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Northwest Vegetable Gardening


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I enjoyed this article about heirloom tomatoes for the PNW. I've rarely grown an heirloom that was very productive, but I usually chose the varieties based on their tag description, not from any knowledge of how they might do in the NW. So, this year, armed with a list of what heirlooms might do allright here, I'm planning on planting a few more than I usually do, though I'll still have mostly proven NW varieties.

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does anyone know where I can find a Kafir lime tree here in seattle? I'd love to have one on my sunny balcony for the summer.

Yup. Raintree in morton.

http://www.raintreenursery.com/catalog/Pro...?ProductID=J210

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

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How well do lemon trees fare? I have a Meyer lemon that I'd like to move with me, but I'm concerned about the colder winter nights.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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How well do lemon trees fare? I have a Meyer lemon that I'd like to move with me, but I'm concerned about the colder winter nights.

Fine. We have a tangerine, a small lime, two lemons and an olive tree. They are outside now, but in the winter we put them up on porch (we have a large porch). In the worst of it, we bring the olive, one small lime and one lemon into the front hall. The rest we cover with blankets and put a small light (usually a ball or two of christmas lights) underneath them for a bit of warmth.

They seem to do okay.

I wish we could build an orangerie, but it'll have to wait until next year.

They don't seem to produce that much, but honestly, the blossom smell is worth it to me.

:wub:

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

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The smell does it for me, too. Used to have a huge Meyer lemon tree in my back yard while I was growing up, and that smell has all kinds of wonderful associations for me. We've got a sizable porch, so it sounds like bringing it out is do-able. Thanks!

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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We have a meyer lemon tree and a lime tree (I'm not sure it's actually a kaffir lime, but it's close if not). We take them indoors during the winter and put them under a skylight. If the porch is protected and you can protect them from the few days of frost (assuming Portland, Oregon), they should do fine.

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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I enjoyed this article about heirloom tomatoes for the PNW. I've rarely grown an heirloom that was very productive, but I usually chose the varieties based on their tag description, not from any knowledge of how they might do in the NW. So, this year, armed with a list of what heirlooms might do allright here, I'm planning on planting a few more than I usually do, though I'll still have mostly proven NW varieties.

This is a good article. I planted a Koralik last year and it was a fine cherry tomato. Very productive and tasty. I mentioned earlier that I had Purple Calabash too. It was also productive, and a very sprawling plant. One of the difficulties of Purple Calabash is deciding when it is actually ripe, because the color is so different than I'm used to. Finally, I just relied on touch -- when it felt soft and ripe.

I had a Brandywine last year too, and I agree with the author. It just wasn't very productive here (Portland). And when we tasted it against the others we planted, it was just average. Perhaps the climate here affected the flavor too.

I got several of my plants last year from Territorial. I was concerned about how well they would survive being shipped, and they did look a little battered when they arrived. But they perked up when planted.

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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  • 1 month later...

We're new to gardening, but spent some time this weekend digging up one of our raised planter beds with the intention of reseeding it. What is reasonable to plant in the Pac NW this time of year? Any suggestions welcome.

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We're new to gardening, but spent some time this weekend digging up one of our raised planter beds with the intention of reseeding it. What is reasonable to plant in the Pac NW this time of year? Any suggestions welcome.

Here's an excerpt from a recent Seattle P-Patch email:

June/July

Sow outdoors:

(summer veggies) Oriental Greens, Lettuces

(fall and winter veggies) carrots, parsley, green onions, broccoli

(overwintering), cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish, turnips, radicchio,

beets, and swiss chard

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  • 1 month later...

Here's an update on my holy basil situation, even though it's a little late :smile:

I did manage to find holy basil at Portland Nursery a few weeks after my last post on the subject here. However, the plants didn't look exactly the same as the ones I had last year. The leaves were a little lighter shade of green (more of a mint green instead of the dark green) and didn't look quite as substantial. However, I bought a couple of plants and they are doing quite well.

However, just a few weeks ago, I was out in my garden and noticed what I first thought were a couple of weeds growing amidst the thyme in my herb garden, close to the spot where I planted the holy basil last year. Just before I yanked them out, I realized that they looked familiar. Sure enough, they were holy basil, volunteers from the dropped seeds of last year's plant.

The plants are definitely a different variety from the ones I got this year, and the taste is a little different too. This year's holy basil has a slightly "greasy" flavor (if that's the right word), similar to what you get from curry leaves. I mean this in a good way. Both work very well in thai curries and noodle dishes.

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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I finally bought a curry plant this year - specifically to use leaves called for in Indian Home Cooking recipes. It is great - and trying to flower. I clipped them off to promote longevity - not sure if that was appropriate or not. Guess not, as it is considered a "dried flower use" plant - a perennial (in Seattle? We shall see.)

Tomatoes! Both from the unmarked orange cherry type and full on red Siletz.

Figs - plenty, but some browned early and dropped, for the first time. What's wrong?

Edited by tsquare (log)
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Yes, the first tomatoes! Sungolds, Stupice and Black Plum (roma-style) are all ripening. The Black Plum are great for a roma-I'll definitely plant those again. I've got lots of green tomatoes on the French Carmello and the other heirloom types I planted.

The pole beans are going nuts-I have so many. I need to learn to pickle.

I tried sowing various lettuce seeds a couple weeks ago but the little sprouts did not survive the heat wave. It may have been my fault for not keeping them moist enough.

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Yes indeed tomatoes! I have bowls full of Sweet Million cherry tomatoes. I've also been eating Early Cascades, Early Girls, First Lady II, and Pik Red. It seems to be a really good tomato year in Portland.

I've also had a lot of purple pole beans. But the scarlet runner beans seem to be a problem. There have been lots of blooms, but no beans as a result. Anyone have a hint why that could be?

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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Oh! I've been wanting to post a crop report. I just started my harvest, which is my favorite time of summer. I moved to a new house last summer, so this is my first garden at this location. I think I built my raised bed in a bad place in my yard, so I'll be moving it next year to get more sun exposure. So far I've harvested a dozen yellow pear tomatoes and what looks like about 100 more are on the plant ready to ripen. YIKES! I also will be harvesting some black Russians, Early Girl and a Sweet 100 in a week or so. It's not a bumper crop like my tomato gardens in 2003 and 2004, but it's going to be a pretty good crop. My basil plant is HUGE. Rosemary and thyme and sage are a decent size. My 3-year-old mint plant (container) finally died. RIP. My squash (acorn, zucchini, butternut) has done absolutely nothing this year. A few flowers, no fruit. Darn.

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

-- Frank Bruni

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Oh! I've been wanting to post a crop report. I just started my harvest, which is my favorite time of summer. I moved to a new house last summer, so this is my first garden at this location. I think I built my raised bed in a bad place in my yard, so I'll be moving it next year to get more sun exposure. So far I've harvested a dozen yellow pear tomatoes and what looks like about 100 more are on the plant ready to ripen. YIKES! I also will be harvesting some black Russians, Early Girl and a Sweet 100 in a week or so. It's not a bumper crop like my tomato gardens in 2003 and 2004, but it's going to be a pretty good crop. My basil plant is HUGE. Rosemary and thyme and sage are a decent size. My 3-year-old mint plant (container) finally died. RIP. My squash (acorn, zucchini, butternut) has done absolutely nothing this year. A few flowers, no fruit. Darn.

Hi girl chow, I'm wondering, what's your secret (or at least one secret) to growing basil? I've had no luck, trying several different times (every time from a small starter plant). Apparently I water too little or maybe too much? -- seems no matter what I do, it dies within a month or so. Maybe it just doesn't like me.

SusieQ

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We just had a tomato taste-off at our house today. Four people total. I had ripe tomatoes from all seven varieties that I planted, and we did direct taste comparisons of the individual tomatoes (no salt, no nothing, just tomato) and made comments on the tomatoes and ranked them. I find this a very interesting exercise because even though all home grown tomatoes are wonderful, tasting different varieties side by side really brings home the differences in texture, sweetness, and acidity.

Results are of course very subjective, but here's the general rank order of the tomatoes I planted.

1. Sweet Million -- A cherry tomato that had the most acidity and sweetness. It was the favorite of all four of us.

2. First Lady II. Three of the four named it their favorite large tomato. The other had it last. Go figure. This will definitely be on my "to plant" list next year. It has a good balance of sweetness and acidity.

3. Early Girl. In our last year's taste-off, this was the favorite. And even though it's an early tomato, it has a lot of flavor. Will definitely plant again.

4. Big Boy. Very good texture. This tasting was the first ripe tomato on this plant. So good things could be coming later.

5. Early Cascade. Nice texture and extremely prolific. But the top halfs of the tomatoes often have some tougher, yellower parts that might need to be cut away. i.e. the bottoms are very ripe and the tops aren't quite.

6.Pik Red. One person had this as their favorite, others had it last or next to. I thought it was mushy and not as flavorful.

7. Celebrity. Perhaps a little tarter than Pik Red, but a bit mushy too.

Of course, YMMV. And it was clear in our tasting that one person preferred a less tart tomato. But I came away with a better appreciation for First Lady II and continued appreciation of Early Girl.

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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I'll have to give Early Girl a try next year. I got my garden in too late for tomatoes and other sun lovers, unfortunately. But I can't wait for the leeks and brussels sprouts to come up :-).

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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[Hi girl chow, I'm wondering, what's your secret (or at least one secret) to growing basil? I've had no luck, trying several different times (every time from a small starter plant). Apparently I water too little or maybe too much? -- seems no matter what I do, it dies within a month or so. Maybe it just doesn't like me. SusieQ

I had the same trouble with basil, until I decided to tackle the problem by planting basil in many different ways and see what worked best for me. I planted basil in pots on the hot porch steps and on the deck (hottest part of deck), I planted it in the garden, I sowed it directly from seed and I transplanted from starts. I used a rich, composted soil, kept the plants watered but not drowning, let the plant dry out a bit between waterings, and pinched off lots of basil leaves on a regular basis and deadheaded any sign of flower buds. Weirdly enough, after years of coming up empty handed on basil, that summer every method worked just as well as the others. Go figure. I haven't had a problem with basil since. I grow it in pots so I have it near the kitchen door, and I grow it out in the garden in the tomato beds. Some varieties of basil grow much better than other - the standard Genovese or Sweet Basil grow into the biggest, bushiest plants for me. Some of the other specialty basils grow more slowly and are smaller plants, such as the Thai, Lemon, Holy, Globe and Cinnamon. I even found a curly, ruffled leaf basil this year, but it has not been a good producer, so I won't plant it again. As for our tomato report, we must have the forces of global warming going bigtime in our Seward Park backyard. We have been harvesting tomatoes since early June. Weirdest summer on record for tomatoes - I have never had a ripe tomato before mid-July in my life. Winners for flavor in our family are:1) Sungold (golden cherry tomato, beats every tomato in the world for flavor)2) Sweet Million (best red cherry) 3) Fourth of July (similar to a Stupice or Early Girl in size)4) Cherokee Purple (beefsteak in size, pale purple/pinkish red mottled skin)5) Early Cascade and Green Zebra are a tie - different flavors, but both very tastyI am still waiting on one very, very slow to ripen tomato of a french name - I can't remember it at the moment, but I will let you know. Other than that, my harvest report is typical to the time of year - I can't keep up with the squash and beans. For beans planted purple, wax, Romano, Dragon's Tongue, Blue Lake and French Filet this year, and so far, the French Filet is the tenderest and tasties eaten raw, but they are all great after steaming. All pole beans. Squash was just three varities - Zuchetta, Tromboncini and Yellow Patty Pan. I am getting ready to plant the winter garden - I just have to find room!

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Stevea, this is the first time I've tried brussels sprouts out here, so I don't really have an answer. We do have a goodly number of ladybugs in the back which might at least help with aphids - I'll report back once they've fully grown.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Quick question for y'all: what grape varieties have you had success with in our cooler envirions?

We're putting in a big trellis/pergola thing this summer/fall so next year we'll be planting grapes. (along with wisteria) I've had Interlaken reccomended highly, but would enjoy planting multiple varieties

Our wonderful gardener just put in a whole new bed across the front of the house & along with some flowers we tucked in a bunch of killer-whale beans (aka ying yang beans) we'd been given. It's a bit late, but you never can tell...

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

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I had the same trouble with basil, until I decided to tackle the problem by planting basil in many different ways and see what worked best for me. I planted basil in pots on the hot porch steps and on the deck (hottest part of deck), I planted it in the garden, I sowed it directly from seed and I transplanted from starts. I used a rich, composted soil, kept the plants watered but not drowning, let the plant dry out a bit between waterings, and pinched off lots of basil leaves on a regular basis and deadheaded any sign of flower buds. Weirdly enough, after years of coming up empty handed on basil,  that summer every method worked just as well as the others. Go figure. I haven't had a problem with basil since. I grow it in pots so I have it near the kitchen door, and I grow it out in the garden in the tomato beds.

-------rest of post not included ---------------

Hi pupcart. Thank you so much for your detailed post. You are obviously a dedicated gardener! I'm afraid I'm not nearly as diligent or persistent as you are, but maybe I will try again with a pot on the deck, just outside the kitchen, so I can't forget to water it. I will stick to a common variety, though -- that is, if I can find a start somewhere. I suppose it's too late for that and I'll have to wait until next spring?

SusieQ

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Hi pupcart. Thank you so much for your detailed post. You are obviously a dedicated gardener! I'm afraid I'm not nearly as diligent or persistent as you are, but maybe I will try again with a pot on the deck, just outside the kitchen, so I can't forget to water it.  I will stick to a common variety, though -- that is, if I can find a start somewhere. I suppose it's too late for that and I'll have to wait until next spring?

SusieQ

I was in several different plant stores today and they all still had Basil available. You should be fine.

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

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Hi pupcart. Thank you so much for your detailed post. You are obviously a dedicated gardener! I'm afraid I'm not nearly as diligent or persistent as you are, but maybe I will try again with a pot on the deck, just outside the kitchen, so I can't forget to water it.  I will stick to a common variety, though -- that is, if I can find a start somewhere. I suppose it's too late for that and I'll have to wait until next spring?

SusieQ

I was in several different plant stores today and they all still had Basil available. You should be fine.

I was at Trader Joe's (QA) Monday and they huge bushes of basil. Didn't check the price.

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Hi girl chow, I'm wondering, what's your secret (or at least one secret) to growing basil? I've had no luck, trying several different times (every time from a small starter plant). Apparently I water too little or maybe too much? -- seems no matter what I do, it dies within a month or so. Maybe it just doesn't like me. 

SusieQ

There's also the companionate theory that some plants do better when planted close to one another. One such combination is tomatoes and basil. So I always plant basil in the same beds as my tomatoes. Sweet or genovese basil usually work better in my tomato beds than the thai or holy basil I also plant (which seem to do better standing out on their own).

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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