Sunday, July 29, 2012

Finishing Touches

Today was a day of "final touches". After completing the planting of all of the dahlias last Thursday night, the garden was still in need of some TLC. This morning we gave all of the lawn inside and outside of the deer fence a good mowing.

Then we gave all of the plants a good watering. I filled up the bird feeder and pulled out all - or at least most - of the sunflowers that the chipmunk has been planting in the dahlia rows. He seems to have 100% success with his germination.

I then moved all of the volunteer morning glory starts that had come up away from the fence.Since I planted six or seven different varieties here last year, I have no idea what these volunteers will be this year. But that's part of the fun and you can't beat the price either.

We also brought down my purple bench and set it in place.

On my way down to visit the big garden this afternoon, I heard a familiar tapping coming from one of the oak trees. After a lot of looking,I finally spied this woodpecker. He kept peaking out from behind the moss and madly thumping the white oak gall with his bill.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The "Sugar 'n Spice" Sweet Peas

Good things do come to those who wait. Back on March 31st, I planted two shallow saucers with a "new-to-me" Sweet Pea. "Sugar 'N Spice" is a low growing sweet pea, perfect for pots or hanging baskets. I pre-soaked the seeds and they germinated in about 10 days. Then the next time I looked the birds had successfully pulled up about half of my tiny young plants. I pulled the pots off the sidewalk and set them back up under the covered porch. There they have sat and now, 4 months later, we have some blooms!

Just as described on the packet, I have pinks, purples, violets and bi-colors. The only one I am missing, so far, is white.

I am also pleased to report that they have the lovely, strong scent that you would expect from traditional climbing sweet peas. You just have to bend down to smell them!

These two pots won't make the cover of any gardening magazine but I am glad to have them.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

And We're Done! Dahlia Planting Day #17

Tonight we finished planting everything down in the big garden. First, the last six dahlia made it into the ground. I can now happily say all 236 dahlias are planted! Amazingly, as late as I am, I am still done planting two days earlier than I finished last year. So no matter how bad it seems, I guess it can always be worse! After the last of the dahlia were in, I planted my row of purchased "State Fair" zinnias that I bought last Saturday at Grey's Garden center. It wouldn't be summer to me without some zinnias blooming.

Here are two "Camano Cloud" dahlias. I am pretty pleased to have grown these from tubers saved from last year. "Camano Cloud" is a gorgeous peachy/orange dahlia but a notoriously poor tuber maker. I bought two cuttings from a commercial grower last year. When I dug in the fall each cutting had produced a small clump of two to three skinny tubers. I decided not to divide them. Instead, I just washed each clump and wrapped the whole clump in saran wrap and stored them away with my divided tubers. When I checked on them in April each "Camano Cloud" clump had sent up one new shoot. I trimmed the clumps up a bit and planted them each in a one gallon pot and voila - two nice healthy plants this year. I will definitely try to save them again this year using the same method.

Here's my newly planted zinnia row. They look a bit scraggly right now, but will soon settle in and start to branch out. They already have formed their first bud, so I will also have some color soon which will be nice.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dahlia Planting - Day #14

Another evening of planting after work and the end is now in sight! Tonight we got another 14 dahlias tucked into the ground. So now I have 202 dahlias planted and 34 more to go. So close! Below, two healthy starts of the collerette "Cobequid Pinwheel".

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Garlic Harvest - Part 2!

This afternoon I harvested my "Silver Rose" & "Nootka Rose" garlic. But before I began that, I trimmed and cleaned the bulbs of "Chesnook Red" that I had dug on July 7th and have had curing in the shop. After they were ready for long-term storage I placed them in these neat onion bags that I found at Territorial Seed Company and hung the bag in the unheated garden room off of the shop. "Chesnook Red" is a hard-neck variety which means it isn't a great keeper. I will try to use this variety first, saving the biggest bulb to plant in October for next year's crop.

Here is my row of "Nootka Rose" garlic before I dug. As you can see, this variety sent up two shoots from most of the cloves that I planted. The end result was a medium size dominate bulb with a smaller offspring bulb connected to it.

Here is my section of "Silver Rose" garlic.  In contrast, each clove of this variety grew one single large bulb. I could tell that they were going to be big even before digging by the large size of their stalks.

Here are the "Silver Rose" plants laid out on wire to cure for a couple of weeks. As you can see, the bulb are big but also quite oval in shape. They were not perfectly round like the "Chesnook Red" bulbs.

And here are the "Nootka Rose" bulbs. With the cloves splitting, I don't have many large bulbs, but I sure do have a lot of bulbs.

Here is my "Chernook Red" harvest, cleaned and trimmed. Nine bulbs produced from the eight bulbs that were planted. The largest bulb harvested was 3.0 oz and the smallest was 1.3 oz. My total harvest weighted in at 1 lbs. 3.9 oz. Since this is the first year that I have ever grown garlic, I am very pleased with the results of my first harvest.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday at the Farmer's Market

After spending all morning down in the big garden planting dahlias, I made it to the Lane County Farmer's Market right around noon. It was packed! It was really terrific to see so many people shopping and supporting all of the farmers. We have such an amazing array of fruit, vegetables, berries, and grains available. It was funny to find these beautiful bouquets of sweet peas available for purchase at the end of July. But our weather has been so cool that they are still happily producing. I would have loved to have brought home a bunch, but one of my cats is allergic to all floral scents.

I thought this basket really demonstrated how far we have come with local food. First people were happy with store bought tomatoes. Then they learned that local fresh tomatoes tasted so much better. Now we have all evolved to the next step where we can discern between the different heirlooms available and the Farmer's market are beginning to sell them by variety name.

This was the first weekend that I have seen garlic for sale. I am pleased to say that my home grown garlic doesn't look too much different than this group.

A basket of cauliflower.

The blueberries have arrived! Almost every stall had pint baskets for sale.

How pretty are these torpedo red onions! The vendor recommended preparing them by laying them whole on the grill to cook. Yummy!

Amazing red currents. I can't imagine all of the labor that it took to pick and clean enough to fill these pint baskets. This was also the first weekend that almost every vendor had green beans for sale. Another sure sign of Summertime in Oregon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dahlia Planting - Day #8

As you can see, I am making some headway down in the big garden. We got another 14 dahlias out of their pots and into the ground tonight. There was a definite change in the weather. It was overcast and breezy. You could feel a storm moving in and we thought we heard the sound of distant thunder once. Luckily, the rain stayed away and we got our work completed for the night. I now have 104 dahlias planted and 126 more to go! Tomorrow night we will pass the half way point! Yahoo!

Below, two young plants of the waterlily "Ken's Rarity".

Monday, July 16, 2012

The 2012 Kitchen Garden Inventory

Now that we have hit the midway point in the month of July, it's time for me to take my annual inventory in the gardens. Unfortunately, I am still planting down in the big garden, but the kitchen garden at the house is complete for another Summer. This garden faces south and receives full day sun. Logically, this is where I plant all of the heat lovers. Here is a listing of everything residing in the 2012 kitchen garden:


  • (8)Garlic - "Chesnook Red" - Down to Earth
  • (8)Garlic - "Nootka Rose" - Down to Earth
  • (8)Garlic - "Silver Rose" - Down to Earth
  • (10)Cucumber - "Russian Pickling" - Seed Savers Exchange

  • (2)Winter Squash - "Bush Delicata" - Mountain View Farm
  • (2)Winter Squash - "Waltham" Butternut - Mountain View Farm
  • (2)Winter Squash - "Orange Sunshine" Kabocha - Mountain View Farm
  • (1)Tomato - "Galina" - Hayhurst
  • (1)Tomato - "Valencia" - Mountain View Farm
  • (1)Tomato - "Fantastic VF" - Hayhurst
  • (1)Tomato - "Matina" - Log House Plants
  • (1)Tomato - "Black Pear" - Log House Plants
  • (1)Tomato - "Moonglow" grafted - Log House Plants
  • (1)Tomato - "Copia" grafted - Log House Plants
  • (1)Tomato - "Julia Child" grafted - Log House Plants
  • (1)Tomato - "Black Krim" grafted - Log House Plants
  • (5)Kale - "Toscano" - Log House Plants
  • (10)Onion - "Mars" - Hayhurst
  • (12)Onion- "Frontier" - Hayhurst
  • (2)Morning Glory - "Feringa" - Log House Plants
  • (2)Morning Glory -"Heavenly Blue" - Log House Plants
  • (1)Morning Glory- "Mixed Colors " - Log House Plants

Here are my two "Bush Delicata" plants. The very first male bloom opened today and I can see immature female fruit at the crown of one of the plants.

These are my two poor old "Waltham Butternut". They are alive but not exactly thriving. They just hate getting transplanted so I really need to grow my own plants from seed next year like I did in 2010.

Here are the "Orange Sunshine" Kabocha. As you can see one plant is much bigger than the other!

Here are the "Silver Rose" garlic plants. They still haven't reached the stage where half of the leaves are yellow, so I haven't pulled them yet. From what I can see though, the bulbs look to be sizing up nicely.

Here is my row of  "Frontier" yellow storage onions. The bulbs are starting to grow, but seem to be a bit smaller than my old favorite "Prince" that I have grown the last few years.

Here's a close-up.

As always, the "Mars" red storage onions are growing like crazy. They are such a reliable large size onion.

The tomato plants are starting to get covered in pretty yellow blossoms.

My little "Fantastic VF" tomato has already set a few fruit.

The kale are so glad to be finally planted in the ground after spending way too much time in their six pack cells. I am pleased that last week's heat didn't seem to bother them at all.

The cucumbers have finally taken off. They loved last weeks heat, doubling in size and turning a dark, healthy green. Hopefully it won't be too much longer before they have grabbed a hold of the trellis.

Each year it seems that I have one volunteer plant come up in the garden. And each year that plants out performs all of the other plants that I have internationally sown. This year's overachieving volunteer is this pink strain of morning glory "Mixed Colors". My one plant has climbed onto my new tower and is rapidly covering up three of the sides. It is such a pretty shade of pink and I am thankful to have something performing so well in this challenging year. As always, mother nature is a better gardener than I am!

Next to the fourth side of the tower I planted two plants of morning glory "Feringa". I grew this variety in 2010 and just loved it. It is a mix of deep purple and pink blooms and will look really nice paired with the volunteer plant.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dahlia Planting..Day #3

I went right down to the garden after getting home from work today. It was a warm but pleasant evening to work. I got another twelve dahlias planted tonight plus I dug another six holes. That will give me a running head start tomorrow night. Now that I have 30 dahlias planted it is slowly starting to look like a dahlia garden. Two full rows are completed and 1/2 of the next row is done. Below, two young plants of "Harvey Koop", a "A" size fully decorative variegated in dark red & yellow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tomatos - the Second Tier

Tonight, after we came back from planting 12 more dahlias, I had to get the top tier on the tomato cages of my four grafted plants. The plants were a good foot above the first tier and the "Copia" and the "Black Krim" were growing especially thick and wild. After a lot of stem wrestling and cage adjusting I finally got all four top tiers set in place. It is amazing how much larger these four plants are than the four tomatoes I planted three weeks later.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The First Dahlia Planting!

Tonight after dinner we loaded the first 56 potted dahlias into the back of the pickup and headed down to the big garden. I had finished laying out the rows last night. All that I still needed to do was attach the plant variety labels to each post and then..drum roll... I could actually begin planting the dahlias into the ground!

After off loading the pots I affixed labels to the first five rows. Then I dug a few holes and got the first six dahlias planted. Below, a happy "Cornel" tucked into the ground. Six down, 232 more to go!