Sunday, February 28, 2010

Garden Time

In Western Oregon, there is often a 'nice spell' of weather in Feb that's condusive to gardening, & flowers like this patch of violets on the way home from ballet yesterday. Last Sunday I planted peas & divided garlic (a few 'hidden' cloves) with my granddaughers.

I made my first Nettle Pesto yesterday, after taking seeds I picked up at Rose Marie Nichols McGee's talk on Container Gardening at our library over to show my former hubby, a botanist. (he has a lovely nettle patch)

I knew he'd be particulary pleased to have a few more Crambe maritima (Sea Kale) seed - he has a small patch with both seed he harvested from the Coast by Newport (where a small colony has been on a hill for more than 100 years) & a few from seed he ordered. It needs to be 'stratified' - soaked, outer cover removed, then put in & out of the fridge for several weeks before planting. Since it's perenial, it needs a permanent home in the garden. (Nichols offers a generous 25 seed, the company he ordered from supplied 5!)

Other seeds I am trying inc. 'Okahijiki' (Salsola komavovi) - 'land seaweed' (will add kelp to the soil of both these babies!) Fun to read that it's in the tumbleweed family, as I grew up on the 'dry side' in Central Oregon, where tumbleweeds abound!! The name okahijiki is literally land (oka) seaweed (hijiki - a black 'worm like' crunchy seaweed, which was my son's favorite!)
Suggestion is to briefly blanch (bring to a boil & turn off) then marinate or saute, or add raw to salads. I think one of the venders at our Farmer's Mkt. had some last year. A bit salty & crunchy. It also has edible seeds! (Wiki also says several of the other species have edible shoots - who knew?)

Purslane, is also a nice, crunchy salad addition (& high in Omega 3 fats!) This is one we've encouraged on the garden beds across town (where my former hubby caretakes his almost 94 year old mama). I'm working on trying more greens from different plant families (amaranth - good for both seed & greens, etc), as different plants have different health enhancing properties.
I've been doing a seed inventory - do you also tend to buy seed, & plant a few, but then forget to plant again, or to plant them AT ALL?? I still have the CSA share, & enjoy the variety of fresh OG veggies available; but I also plan to do more gardening, as it's something I love, & I enjoy having some greens fresh from my own yard daily!

In Rose Marie's talk, she recommended using ANY containers you have available - just be sure that you poke drain holes! & add fertility (I intend to soak some of my seaweed - Nichols offers granular 'Sea Magic' to "Use as a foliar spray for quick effective results and/or water in around the roots."- The instructions are to empty the 30 g packet (1 oz) into a gallon of water (the concentrate), then use 3 tsp. of concentrate in a quart of water for the spary & to put around plants. I have Kelp I've gathered at the coast, & some from the bulk bin at the Feed & Seed, so will use my own to make up a batch.

A fellow with a soil ammendment & such shop downtown recommended seaweed as a spray to enhance blossom set on my peach tree, & for other applications. & carries a range of 'goodies,' inc Molasses.

Another of Rosemarie's gems - bring your Meyer Lemon (& other citrus) in during the winter - it will live outside, but not set blossoms!! Sigh! Mine is full of fruit, but I left it on the porch too long. 'no wonder' . . . She said folks often proudly state 'well, I left my lemon out on my porch, & it did fine!' & she'll innocently inquire "& did it have flowers??" which add such a delightful fragrance in the dead of winter! NEXT YEAR I'll bring it in early, I promise

She detailed root pruning - take ~ 1" off all the way around, plus any brown root 'spirals' that are at the bottom, add back new potting soil & some (organic) fertilizer when you repot (can keep in the same pot if you take 1" off, or move to a bigger pot if you could still move it :) & take about the same amount off the top of the plant - do 'good pruning' where you remove crossing branches, etc. (This advice is for any perennial pot plants)

She had slides of gardens she's visited, & their use of containers. A rooftop above a Portland Restaurant with 12 or 13 wading pools was delightful! They poked holes in the bottom, filled with kitchen compost & potting mix, & produced all the produce for the restaurant! They also had little 'green sheds' for tomatoe plants (protection from the wind!) & other containers. Made me realize that this pool from last year might just make a good garden, lol! Colorful (theirs were the harder plastic, mostly blue or green) Link

-- The first batch of 'milk' (Coconut this time) kefir was done this AM - & YUM!! I shared some of the yogurt with my daughter, & she asked if I'd make it 'all the time' for the girls. It's mild & no extra ingredients - just the agar agar - more seaweed :) to help it gel!

Time to get out in the SUN!!

Went on a walk with my daughter & the girls, then (having asked if I could use last summer's pool) proceeded to make a couple of Gardens. I have orchard grass, morning glory, & some pretty heavy soil (great for the nutrients, but challanging at times!) Plus my daughter's big dog doesn't recognize 'garden' borders.

The pool was ~ 7' across, so I cut it in half - down the side, across the middle & up the other side, to make two ~ 3 1/2' garden pools! I poked more holes in the bottom, put a bit of duck tape on the strip, & filled partway with the leaves I pulled off the other gardens, compost (full of worms) & a bit of dirt from the garden next to the pools!

Here are views of the outside & inside one of the new gardens.


Genie Sea said...

Dia! You're such a powerhouse. Such an inspiration. I wish I had a green pinkie even :)

Sophie said...

I'll be interested to see how your okahijiki seeds turn out - I haven't tried growing it myself yet

Tammy said...

It's fun to read about what you're planting! This is our first spring in Oregon (in Lincoln City) and I'm SO amazed by the new growth we see already. Coming from Colorado where you couldn't plant outside until May, this is crazy!! :)