I 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.
This is one of my most satisfying gardening projects. I start petunias in January the transplant them into hanging baskets in March. They spend the next six weeks growing in the cool greenhouse before moving to their hanging location at the front of our home.
I start with clean, reused plastic hanging basket. A coffee filter helps contain the potting mix but allows drainage.
I put in a layer of mix the some pre moistened water saving crystals. Pre moistened is the key word here. If you forget this step, you could see an erupting soil volcano when they finally absorb water!
Then I gently transplanted the petunias into the pots. The following is an example of a pot by the end of June.
Blooming by the end of June.
I started my first trays of seeds yesterday. Slow germinating petunias, delphinium and a few others. Plus a wide variety of lettuce plants that will grow in my cool greenhouse for crunchy salads in March and April. My light system is totally laughable. I repurposed my SAD light and propped it over the seed trays. Instead of having the lights move up and down, I vary the distance from the lights with different sized plastic boxes. It works for me. I like to think it was a creative use of things on hand. I enjoy viewing the Rusted Gardener videos and hope you will also.
My goal is to use a heat mat and light to germinate the seeds then move them out to the greenhouse where it has been 50 to 60* F in recent days.
Record keeping has been a learning component for this transplanted gardener. This is my second full season in this climate and my notes from seed starting in 2013 are paying off now. What I do is not fancy or professional, just enough so I do not feel like I have to guess every year or repeat mistakes!
This is a greenhouse gardening book that is a must-have for any gardener with a Sunspace or Greenhouse. Published in 2000 by Fulcrum Publishing, but still very informative. I re-read it every fall.
Fuchsias are annual plants in Minnesota, so when I discovered hardy fuchsias here in Western Washington, another plant collection began. I love the delicate flowers, shape and variegated foliage on some plants. All they need is sone trimming in the spring and regular perennial formula fertilizer. I’m hooked!
Oyster garden update
Last May we purchased Pacific triploid oyster seed from Taylor Seafood and have been growing them all summer. This is something really new for us. It is interesting to watch them grow and is about as messy as cleaning an aquarium once in a while. Today I went to check on them, at the dock about a mile from our home. They are really growing. Thanksgiving Oyster Feed anyone?