Friday, April 30, 2010

Mother Nature was kind and the garden tour is over

This is the garden on the South wall and this is July
See the potato can at the back? You can click on this photo to enlarge it

I hope as you saw my garden you saw some ideas for your own. It was nice that the rain held off for us, I so enjoy seeing the children play in the yard!

Some of you didn't pick up the planting list or the potato handout or the salad table directions If you missed any of those three handouts would you e-mail me and I'll bring them to you on Sunday.

2009 little can

After everyone left I got my bag of mels mix and put my soil over my potatoes in the can, it was about 3 inches of soil over the top of the starts. There was a question about just putting them in the ground and yes that surely works.

The goal is to have loose soil, good drainage, and space to send lots of roots out to make potatoes on.
We had a big compost pile (that is the best word for it) back in the 80's and one year a big green plant grew all over it. That fall when I went to get compost for the winter gardens it was full of potatoes! Tons of potatoes all over the pile. Just leave your plant space to make you a crop and grow it where you like. I like the trash can because it saves space. The new movement to grow them in trash bags is not a good one, there is not enough drainage for healthy potatoes.

There were some interesting comments about the size of the gardens and I know why. Traditional home gardening took it's methods from the farm. When farmers moved away from the farms they took those long rows with them. A long row works perfect to pull a horse and plow or drive a tracker down to work your crop. In a home garden it just eats space that I'd rather leave open. French intensive now just called intensive gardening teaches us to dig all the way down and compost and feed highly the ground we work. It taught us to plant closely because the plant could send it's roots down so easily it didn't need a lot of garden soil to gather nutrition from. Mel took french intensive gardening and gave it the square. This helped gardeners think differently about space and a lot more food could be grown in a lot less space.

My three boxes in the back, one now taken over by the tree next door, where my gardens from 1986 until now and I fed all 7 family members out of those three gardens using the french intensive method.

Mel's original book did not have everything in squares, he had a way to give certain plants larger spaces and we used that with those three boxes.

Now I have what equals four 4x4 boxes on the South side, and what equals three 4x4 boxes in the North yard. All salad, which is tons, is grown in my salad table. I never lack for salad. I grew some scallions in the salad box along with one basil plant. This way when I went for dinner salad I had a nice variety. These are my favorite summer mixes: London springs mix, French nicoise blend, garden heirloom blend, Micro greens mix (these are picked while very tiny) and Italian saladini blend. I plant a two rows of each and leave 3 to 4 weeks between each 2 rows. This extends the salad harvest.

From these gardens we eat plenty of fresh produce, we share with neighbors and we get some pickles and beets and a few frozen squash to go through the winter. By using at least 1/3 of your squares for at least 2 better if it's 3 different crops you too will grow more than you thought possible. If you only have a 4x4 you will not lack in things you can grow but I'm thinking you will all want another box next year for more variety.

This is the square foot garden on the North side in late summer
See no garlic at all! It's all replaced with summer crops
In oct. all this summer stuff was gone. I put some compost in each square and planted all that garlic.
It's a circle of growth, one season to the next. I love this pattern of nature.

All the garlic you saw has been in the box since Oct and will produce after some heat. Even in a cooler summer I can harvest by August and then plant the fall garden of broccoli, kale, spinach, carrots, well just look at those orange fall cards and you will know what I plant in those garlic spots. Right now the peas are growing on the verticals in that garden, when they are done in early summer the beans will already be up and growing, I just put the seeds in every other from the plants and they can grow together for a time.

You have so many more choices of veggie crops you can grow than you find at your local grocery store. Try some things you don't know how to cook and we will all share with one another some recipes. There is NO comparison in taste that which you grow from your garden.

In our may meeting I will cover how to feed your plants and if you have recipes may would be a good time for us to share them. So here are the recipes for today's items from the garden.

Chicken and Raspberry Sandwich
from A cook's tour of Sonoma by Michele Anna Jordan

1 French roll or 2 slices of French bread
raspberry Mayonnaise
1 small red onion cut into thin rounds
Half a chicken breast or 4 to 5 ounces roasted or sauteed chicken meat
shredded red cabbage or a Asian cabbage
Fresh raspberries

Split the rolls, Spread them liberally with the Raspberry mayonnaise. Place some onion on the bread and top with the chicken.
Top the chicken with cabbage. Add some Raspberries. Place on serving plates with plenty of raspberry mayonnaise on top of bread and garnish the plate with more fresh raspberries.

Because the raspberry mayo is one of the authors signature sauces I'm not adding the recipe here. The author deserves to have you buy her book. You can order the black raspberry vinegar here and just make a nice mayo with it. I can teach you how if homemade mayo is new to you.

Or you can make your own raspberry vinegar as I do! It will be time to make some more very soon.

The signature sauce is only a mayo recipe using the raspberry vinegar above. You may find some raspberry vinegar, order from the Kozlowski Farms in my old home town or you can mash up some raspberries strain them and add just a bit to some commercial mayo, not enough to make it runny but enough to flavor it. If you want a mayo recipe call me.......

Pesto Northern California style

1 Cup fresh Basil leaves

3 t0 4 peeled cloves of garlic

1/4 cup fresh parsley (some people leave this out)

2 tablespoon pine nuts

1/2 cup olive oil, this amount varies

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

In the Blender chop everything except the oil and cheese. Once chopped slowly add oil while blending until smooth and creamy. Add more oil if needed. Add cheese last and serve. Great stirred into pasta or picked up on some great Italian bread.



Pumpkin Cookies

6 dozen

1 cup oil
3 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups pumpkin (large can)
2 eggs
1 cup chopped nuts
5 cups flour
2 tsp baking power
2 teas. baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 teas vanilla
2 teas nutmeg
2 teas cinnamon
1 large pkg chocolate chips
Raisins if desired

Mix oil, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Just stir with a fork

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Stir into the above mixture.

Add nuts, chocolate chips and raisins. Mix

Drop by tablespoon size on a greased cookie sheet.

Make at 370 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly brown.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Planting the Card board Garden our 4th GGG meeting

I hope planting our indoor cardboard garden helped many of you understand the power you have in your garden.

It is your garden, you and Mother Nature and with a little understanding of her power you can take charge of your garden. How? Plant what you want, maybe you can grow it. Test out any method you can to create a warm, cozy growing location. Covers, mulches, colored plastic, early plants, early type seeds, hybrids made for wet cool places all help you master your garden.

Oh there are many ways we can work with the garden to get it to produce for us.
"Inch by Inch, Row by Row we can make this garden grow!"

Keep in mind that a plants goal is to grow big enough to thrive and be ready to go to seed when the temperatures are right. What we do is help guide the plant to accomplish this goal OUR WAY. Right now if you have onion plants in the ground you will need to give them a hair cut. Why? I want to eat the bulb of this plant but it is young and racing to grow tall giving me mostly big green tops, the seeds form at the top of big green tops. By cutting it down some several times through the early growing time I tell it to make the bulb bigger for me to eat!
By putting dirt over half of my potato plant as it grows I'm telling it to make more roots and not so much green until I have my potato can full of roots to grow those tates. It's all a trick!

When I pick my summer squash smaller than a car I tell that plant it better make some more for seed. Cucumbers are especially sensitive to this and will only produce plenty if you pick plenty!

I really like Asian cabbage (napa cabbage) but it likes to flop right open inviting all the bugs to move in and eat so tie it closed with some yarn or ribbon or twine and it will keep growing and the bugs will have to be out where I can see them.

If I want a lot of nice white leek I must mound up the dirt to cover the green area as it grows. That will make the green white, if you do it early in the growth and later as the leek gets bigger.

I can help corn pollinate, or force open the male blooms on the squash plant and use a paint brush to offer pollen to the female bloom. Sometimes the weather causes things to work all crazy and I can offer order to my garden. Last year was like that, too much heat too soon.

Remember if you want to eat the green above ground parts then a miracle grow system will make lots of leafy spinach to eat, but I won't want to boast the green outer plant if it's the root I'm eating as in carrots and beets, they need a completely different kind of food.

Our cardboard garden made it easy to show you how each square can be used at least twice maybe three times as you get more experienced. See my examples below for some ideas but remember you are the master of your garden and you may find some very neat ways to get more from your garden.

The square foot garden has a lot of squares and you may grow one plant in the center. When you do that consider what would grow in the 4 corners. Picture that the corners create a square taking 1/4 from the 4 squares around it. This space has no roots from the other plants using up the food so why not use it? I put beets in the corners of several square and was eating the greens but at the end of the season I got these oddly grown beets from being in the corners. I will do that again. The baby choi's grow nicely in the corners, onions, garlic, basil. Just make sure the corner plants aren't bigger than the main plants in any of the squares.

The green part of the square is my spring planting
The red part of the square is the summer or fall planting

The other nice thing you can do with those corners is start your fall plants early. Yes put a broccoli seed in each corner in July and in late Aug when the other plant is gone I just move it to the middle. This is an excellent way to keep the garden going. If you are a beginner don't even bother yourself with any of the above just plant the normal square foot way.

Here is a basic fun list of the length of time a plant takes to grow. We know how we will usually add a couple of weeks up to a month to these times but take a look and see which plants will be out of the space they are in faster than others. It might help you plan for those extra spaces in a square or to plan your 2nd planting in each square.

What grows fastest

22 days Radishes
49-65 Lettuce
50-65 Summer squash picked small
50-90 Beans
55-70 Cucumber
55-80 Beets
60 Chard
60-80 Kale/Peas
60-120 Tomato
65-75 Carrots
65-85 Peppers
70 Spinach
75 Collards
75-90 Corn
84-120 Potatoes/Winter Squash
90 Garlic
90-125 Cabbage
95-110 Onions
98 Cauliflower
100 Leeks
112 Broccoli
120 Brussels sprouts
120 Parsnips
133 Eggplant
150 Salsify

If I plant only one kale I can put anything I want around the edges. I like to put basil because the bugs don't like it but also as it gets bigger I can collect leaves to keep it under control, same thing with beets I can collect the greens, very yummy. The carrots are there for a while but they grow straight down not bothering anything, a couple will fit in each 1/4 area. If you put lettuce too close remember you can collect the outside leaves and manage the space just fine!

These are the odd shaped beets that grew in the corners, I use wooden dividers for my grid. The goal was to have the greens for rice and ravioli etc the beets were a nice extra, enough around the garden to can. You've had them at our first meeting!

See the radish leaf above(slightly red), this is the size you should pick it at for salad, If you wait past this point it gets a bit sticky with fuss.

I pray for my garden, not a bad idea. I sing in my garden,
I talk to my plants, I enjoy the process Inch by Inch, square by square!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our third meeting notes

It was a lot of fun during our third meeting. We had a little time to walk Becky's yard and see what her plans were. It's nice to tell someone that they have a great Southern exposure! I remember in the heat of wine country in Ca. I was always looking to avoid the south part of the yard, here we adore any Southern sun we can get!

We looked at Becky's collection for mels mix and talked a bit about compost and compressed peat moss. Remember it makes double what you see in the cubic feet of the bag

Inside we found out that a lot of the group has made their square foot gardens! YEAH. Many people feel it is too late well not here in the Pacific Northwest. The real gardening gets going on in may and June so persevere please and make your gardens!

A lot of foes visit our garden but all can be looked in the eye and managed as long as we can recognize they are friend or foe.

I gave you a chart of the plants most attacked and what the attacker looks like. You may never see any of these bugs. I moved my garden to another side of the yard and I had one free year of no bugs but they find you and you need to be ready. Once you identify a foe with your chart go online and look the beast up and you will find tons of ways of dealing with it.

Go for the natural ways and your garden will love you.

Understanding the cycle of each bug helps us protect ourselves. Each bug does it's thing in an order we can understand. These things helps us be ready.

1) use a floating cover over sensitive plants (cabbage family, broccoli, carrots, all loved by bugs) most of the these bugs start laying their eggs in April so cover your plants from seed on.

2) make collars of cardboard (I use cereal boxes) make it 3" wide and long enough to wrap around your plant. I cover mine with foil to make it last longer in our rain. You push it into the ground about 1" and leave 2" up around the plant. This leaves the cut worms wondering where those tasty cabbage stems went! Put this fairly close to the stem so nothing will fly down and lay something else that will hatch.

3) Many bugs can be picked off, just clean up any signs that they were there. In Mel's earlier book he tells how cleaning all signs (cut off the leave that was nibbled, stir in any poop) will let you see when something is being attacked again. Aphids can be sprayed off with water.

This flashing or gutter material should be put up against your box with the curl facing out of the garden. I have not tested this but hope to.

4) Slugs can be contained with a romantic late evening walk, just drop them in a bucket of salt water and once they have expired pour it over your compost. I know I cringe too! Some people like to use bait in a pop bottle, others use yeast ( that seems to be what they like in the beer) well mixed in water to bait them. This beast will be with everyone of you in every garden so decide what you will do. In one night you can loose a whole square!

You can surround your garden with a wide strip of sawdust, or a copper band standing upward. I trust picking them up but have had some success with the sawdust band about 6 inches wide.

5) Remember that keeping your garden area clear of places for slugs and earwigs and other bugs to hide leaves them NO home in your garden! Get rid of those cool dark damp places. It does make a difference.

6) When it comes to blight we have to know some wise gardening practices. This fungus can infect so easily and it takes forever to rid your garden of it. It likes the upper 70's and cloudy rainy days and that is US in the late summer! I have never had early blight only late just as I want to collect those soon to be red tomatoes.

Here is a list of things to do to prevent the blight.

A. Keep space between tomato plants and potato plants. Air flow prevents. pruning tomatoes for optimum production will also leave lots of air flow.

B. Water only the base of the plant and avoid moisture on the leaves. Don't water in the evening. This will prevent slugs too so don't water in the late afternoon and evening. Slugs love a wet garden to move around in.

C Don't use seed potatoes from any blight infected plants. Also do not compost store bought potatoes.

D. Remove plants! You can not cure this but you can prevent it. But the infected plants in a black plastic bag and put it in the sun for several days before tossing.

E. The common method of protecting the rest of the plants that are uninfected is to spray them with chlorothalonil and fixed copper. I just covered the tomato and potato plants at the end of the season and we didn't have any problems last year.

7. To protect against powdery mildew which appears here when it's wet and warm spray both front and back of leaves with a spray made from

1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1/2 teas liquid soap to one gallon of water.

Make and use this, do not store it. There are cautions about doing it on a sunny day it is possible to burn the leaves. This has to be done when you start having that wet weather and not once you see the powdery mold. I seem to get it at the end of every summer. I cut off the few infected leaves when I see it and start spray treating. It's the baking soda that is the treatment in this mix. Get a big spray bottle! IT WORKS! We see this mildew on pumpkins, squash and of course Roses!
Tricking the weather

A lot has been said about covering your gardens, It's not hard to do at all. Mel's book has some ways and you are welcome to stop and see how mine are covered any time. It's on Here are a few photos of my frame work.

Covering your plants:
1 keeps them from hail and hard rain damage
2 protects them from early wind drying
3 if well done can stop egg laying bugs from leaving their families on your plants
4 Warms the area so your plants grow better earlier
5 Seeds and plants can be put out a head of schedule if they are protected.

1 Can the helpful bees get in? and so can the not helpful bugs
2 lack of airflow can cause mold to grow on the ground and plants and other nasty thing
3 Makes access to plants harder
4 takes time to set up and use

Tricking the season not only comes from covering but from where you placed your garden. We covered this when we talked about air flow within your yard.

You can try red colored plastic under the tomatoes to help them ripen. I put a garden against a southern wall of the house for some reflective warmth. Things did ripen better in this garden.

There are Tricks for making a vining plants produce fruit faster by pinching out all but the main trunk and it's horizontal branches. You remove all the suckers at the V points

You can also trim cucumbers to stay within their growing zone and this puts more energy to the main production.

This posting talks about pinching Basil for a bushy plant

We trick Mother nature when we plant a seed that says "early". It gives us a jump on the weather. When we put in a plant and a seed in the same square we plan for two seasons of harvest such a trick!

I will continue to put many of these tricks on the blog. So just because the weekly meetings are soon past don't stop reading the blog!

Gardening is a pleasure so no matter what happens remember how lovely a garden can be if we just keep an eye on it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

snip snip

There are lots of things you will grow that will benefit from a snip snip now and again. If you got onion starts from me.....Please go out and snip snip until there is only 4" left on each one or less. Does that make you crazy? Well after they have gotten over the shock of travel in a box and being put in the ground (a week or two) then cutting them down will make the bulb stronger. This is what we want, strong onion bulbs because they are storing onions. It's not the same with the little green salad onions. We will do this again in another bit of time and I'll tell you when.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

are you going to plant beans?

When you think of what you want in your garden plan for the plants that will give you the most and grow the best here in the northwest.

I've always thought that beans gave me so much to enjoy. If you haven't put a vertical wall on your garden (check mels' book on this) then you will need to plant Bush type of beans. They will grow in those round tomato cones. Remember the package will say BUSH. Pole beans produce a lot more, truly a lot more but they grow very tall and need a vertical to climb up. It doesn't take long at all to install a vertical. My husband is very good at it if you'd like some advice.

The Territorial seeds offer these bush types: Romano Gold-yellow and tasty, Renegade-deep green,
roman purpiat-purple cooks up a bright green, carson-yellow wax, Jade-long season, venture-blue lake type, Nash-high yield for bush, dragon tongue-multi use as snap etc., RomaII-flat white, Royal Burgundy-soft purple.

It helps to use an inoculant on your legumes. Beans fix nitrogen into your soil for healthy planting if there is a population of rhizobial bacteria in your soil. Incoulants are live rhizobial bacteria. It's just that simple.

One key thing to remember in box gardening is to place the taller plants so they DON'T block the sun to the rest of the plants. So if you do plant bush beans and put in the tomato baskets they are going to be taller than most of your garden. Write you plan on your paper with the boxes!

Is your mouth watering? Oo mine is. Beans go in the ground in late May.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Amazing so many gardens!

Well Gourmet Gardening Gals you have really been busy this week. So many of you have your boxes and you even filled them up. Next week we'll go help those still needing to mix their mels mix, if you want to come watch let me know and I'll call you.


be sure you have your box where you want it. You can move them but not this year! remove all weeds and if there is any question that weeds will join us collect a bunch of newspaper or cardboard to put on the bottom. Level your boxes by digging into the hill side etc to let the high end sit down in the dirt. Laura's husband did a great job on his so ask for advise or go look at her boxes.

Make sure for every 4X4 box you have one 4 cu feet of vermiculite (give or take), 2 cubic feet of compressed peat moss and 4 cu feet of 5 different kinds of composting materials. It's always good to pick up an extra bag of compost. You will use it and if you box is a little bigger it's better to toss it into the mix and fill that box up really well. If you have all that we can come put your soil in the box. I will bring the tarp and all the tools.

ASSIGNMENT: It was so good to see those square Foot books arrive so quickly now everyone read them! So many of your questions will be answered if you do. Half the book is sections on the veggies so you only have to read 1/2 a book! Before you plant read! If you pick up some plants or even have some of those seeds that we can plant in April I will show you how to do the first square if you like!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My 2nd year with Mel's mix and what to do

It was sure sunny today. An invitation to go out and garden.

I got my salad box ready to plant. It's a small amount of soil and not very deep. The winter salad roots were only 1" deep so it barely touched the soil that was there. Still I felt it needful to add a lot of compost. In mixing it with the mels mix of last year I ended up with more than I needed . Not surprising seeing that the plants took so little from the box. I will save that small left over bucket of mixed mel's mix and compost and use it in those new potato can's I'm starting.

What did you do in your garden? There are now several finished gardens in the group. Shawn was collecting materials so she'll join the finished garden group soon. I only have 4 more 4x4 boxes to mix compost in. I already did the other 3 4x4 box back in Feb.

What is the first thing you will plant?

See you all on friday we will cover a lot of material. Bring your notebooks all put together so we can look stuff up as we go.

Monday, April 12, 2010

How shall I plant asparagus & rhubarb in my garden

I had a couple of great questions asked and I thought you'd all like to hear how to use rhubarb and Asparagus in your garden.

First Rhubarb.

This is a two year old plant in my garden. It started as a tiny piece. It grows fast and does well it seems to double each year. Everyone in my neighborhood loves that I have it. I share tons of it as it produces so much. I asked a friend if she had more starts and she does so in a month I should have some plants for you if you'd like to plant these.

Rhubarb stalks are good for jam, pies, punch and they can well. (pretty pink stuff in jars!) The leaves are great to pour a special cement in and make those lovely cement leaves to place around the yard and catch rain in. I made tons of these basins with friends from our leaves. Keep in mind the leaves are poisonous slightly DO NOT EAT.

This plant likes cool weather and does well with cold winters as it needs a dormant period. Plant crowns in early spring or fall. They need 3 feet between them. They like to take up space! See my photos above just taken an hour ago. Give the plant plenty of water, no problem here but slow way down in midsummer and let the plant rest and it will start up a fall crop. No kidding! Never harvest all the canes, leave some for the plant crown.

Watch for slugs they will get in the crown and live there. To harvest wait for a lovely pink color with very little or no green in the main part of the stem, Pull straight up on the stock holding onto the bottom of the stem and it will pop off, straight up!

It will grow in the sun or partial shade.


Next we have asparagus.
We will now be covering the 2nd of 3 garden perennials. Artichoke, rhubarb and asparagus. Once these are in your gardening they are coming back each year so choose your spot carefully.

Asparagus takes up space and in a grand way. Tall, graceful ornamental frond must be put where they won't block the sun of smaller plants. This is a cool season crop that produces from march to June. It is often fence high, so remember I warned you.

Grow from crowns not seed as the crowns take three years to produce. Buy healthy crowns with lots of roots and no wilting. I've heard they will produce beautifully for 15 years but I moved to Seattle before I got to test that out with my patch of Asparagus.

It likes good drainage which mels mix will give it. You will need to work in more compost carefully each year. You will want to cover this area to keep the heavy rains off it in winter.

Don't harvest anything your first year as the plant needs to get settled in. In the 2nd year only cut for 4 to 6 weeks then let the plant grow more. With the third year you can harvest a normal 8-10 week period. There are tricks to harvest which will keep the plant healthy so learn about these.

When the foliage turns brown cut the plants to the ground in late fall or early winter. Don't do this too soon as the plant need to collect from that foliage.

Plant in early spring in ditches as wide as the crown and deep enough to have the crown with 6 to 8 inches of soil over the top. Mel says 1 to 4 plants per square. Mel has some good planting directions in his book and he likes a 4X4 box for plenty to eat.


Planting companion plants and plants to deter bugs will be covered in our next meeting on Friday. I have 37 years of experience with bugs and companion planting and I will share what I have found. But for those of you who want to plant onions all over do it just for the space filler and to enjoy eating. Many companion planters believe onions will stunt bean and pea growth. I'm not willing to test this out. I just don't plant them next to one another.

square foot gardening group

Here is the link for joining the Square Foot gardening group. There is such a wide range of people in this group that it is always full of chat and information. Yahoo groups can be set up to send you a daily digest. I would suggest you do that so that you don't get a million little notes. A digest is a newsletter of every one's comments for a day or a week I'm not sure how this one sets up. You can only read (lurk) and enjoy and you never had to comment to join. They have rules about how to comment so read those, they are just good guy things! If you need help call me. You can leave this group at any time so it's a no risk fun way to learn what other Square Foot Gardeners are talking about.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Class notes on getting the most from your square foot season by season

We talked about using plants, seedlings and seeds to make use of our garden through more than three seasons. So here is the information in a clear easy to read form, you can easily highlight and copy and print this and add it to your notebook.

Positives with plants: Someone else did the work of growing them. They are more mature than most home starts (we just don't have the space to let them grow very big) They can extend our growing season if placed in the ground at the best times.

Positives with seeds: You can grow a bigger variety of plants. You can grow Open Pollinated plants and save the seeds for next year. You can use seed that works best in your mico-climate.
They can be put in the ground on a calendar to extend other plantings.

Positives with transplants of your own: Germination time can be cut way down. seeds sprout with clues from nature, warmth and moisture. If your soil and out door temp is 40 degrees like now it would take a beet seed up to 42 days to sprout where as 68 degrees F. would have your beet seed (I love beet sees they look so cool) sprouting in six days. This should fully explain the advantage to starting seeds in doors.

These plants don't transplant easily. They will slow down growth with any root movement so start in their own little pot and put it right in the ground. Or plan on putting the seeds right into the garden when it's time.

Beans, peas, melons, cucumbers, squash.

Transplants have another big positive and that is in the late summer early fall garden. You can start something in the house in July, August and put the plant out when the summer plant is finished, there by giving you one more season of food.


Problems with plants: Truckers, stores etc don't handle them for the best use in the garden so they often get slowed down. They show up way before our summer planting season making us hold them and baby sit them until the warmer months. We have a limited choice in the variety of plants and we often don't know if they are Open pollinated.

Problems with seeds: Our lack of heat units can add 20-50% to the harvest time on the packages unless they are seeds made for the Northwest climate. You need to keep them cool and dry in order to use them another year. The packages come with far too many seeds, but for the price we are glad. Something to share with another gardener.

Problems with transplants: we have to learn how to do it correctly for healthy transplants, It takes materials, space, light and time. You need to have a plan so they are ready for the ground when mother nature is ready for the season they grow in. YOU MUST HARDEN THEM OFF before putting in the garden.

I hope with this information you can see how each items works in your garden.

You can plant another group of the same plant every 3 weeks to get a continued harvest.


Early means they mature faster than other varieties there by giving us a chance to harvest red tomatoes!

Oregon Eleven
Early girl
Oregon Spring
Early Swedish
Sun Gold
Juliet (blight resistant)

Cherry tomato types for early
Sweet Million

Growing seasons for veggies

Early Spring plant onions sets
Spring plant peas, lettuce
Late Spring/Early summer broccoli etc
Summer tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers etc
Late Summer/early fall broccoli, kale, etc
Fall-plant garlic and leeks, winter lettuce etc.
late fall/ early winter seed collection, winter gardening
Winter eat your winter harvest
Late Winter/early Spring plant onion sets

The examples are just a few to catch your interest. In our next meeting I will have a full list of all the season and what to plant for a full year around veggie garden.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New to gardening in the Pacific Northwest?

You can see we get almost No heat units at this time of year and very few as the months go by but we can grow some things very easily. Notice how the berries always grow and everything is green? It's beautiful. I was on the Snohomish country extension web site looking at the requirements for a master gardener and I found this nice little list of EASY Veggies to grow. If you are new to gardening this list is for you!


Now don't let this list discourage you. Carrots, grow fine just hard to germinate, and your favorites may be able to grow here but they take some work and education etc. These are the full proof plants. Kids can grow these plants, and so can you. These plants will grow on their own if you but put them into the ground. Beginners here you are!

It's only a beginning ....there is more to come.

Let's plant square

Here is a list of how many of a vegetable can fit into each square.

With some knowledge of the plant & some careful thought & some testing on your square foot garden practice papers you can come up with some interesting plans.

Some times I mix vegetables within a square to get a better repeat planting or to grow greater variety (example: last fall I planted several squares with garlic around the edges of the square. In May I will add a basil to the center of the square. By the time the Basil is large I will be pulling the garlic out giving more room for the Basil to grow.)

This list will tell you how many of each veggie will fit into a square foot. Once your garden is full of soil it's fun to draw out how the plants will fit in the square with your finger. When it looks spaced evenly plant your seeds or plants! Have fun and wait until it starts to grow!

Small plants

16 radishes
16 carrots
16 onions less for storage onions
9 bush beans
9 spinach
9-16 beets
4 basil for small
9 garlic
8 peas
4 Swiss chard
4 lettuce
4 parsley*
16 Chives*
4 annual flowers

Large plants

1 cabbage
1 broccoli
1 cauliflower
1 pepper
1 eggplant
1 melon
1 Cilantro*
1 basil large
1 oregano*

Vertical Plants
1 tomato
2 cucumbers
8 pole beans
squash 1 per 2 squares
4 potato *

*there are better places to grow these. Potatoes in plastic trash cans or old tires, herbs in big pots around the warmest places in the yard. Put several herbs in each pot for variety.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Square Foot garden materials list

These are the boxes I put in new last year. I wanted to see if the south side of the house was warmer than the rest of the yard. I have been growing herbs in this area for years! I used 2x6' boards. It is really just four 4x4 gardens all together. The first two boxes have verticals attached to them. They rust but I don't mind they were cheap, concrete mesh. You can see my plastic covers.
Click to enlarge

Here we go a 4 x 4 garden box. Maybe you don't have room for the square so make it 2'X 4' or a 3x3 as we did for the neighbor girls. What ever length you wish just try to keep it within the square foot idea.

Wood (no treated lumber, any wood, man made wood-plastic, stone, or anything that will hold a garden. We have one that is a kids hard swimming pool with holes drilled in the bottom.

Mel suggests 1x6 for the most economical, low traffic garden Or
2x6 for a sturdy box that will take any traffic

shopping list:
four 4 ft 2x6-inch boards or 1x6
Six 4 ft wood lath boards (this is your grid, there are other materials that work also)
Screws 25 to 30
ground cloth that stops grass but allows water through it. NOT plastic I used multi layers of cardboard. A deep layer of newspapers works for a while.


1/3 Vermiculite Buy 4 cubic foot bags of coarse grade
1/3 Peat moss 3.9 cubic foot bag makes 8 cubic feet
1/3 compost Aim for 5 different kinds most are 1 cubic foot bags

That should do it! You can make this from used materials, or anything you can afford. Some people like to paint them, do that ahead before we put them together and don't paint the inside of the boards. Once you are ready give us a call and we'll all come put it together and fill it for you. Now isn't that fun!

4x4 box needs 8 cubic feet of soil
4x8 box needs 16 cubic feet of soil
4x12 box needs 24 cubic feet of soil
4x16 box needs 32 cubic feet of soil

This is a 3x3 foot garden on legs
I took this in pieces down to lyndy on the train last year.
She and a 4 year old put it together by themselves!

Making your colored card sets

This is a wonderful way to teach you about the veggies and when they can be grown. It may seem grade school like but once you learn this way you won't forget it.

Make a card for each vegetable, mark the est. days to harvest on the front and save the back for pasting on some information I will be giving you as we go. Some veggies have multi-cards. The other thing that is nice to do is put your card and then the varieties of seeds for that season in a baggie. Keep it all in a box and by just looking for the card color you can grab the next seeds for planting, save your brain for other things!.

YELLOW Grows any time of year

Radish 22 early 30-55 late
Spinach 70 ( This does bolt in the heat but you may plant it any time and it will sprout)
Potato 84-120 (we typically plant this at the may frost date)
Chard 60
Carrots 65-75

GREEN Grows in Spring before our last frost date, most will bolt to seed if started in the heat
Peas 60-80
Onions 95-110
Kale 60-80
Lettuce 49-65
Cauliflower 98
Cabbage 90-125
Broccoli 112
Beets 55-60

RED Grows in the warmth of summer, nothing cold for these babies!
Parsnips 120
Squash, summer 50-65 Winter 84-120
Tomato 60-120
Peppers 65-85
Leeks 100
Onions 95-110
Okra 60
melon 75-95 early 110-120 late
Corn 75-90
Cucumber 55-70
Eggplant 133
Collards 75
Brussel Sprouts 120
Beans 50-90
Beets 55-60
Herbs (love heat, love well drained sandy soil)

ORANGE Grows in the cool of the fall, also plant for over wintering
Leeks 100
Garlic 90 (or until it gets some heat)
Kale 60-80
lettuce 49-65 (use the winter varieties if you want to grow all winter)
Collards 75
Cauliflower 98
Cabbage 125-150
Brussels Sprouts 120
Broccoli 112
Beets 55-60