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April 2011 in the PNW

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April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/2/2011, 2:46 pm

How is everyone doing in their SFG's?

I'm still working outside filling boxes and getting things ready.

My indoor seedlings have done remarkable well if you don't count the days I must have been in LaLa Land and let some of my peppers get a bit dry. (I believe that is an understement) They seem to be recovering, but need to improve quite a bit. We will see. Tomato, eggplant, artichokes are all looking pretty darn good. All of these plants have been up-potted twice and still are waiting to go in their final pots before being transplanted outdorrs. It will be another month before the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant get to go grow with the big kids outside.

In the vermiculite germination trays, celery has germinated, along with Sweet Dani Basil, Sweet Basil, Genovese Basil, Lemon Basil, Lemon Balm, Fernleaf Dill, flat leaf parsley, which have all sprouted and are anxiously awaiting repotting into Mel's Mix. The Stevia does not seem to be doing anything Evil or Very Mad

Two varieties of Broccoli and Cauliflower from my starts as well as a mixed six pack of Cabbage, and Broccaflower of purchased seedlings are still waiting to go in the Mel's Mix. I do have lettuces and spinach planted outside and they are doing very well. Radish seedlings just came up.

There were a few sunbreaks recently, but mostly while I was shopping in the next town (an almost all day event) By the time I got home, rain again.


Started more Mel's Mix today and everything was going fine until we were measuring the Peat moss and the wind whipped up and decided to give us a dust bath affraid . Finished measuring the last bucket of peat and it started to rain again. We just covered it up with the tarp and weighed down the corners. Hope the wind doesn't get too high this afternoon before I get back.

I am volunteering with the Grow UR Grub program for kids at Harmony Community Garden in my neighborhood for a few hours every Saturday. I enjoy it but it does take quite a bit more time than anticipated. Spending time planning the garden layout, preparing projects for the kids and collecting supplies, baggies of seeds, etc. More time than I had planned, but the kids are great and really enjoy being able to do this.

Let us know what is going on in your garden.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Dr.Bigfoot on 4/2/2011, 8:49 pm

I feel your pain about the wind and rain. Right after I got my seedlings into the boxes it started to hail! Shocked Not too much though so I don't think it really did any harm. Oh and the bird netting? Tore one of the broccoli seedlings out of the pellet. broke it off actually. Grrr! The smaller rhubarb transplant is having a hard time. Guess I should have waited to transplant it but oh well. This is part of the adventure right?

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/2/2011, 10:08 pm

Dr Bigfoot

How did the bird netting attack your poor baby broccoli? Was it flying around in the wind? I keep my deer netting on hoops and use zip-ties to keep it in place. Deer netting is very similar, though not the same as bird netting. It did keep the birds out though.

The deer netting left around last year's old style amended soil raised bed garden has slid down a bit and I need to re-zip it. Even though I am starting all new Table Tops with MM, I still have artichokes and strawberries in the old bed and they need protection from the hungry deer.

By the way, my Montmorency Cherry tree buds are starting to swell bounce I have never grown fruit trees before and I purchased this one bare-root last year. Had about 5 blossoms last spring, but no cherries. TSC, where I bought it, said to expect a light harvest this year and next year should be pretty good. Can't wait. It also requires deer netting because the deer acutally chomp the branches Shocked

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April 2011...PNW

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 4/2/2011, 11:46 pm

Coming on like gangbusters: lots of garlic, mostly of the hard neck variety, and a small plot of elephant garlic--which is not a true garlic, but like their cousins the leek, good in soups and stews. Our best rhubarb plant is sprouting, and looks to have 5 to 6 "heads", so will need dividing again come this fall--it lives up to its nickname: Big Mutha....wish I knew its commercial name, but it was originally a gift from my mom, who got it as a gift from...you know how it is. Dr. Bigfoot, should you have trouble with your rhubarb, perhaps we can arrange to get you a start from Big Mutha. We live north of Portland, and come into town once or twice a month.



And, so far we've planted out 50 new strawberry plants, potatoes, peas, and some lettuce. Under plastic is Tuscan kale, a savoy kale cross, broccoli, Swiss chard and two Sea kale plants (out of 4 attempts). In the sunroom attached to the house are 20 tomato plants--6 varieties, and 8 eggplant plants (in this climate, always a gamble). Some tomatoes will be set out in raised beds, some in a hedge-type row like that featured in Mel’s first edition of SFG.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/3/2011, 11:11 am

I envy your garlic Nonna. Between school and hunting last September and early October I did not get mine in and scapes would be lovely right now.

I'm fairly sure that this is a much darker spring than last year, wetter too. My gardens have become a tent city. After reviewing last year’s Toy Box thread I noticed that I was farther along with many species this time last year. I have covered everything AND went on slug patrol a couple of nights and that has helped a lot.

As of last night….
Box 1 has Dakota Peas, 1 (one) has come up and there is no evidence of seed in the box so I have replanted and covered the box with a cage and clear plastic. There are three squares of transplanted leeks that are doing ok.
Box 2 has only Maestro peas (my old friend) of which only a couple have come up--replanted and covered. There are a few shallot sprouts left from last fall.
Box 3 has Golden Sweet peas that are going gang busters in the sprouting department but are slow to grow (same for the golden sweets in box 4) I covered them with a plastic tent and both are taking off now. There are also two kinds of Fava beans in this box. After a fight with a hungry stealth slug, the favas are starting to look good. The slugs got both my red and fordhook Spinach and will need to be replanted. I had started both of these in soil blocks in the green closet I got for my birthday but that playful south wind threw them to the ground and gave them a stomp for good measure. I am starting over yet again. (this happened with cucumbers, squash and pumpkins last year, humm). Just a couple of seedlings from the mixed lettuce have sprouted and I am still checking on the hungry slugs in box 3 to see if I have got them all. I didn't get out there yesterday, so today will tell. (there was also a restart of lettuce in the wind tossed closet) I have not seen evidence of Garbanzo Beans or cilantro. I went ahead and replanted the Sugarsnap Peas in this box and box 4. Radishes are filling their square!! I do like radishes but never imagined being so jazzed about the humble little radish. The leeks that were started last fall in box 2 and transplanted to box 3 are getting serious about becoming big.
In Box 4 a square of mixed beets (Bullsblood, a Golden (whose name escapes me at the moment) and chiggoia are coming along nicely. I started a square of scallions but only the radishes that mark the square have come up. In addition to Golden Sweet and Sugarsnap, this box has two squares of Canoe peas ....that had to be replanted (yes it is true, there is a theme developing here). I might have seen a single sprout of cilantro in the little coldframe in box 4 as well as a tsi-tsia (flat bok choi). No Chard yet.
In Box 5 there are two kinds of onions (Cipolini and sweet RedTorpedo (that has an Italian name that I'm not going to attempt on one cuppa jo) as well as more leeks. An early cabbage, a few mixed broccolis (so far Umpqua and Nutri something, the new Thompsons hasn't made true leaves yet and the peacock are struggling just to survive...same soilblocks in the closet story) A mixed square of Mescaline is doing well, I just might get a salad that the slugs have missed.
Box 6 is waiting for a true summer (?!?) before it gets anything.

Tomatoes in the kitchen window are lovely, none of my peppers (started indoors in soil blocks about a week ago) have sprouted. I plan to start eggplant in the kitchen ASAP (we are leaving for a shakedown camping trip after church today.....I need a baby-tomato sitter).

Sometime this week I will plant more salad, direct sow broccoli, Peacock, and Kohlrabi.

Outside the box I've got the potatoes in pots under the tent but am not seeing evidence of life. Looks like last year’s raspberry drowned this spring but the new ones I got for the tub Ray made are doing fine. Strawberries are coming along; all the fruit trees have buds (mixed apples, mixed cherries, mixed pears, Orca Pear, pie cherry). The blueberries are leafing out, so pretty in pink. There are purple asparagus spears fighting to survive this wet weather and wonder of wonders, when I pulled Ray's paper mulch away from the artichoke there were two fresh sprouts, one big one from the otherwise dead looking stump and another from the soil. Whoo-hoo!

Keep dry socks in your pocket and soup bubbling on the stove PNWers,
Deborah....who would love to have dry ground long enough to get the lawn mowed.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/3/2011, 11:28 am

Debs, maybe it is a good thing my peas have not made it into the ground MM yet. They are going in today, partly cloudy and high of 56 degrees is the forcast for this morning and early afternoon. 10% chance of rain. Hope that forcast is true, cause I have so much to do today, but health problems may slow me down. Just need to suck it up and get out there.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Dr.Bigfoot on 4/3/2011, 11:53 am

It was flapping around and when I tucked my arm under it with the seedling/pellet in hand, it caught the edge of the netting. The broccoli has germinated quite well though so I'm not too distressed. Besides, that will stagger growth so it should work out in the end...I hope!

I'll have to keep that offer in mind about the rhubarb! We're growing it so my MIL can make us raspberry rhubarb cobbler. I suppose I could learn how to make it myself since I do a great job at baking desserts (regular cooking is a whole other ordeal).

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PNW 2011 -- salads, rhubarb and sea kale

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 4/3/2011, 12:56 pm

Debs, I'm a bit envious, looks like the Everett area is warmer than our more southern spot in hills above St. Helens, OR, your garden is definitely ahead of ours. AND, you have inspired me: this afternoon, I shall be planting lettuce, basil and cilantro in the long planters that live on the railings of deck outside the kitchen. I'm spoiled being able to run out with scissors and snip a slug-free salad or handful of herbs for dinner.

Dr. Bigfoot, Yep, looked again at Big Mutha, and there are definitely three to five divisions that must be made this fall. Also, the two divisions I took from her two years ago are both doing well, though the largest of the two went to live with my sister in Burlington, WA. Keep me posted if you need the smaller one.

Three of the four pots of sea kale have sprouted. Don't know anyone who has grown or is growing it, so interesting experiment. See info here: http://www.gardenzone.info/crops/seakale.php . One should like living with son/daughter-in-law in Seabrook, WA, just couple hundred feet from the ocean. Wonder what it tastes like, hmmmmmm.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/4/2011, 2:08 am

Dr Bigfoot wrote:It was flapping around and when I tucked my arm under it with the seedling/pellet in hand, it caught the edge of the netting. The broccoli has germinated quite well though so I'm not too distressed. Besides, that will stagger growth so it should work out in the end...I hope!
Glad you have more brocolli to set out and stagger your harverst. That will be nice.
My broccoli from seed has done so well and i finally got a few into the garden today. I anticipate setting out more in about a week when box 2 is ready.

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My First Table Top is planted, Yeah!

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/4/2011, 2:39 am

It has taken me two months after my husband built my table top, to get the first one filled and planted. As mentioned before, the weather has been nice, but only on the days I am visiting the next town and never when I am home and ready to work on the TT. Blehhh

But all that is changed. We actually had 9 consecutive hours without rain or wind today! One Down and Two TT to go, plus a 2 X 10 that will be a SFG raised bed for peppers and eggplant.

Store bought and a little homemade compost, A big pile of poo and stuff


Vermiculite from two different retailers. Medium on the left, Coarse on the right


Filled and leveled


North is to the top
Super Sugar Snap Peas
Fiesta Broccoli,Calabrese Broccoli, both started from seed indoors -Broccoflower (Green Cauliflower), Cabbage Medley (one red and one green)
Three kinds of lettuce and radishes in the South Squares

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  boffer on 4/5/2011, 6:50 pm

Nice looking TT; I'm sure Mel would have used string if he had found bright pink like you have-it stands out well.

Have you used Therm-o-rock vermiculite before? The coarse I recently bought is the same color as yours. It wasn't that color for the last four years-it was lighter-it looked more like the medium. New mine maybe?

I recognize all your bags of goodies; that's what I get at McLendons if I have to purchase any. I've had great success with them.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/5/2011, 7:11 pm

I used Termo Rock last year, which is when I picked up the medium. ($43 last year)

This year I found coarse Thermo Rockfrom the AquaCulture store. ($28 this year) Actually I located them last October, but then of course, last year's garden was done. So I have bought MM materials over the course of the last few months so the cost was spread out a bit.

It is amazing what a little shopping around can do price wise. These two stores are about 3 miles from each other and the only sources in my local area (still 20 miles away).

I thought the pink string was a nice touch too. It is nylon, so it should last well. tongue Actually in order to get my Certifiation as a SFG Instructor, I will need a wooden grid, or slats from venetian blinds. On page 36, of the ALL NEW SFG book, Mel's says "If I could condense thirty years of experience into my current adice, it would be DON'T use string or any other floppy material."
Because lathe warps so badly in our environment, my husband ripped 1/2 inch strips of 3/4 inch cedar, so I can build my grid and be official.

Thanks for the compliments

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  boffer on 4/5/2011, 9:46 pm

It's been a wet spring for sure. I'm lovin' my covered wagons more and more for their versatility.



Bottom right: lettuces planted on 1/17. Tolerating cold doesn't mean they grow much in the cold.



But by keeping their feet warm...similar lettuces planted 2 weeks later.



The other end...broccoli was planted from seed...I'll be finding out how well it transplants.




I'm growing 50 broccoli and 25 cauliflower this year. I started these guys in peat discs and transplanted when the first true leaves started to show. They're more spindly than the ones in the other picture that were directly planted from seed. In the background are seedlings from the nursery getting acclimated.



Protecting baby peas from the Stellar Jays...



What it's all about...our first salad makings of the season...4 different lettuces and 1 spinach.



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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Dr.Bigfoot on 4/5/2011, 10:14 pm

Wow! maybe I should hang some plastic over our boxes! I went and did some motivational speaking to my plants this evening. I had to tell the one weakling rhubarb to get its butt in gear. Razz Congratulated the radishes for growing so well. Celebrated the arrival of a few snap pea seedlings popping through. Hey, the book does say to visit with my garden and talk to it. So I'm only following instructions, right?

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/5/2011, 11:29 pm

So, the third picture with the bigger lettuce and the broccoli from seed are in the box with the heating cables? The difference is amazing. Gotta get me sum heating cables.

That is one beautiful garden Boffer.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/6/2011, 9:13 am

That is beautiful B! Mine have all kinds of hopeful but no grow. Mostly because in my enthusiasm I plum forgot to protect them from the wet. Yeish. Here I was wishing someone would do a side by side of a heated box and just a protected box (to convince me that it is worth it) Thanks for that.

Deborah....beautiful Beautiful BEAUTIFUL~ and salad too! (bowing toward Yelm)

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/6/2011, 10:07 am

Boffer has officially become a wagon train leader. Head 'em up, move 'em out. Circle the wagons.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Jay Bird on 4/6/2011, 10:13 am

Change boffers name to Rawhide rollin rollin rollin RAWHIDE (in a deep voice)

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  boffer on 4/6/2011, 10:27 am

Oh yes, believe! I've got greens planted in several different exposed, but covered areas, and they are all slooooow. Much as I hate them, I even planted in my old school cold frames on the ground. That stuff is doing somewhat better than the exposed, but nothing exciting.

Last year, I measured power consumption, and I figured it ran 10¢ per day.

This has been one of the darkest winters that I've had in a long time; I'm thinking that slowed stuff down too. I've been debating whether to put in a light next year.

******************

lol! There's even a couple more wagons that aren't in the picture. It does make it look like they're rounded up for the night! I've had my eye out for an old wagon wheel; even just to borrow it to take pictures with. I'll keep looking.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/6/2011, 10:47 am

I need to have my husband take me down the road again, and remember to take a picture. Someone took metal wagon wheels and made a fence out of them, oh so cool. He wondered how the cows stayed in, I told him cows were stupid, a fence was a fence. It's plenty high enough, even with some of it burried, to keep them in.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/6/2011, 11:08 am

@boffer wrote:Oh yes, believe! I've got greens planted in several different exposed, but covered areas, and they are all slooooow. Much as I hate them, I even planted in my old school cold frames on the ground. That stuff is doing somewhat better than the exposed, but nothing exciting.

Last year, I measured power consumption, and I figured it ran 10¢ per day....snip.... I've had my eye out for an old wagon wheel...snip.... I'll keep looking.

If I come across one I'll drop it at a safe place near Yelm (so you can get it at your leisure) on one of our many trips to the ocean. Again, thank you so much for doing this and publishing the results.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Wreanne05 on 4/7/2011, 11:28 am

Holy cow you guys are so far ahead. Everything looks so good. Deb you are a gardening machine, want to spend some time at my house? Love the new table top Fur. Boffer maybe you should join Deb here to help at my house so I can get some lettuces.

I have boxes, I have components for my mix and I have cleared spaces. That is as far as I have gotten. Between work and traveling for work I seem to miss the opportunity to get outside. I am in town for this week and then out of town for two weeks vacation again. I am going to try and get some stuff in this weekend but I had some peas and lettuces in (containers and non SGF) and nothing has come up. Sad My daughter is going to be house sitting for us so she said she would love to play and if I give her a list she will do some.

I have before photos and eventually I will have after. LOL On a good note I have spread the good word and a friend of mine just got her plot in a community garden in Seattle and is now in possession of the SFG book of mine. Smile

On a fun note, while I had to be in San Fran for work I did get out to Alcatraz and holy goodness the gardens there are unbelievably lovely and so very lush! I even have pics of what looks similar to SFGing from back when. I might even post a few of those for inspiration one day.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 4/7/2011, 3:14 pm

Wreanne, do keep us informed on your gardening progress. With the cool spring we've had so far, when you get your boxes planted, it should finally be warm enough that the plants will florish. Hmmmm, foothills SE of Seattle, anywhere near Maple Valley?

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Wreanne05 on 4/7/2011, 3:19 pm

Nonna- Yes very close. I am kind of at the triangle point where Maple Valley/Renton/Kent Covington all meet up in an unincorporated area where it transitions from suburban to rural.

Nonna are you Italian. We are going to visit my husband's Italian family (no longer in Italy though) and that is what our daughter calls her grandmother. Uncles and Aunts Zio and Zia. They also still make all their own tomato products, wine, and sausages.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/7/2011, 3:30 pm

@Wreanne05 wrote:snip.....They also still make all their own tomato products, wine, and sausages.
Will happily wash dishes at the next get together for just a plate-ful!

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

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