Monday, June 7, 2010

One sunny day is better than no sunny day, right?

While an entire sunny weekend would not be too much to ask for, at least we sun deprived Portlanders got a glorious Saturday. Sunny skies and 72 degrees. Yes, that’s how bad it is, we were all gushing over 72 degrees! That’s a temperature to be proud of in March, not June. As the mailman said: “all of NE Portland is outside today!” So true.I decided it was time to plant the tomatoes. The peas had been taking their own sweet time but enough already. If that’s as plump as these pods are going to get well then so be it. Time to harvest.
Yikes. We’ve got a few peas to eat.
And that’s just ½ of the crop. The other tank is still going. At least that variety seems to be getting better with the more time spent on the vine.

I cut the plants a bit above ground level and worked the plants and roots into the soil along with some fresh compost. All the better to feed the tomato plants. I also added a bit of lime to the planting hole.

I was really surprised at how dry the soil was. We’ve gotten over 6.5 inches of rain in the last 4 weeks and this soil was not soggy. A testament to how much warmer the soil in a stock tank can be vs. the ground. Perfect for tomatoes!
So about the tomatoes…I planted Sungold a few weeks back in the middle of the ginger mint. It’s doing well. Even has some blooms! This will be the first time I’ve planted this variety but I’ve enjoyed handfuls from a former coworker so this one comes highly recommended.
The newly planted: Amana Orange (I’m a sucker for color), Early Girl (it’s a family tradition) and Golden Jubilee (usually I plant yellow pear but the Sungold are small and one only needs a few small tomatoes, thus a full size yellow).
The Amana Orange was planted in a peat pot (eco-friendly), you aren’t supposed to tear away the peat and with all these roots growing through the pot I believe it!
Even though it’s June I still put the wall-o-water’s up around the newly planted tomatoes. The forecast for the week ahead isn’t exactly warm, so these will act as mini greenhouses.
What else I’ve got growing right now…since I love basil I always end up planting it way to early. Our local grocery/everything store had nice plants on sale for $4.99 a few weeks back. I bought one and have harvested an amazing amount already. The plant is struggling on, although like me it would be happier if things dried and warmed up. When that finally happens I'll be planting Basil seeds too!
The next crop of peas is getting started.
And the carrots are finally sprouting. Only took them 3+ weeks.
Northstar pepper, a few leaves rotted in the wet cold temps, but I think its starting to come around, there are small peppers starting to form.
Last but not least a couple of Cilantro plants are looking good and producing lots of their tasty leaves.
Besides tending to the veggies I also took care of another garden chore. The mulch spreading. This is not a task I look forward to, but once under way I don’t mind it. And everything looks so clean and tidy when I’m done. The colors pop and I love knowing I’m giving nutrients to the soil and holding in the moisture, for the dry months that surely (? Hopefully?) are ahead.
I think my plantings are reaching somewhat of a critical mass. It used to take me up to 11 bags of compost to complete this chore, this time…only 3! Wow.
One of the things I enjoy about this task is that I really get to look at everything up close and personal. I’m very excited about these Callistemon buds!
I also discovered that the Dracunculus vulgaris (Dragon Lily) is getting ready to bloom. That’s the bud leaning of to the left. I’ve read that these are not reliable annual bloomers yet this one just keeps on producing every year!
Kniphofia blooms
‘Once you move an Acanthus you will always be moving the acanthus’ or so they say. And yes, I moved an Acanthus. So I’ve been expecting this. But what I wasn’t expecting was just a 1” bit of old root would start to sprout, and without even a single root visible! I found this little guy while spreading compost…and was delighted to pluck it out of the ground.
The bed where the Acanthus was.
The color of the small Dykia hybrid (Burgandy Ice) that I purchased at the YG&P Show back in February just keeps getting better and better.
The best part of the day? After a relaxing shower coming back out to the patio with a glass of wine and soaking up the days accomplishments! Wonderful.


  1. Talk about making the most of a small window of opportunity! Your oasis is no mirage.

  2. Wow, you got a lot done in one day! Your output is impressive. Your hostas look beautiful and I'm excited about your callistemon buds and that gorgeous little dykia. I've been looking forward to planting basil too - if it would just WARM UP. And nice to see Sammy could look on approvingly as you enjoyed your well-earned glass of wine.

    I spent half of Saturday walking and the other half digging out turf...less grass, more beds, that's my motto.

  3. AnonymousJune 07, 2010

    Your garden looks gorgeous.. I love that blue stuff you are using to protect your tomatoes. Never saw that stuff before. Yeah, 72F.

  4. Your gardens are stunning! I love how the beds look with fresh compost!

    Hopefully this damp weather will fade away to some summer heat soon. At this point it's not just the plants that need it. I'm starting to really miss the sunshine!

  5. I am sorry, but I don't see any weeds. Where are they? Did you get rid of them in Photoshop?

  6. ricki, I figured I'd better jump when I could. Although the long term forecast does have me hopeful!

    MulchMaid, I love your motto! Wish it wasn't so difficult to get rid of.

    FarOutFlora, thanks! Are you guys growing tomatoes? You should get some, they are great!

    Laura, thank you! Here in Portland we'll be setting another record...latest date ever to reach 80 degrees. I think Wednesday was the old record. Enough!

    Les, damn! You figured me out. It took hours and hours to get rid of them all!

  7. AnonymousJune 07, 2010

    I love your gardens, Loree. I'm feeling guilty about neglecting my mulching duties but I keep telling myself I don't want to smother the volunteers. Your Acanthus looks very promising. As do your veggies.

  8. Gorgeous combinations here. Anything in a metal container dries out so much faster..70's would be nice here we are flirting with triple digits..

  9. WoW O.O your backyar garden is looking amazing! I love your foliage plants. How is the new bit by the neighbor's garage doing? Good luck with the tomatos :)

  10. Grace, part of me wondered if I shouldn't have let things dry out just a bit before I mulched...but with the window of sun opportunity I just decided to go for it. I'm afraid the Acanthus went bye-bye, not wanted. But the one I moved (divided and now 2) is definitely enjoying all the rain!

    Darla, this weekend is predicted to be sunny and in the 80's!!! Triple digits sound a bit stifling.

    Mary C, thanks! Everything seems to be settling in well. It's really interesting to watch the speed with which some are taking off while others are just thinking about it.

  11. Gorgeous, gorgeous color and texture in your garden, Loree. I'm so glad you're getting a little sun. Man, 72 degrees sure sounds good to me. We've been sweltering in 97 degree temps and 90% humidity. Ugh.


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