Thursday, July 8, 2010

My New Garden Assistant

Every gardener needs some help sometimes with digging




Testing the hardiness of perennials

Getting rid of unwanted garden decor

Friday, June 25, 2010

Slug Wars Episode I, The Menace

                   The war is on, the enemy has been engaged in mortal combat.
                   The foe is the mighty Northwest slug, or gastropod mollusc.

                     The weapons of mass destruction are Hamms, Michelob, and Widmer beers.

                           The battlefield is my vegetable garden.

                                 The reason to make war, the fallen civilians.

                         And don't forget the bean counter, who keeps it all going with his stats.

                           Before the war is through one beer shall emerge the champion slug killer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Over the years I've been inching away at my lawn. I dig up a half foot off the perimeter of my veggie or flower gardens and in less than a season it's back. I first heard about permaculture in my local newspaper, then a friend told me about Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway.

                                                 Huckleberry, with permaculture beneath
Hemenway's basic recipe is to lay down vegetation and soil amendments, then a thin layer of manure. On top of those goes a thin layer of newspaper or cardboard followed by another thin layer of manure or a nitrogen-rich substance. Top that with a very thick coat of hay or organic material. Lay down some compost and crown the whole thing with straw, leaves or other types of seed-free mulch.

                  Area of my veggie garden I permacultured last year with mulch and first layer of     
                  vegetation down.

I decided if I followed the recipe exactly my yard would tower over my driveway and walks by several feet. So I modified. For areas I wanted to till -veggie garden- I kept it thin. It was virtually weed-free last year and tilled easily this spring.

                                                                  The evil Ivy

For an area on the side of my house that had been infested with ivy- I went thick. The ivy has popped up in only a few places but either the straw sprouted or some grass-like seed took root.

                                            My sprouting straw

Luckily it's on the surface, rather than running beneath, so it's easily plucked and used as a first layer elsewhere.
Now I have all my veggies planted I'll be after the big stuff- my front lawn.
In a later post I'll show some of the layers as I put them down.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friends and Enemies

As the garden battle intensifies we line up with our friends to face our foes. Bees- love 'em or fear 'em- you won't have a garden without them. I'll write another time about how I learned to love bees, worms, and spiders.

Worms. I have a lot of clay in my soil, so these are my best friends. I even touch them regularly.
I don't call myself the gloveless gardener for nothing.

Spider momma and babies to the right. If she stays put I'll take some more photos of her. Years ago I would never have gotten anywhere near close enough to take this shot.

Good old ivy. We actually planted this stuff in the yard when we first moved to the Northwest 30 years ago. And we're still beating it off. I'm hoping eventually the perma-culture will win this battle.

Slugs, our Northwest favorite. (Enemy, that is)  With the wet spring we've had these beasties are a plague. More to come on using beer and copper in the fight against them.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Coming Attractions

                                                   You'd think I love these things!
I would love to have folks send in ideas and tips from their gardening life. You can make comments or be a guest blogger. I plan on doing two series of blogs. One on  perma-culturing. I am gradually converting all my front lawn to garden and will report as I go. I am also doing a modified perma-culture in my vegetable garden.

                               This is my first section of perma-culture in my front yard. The topper of straw sprouted!

 I am also experimenting on the best ways to get rid of slugs without poisons. I have tried for several years to be organic and would like to keep the blog focused in that direction.

                                              The evil nocturnal slugs love a bite of Japanese eggplant

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Peonies Adelman's Nursery

This is the Bartzella, one of my favorites. It is big and glamorous- just what a peony should be.

The Madame Butterfly- the name says it all.

The Chocolate Soldier- yum!

The cream puff is the one I bought, for now. I'm getting rid of my front lawn this year, so next spring I can go peony-crazy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Garden and nursery tour

I just got back from checking out Bauman's Nursery and Adelman's Peony farm with some friends.

These are fuchia from hanging baskets at Bauman's. More pix will follow.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Addicted Gardener

Garden Quiz
If you think you may be a problem gardener take the following short quiz. You must be completely honest to get accurate results.

1) Have you ever told your family, "I'll be outside pulling weeds for a few minutes." and they find you five hours later covered in pollen and mud?
2) Have you ever taken a quick pick-up-a-few-herbs-for-your-patio-planters trip to the local nursery and on your return home spent two hours unloading the back of your van?
3) Do you still subscribe to your local paper for the weekly gardening section?
4) Do you follow more than ten gardening blogs?
5)  Do you own more than fifteen hand trowels and/or twenty garden gloves?
6) Have you learned to love spiders, bees, and garden snakes?
7) Do you wish you'd taken Latin in high school so you could remember all the scientific plant names?
8) Are you a master gardener or seriously contemplating becoming one?
9) Do you tenderly cup a new blossom in your hand and whisper sweet nothings into its stamens?
10) Have you subdivided your closet and chest of drawers into gardening and non-gardening clothing?

Count your total yeses

1-4  You are still a regular human being who can associate comfortably with family and friends.
5-6  You are drifting perilously close to the point of no return. Use a kitchen timer when you go outside and strictly limit your gardening to three hours a day. Give away your extra trowels and gloves.
7-8  You are a problem gardener. Seek out a twelve step group immediately. Also check with your doctor, there may be medicines that can help.
9-10 You are a fully-fledged addict- Give up the fight and enjoy!