Friday, May 29, 2015

Garden Update #1

Well it's hard to believe it's almost June! But we are so ready for summer! It's been beautiful here and we've all been loving the sunshine.

Edward enjoying a good roll in the sun!
They also opened the park splash pads here in Portland and W has been enjoying them every day. With temps in the 80s again today, it's safe to say we'll be back there again this afternoon!

My garden is enjoying the sunshine as well. It also enjoys when I remember to water it. Note to self: remember to water the garden!

The strawberries are really growing and the red one on the right is just about ready to eat. W actually picked another ripe one and gave it the thumbs up, but he's anxiously awaiting sinking his teeth into this bad boy!

I will eat all the strawberries!
The peas are still going strong as well. We picked a few pods that I'm not sure were 100% ready yet but W deemed them very sweet and yummy. Can't wait until the rest of these are ready!

And I just love how the bean stems are wrapping themselves around the bamboo.

We picked some lettuce last night for salad (it was fantastic!) so the lettuce is looking a little sparse but it'll grow back soon. We've also picked a few of the French radishes - very peppery! - but they were on the small side so I'm trying to get  W to leave the rest and let them get a little bigger. I can't decide whether I want to plant another round of seeds or not. Also, the parsley is still doing it's thing. I think B used a leaf or two for cooking and then ate some leaves plain (for breath control) so at least it's getting some use!

And the zucchini and tomatoes are still fighting for control of the patio!

The zucchini leaves are giant and still unfortunately blocking most of the light from the pepper plant, though I've tried to lower the leaves of the zucchini plant but that thing just keeps growing!

Poor Mr. Pepper Plant :(
The yellow tomatoes made their move this week and have started to flower!

Look at that strong stalk!

The red cherry tomatoes are still the tomato champs though, there are about 7 tiny little tomatoes growing!

And I wouldn't want to forget W's pumpkin plant, which he asks about, looks at, and reminds me to water everyday.

Plus I discovered that the second rose bush in my front yard is red! Only two blooms so far but it looks like it's getting ready to go crazy with all the buds on it! Can't wait!

We'll be outside enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful weather while it lasts (it's supposed to rain Monday and Tuesday). Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!


- c

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A trip to the farmer's market + the rest of the plants

It's a cloudy, misty day here in Portland. But we Pacific Northwesterners don't mind a little rain and we've already been out and about. W had soccer this morning and then we hit up the Portland Farmer's Market at PSU for coffee, breakfast burritos, and artichokes. DeNoble Farms is my go-to stand for produce at the farmer's market and today they didn't disappoint with some really lovely globe and Italian varieties of artichokes. I can't wait to have them for dinner tonight!

When we came home, I noticed that our rose bush out front was blooming beautifully, so I thought I do a quick post on some of the rest of the plants growing around the new house. This rose bush is right outside our front door and adds a real pop of color.

 On the other side of the front walk, under the kitchen window, I have a rhododendron and a hydrangea. The hydrangea I planted myself a couple of weeks ago so it's still fairly small, but you can just see a tinge of blue on the flowers that are starting to bud. I fell in love with hydrangeas back in Seattle but never had a location to plant them in. We actually had another plant in that space but it died over winter, so I pulled it out and popped in the hydrangea. Now I'm happy :-)

I've also got 4 blueberry plants on the side of the house. Right now, only one has anything resembling a blueberry but I have high hopes (maybe not this year but in the future).

Back in the patio garden, it looks like we have our first red strawberry! I think it might need one more day, so I'll try my best to keep W away from it. He'll be my official taste tester when we do pick it. 

Also, the zucchini plant is completely taking over this container. The leaves are so big, the poor pepper plant is forced to huddle in the corner. I think I might need to replant it, but I'm afraid I'll kill it if I do. But then again, it might not survive anyway if the zucchini plant keeps stealing all of its sunlight. What to do?

Well, we are off to a kiddo birthday party  (isn't having kids great! :-p), hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday weekend!


- c

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I'm back!

So after almost 2 years, and a lot of changes, I think it's time to rev this blog up again and document my garden (and probably a bit of my life too). So guess who's back?!

Why hello there!
So first up, the changes. My wonderful husband, B, applied for and received a promotion to a new management position within his company. Great news, right? Of course, but why the fuss? Well this new position was in another region, which means . . . we moved! Not too far away, though. As you might recall (or maybe you don't, it's been like 18 months - sorry!), we lived in Seattle, Washington. Well the new position is in Portland, Oregon!


So we drove the 3 hours South, got ourselves a nice little house, and settled in about 7 months ago. So far we are missing Seattle like crazy but are starting to really like our new city. Especially the excellent public transportation system and amazing bike lanes. We even got a trail-a-bike and W (who is almost 5!!) loves to ride around the town. Every once in a while, he'll even peddle.

So the new house. It's brand new, like "we are the first people to ever live in it" brand new. We weren't looking for a new build, but after living in a 95 year old house in Seattle and dealing with the 95-year old clay pipes, the lack of electrical outlets, and the windows that wouldn't open, we decided that new was fine with us. And it was a good decision. I have 13 electrical outlets in the living room/dining room alone! It's incredible! The only thing this awesome house didn't come with was a huge back yard. In fact, the backyard is pretty small. But again, after the yard in the Seattle house which quickly became overgrown with weeds, bamboo, and other unknown species of plants, it's nice to have something that's easy to maintain. And the light!! I didn't realize how little sun we got in Seattle until we moved here. So far this Spring, I've clocked the back patio as getting 8-10 hours of direct sunlight a day. Which will only go up as the days get longer. Woo-hoo! Finally, I can buy those plants that say "full sun."

So even though we have a very small yard, I decided to try some container gardening for our very first summer here. And we are off to such a great start that I decided to revive the blog! I guess you never know what's around the corner :-)

So a quick tour of what I've got growing:

This may look like a jumble of green, but it's actually 2 tomato plants (a cherry tomato and a golden), a zucchini, and a bell pepper. All growing strong and the cherry tomato (in the lower right) already has a small green tomato in its midst. Also, the zucchini leaves are giant. How's that for starting things off on the right foot!
This little tomato is kind of shy.
W calls the zucchini leaves "elephant ears"

I actually think I should have planted the tomato, zucchini, and pepper in their own containers, but live and learn - and make a note for next year.

I've got some salad bowl lettuce (to the left) that I've already picked off of twice and it just keeps coming back! Love having fresh lettuce in the garden! In the middle are french radishes that we planted from seed and have already picked a few of as well. Very peppery and tasty. I think I'll plant some more to keep these things coming all season! On the far right is flat leaf parsley. I don't want it to seem like I don't respect the flat leaf parsley, but this plant was purchased as part of a buy one, get one free deal and while parsley in the garden seems like a great idea (and we certainly use it in cooking), we never seem to actually pick it and it ends up going to seed or being pulled up at the end of the season unused. My goal this year is to actually. use. the. parsley. We'll see. Any tips on what to use large amounts of parsley for would be greatly appreciated. Maybe I'll be inspired.

From left, beans, peas, and strawberries, oh my!

These are my favorites simply because they will not be stopped. They are growing like crazy and the pea plant already has pods on it!

The pods are empty though. I assume they fill in with peas? I wish there were some way to look up this information, quickly and easily. Oh hello Google! ;-)

Can't wait till this thing goes red!
I gave in and bought one of those prefab strawberry planter thingies filled with plants and it's doing great! The only problem is getting W to wait until the berries turn red before he picks them - unfortunately, several green strawberries will never make it to maturity due to the overzealous nature of a 4 year old! A moment of silence, please.

Arise ye pumpkins!
W is also getting into the act and this very day brought home a pumpkin plant he grew from seed in school. It came home in a biodegradable mini pot so we just dug a hole, popped it in, covered it with soil, and watered gently. He has high hopes of growing several large pumpkins that will be ready to carve for Halloween. That kid is always thinking ahead!

So that's the backyard for now. As I said, it's small, but full of sun (and love and joy and all that other schmoopy stuff) and hopefully we'll be getting some good eats very soon.

I have plans to post garden updates and maybe some other stuff at least twice a week, so stay tuned and welcome back!


- c