Late Bloomers During a Welcome Dry Spell

The weather here in the Pacific Northwest USA never ceases to amaze me. Statistically, November is the rainiest month but we are currently in a very welcome dry period. Dry but rather cold at night (26* F so far in my garden.) I am amazed at the plants that are still healthy and blooming!
Camelias naturally bloom at this time of year, but it is still fun to share. Recently I moved the tiny chrysanthemum into the greenhouse. I thought Bacopa was an annual but it is still hanging on. The hardy fuchsias are the stars. I have only known the annual fuchsias in my previous gardens.

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Greenhouse problem solving

I keep what is referred to as a “”cool greenhouse,” meaning no winter heating. That works and is common in this maritime climate of the Pacific Northwest, but is not without potential problems. Last winter I had some stored, potted plants and a few winter vegetables slowly growing, for winter harvest. I also had a fungal attack within the greenhouse, probably something that came in with the potted plants and bloomed in the humid air of our rainy season. This is where the book I referred to yesterday became enormously helpful. Since the greenhouse is such a small in closed space, there is generally no air movement, making a prime environment for insects and fungi. One of the early chapters in “Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion” showed a simple fan set up to provide circulation needed for two reasons: first to foil insects and dry out the area and second to move around CO2 and O2 for improved plant health. Last summer as part of purchasing supplies to repair the greenhouse roof, I did a trip to Charlie’s Greenhouse in Mount Vernon, WA and saw a small fan for $37.00 for greenhouse use. I have been running it for a few hours during the day.

Fan.

Fan.

Intoxicating

Every time I enter my little greenhouse my nose goes directly to the Meyer Lemon tree. The fragrance alone is worth the effort to keep it healthy. I think this would also be a successful plant in a sunroom within your home.

The little greenhouse is my refuge.I think I need more flowers to get me through the fall and winter. By midday the oxygen level inside that space must increase and makes it a very pleasant stop.

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There is a chill in the air

Like it or not, it’s time here. The Hood Canal area of the peninsula had a freeze last night. I think my area near Puget Sound got down to 34* or 36*F. Today I started loading my unheated greenhouse with tender plants I want to save. During the past two years The lowest low in January was 26*F on one or two overnights. Plants inside have been safe. I hope we have another of those average winters ahead.
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Fall veggie gardening

This week in mid-August is when I typically finish up planting my fall and winter garden from seed.
These Sugar Snap Peas have been growing a few weeks.

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I have been busy harvesting some great tomatoes today: varieties Glacier and Stupice from Territorial seeds, started in February. These tomatoes will get roasted with olive oil and garlic (375* for 45 minutes) then cooled and put in the food processor to make sauce. So quick and easy.

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I am out of space in my raised beds and greenhouse raised bed so I am experimenting with these two rectangle containers that most people call flower boxes. I never have enough salad greens, so yesterday I planted a several types of lettuce, spinach and kale for baby salad greens. I expect these containers will end up in the greenhouse this fall.

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Fall and winter garden time

We just started harvesting the first tomatoes and cukes when it’s time to get ready for the fall and winter garden. This is our dry time of year in Western Washington, I have already drained two rain barrels and I wonder if the additional cost of city water will exceed the value of the veggies it will nurture. Maybe I should not think so deeply…
About four weeks ago I started two flats veggie seeds to transplant around the end of July. Broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts and swiss chard.

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I plan to grow the brussel sprouts in the greenhouse bed. That plant gets so tall and would be difficult to cover with Remay fabric later. The greenhouse will keep bugs away. I have had good luck in the greenhouse bed this season. Early lettuce, broccoli, then tomatoes and cucumbers. The photo shows the lemon cukes today. I trained them vertically to save space.

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