Sunday, March 31

Easter Planting-Portland, OR notes

Happy Easter Caroline! What an Easter we had this year with the high being 77. I can't ever remember it being so warm this early, but there is a good chance we will drop back down to our usual 50's.

With the warm weekend all the seeds I have planted so far are emerging. The photo above is "Buttercrunch" lettuce. Some left over seed from last year I planted in a plastic utility tub.

I did get to plant the ever bearing strawberries that I told you about.

Here are some tulips in my yard enjoying the sun!

Here are some seed potatoes I saved from last year. I found a simple video that I watched before planting them.Last year I planted them the "no dig" way and that did not do too well for me.

A view of the potatoes in the tub. I covered them with 2 inches of soil and will continue to
top things off.

RC watching everything I was doing. I am waiting for some
herbs I ordered from the Cooks Catalog. I am hoping it will be a  hotter than usual this summer. If so it will finally be a good year for squash and tomatoes.

Friday, March 29

Note to Caroline-Early Spring & Strawberries

We are getting an early start on planting this year in Portland, Oregon with 70 plus weather predicted for Easter weekend. I want to plant strawberries. Here is a great video that gives plenty of information. The video says generally 1 plant produces 1 pint of berries. They also say that organic strawberries are still sprayed with a less toxic pesticide. Another reason to grow your own food. The video says that strawberries are the number one sprayed produce.

Sunday, March 24

Note to Michele: Smell the Dirt

Hi Michele, 

While you've been starting to get your hands in the dirt in Portland, Oregon, we've been shoveling snow. Yes, we had more snow here in Maine. This is what the first day of Spring looked like here! Recently, someone told me that in Maine, March 20 is just a suggestion. I'd say so. We still have 2-3 feet of snow on the ground here so very little to report in the way of gardening.
That said we, we decided to drive to some sunshine, to one of our favorite greenhouses. My mother says she likes to visit the greenhouse in winter just to smell the dirt. It did our souls good to feel some sun on our faces and enjoy the smells and sights of the greenhouse. 
 The greenhouse didn't have much to offer for spring gardens yet, but the pansies were in, though it's too early to plant any yet.
 The highlight of the visit was seeing the greenhouse cat.
 He was helping business by demonstrating just how much cats enjoy catnip.
 He drew quite a crowd of winter weary New Englanders who watched and chuckled as he delighted in the herb,
then promptly passed out.
We didn't buy any cat nip but I did buy a pot of wheat grass for our cats, at which they turned their noses up. I should have bought the catnip! My daughter said she enjoys smelling the wheat grass just to remind her of spring. It smells like a freshly mowed lawn when I trim it with scissors.
Just the sight of these seeds puts hope in my heart.

Until next time........


Sunday, March 17

Note to Caroline: Cha-Cha Chive

Just a quick note to let you know that I got my Cha-Cha Chive in from
It is grown like the common Chive, but has an unusual flower head.I can't
wait to test this fancy variety.

Pinned Image

Thursday, March 14

Reply to Michele: Still Winter Here

Dear Michele,

I am jealous of the pansies, green grass and rich soil I see in your photos. We're still in the throes of winter here, though the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight very soon.Temperatures have gone up this week and if it holds, perhaps all of the snow will disappear soon.

congratulations on the new raised beds. It must be wonderful to find a community garden plot so close to your home. Between your raised beds and your yard you will have plenty of space in which to garden without the hassle of taking the bus across the city. Your new garden looks like a welcoming place. I'm looking forward to seeing the progress you will make in the months to come. 

I love the color of your new container. It's bright and cheerful and to think you got such a great price on it, without all the work of painting the five gallon buckets. It's a great start.

I am also envious of those roses. Mine are still under snow. As far as planting pumpkins, I think that would work well. You can train the vines to go where you want and away from hungry goats. If you can get a photo of the goats, I'd love to see them sometime.

I don't have much gardening news to tell you from here. But I did take some photos of my mother's amaryllis for you. This is the second bloom, proving it is possible to get the bulb to bloom repeatedly. This one grew so tall the blossoms eventually broke off, so she placed them in a vase.

Here's a photo of my backyard and gardens buried in snow a few weeks ago. Some of the snow has melted, but the yard is still covered in snow. 

You can see some gourds and pumpkins on the rack. My daughter couldn't bear to put these in the compost last fall, so we just left them there. Now they are mushy but I'm wondering if we could try planting the seeds from them. What do you think?

Until next time...


Wednesday, March 13

First Signs of Spring in Portland,OR?

Well,maybe? Dear Caroline we had another day in the 60's today so I was able to
spend my first day on my Patio Garden Project now that the Community Raised Bed is planted.
Pictured below is one of the aqua colored utility bins I will be using. I must admit it is not the prettiest sight, but holds 25 gallons of soil which I purchased today for $10 and the tub cost me $6.
I was able to sow peas, carrots, lettuce and chard seeds.

I bought six pansy plants for $6 today just to fill my planters and for an instant splash
of Spring.

I wanted to show you one of my aloe plants that have been outside all year.

Here is a climbing rose. The roses are budding here and with Portland being
"The City of Roses", there are roses everywhere.

Below is a path behind the property. The fence belongs to my neighbor that has four mountain goats.
In a pinch do you think I could grow pumpkins or cucumbers back there? I can't grow anything too tall because the goats will just eat it through the fence.

Sunday, March 10

Note to Caroline: New Community Plot, Portland

Hi Caroline, this afternoon I worked at my new community garden raised bed. I still can't believe there was one right on my street and I never even knew about it. It is a private garden that is hidden on the grounds of a local business. The garden consists of about 30 raised beds some of which are community beds. I have to admit that I got used to my old space that could have fit 6-8 of these beds, but it is a joy to walk only 20 steps to the garden versus taking a bus ride for 45 minutes. I took a few photos to show you.

Today I was able to clear my clover covered raised beds, amend the soil and plant all in about an hour. I think I am in love with raised beds!

Because of the lack of space I have to rotate crops. Half of this bed is sown with peas and the other half is sown with Chard,Chives, Carrots, Beats, Lettuce and Onions.

 I am still planning to container garden and plant the border we discussed at my apartment. I think I will get going on that major project tomorrow.  As far as the weather, once in a while it breaks 60 here, but it is still chilly the rest of the time. I did spot some herbs for sale at the grocery store along with pansies and a few perennials. I imagine your garden is still covered in snow. Do you see any sign of spring yet?

Thursday, March 7

2013 Seed List


Here is the 2013 list of Seeds that we are going to share this year.  We have cut down our list a little in an attempt to really focus on vegetables that do not need a long season. We still love Baker Creek for the wide variety of seeds and they are also leaders in the fight against GMO.

Baker Creek's Website


Henderson Black Valentine
53 day pole bean

55 Albino Beet
White, 55 day-makes sugar

Catskill Brussel Sprouts
100 day

Cour di Bue Cabbage
Oxheart type heads

Jaune Obtuse Du Doubs Carrot
Yellow carrot

Poona Kheera Cucumber
60 days, from India

Wethersfield Red Onion
Dates back to 1700

Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash
Used in the 19th century for pies

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