Vegetables forever

imageI will always be a vegetable gardener. I still get a thrill from being able to go out into my garden and pick a salad for lunch. I am able to do that about eight months of the year and I would like to up that as I know there are gardeners on the Pacific Northwest who are able to do year round harvesting. Every year is different in some way. This is the first year I have has a good crop of radishes that the slugs did not find. In my hopeful sort of way, I put down a few radish seeds every spring thinking they will be my trap crop to be sacrificed the slugs but not this year.

My big success this so far this year has been sugar snap peas. I planted two varieties, the early Super Sugar Snap that I began harvesting today and the slightly later Cascadia which is blooming now.

My struggle this year is with cucumber seeds/transplants. I started way too early and the first transplants were ok for about three days in the ground, then died. Next I tried direct seeding and that was a bust! Today I went back to indoor lights and heat mat with germinating mix. Seeds are cheap. I hope the third time is a charm.

My EarthKind rose garden 

I have a problem area on the property that I call the bluff. There is a retaining wall and a rise of ten steep feet. Five years ago I had a vision and four years ago I planted. It is really difficult to get up there to weed or prune, so I chose varieties listed in the EarthKind collection at Chamblees roses. I am very happy this area is filling in as I hoped. The roses are ‘Rev d’Or’ and ‘Mutabalis’.

Gardening in the Age of Pinterest: Dubious Online Garden Tips

WV Garden Guru

Social media have made it easy to share information the world around. It has made it easy for people to connect and interact more than humans ever have before.

Gardening is a common theme on Facebook, Twitter and, especially, Pinterest. Ideas are easily shared through these sites. It’s great to see such interest in gardening.

Sometimes, however, these ideas should be taken with a grain of salt. It turns out that you can’t believe everything you read online (surprise, surprise).

Ideas coming from anecdotal observations that haven’t been confirmed or tested through research make their rounds on the Internet, causing frustration — and even danger — for unassuming gardeners. I like to call it “gardening in the age of Pinterest.”

Finding accurate information

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As an extension agent, it is my job to teach people about gardening using…

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Peaches from Eastern Washington

22 lbs. for $15.

22 lbs. for $15.


Peaches did not grow in Minnesota (too cold) and were shipped in from Colorado or California back then. We did not eat many fresh peaches. Now I see peaches readily available and at very reasonable prices. Yesterday I got a 22 lb. box of Freestone peaches for only $15. At Olmsteads fruit stand (and nursery in Poulsbo). I also learned the difference between Cling (which ripen in June/July) and Freestone (which ripen now). This is an important distinction, because I planned to process them for freezing.

Planning ahead before you start is the key to success. For me, it was like setting up stations at school.

Station 1
Crate of peaches (cut an X at top of each peach. This will help with peeling), water boiling in a large pot (blanch 40 seconds) , large bowl of ice water to stop the blanching and bowls to drain the cooled peaches.

Station 2
Plastic bag in a pot to contain the mess of waste, skins and seeds. A bowl with Fruit Fresh (dissolved in water as stated on the package), the glass container used to freeze sliced peaches overnight before cutting them in Ziplock freezer bags for storage.

I got all the peaches processed to the end of station one, or to the draining point, before I peeled and cut any.

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This has been a very satisfying preservation project that took about 1 1/2 hours to complete. Tomorrow I will transfer the frozen peaches to Ziplock bags for storage.

Garlic scapes

A recent #gardenchat discussion got me thinking about garlic scapes and how I use them.

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I cut them now, as seen in the photo, before they flower and make pesto, just substituting garlic scape for basil. This will freeze easily in small cubes, if you have a plastic cube tray or as blobs on a lined freezer tray. Then put them in a Ziplock freezer bag for storage.

Another easy use for garlic scapes are as a substitution for green onions in a salad or as a very mild garlic when garlic is called for in a recipe.

The remainder of the stem and garlic bulb are left in the ground to dry and cure as usual.

Blooms of summer

I have to remind myself about the enjoyment part of gardening. Every day I mentally say “what needs to be done in the garden today?” I spend a lot of time doing things in the garden. For example, yesterday I potted up 25 or more chrysanthemums to their final pots. You will see them next fall. Right now my first flush of roses needs to be deadheaded, but today I am a bit under the weather so I just went out to enjoy the flowers. A rare pleasure.

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