Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gardening in the Pacific Northwest

I actually grew stuff!  It is amazing.  I've never been able to grow anything.  I always kill plants.  But I think it has more had to do with motivation rather than anything else.  I've been reading about vegetable gardening for almost 3 years, but hadn't been able to actually have more than a couple pots of lettuce due to being pregnant or moving.
This spring I actually got to try it.  Selena and I built six garden beds from fence planks and put them in our front yard, as we do not get much sun in our backyard.  I bought expensive vegetable garden dirt recommended by Seattle Tilth.  I bought seeds from Territorial Seed Company per the recommendation of Steve Solomon because the test grounds are in the same climate as mine.  I stuck the seeds in the ground and low and behold I got a ton of food growing.

We've had a really cold spring and summer.  We are still waiting for a heat wave to hit the Seattle area.  Luckily I chose mostly crops that do well in cold and rainy weather.

The things that worked great for me were:
- Oregon and Cascade Snap peas
- Cilantro aka Coriander.  I can grow this stuff anywhere and plant it at almost any time.
- Miner's Lettuce
- Spinach
- Carrots
- Kale
- Edible Chrysanthemum
- Rutabaga
Things that were okay or I have yet to find out
- Green onions.  I got about a quarter to half of the seeds I planted to grow.
- Gold summer squash aka yellow zucchini.  I've got 5 teeny zucchini's growing so I think this one will be good.
- Leeks.  Almost all the leeks sprouted, but they take a long time to mature so we'll see how they end up
- Strawberries.  Most of the plants I bought were just roots and weren't expected to produce any or many berries this year.  I did buy two mature plants, but even those have only produced a few.  Next year we'll see if we can get a decent crop.

Things that didn't work
- Garlic chives.  I got a couple to sprout, but then they shriveled and died.
- Dill.  I've had luck with this in pots in the past, but this year I haven't got anything to even sprout.
- Cantaloupe.  I know this one was a gamble, but I decided to give it a go.  After a pathetic start the plant is starting to look a bit healthier.  But compared to the zucchini that I planted at the same time it is pretty pitiful.
- Mini Peppers.  This one too was a gamble, but I was hoping that the fact that they were mini might help them out.  I got a few seeds to sprout inside and got two plants to get a few inches high.  I transplanted them to a self-watering container outside.  One is getting taller but has yellow leaves and no buds.  The other one actually had a little pepper growing despite only being 6 inches tall, but then Allie ripped it to shreds. :(
- Cherry Tomatoes.  I tried to get these to grow from seed and I could only get a couple to sprout and then they died when just a couple inches tall.  I still may try to buy a mature plant and see what happens.
Overall I've been really happy.  I've got a jungle of food.  It has also been great to see how much the girls enjoy it as well.  They love the snap peas and eat them all day long.  They also pretend to be dinosaurs and eat the leaves of the snap peas and spinach.

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