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Blue Heron

Northwest Vegetable Gardening

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I think it's illegal to plant anything besides rhodies in your front yard in the 'burbs. Expect a knock on the door soon. :)

The Food Network's Power of Food series of shorts (which you can watch online) features a Northwest vegetable garden in the front yard. (It's the one called "Front Yard Garden.")

On that page you can also watch Seattleites Orangette ("Lemon Cake") and Gluten-Free Girl (eponymous). And, of course, my own adorable family.

But "Front Yard Garden" is the one relevant to this thread. We planted some cilantro on our patio today.


Hungry Monkey May 2009

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Our next-door neighbor just tore out his entire front lawn to put in raised beds for veggies. Not sure I would make the same choice, but whatever...


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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I have lots of "regular" stuff growing there (bayberry, a fuschia that seems to live through absolutely anything, hostas, bleeding hearts, lavender, and sweet alyssum), but there's also several varieties of sage, strawberry plants, and some bush beans. The latter blend quite nicely with the bleeding hearts, oddly enough.

I bet that's beautiful-I love the way ornamentals and edibles look together.

My tomato plants are growing very well, but very little fruit has set.

I have zero fruit and one of them hasn't even flowered. Grrr. The cukes are just existing, too, rather than growing. These below average temps we've had are not good.

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We planted sugar snap peas early, so now we're eating them by the bucket full. The cooler temps have made them really happy. The strawberries are ripening at the rate of a quart a day, and the first buds from the artichoke bush were eaten for dinner tonight. Lettuce and kale and rhubarb and herbs are thriving, but, hey, kale is so easy it grows year round in Seattle, it is seemingly weather immune. Garlic is harvest ready but I have not pulled them out yet.

All of the tomato plants have at least blossomed, and all but two of the 13 tomatoes have green fruit on them. Due to the cold temps, they are progressing much more slowly than last year. Some demon possessed me and I planted 5 different kinds of summer squash, and we are harvesting baby squash and blossoms from two of the bushes and one of the climbing vines. I should have a plethora of squash and no friends left by the end of summer. The pole and bush beans are not the least bit happy - between the cold weather and hungry slugs, they are looking pretty pathetic and I will probably replant half again.

The beautiful green and purple leafed heat loving eggplant is the most miserable of all, but for some strange reason, the peppers seem to be thriving. Go figure. Fig tree and blueberry bushes both have fruit, but won't be ripening any time soon. It is a great year for flowers and honeysuckle - the peonies, roses, clematis and poppies are lasting much longer than in a hot year. Lilies are literally chilling out in bud stage. Our huge honeysuckle blew down (trellis and all) in the windstorm last winter, and it seems to be happier than ever for having been cut down to a quarter its former size. Dahlias are getting big and setting blossoms, but nothing has popped yet. The first orange aloestemeria bloomed today.

If it weren't so labor intensive, I would do a good imitation of Tighe's neighbor and dig up the rest of the place. Eating out of the garden, and cooking with what makes it back into the kitchen, is pretty darn sweet.

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I'm relatively new to growing peppers, but mine seem to be doing well too. What's weird is that the sweet peppers seem to be doing the best, and the hot peppers (thai) not very well. I thought the hot varieties were supposed to do better in the northwest.

As for growing vegetables in the front yard, my wife has been doodling up a plan to rip out all the plants in the front yard (no lawn, but jam-packed with flowers and shrubs) and replace them with a series of brick raised beds. The brick would match our house, which is also brick. I like the idea because I could put in a row of asparagus. But I'm concerned about how the yard would look in the winter. Perhaps with the appropriate ground cover around the beds? It sure would be nice to plant more varieties of vegetables.


Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland

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I would think brick beds would look nice in winter even if they were empty. But you could fill them with winter annuals-flowering kale, pansies and such. Or plant winter interest plants-forsythia, winter blooming daphne, etc-somewhere else in the front yard to draw people's eyes toward those and away from the beds.

I am eager to hear how everyone's hot peppers do. I've never planted them and have always heard that they don't do well in the PNW since they love it hot. I know the Territorial catalog has varieties adapted to the PNW (like an early jalapeno) but I couldn't find any of these at a nursery.

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I've grown Habaneros and Serranos for each of the past 3 summers and they all did great in a bed on the south-facing part of the house. A Hungarian pepper whose name escapes me (bright orange and similar in shape and size as a Serrano) didn't do as well but still produced a reasonable amount of peppers.

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I think it's illegal to plant anything besides rhodies in your front yard in the 'burbs. Expect a knock on the door soon. :)

The Food Network's Power of Food series of shorts (which you can watch online) features a Northwest vegetable garden in the front yard. (It's the one called "Front Yard Garden.")

That video of Mamster and Iris is adorable! Cute! Cute! Cute! Click the link people.


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

-- Frank Bruni

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Stevea, I agree with Kiliki - go for it and plant winter vegetables and/or winter flowers. In addition to her suggestions, you could also plant a cover crop of winter rye or clover, and then turn it over in the spring for added nitrogen and nutrients to your soil. That's somewhat labor intensive, and not really necessary if you fill your new beds with a mixture of compost, peat and other soil amendments. Or, after you harvest, you could lay down landscape cloth and put layers of freshly cut evergreen boughs over the top to give it a winter look, then toss them in the yard waste in the spring.

Last winter I dedicated one of the raised beds to growing lots of different varieties of kale, broccoli, garlic, and spinach. The kale did very well, and lasted all winter and into the spring. The spinach and broccoli plants didn't die, but they didn't thrive either. In the other beds I put down a layer of compost and covered them in landscape cloth, and this spring, after pulling the cloth back, adding more compost and digging a bit, I was able to start gardening in late February by planting the first crop of Sugar Snap peas without having to pull any weeds out of the beds.

Dedicating space to asparagus sounds great. Maybe you will consider other tasty and lovely perennials such as rhubarb, strawberries, artichokes and blueberries? I don't have space for asparagus, but I wish I did!

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we've just put up a pergola :biggrin: so next year I hope to have grapes. I'm trying to decide between Swenson Red and Canadice. any experiences with these?

I know interlaken is supposed to be the best for our region, but I would prefer a red, plus a friend already grows interlaken in her yard and this way we can trade...

re lawns my gardener & I have a long term plan to eradicate the front lawn a segment at a time:

Last year we put in a flower bed across the front (lots of edibles: pansies, nasturtiums, marigolds...)

This year we've added in raspberries in a row behind the flowers. There are tomatoes helping fill out the space right now, but the berries will eventually take over.

We havent decided what the next row should be - it will be slightly shaded by the height of the berries, so I don't know if veggies would be happy there.

There should be more shade loving vegetables in the world!


Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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OMG my garden is in full bloom ..again!!! this has been a real labor of love ..you see I was given the gift of four distinct gardens that had nothing in them! ...I was not prepared to deal with this ..I work and am trying to remodel this house and the garden keeps pulling on me to come and play in it..very distracting and the wonderful weather is not helping my focus! ..for three years I have beg borrowed and cooked for perennials to fill the huge areas so I have with less grass and more blooming/fruiting plants and trees. This will be my first year that one of the gardens will have perpetual blooms going on!!! I am just beside myself ..

I am still struggling with the tomatoes ..I just do not have the luck some people have and this year I am trying them on my west facing deck along with some various peppers...every year I say this is the LAST YEAR! and every year I am determined to do this ...when I finally get a good harvest they will be some very expensive tomatoes!!!

my figs are looking really good ..but the tree suddenly looks lanky so maybe a prune this winter? does anyone prune their figs? and if so any advice?

apple tree is loaded! and I just realized on my 5 way Asian pear tree one of the pears is actually a miniature bartlet ..dont know how I missed that but I have a loaded branch of them and they are perfectly adorable!!!

all the baby plums on my 5 way plum tree fell off ...I dont know they seemed to really set well the tree looks healthy ...any ideas on that anyone ?

a momma robin on her second nest thinks I planted the mullberries just for her ..it is so fun watching her shake the branches to find the ripe ones ...honestly as lack luster as mullberries are to me I am happy she is really enjoying them ...

This time of year I have to be so careful about the doors and windows being wide open because I have a fresh crop of baby hummingbirds who are kind of idiotic when it comes to flying into the house and garage...they just get so freaked out and smash into the windows ...my dog goes nuts they go nuts and when I try to catch them I am so afraid of hurting these little guys...

I have to go to work today and leave my beautiful garden and it is very derpressing to have to go inside when you want to be outside..I love my work ..but really I want to retire and just live in this beautiful place!

we are so lucky to live in the Northwest dont you think? just do not tell anymore people k?


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I think it's illegal to plant anything besides rhodies in your front yard in the 'burbs. Expect a knock on the door soon. :)

I've considered planting a cherry tree in the past but everyone I know who has one says they lose all of their crop to birds, etc. Does anyone have a different experience?

We have a lovely big cherry tree in our backyard and I'm out picking cherries this morning. I'll get 3 or 4 big stainless bowls picked until I can't reach any higher (using a ladder). It's a huge tree and yes, the birds get tons as well as a particularly eager raccoon this year.........but there are enough for all of us. I think that maybe when the tree was younger and didn't produce as much, which is before my time, it might have been harder to get your fair share of the harvest.

I love having the tree. It is beautiful in the spring when it blooms and the leaves and just the shape of the tree looks great to me.

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I am still struggling with the tomatoes ..I just do not have the luck some people have and this year I am trying them on my west facing deck...every year I say this is the LAST YEAR! and every year I am determined to do this ...when I finally get a good harvest they will be some very expensive tomatoes!!!

I don't think luck has much to do with it-maybe we can figure out what the problem is? First, don't get discouraged yet...tomatoes around here often don't really start growing until July (have you been seeing any progress these last couple weeks?). Second, you say they are on your deck...are you using varieties adapted for container gardening, and are you fertilizing? Some varieties do well in large pots but others do not. Third, are they getting at least 6 hours sun per day? Fourth, and very important, are you choosing varieties adapted for the PNW (most heirloom types are pretty iffy here since they take so long to ripen)? And if you live in a particularly cool part of the PNW (north of Seattle, on the islands), you should be even more careful when choosing types.

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Regarding tomato (and other) varieties suited to the northwest, Oregon State University does a series of vegetable variety trials every year. There's a lot of information here, perhaps a bit overwhelming if you just want someone to recommend a tomato type or two. But when I go out to buy tomatoes every year, I take a copy along. Here's a link to the 2006 trial results:

Oregon State Extension 2006 trials


Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland

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I am still struggling with the tomatoes ..I just do not have the luck some people have and this year I am trying them on my west facing deck...every year I say this is the LAST YEAR! and every year I am determined to do this ...when I finally get a good harvest they will be some very expensive tomatoes!!!

I don't think luck has much to do with it-maybe we can figure out what the problem is? First, don't get discouraged yet...tomatoes around here often don't really start growing until July (have you been seeing any progress these last couple weeks?). Second, you say they are on your deck...are you using varieties adapted for container gardening, and are you fertilizing? Some varieties do well in large pots but others do not. Third, are they getting at least 6 hours sun per day? Fourth, and very important, are you choosing varieties adapted for the PNW (most heirloom types are pretty iffy here since they take so long to ripen)? And if you live in a particularly cool part of the PNW (north of Seattle, on the islands), you should be even more careful when choosing types.

thanks for addressing this ..I live in the South Sound between Oly and Tacoma .. right on the water ...we have a pretty mild climate .....this is the first year I have really given the containers a try and I went and got those big black pots the nurseries give away and put them in a protected very sunny (yes they get sun all day actually) west facing.spot on the deck....I used good soil that is supposed to be for veggies in pots...I picked one of each type they had at Lowes ..very heaithy looking and nicely established plants in pots that dissolve ..and there are three cherry tomatoes a couple of "early" varieties and I can not remember the other three I think I got one heirloom .. ..in the past I used my raised beds and the regular garden

I did put food in the soil when I potted it is probably time to add some more

I have no idea if these are ok for containers I thought you could put any tomatoes in containers

guess I should have looked more closely at the label..they are growing look healthy enough have buds on them ..but do not look all vigorous like tomatoes should ..


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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If you've tried the tomatoes in a variety of mediums and use early tomatoes, I wonder if it's your waterfront location. I have one friend that lives on the water near Port Townsend, and another at Port Ludlow, and neither can grow tomatoes-they say it's just too cool. I have another friend that lives on the water in Seattle that swears by the "wall o' water" product that keeps her tomatoes warm, but I don't have any firsthand experience with this product. If I were you I'd start checking with my neighbors (can they grow them?), asking on Gardenweb, maybe writing to our local garden columnists (Marianne Binetti has a great website where she answers all questions), to see what can be done in your waterfront situation. Maybe some of the Russian or Northern European varieties? Or the ultra-early varieties?

I've never been happy with yields from tomatoes in containers (I container gardened for years when I rented), but if that's the only thing you haven't tried, I would be trying it, too.


Edited by kiliki (log)

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If you've tried the tomatoes in a variety of mediums and use early tomatoes, I wonder if it's your waterfront location. I have one friend that lives on the water near Port Townsend, and another at Port Ludlow, and neither can grow tomatoes-they say it's just too cool. I have another friend that lives on the water in Seattle that swears by the "wall o' water" product that keeps her tomatoes warm, but I don't have any firsthand experience with this product. If I were you I'd start checking with my neighbors (can they grow them?), asking on Gardenweb, maybe writing to our local garden columnists (Marianne Binetti has a great website where she answers all questions), to see what can be done in your waterfront situation. Maybe some of the Russian or Northern European varieties? Or the ultra-early varieties?

I've never been happy with yields from tomatoes in containers (I container gardened for years when I rented), but if that's the only thing you haven't tried, I would be trying it, too.

thanks so much for the response...it could be the water ...I have looked around at my neighbors.when I go walking and no one seems to have many tomatoes planted that I can see lots of fruits and veggies in general but not many tomatoes so I guess I am not alone! we supposedly have a temporate climate here...and was in the 90's yesterday

my fig tree branches are bending over because of the weight of the figs I am going to have to prune this thing ..maybe I should google "how to prune a fig tree"!

I just found out that mullberries and figs are in the same family..I had no clue and am growning both but can not really see what they have in common!


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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my figs are looking really good ..but the tree suddenly looks lanky so maybe a prune this winter? does anyone prune their figs? and if so any advice?

Yeah, I was wondering about that, too. My fig looks very happy and is growing well, but looks a little lanky. Unfortunately, there is not a single fig on it! I try to have hope as I hear about others who say after 3 years the things just start producing...I would love to have the problem of too many figs.

Have harvested about 7 pounds of sugar snap peas, and they are sweet! The other things (carrots, fava beans, romano beans, fennel, etc.) are doing well also, but had bad luck with the cannellini beans. Was hoping these would do well, but only one germinated. Tried a second planting, thinking they didn't like early June's weather, but no luck. Same with the soybeans, which I have planted successfully every year. Can't tell if it's birds or what.

The tomatoes are doing great. Have some green tomatoes on a Sunny Goliath plant that are already 3-4" diameter. Have already started harvesting a few Sun Golds (love these!) and the rest of the tomatoes are setting fruit also. I started these the beginning of June, and used Wall-o-waters until the plants started poking out of the tops of them. mmmmm...oven roasted tomatoes on good bread....can't wait!


"Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." -- Hippocrates

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Beauxbrie I am so sorry you have no figs!!! I have tons if you lived next door I would share!!! ... they are also getting close and the tree is tipping over! the branches are all bending all over to one side and it looks pretty silly! ..I can see I will have to prune this for sure but am not sure how far to cut back in the winter..I will go back to the nursery and ask they cut all theirs back in the pots last year because they had a weather issue or something that hurt them ...not disease I made sure ...

I can not believe how many mullberries come off a wheeping mulberry tree!!! amazing!!! this is the first year I have had them ..while I am not thrilled with the taste as I mentioned above a mama robin loves them and it is fun watching her shake the branches to get the berries...no harm done!!! I can still eat plenty if I figure out what they are good for...

my flowers are out of control beautiful the dahlias are starting to bloom ...I just love this I almost have a perpetual bloom going on ...I need some late fall and winter flower ideas so I can have something all year long any ideas?

I am starting to think about the garlic bed now I have sunflowers in the one I want to use this year but am sure I can finish the sunflowers by the time the garlic needs the room I plant garlic in October and it is always ready by July ...I plant one entire raised bed of it but honestly I could use two!!!

anyone else grow garlic? what types to you like? I buy the garlic at the local farmers market and at the annual garlic fest ..they have so many types there and let you taste them before buying ..but after the first few bites of even the mildest ones I loose my tastebuds to garlicy goodness and can not discern the flavors anymore so I usually get an Italian, a Korean, some German and whatever I see that I have never seen before! ..then plant them all and loose track of what I bought!

I am on another round of chives I never get sick of them!!!

everything here in the South Puget Sounds seems to be doing really well ..I walk and spy on other peoples gardens and they are spectacular right now as well ..

I have some tomatoes starting finally and lots of blooms so I am not giving up hope I can for sure see that some plants are happy in the containers and some are not ..I put about 8 of them in one raised bed and it does not seem to be producing any faster than the pots ...

do you guys have pics you can post I am such a green voyeur and would love to see your gardens??? I would be happy to post mine as well if anyone is interested..

my strawberries are done should I feed them anything? I have never done that and they have been in one raised bed for about 3 years now ..they produced well but not as good as last year so I think they need some food maybe? what do you feed them?

thanks for any and all advice I am really learning this as I go ...I have gardened for 20 years but am not organized and really do not know all the tricks ..it has always been hit and miss for me


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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has anyone tried growing fava beans around here? they grew aggressively when i first planted them. i got flowers, some of them have nice pods, a week away from harvesting, others have tiny pods, but most of the plants are yellowing and dying before the pods are ripe. i've been giving them a general vegetable fertilizer and keeping them watered. any ideas?

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Fava beans - its probably too hot.

I am picking raspberries daily, up to a quart a day. I am overwhelmed by berries.

This is not a bad problem, but I am still patiently waiting for my first zuchinnis....

I also found my first red grape tomato on the plants we did not wall of water.

funny that.


I have a relatively uninteresting life unless you like travel and food. Read more about it here.

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has anyone tried growing fava beans around here? they grew aggressively when i first planted them. i got flowers, some of them have nice pods, a week away from harvesting, others have tiny pods, but most of the plants are yellowing and dying before the pods are ripe. i've been giving them a general vegetable fertilizer and keeping them watered. any ideas?

My fava beans were done almost a month ago. This is probably the 6th year I have grown them and never had a problem up unitl this year when something decided to eat them (rat, possum or squirrels, maybe).

Anyhow they do best if planted in the fall; they winter over here and are a very early Spring crop. They don't need much since they are a nitrogen dendrification plant. We start picking them early (before the peas) and eat them from small all the way up to lima bean sized.

Aphids love them because they are so soft but they are very easy to grow. Some varieties of favas are used by farmers as a cover crop.

Dave

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this is really my favorite thread!

I want to plant raspberries ..next year!!!

and I really want to plant some sesame leaves..anyone do this ever? any hints?

I have never tried fava beans I grow scarlet runners (mainly for the bunnies but I do get some) and they are kind of like a fava in size and shape ...they do fairly well ...I have even put them in pots and had them trail down over the deck and they got several pods per plant to maturity

I will add fava beans to my list for next year

I am freaking over the fig tree the branches after today's rain they are all bending down ..like now it is a weeping fig

ok if anyone knows about figs I wonder if I can add weights in the fall and make it weep like a plum or cherry?? anyone know this?

or again anyone know how and when to prune this...

guess I could google it ..but I like info from folks first if I can get it

thanks


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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this is really my favorite thread!

I want to plant raspberries ..next year!!!

and I really want to plant some sesame leaves..anyone do this ever? any hints?

I have never tried fava beans I grow scarlet runners (mainly for the bunnies but I do get some) and they are kind of like a fava in size and shape ...they do fairly well ...I have even put them in pots and had them trail down over the deck and they got several pods per plant to maturity

I will add fava beans to my list for next year

I am freaking over the fig tree the branches after today's rain they are all bending down ..like now it is a weeping fig

ok if anyone knows about figs I wonder if I can add weights in the fall and make it weep like a plum or cherry?? anyone know this?

or again anyone know how and when to prune this...

guess I could google it ..but I like info from folks first if I can get it

thanks

You are welcome to my raspberry plants. I end up pulling up at least 100 plants a year. They are notorious self sowers.

As or figs weeping, I'm not sure of the aesthetics of it. We have an espaliered one and I'm not too crazy about its look either.

You could do it, but since they are so good at rooting from branches, you could have quite a little fig farm.

lalala


I have a relatively uninteresting life unless you like travel and food. Read more about it here.

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I used to have a fig. I wanted to keep it reasonably shaped and sized, so each year I trimmed it so the branches were only about 3' long, and I thinned it too. It went from 3 figs the second year to 50 to 100 to I lost count. Pruned it in the fall.

First year I have an Italian plum. It has been dropping green fruit this past week. Should I be alarmed? There is still a lot of fruit on the tree.


Edited by tsquare (log)

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