The (R)Evolution of My Yard Part 5: Green Everywhere!

8 Jul

It’s finally summer weather here in Seattle and the garden is looking good!  I can’t believe we used to have boring grass!  Grass!  Who needs it!  Well, maybe sometimes, but that’s for another post, friends.

For now, I’m reveling in my garden.  And reaping the rewards of months of labor!  We have kale and lettuce to eat–the first fruits of our garden!

The romaine lettuce. The old yogurt containers were there to protect them for pests. Worked pretty well, except for slugs. More about them later. Those bastards...

The kale. We eat a lot of kale.

First salad of the year. It became a brined and grilled chicken caesar salad with homemade dressing. Delish! And I swear to god it killed the hangover I had over the holiday weekend.

The cabbage is starting to form itself into tiny heads–I can almost taste the tang of the kraut! IF I can manage to make kraut this year without it molding.

Where's Xavier Roberts when you need him? I need him to use his ugly ass dolls to bat away slugs!

The cabbage patch. I have copper tape stapled around the bed to keep away slugs. It's working ok.

The pole beans are climbing! Double S set up a tent trellis for them.

Pole beans.

Most of the arugula bolted fast, so we pulled it, ate a tasty, spicy salad and planted more seeds.

New chard seedlings in foreground. Lettuce in middle. Already consumed leggy arugula in the back--replaced with new arugula seeds. On a positive note: slugs do not seem to like arugula. Too spicy for those wimps.

We did have success with some arugula. But we didn't label it well enough to know which seed these plants came from. Next year, I'll take better notes!

The potato bed is thriving.  Double S hobbled that together with old pallets and window screens.  The window screens are needed to keep out all the neighborhood cats that call our yard home for some reason.  We do not want their leavings in our potato bed.  Plus I get to pluck slugs off the screens every night, when I go outside on my slug mass murder missions.  I’ve got warrants for many murders in the slug community.

Why yes, we do know our potato project is lovely. Thanks! It's working though!

Even the little oregano we started from seed is finally getting big(ger than it was.  It was a long process.)

We ran out of room in our beds, so we're using buckets too! Container gardening is easy, and a gateway drug to more serious gardening. Watch out!

The marigolds are in the beds to attract bees.

Don't forget to add flowers to your beds!

We even have one tiny purple asparagus…which I really don’t understand because we just planted the crowns a month or so ago, but whatevs!

Who da baby!?

We  finally scored some shiso starts from the farmer’s market last week.  Have you had shiso?  It’s like a red leafy cumin, basil, mint combo.  Try it! This blog has some ideas on how to cook with and preserve shiso.  I’m excited to give them a try.

We got the red shiso. The soil in the beds isn't as bone dry as it appears in this picture. I need a new camera, ok?

The cucumbers are thriving! As I’ve said, I LOVE me some pickles.  And it would be invigorating for me to pickle cukes that I grew with my own little old hands, so I’m overly excited about cucumbers right now.  Our cukes from seed did ok, but we supplemented with some cuke starts from the farmer’s market.  Does anyone have any lucky with starting cuke seeds inside?  I read not to do so, but now I’m wondering if that was the right choice, as the slugs munched up the cucumber seedlings as soon as they saw the light of day.

One of our cuke starts.

One of our pickling cuke starts. With the incredibly cool summer we've had until this week in Seattle, we kept most of our beds under cloches full time to gather heat. It worked!

The watermelons are climbing!  Does anyone know how to trellis small watermelons?  Or should I just let them lounge all over the bed? These are Sweet Beauties, which should get to about 6-7 pounds.  Right now, as you can see, we have the vines climbing up string, but obviously the string won’t hold the melons.  How exciting is that?  To me: Very!

Check out that steam! Our cloches provided a good hot environment for the watermelons so far. We had to! This is Seattle, not the South! The vines are vigorous so far!

Melon roots are shallow, so keep them well watered. We also used black plastic as mulch to keep the soil warm and to protect.

Watermelon rind pickles, watermelon juice, boozy watermelon, frat boy style watermelon filled with vodka...I can dream, right?

Our existing and transplanted raspberries are thriving!  We’re eating them plain and on our cereal.  And this weekend, dessert!   Blueberries seem to be next.

Be sure to trellis and separate your raspberries. With all the hubbub this year, our ended up too close together. This seemed to result in dead stalks and smaller berries.

Not quite blue blueberries.

And needless to say, we’re counting the seconds till our tomato plants flower, and our basil is overflowing!  Eating a warm, fresh off the vine tomato is truly a joy to me.  When they’re blooming (fingers crossed), I’m going to try my hand at making fresh mozzarella as well.  And I’m going to can them, dry them, and freeze them.     I think our tomatoes have really benefited from cloching for this month or so they’ve been outside.  We had some crazy cool temps in June in Seattle.  There were only seven days in June in Seattle where the temperature hit 70 degrees.  Yep, I said 70 degrees.  Click here for more, but here’s my favorite bit of Seattle weather trivia, from the aforementioned website.

The warmest day was June 23 when the temperature reached a high of 77 degrees; the coolest day was June 3 when the temperature reached a low of 46 degrees. The high temperature of 77 degrees on June 23 ended a record-breaking streak of 272 days, September 24 through June 22, in which the temperature failed to reach a high of 75 degrees.

Woo hoo!  272 days!

Anyway, back to the tomatoes.

Again, you can see the heat, even when it was only in the low 70s.

Our first green tomato of the season. A Bitano cherry tomato!

When it's hot, you have to vent the cloches. We'll be removing the cloches soon.

We've got 'em going in buckets too! We had a LOT of tomato starts.

The zucchini has taken over, moved into the house and now hogs the remote.  I think I’ll finally achieve my dream of having so much zucchini that I have to give it away to the neighbors, or make Double S’s favorite (read: Not favorite) zucchini chocolate cake.  Unbelievably, we’ve never had luck with zucchini.  Double S will be embarrassed that I admitted that.  But admitting you have a problem is the first step, am I right friends?

The steamy zuke bed. Double S planted those from seed less than a month ago. Zucchinis are monsters! Plus, you've gotta tried Double S's batter dipped and fried zucchini blossoms...

Our first tiny zucchini of the season!

The peppers are doing that well.  However, they wilt fast.  I’m thinking maybe it’s been too hot for them under their cloches, so they were the first to go cloche-less for extended periods.

This one looks good! Full disclosure: The plant had the pepper on it when I bought it! Our pepper seeds we started under the lights just didn't thrive this year. Any tips?

Looking good!

And the eggplant!  We might actually get an eggplant!  The plants are finally getting bigger; they had been staying at a miniature size for weeks.

Double S worked hard on this, and they're starting to grow! We will defy the naysayers who say that eggplant cannot be grown in the NW. Maybe! Black plastic mulch helps too!

We did all of this in less than a year, and it’s been fun.  And we’re finally getting to eat our delicious reward!  This is the fun part!  O.K., so maybe it’s been a bad growing season so far, but maybe our sweat will pay off.  And if not, we’re learning!

Our pals growandresist and her ladyfriend made this for us! They are awesome! Happy gardening!

Next up, drip irrigation.  It’s been a bear to water all of this every few days!  Drip irrigation saves time and water.  More to come on that!  Also, I’ve got to tell you guys about my slug adventures, but more about that later too.  For now, me and my new friend/awesome garage sale find of the year bid you adieu.

You slugs best be steppin! Editor's note: Garage sale owl doesn't actually scare slugs. He was still worth the two bucks though!


3 Responses to “The (R)Evolution of My Yard Part 5: Green Everywhere!”

  1. Double S July 8, 2010 at 3:28 PM #

    I hope that in the interest of mutual learning and further sharing that when you write about slugs you will disclose how my eye became victim to a slime attack after one of your murderous adventures…

    • ohbriggsy July 8, 2010 at 5:06 PM #

      i will have to tell! it is unfortunate we didn’t get a picture. should we reenact the incident tonight?


  1. Cook the Books February! Spicy (Homegrown!) Potato Samosas! « oh, briggsy… - February 1, 2013

    […] to use potatoes. Why? Well, it’s kind if a funny story.  As you may have read here in the past, Double S and I moved into the old homestead in 2009, and immediately turned the yard into a […]

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