Monday, April 20

Preparing for the growing season in Portland,OR

A side view of the community garden

This spring continues to be the craziest planting season I have seen while living in Portland. I have been waiting it out for many weeks now to see if the warm weather will take a nasty turn back to winter. It never did. We have had stretches of 70s for a while now, and it even went up to 80 today. I decided I better get going when I saw roses blooming everywhere, and tomato plant starts for sale at the nurseries.

Time to put up twine for the peas to climb up

It makes for an interesting planting season. I am planting cold weather crops like peas and lettuce at the same time that I am planting summer crops like tomatoes and cucumber.
Basically, I am running out of planting space because I am used to planting and harvesting the cold weather plants before planting the warm weather ones. Did I mention that there are giant bumble bees everywhere? I first noticed them last month. Maybe bumble bees in March are normal, but I have never noticed them being around until the summer months.


One of my rectangle community garden raised beds

Here is a photo of one of my community beds. Sorry, it does not look too pretty right now. I just planted them with peas, onion, lettuce, beets, potatoes and a few herbs. Another obstacle to over come is the lack of water. Because it is April, the community garden has not turned on the water yet. We have to wait it out until May 1st, which is going to be interesting. We have put out buckets to collect rain water, but there has not been any rain- making me wonder if I have been transported from Portland, Oregon to somewhere else. I never thought I would be complaining about not enough rain here in Portland, Oregon.

My clematis leaves are really dry this year, but the flowers look great 

My poor climber looks very dry this year. I have got used to the fact that I now have to water everything daily even though it is April. I think the flowers look fine. This variety also flowers in the fall. I love clematis and wish I had more space to add a couple more.
I wonder how hard it is to make cuttings of it? I know that is one thing that Caroline and I both want to try this year. Seed saving and reproducing from cuttings. We also want to grow more flowers and herbs as we have mostly been concentrating on vegetables.

One of three wine boxes that I am planting in this year

I bought these wine boxes for a few dollars at a yard sale last year. We will see how long they last because I did not treat, or line them with plastic. I recommend that you do both if you want yours to last more than just one season. I was planning to add this hosta to a  new shady area bed I was going to create, but decided it would be best to stick to containers since I am renting.

Small raised beds on my apartment patio

 I am slowly adding more growing capacity by moving these small raised beds to my apartment patio from the guerrilla area I had in the back. I was able to find more mini drawer beds for the back area. The small white raised beds come apart quite easily, so if I ever move from here they should be easy to take with me. I also want to add more pots of herbs. I planted one of the small raised beds with onions, and I plan to add 3 tomato plants to the other one next week. As you can see, I have quite a bit of weeding still to do between the patio stones.


A new set of found drawers used as mini beds in my gorilla gardening area

Remember my drawer mini beds? Well, they worked out very well. The only problem is that they lasted only one season. However, they broke down really well which was beneficial to the soil. It appears that most drawers are made of real wood on the fronts, but the sides are made of particle board. If you need them to last you may need to seal them before planting. However, I think it is best to plan on them only lasting one season in wet climates. Another option is to store them in the winter. 

More mini beds. The first one is planted with strawberries

I found new ones a few weeks ago in a trash dumpster by my house. So I have 10 new mini beds which will help with the lack of planting space problem. This season I am using goat compost that was given to me by my neighbors next door. I was shocked how rich it was and did not have a poo smell. It is so much fun living next to mountain goats. Not to mention how easy they make weeding. When it is growing season all I do is throw my weeds over the fence for them, and in late fall they come over to clear the land. Now there is the extra benefit of having a supply of great compost. This growing season is going to be great!


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