. I was sure that they were mid size rather then full size when I bought them. It could be that I was so dazzled by the flower and pod colors that I just glossed over the description. Next to them is the Square Shell Pea, the first to bloom and the first to make pods. I am watching with such anticipation waiting for them to fatten up for that first handful, the first bowl, the first pot. Down low are the bush size Sweet peas. There is perhaps a small swelling of buds but I'm just not sure. Finally there are two rows of bushy sugar snaps, again, no evidence of flowers yet.

Next on the menu: Beets. These are the sweet pink and white zoned (usually I just say stripped) "Chioggia". I have to admit that they looked a good deal larger live and in person. I had my mouth all set for beet greens with a tiny little beet on the end. Maybe I will wait a few more days after all now that I am looking at the picture.

This is for Momma Pajama and I should just post it in May in the Northwest. I have maybe two or three large leaves of spinach and it is not as big as hers. In my defense I have been clipping at it all spring. According to the tag, this is Bloomsdale. She is right, there is nothing like fresh spinach. Especially when compared to the pretty bundles and bags from the store. The big problem with spinach is not dirt (as it is with store spinach) but the short season. However, just the other day I was wondering where I would put some of the many beans I have for summer. When I shop at the grocery I forget that everything has a season. Actually when I read about gardens in California or Florida, I find it easy to think that I could have what I want when I want it. The Northwest season for cool weather treats has been longer than usual this year with our chilly days. I read on another Northwest blog that her spinach will bolt if she has a hot flash and is standing too close. Not so much this spring. When the spinach season is done and the heat comes to the PNW, then the square will be full of wax beans that I will be fretting about.

This is also in response to Momma Pajama. Her broccoli is HUGE. Mine are all about this size. I did not start them inside, just dropped seed in the garden. I have two different types in box #2. Umpqua, which is great for loads of side shoots that last and last (if the cabbage moth doesn't make a nursery for her green babies on it) and Nutribud that is supposed to be ready in half the time of Umpqua. They are about the same size and have about the same amount of leaves as of today. They were planted the same day. This one was under planted with a mixed salad blend from Uprising seed. Looks like a Grandpa A, an Aussie Yellow Leaf and Speckled Trout’s Back as well as a couple of different shades of red leaf lettuce.

Side view of that same little broccoli. The ratty looking brown stuff at the base of the broccoli is dried up oregano, which is supposed to make the broccoli unappealing to mommy cabbage moth.

Finally this is with Mirjam in mind. Five days ago I clipped this lettuce down to nubs and took the leaves with us to the ocean. Most of them have come back yet again. I have clipped the outer leaves regularly throughout April and May. Isn't it sort of weird that the one crown that accidently has a couple of large outer leaves has not sprung back the way the others have? I've been wondering about M's lettuce and her worry about it coming back.

Deborah ….still wondering where to put that dill

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Re: Spring is a Tease

Post  Momma Pajama on 5/22/2010, 10:53 pm

I agree! What strange weather today! When I went to work at 8, it was cold and cloudy. When I got off at noon, it was hot and sunny.

I must confess that I did not start my broccoli from seed (my card table nursery was full already). I bought a 6-pack at Sky Nursery (called "Packman") in mid-April and shared it with my sis-in-law. The one in my photo is the largest of the 4 I have.

Thanks for the oregano-moth tip! I'd not heard of that, and I have PLENTY oregano!

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Warm nights, rainy days

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/26/2010, 1:35 pm

The night time temperature has not fallen below 51 degrees F for the last three days. Meanwhile, the weather lady who talks like she is teaching kindergarten on KIRO is reporting that half-inch hail is pelting the south western area of Washington near Olympia. She usually includes Yelm and Edmonds on her map but skipped those labels this time. I sat in the sun, felt sprinkles on my bare arms and prayed for the gardens of people I only know because of posts about SFGardening. What a strange reality I live.

I am happy to report that the hail and thunder did not come to my house. The quick shade on the back porch is making music of the falling rain. Water is coming down in streams but it isn't showing on the picture.


Rainsongs.....

Golden Sweet (Chinese or Snow) pea blossoms in the rain


A single blossom. I have not seen any yet but the pods are supposed to be yellow and easy to find among the foliage.


Regular peas fattening up.


Swiss chard, carrots and Spinach. They are going to have to become supper and soon!


I know they have already eaten shortcake in Texas, I'm holding out for June. This rain better be good for fattening up green berries!!

Deborah....who saw that all the beans sprouted this time. Whoopee!

Lavender Debs

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  boffer on 5/26/2010, 1:45 pm

I don't believe you have peas already! golly gee whiz

I planted 200 corn seeds on Monday. I covered 1/2 of them with black plastic. I know it helps, but I want comparison pics.

Half my toms and peppers are planted. The other half are still in my carport-I guess I'm not good at making commitments! Wink

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/26/2010, 2:35 pm

@boffer wrote:I don't believe you have peas already! golly gee whiz

Well, not quite yet. I have pods. They must be a crazy early type. Usually I grow maestro and get a taste by the end of June. The taste was in the mountain valley, they could come earlier in Everett. By the 4th of July I could keep the boys busy shelling peas for a crowd (they needed SOMETHING to do while waiting for twilight and the go ahead for the pile of fireworks) while I put together a strawberry dessert and started the coals for salmon. None of the other peas are as far ahead as those in the picture. The sweet peas and snap peas do not even have blossoms yet. And there I was bellyachen about the seed coming from China.

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After the Rain

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/27/2010, 10:57 am

If I look south the sky is crystal blue. To the North are fluffy white clouds. Weather underground is predicting a 90% chance of rain for today. How bold is that? A Google search informs me that the Snohomish Farmers market has begun. In fact it began three weeks ago. Tonight I will join the shoppers on the street in search of more local tomato varieties to try. If I am completely honest I will have to admit that I also want to see how my produce compares to those who put bread on the table by selling their veggies.

After the rain


Broccoli underplanted with Mixed lettuce from Uprising Seed


My powers of observation.... I don't think that my 4 foot trellis is going to be tall enough.


My tomatoes, the green beans and Rudy would all like me to move to California. Have faith little green beans! One day soon I'll warm you up, I'll even invite you to dinner after giving you a hot bath. Maybe we will take the trailer to Yosemite and have dinner together in the shadow of El Captain.

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Re: The Toy Box

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