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Blue Heron

Northwest Vegetable Gardening

388 posts in this topic

First strawberries picked and eaten.

Snow peas dangling from the vines.

Artichokes peeping up through the leaves.

Pea vines - harvest young and tender. Saute.

Cardoons, the rib of the leaves, very well cooked - but I've never actually done this.

Tomatoes in pots - water and feed often (the soil dries quickly, the watering leeches out the nutrients.) My neighbor had luck with a tigerella start I gave her - I'd stick with smaller varieties. Sungold or similar cherry types do pretty well as well. Some varieties are called out as patio type, meaning for pots, but not sure if any of these are heirloom - look at Territorial Seeds catalog and see if you find any that are available locally as starts?

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My tomatoes are in 12 inch pots and seem to be happy. Right now they have a couple of flowers and a whole bunch of buds. I haven't moved them outside onto the balcony yet. I'm not sure if they will actually be happier staying inside. Our apartment gets a lot of sun (big south and west facing windows) and it gets quite warm during the day (around 80 with the shades and windows open if it is really sunny.)

I started them from seeds (Oregon Spring Bush Tomato from Seeds of Change) but haven't grown them before. I hope they produce!

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You can usually keep mint well behaved by planting it in a crappy spot in the garden. I've got some crammed in among bamboo and evergreens-it gets only a little sun-and it hasn't spread at all.

When I've done tomatoes in pots, I've had the best luck with small/cherry early tomatoes. Someone above mentioned Sungold, which are fabulous. Sweet Million are also terrific. The online Territorial Seed Catalog is a great resource for learning about varieties that are well adapted for the northwest. They are at:

www.territorialseed.com

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You can usually keep mint well behaved by planting it in a crappy spot in the garden. I've got some crammed in among bamboo and evergreens-it gets only a little sun-and it hasn't spread at all.

One trick I've heard of for containing mint is to plant it in the middle of a "bottomless pot"....that is, surrounded by an 8-12" deep ring of plastic. Its supposed to contain the runners.


Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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My tomatoes are in 12 inch pots and seem to be happy. Right now they have a couple of flowers and a whole bunch of buds. I haven't moved them outside onto the balcony yet. I'm not sure if they will actually be happier staying inside. Our apartment gets a lot of sun (big south and west facing windows) and it gets quite warm during the day (around 80 with the shades and windows open if it is really sunny.)

I started them from seeds (Oregon Spring Bush Tomato from Seeds of Change) but haven't grown them before. I hope they produce!

I think they need pollination - so if they aren't outside, you'll be busy with the paintbrush. Anty botanist out there to confirm this?

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Pea shoots (dau miu) are one of my favorite things to eat. For southern Chinese style, you basically pick off the pea tendrils and remove all the strings. Depending on how tough they are, you may want to briefly blanch them and then stir-fry with garlic and light soya.

For mojitos I like growing what gets called herba buena around here (which I thought was just Spanish for mint) it has rounded leaves and is a creeping mint. The flavor is almost like a cross between peppermint and lemon balm with some extra green flavor thrown in. My mum says it was growing wild in the Sacramento valley when she was a kid.

The stalks of cardoons work really well in the pressure cooker because they're so tough and take so long to cook. I've never been motivated enough to wrap them in burlap to blanch, but I've thought about it.

regards,

trillium

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Last season's argula is flowering like crazy. I guess I better pull it out and get this year's seeds in the ground. Slow start this year. Did put in tomatoes and onions, along with a new spearmint (in a pot in the ground) so I can make my own mojitos.

Have you tried eating the arugula flowers? I had a bunch of them on top of a salad yesterday, and they were pretty reasonable. Tasted like arugula with sugar.

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I think they need pollination - so if they aren't outside, you'll be busy with the paintbrush. Anty botanist out there to confirm this?

A gardener here...tomatoes are self pollinating, so the paintbrush is not necessary. A bit of plant shaking helps, though. A vibrating device is used in commercial greenhouse operations.

Barb

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we're picking peas! i've never tasted anything so wonderfully sweet.

we've got sugar snaps and shelling.

will they re-flower? is there a "right" way to harvest? cutting/picking at the joint...etc. will they come back or will i need to plant them again next year?

does anyone have advice for a particular brand of tomato food?

thanks!


from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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we're picking peas! i've never tasted anything so wonderfully sweet.

we've got sugar snaps and shelling.

will they re-flower? is there a "right" way to harvest? cutting/picking at the joint...etc. will they come back or will i need to plant them again next year?

does anyone have advice for a particular brand of tomato food?

thanks!

Harvest the pods. Some years they keep producing, but sooner or later, you will know they are through - the vines will dies back or will get mildewy. Eew. You will need to replant each year.

Feed tomatoes fish fertilizer. It doesn't stink as much as it used to. Remember that too much nitro will give you lots of green plant, but may not mean more or better fruit. I can't believe I already I have blossoms on the tomatoes and fruit on the pepper plants!

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Got my first snow peas yesterday. Stir fried them with some chard, broccoli, radish flowers, mustard flowers (all also from the garden) and ling cod (not from the garden), with lots of ginger and garlic.

Also, for those who are not yet aware of it, 4 square feet of spinach is enough to eat spinach for every meal of every day.

Does anyone have any suggestions or references for fall and winter gardening?

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Feed tomatoes fish fertilizer.

will my cats go insane over it? :unsure::shock:

any brand in particular? i have little tomato-lets on a bunch of plants and tons of blooms.


from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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Does anyone have any suggestions or references for fall and winter gardening?

Two good books on winter gardening are Steve Solomon's "Growing Vegtables West of the Cascades" and Bonda Colebrook's "Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest." Both published by Sasquatch.

Suggestions are:

1. Build a small, cheap clotche; plants will drown before they freeze here.

2. You should be starting you seeds for wintwer crops shortly. Savoy cabbage. beets, endive and harder greens all do well as does B. sprouts,cauliflower, leeks and other onions.

Seems strange not to have yet picked a tomato and be talking about starting winter seedlings. We are picking faas, peas, artichokes, pulled some garlic and shallots and are doing battle with the birds for a few red raspberries.

dave

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are doing battle with the birds for a few red raspberries.

the birds keep eating our strawberries. :angry:


from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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Feed tomatoes fish fertilizer.

will my cats go insane over it? :unsure::shock:

any brand in particular? i have little tomato-lets on a bunch of plants and tons of blooms.

Hmm, Alaska Fish Fertilizer is the old tried and true.

The neighborhood cats love my yard but stay out of the plants mostly. They just like the bare spots. Never thought about that aspect. I have heard dogs will dig up a garden if you use bone meal. And I think dogs like the fish fertilizer too. The scent disappates pretty quickly - ie, after a day or two, you can pick the strawberries.


Edited by tsquare (log)

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Our dog loves AK fish fertilizer as well as blood meal and bone meal. You work it in, she digs it up.

dave

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Isn't fish fertilizer usually too high in nitrogen relative to its other nutrients? The kind I have is a 5-0-0, but for tomatoes you want something with a higher phosphorus content (the second number) than nitrogen. I use time release organic fertilizer (5-10-10) as a side dressing, twice per season.

Here is something from the TImes that might be helpful:

By Valerie Easton

Special to The Seattle Times

Q: I want to try growing tomatoes in pots on my deck, which is the only sunny place in my yard. Do I need to buy a special kind of tomato, and what about the dirt?

A: Tomatoes will thrive in pots if you give them sunshine most of the day and plenty of water and fertilizer. Choose stocky plants, and don't put them outside until the nights warm to 55 degrees. If this spring is as chilly as last, that could be well into June.

It is best to use large pots, at least five gallons, filled with rich potting mix to which a little granular time-release fertilizer has been added. A stake, cage or trellis should be stuck in the pot at planting time (tomatoes are vines, after all), and plant the tomato so far down in the soil that the lowest leaves are buried, thus encouraging more root development.

Water deeply and daily, and use a complete liquid fertilizer every two weeks (yes, as well as the time-release in the soil — tomatoes are greedy and vigorous).

You can grow any kind of tomato in a pot, but you'll make your life easier if you choose a determinate type, which stops growing at 2 to 3 feet high, and don't need any pinching during the season. They produce fruit earlier and over a shorter period of time than indeterminates, which bear fruit until frost.

Oregon Spring, Tiny Tim, Viva Italia, Italian Gold and Celebrity are determinate types easily found in nurseries. You can grow popular, indeterminate types such as Sun Gold, Big Beef and Early Girl in pots, too, but be sure to use a large container and a sturdy staking system. And pinch out suckers all season long.

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oh that's very helpful - thank you!

i have bought (and used) the time release - any recs for a brand (location) to buy the liquid? home depot freaks me out - though to be fair - we bought our seeds there and the yield and quality of our peas, arugula, spinach and sugar snaps was very impressive.


from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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Oh yeah, Alaska FF is high nitro - why I commented not to overdue it as you get all plant, less fruit. I guess I usually go for making a healthy plant, and then shock the plants into submission. Somehow, I get great fruit quality and flavor this way.

Here's anothr fertilizer idea - and it's down the block from Maritime Ale House.

Walt's

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I harvested my first (two) tomatoes yesterday. :smile:

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I harvested my first (two) tomatoes yesterday. :smile:

I have some Stupice and Red Grape that are starting to turn orange... I can't wait :)

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Cool -- I love harvest reports.

I am going to harvest my first zucchini squash tonight -- woohooo! I saw it peeking under the leaves last night. It's a small one, about four inches, but the flower is still full and attached, so that's what's for dinner tonight.

AND I have lots of big, green fruit on my heirlooms (and all my other tomato plants), but no ripening yet.

My pumpkins are going nuts. Bumper crop? I hope so. I cannot believe this, but I have somehow managed to grow a beautiful basil plant. This is the first time I've grown a basil plant that didn't look like it was going to die at any moment. I think the trick is that I'm growing it indoors?


A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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am going to harvest my first zucchini squash tonight -- woohooo! I saw it peeking under the leaves last night. It's a small one, about four inches, but the flower is still full and attached, so that's what's for dinner tonight.

Don't let them overtake you. We left home for two days and had to make a trip to the food banlk to get rid of the excess.... "The Attack of the Giant Zucchinis!" Look out!

dave

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Don't let them overtake you. We left home for two days and had to make a trip to the food banlk to get rid of the excess.... "The Attack of the Giant Zucchinis!" Look out!

dave

Heh heh heh. That happened to me last year. Obviously, I didn't learn my lesson. I have two zucchini plants this year (doh!)


A palate, like a mind, works better with exposure and education and is a product of its environment.

-- Frank Bruni

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