Saturday, July 6, 2013

Garden Milestones

Not having been raised in a farming family, I've had to glean little morsels of folksy, hand-me-down farm wisdom wherever I could. Things like:

 -Tomato plants go in the ground on Mother's Day weekend
 -Don't cut hay before the 4th of July
-Fresh cream won't whip unless it's at least 3 days old
-Turkey poults are constantly on the lookout for new, more exciting ways to die
-Foxes and coyotes are at their murderous peak during the full moon

And maybe the most apropos bit of wisdom re: a Western Washington garden - if it isn't planted out and well established by mid-July, your crop ain't happening.

Our Summers are short here and typically have just two weeks or a month of any kind of heat, which is not always enough to make many garden favorites happen. I've learned the hard way that, short of using a greenhouse; hot peppers, watermelon and anything else that takes more than 90 days to grow or a month's worth of heat to ripen,  isn't meant to grow here.

There are exceptions, of course, a few of which are merrily growing away in my garden right now. My short-season corn is looking amazing, and well after I'd already resigned myself to the fact that in the land of mold and hungry raccoons, there would be no homegrown corn for us, ever. Behold the beauty (and note that the tassels cometh!) -

Yukon Chief Corn, day 37 (direct sown on 5-30-13)

Minnesota Midget Melons (Cantaloupe), day 70 (started indoors 4-27-13)

These melons are supposed to only take 70 days from seed to fruit (hence their appeal), but were held up on account of my delay getting them out in the ground, and their very rough (nearly fatal) transition from indoors to out. I'd love to see our first melon harvested before July is out, but I guess we'll get what we get when we get it.

Toma Verde Tomatillos, day 70 (started indoors 4-27-13)

Giant Greystripe and Miriam Edible Sunflowers, day 42 (direct sown 5/24/13) 

It may not look like much, and honestly, it's not, but to me... how do I put it? I get a sense of pride and nervous excitement when I think about my little garden, and all of the stuff that is growing beautifully there in spite of it a) being grown in soggy/unsunny/unpredictable western Washington, and b) being grown by a lady who is still learning to speak and understand the language of plants. So far I haven't screwed this up. Suffice it to say I'm pleased.

In addition to all of the up and coming beauty and bounty in the garden, there are a few other foodie delights coming our way shortly - wild blackberries and the opening of crabbing season in the Puget Sound. Happy days are here again!

If you're interested in learning more about any of the varieties of seeds/plants that I've mentioned here, you can read more and/or purchase some of these same seeds through Victory Seed Company and Seeds of Change. By the way, this is not a sponsored post - just one farm nerdess gushing about her garden. :) 

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Just popping by quick to say Hi, and to mention that I may not be able to post for the next Idontknowhowmany days, because my terminally ill computer has taken a sudden, steep nosedive in which the caps lock, w & q keys have all, rather abruptly, surrendered the burden of this mortal coil and have left me angrily shaking my fist in the general direction of hoever designed this stinking heap of a Helitt-Packard. Once the mystery illness spreads to a vowel, I'm sunk.

Anyhoo - I've been managing to knock out a brief Today's Take post each evening over on Ye Olde Bog Blog, should you be interested in keeping you finger on the pulse of Mudlandia. For instance - on the agenda for this lovely Independence Day? Cleaning chicken coops! The glamour of farm life never ends!