Dan Hinkley’s unique garden

My garden club has a reputation for organizing many interesting field trips every year. Being relatively new to the area (six years already) I have enjoyed this type of orientation to the local gardening world. I really didn’t know about Dan before we went on the trip, but judging from previous trips with this group, I just knew it would be fun! It did not disappoint. 

A garden needs to have acreage to be able to grow several types of bamboo. That is just one of the many unique features of Dan Hinkley’s hidden garden on the waterfront. Dan told us about bamboo the pandas eat and how to cook bamboo shoots! He broke off one and handed it to us for inspection.  As we wandered about, I noticed that none of the plants were labeled but every question about variety or source location brought an in depth answer. Many of the plants on the property were started as seeds collected in places like Japan, China or Tasmania. 

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Unwelcome visitor

This year I planted about 24 bean seeds three times. The first time the soil was too cold and they did not germinate. I think the same thing happened the second time. I have a tendency to rush the season, beans are cheap and I only plant 24 since I am feeding two people now. The third time, around the very end of May, they actually germinated and grew and I harvested them twice, but then Sunday night my husband forgot to close the gate and I did not check and overnight the open gate welcomed a deer into my garden. Deer love beans. It/they snacked on a few roses but totally took out the beans.

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Too hot for transplants

I am trying something new for me since this is my third try with cucumber seedlings this year. I planted them out in the early evening then I covered the area with Remay fabric for sun shade, not frost protection. This raised bed is intensively planted with warm season crops such as tomatoes and a few bush beans. I draped the fabric over tomato cages to allow for air circulation. I hope this will give the transplanted cucumbers a better chance at success tomorrow during the expected sunny weather. 

Heat, heat, heat!

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A couple of days in the high 80’s and my garden (and this gardener) are wilting in the sun!

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Not this bad, but my sugar snap peas are complaining, and the San Marzano tomatoes that are waiting for the space currently occupied by the sugar snap peas are complaining and my tomatoes in Walls of Water have outgrown their protection, which they no longer need. Gardener, get to work!

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Slug resistant garden containers

I love growing in my raised bed veggie gardens and sometimes the slugs love my veggies too. The smaller the starts, the easier they are to be destroyed. So last fall I found some copper tape on clearance and figured out that the roll contained just enough to encircle two plastic “flower boxes” and enough to surround the drainage holes on the bottom. This has been very successful! I have basil and a few lettuce plants that are growing in this prime real estate. When I want a few lettuce leaves to put on a sandwich, I do not want Swiss cheese lettuce.

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3 in 1 Worm Ranch

You know you have a real garden friend when she says ” do you want to go get some worm poop this weekend? ” Then you both smile and giggle with an enthusiastic “yes!” That was my cold, wet Saturday morning today.

Kitsap County Rose Society recently hosted Julie Fritts who owns 3 in 1 Worm Ranch in Poulsbo, WA. During her talk she explained the benefits of using worm tea and the actual worm castings in the garden. We were fascinated with the idea of such a good, local source for organic soil amendments.

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Julie and her husband Danny showed us how worm composting happens in their commercial operation which consists of five large containers. One has European Night Crawlers an four have Red Wigglers, which are the preferred type of worm for vermicomposting. The incubators are heated to 70* and are covered with screen, to keep birds and other critters out. There was no odor in the area. The worms are fed once a week and left covered to do their work.