Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Gossamer WheelI am out on the deck when I find her, hanging by a thread of her own making.

She swings from a long silver strand attached to the eaves, the tender breeze pushing her left, then right. Eight legs outstretched, she is no bigger than a lentil bean, and the sunshine makes her body glow, bright with orange and yellow. Where are you going, I wonder, with ten feet of space between you and the ground?

Curious, I sit down, leaned on the railing, and watch. (more…)

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I found these under the zucchini plant when I was straightening it up, after it had tipped over in the wind. Over six pounds of zucchini…and no, I didn’t let them ripen too long (though nearly so). Only the hint of seeds inside, and a flavor unlike anything from the grocery. Green, fresh, a bit earthy, clean.

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Mahonia after rain

Damage report:

It was hot and windy over the weekend, and one of the zucchini plants–the one with leaves the size of spinnakers–was partially uprooted.

This is a danger of container gardening: the low square footage of growing space. The zucchini (Black Beauty) is not a vining type, so it doesn’t spread so much; instead, it creates a massive dome of leaves and all the fruits come out of the base. Planting it to the leeward side, however, was a mistake, in that half of it was completely unsupported. The plant still seems fine (I estimate only 20-25% of the roots were disturbed/damaged), but note to self:

Situate large plants on the windward side of the box.

Progress report: (more…)

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Mahonia after rainWe’re six weeks into this experiment, and things are continuing well above expectations.

Due to our suddenly sunny summer, the plants are thriving. I’m astonished at how much water they take in, though. If I decide to take this large-scale and go in-ground instead of container, I think I’m definitely going to need some sort of drip irrigation system.

As it is, the larger plants are going through most of the 3-gallon reservoir every day. Soon (based on my neighbor’s results), they’re going to need watering morning and evening.


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Mahonia after rainFrom the Hoodathunkit Dept: This just in…

To the stunned surprise of many–myself included–my vegetable plants are thriving in their Earthboxes.

When I first assembled the boxes, I plunked in the starts and thought, Damn, they’re small. And they were. From their 4″ pots I took them, each only a couple inches high at most, and put them in the big containers. The zucchini and tomatoes looked especially puny, and I despaired of any measurable success.

Now, it’s been two full weeks. Our weather has been pleasant, but not hot [oh, er, I mean…ahem…it rains here every day, yes…don’t come to Seattle, it’s awful, you’ll hate it] and that little slice of yard gets good sun [yeah, like the sun ever comes out…] for late morning and all afternoon. The sun doesn’t set until after 9PM, here at summer’s solstice, so it’s a good long blast of sunshine. (more…)

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EarthBoxesSeattle has rubbish weather for vegetable gardening. It’s grey, it rains frequently, and our sunshine quotient slacks off in spring and autumn. I’m doubly unlucky in that, despite the great feng shui of my house, our little plot of land is not suited to farming, urban or otherwise.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my back garden. Mature trees, deep shade, covered deck off the second level of the house, it’s like a treehouse for grownups. But it’s not suited for vegetable gardening. I’ve also finally put the front gardens into shape, and now that Three Trunks has been taken down, the roses, the lavender, and other flowers are loving the extra sunlight.

So, where to plant a vegetable garden?

I do have this little triangular slice of land on the house’s north side, but the soil is just plain awful. Our cul-de-sac is situated on what used to be a sloping hillside. The developers took all the topsoil from our side of the street and dumped it all on the opposite side of the street to create a wide, level space to build houses. Unfortunately, this left our front garden with no topsoil. Dig down two inches (literally, two inches) past the struggling sod, and you’ll find hard-pan: a compacted, nearly concretized layer of diatomaceous soil that takes no water and allows no roots.

Solution? Raised bed gardening. Sure, but that’s one hell of a lot of work, especially if either my talents or the bit of land prove unsuitable to the task.

Solution? EarthBoxes. (more…)

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Gossamer WheelToday, as wide-eyed robins tweedle at the bluing grey of the overcast Seattle dawn, I prepare to say farewell to an old friend.

Nearly twenty years ago, we bought this, our first house. It was a blitzkrieg day, viewing house after house, some empty, some occupied, some small, some large. Our realtor took us all across North-of-Seattle King County as we searched the MLS for a home in our price- and requirement-range. This house, which we dubbed “Three Trunks,” was the third one we saw, and on arrival we knew it was the house we wanted. The rest of the day, viewing 17 more homes, was pretty much just spent confirming that first fact.

We called it “Three Trunks” because in the front garden near the street was a sad old triple-trunked alpine fir. I don’t know why, but for some reason alpine firs were popular in this neighborhood, sometime around the mid-1970s. When we take walks around the borough, we see them here and there. All of them are wretchedly ugly, stressed, and usually unhealthy, primarily because (duh!) Seattle is not an alpine climate.

The alpine fir in our front garden is uglier than most. After we moved in, our neighbors gave us the 4-1-1 on the old thing and let’s put it this way: It bore the scars of war.


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