Garden

2016 Garden Plans

blogger-image-699941818Yes my friends. It is time. Planning for the 2016 garden season has begun! These rainy weekends are perfect for sketching, list building and seed catalog scouring. My focus this year is getting the main bed organized by divvying it up into eight plots. Other goals include:

  • Get raspberries healthy again – I had a major case of rust last year
  • Add more blueberry bushes as you can never have too many IMO
  • Incorporate more color with perennials, especially ones that are pollinator friendly!

Designating the eight plots will help me closely keep track of what’s been planted where year to year. I’m also really good about stomping all over so I’m hoping these new beds will keep me from doing that. Although it seems like I’ll have less space, I think I’ll be able to “do more with less” with smart companion planting. My plan is to border these beds with strawberries, herbs and perennials to draw all of the bugs to the yard! Well the good ones, so to speak.

I’ve become a bit more selective in what I’m planting this year. While it’s fun to plant a million different veggies, I’ve tried to narrow it down to what grows well in our yard and what we’ll actually consume. Here’s what will be sown this year:

  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato – from 3 plants up to 6 this year
  • Peas – both sugar and snap
  • Green beans
  • Potatoes – so fun to grow and harvest!
  • Squash – max 3 as we always have way too much, acorn though. Always acorn.

I like to support local and will be purchasing my seeds from the Seattle Seed Company in Madrona and will hopefully be sourcing my blueberry bushes at the Seattle Tilth edible plant sale coming up in March. The three bushes I got last year did amazing for their first year.

What are your 2016 plans? Do share!

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A garden update

Fall sunflowers - cultivatedrambler.comIt’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these so I thought it might be good to review my goals from this year’s growing season and start to pencil in new ones for 2016. I mean, I am a planner you know! Looking back, I didn’t accomplish as much as I’d liked but it was definitely a year for learning.

GOALS for 2015

  • Figure out a rain barrel system and add at least 2 to house – D. Well this did not happen. After purchasing some supplies to start this, I ran into too many road blocks and gave up. Fortunately, our water bill wasn’t high at all this summer, even though it was a scorcher. I don’t think I’ll keep this as a priority as it isn’t recommended for watering vegetable gardens.
  • Add raised bed next to shed OR try straw bale gardening – C+.So this happened and it was a fail. I couldn’t keep the pests off them and every little seedling got eaten. I suspect it might have been because of the proximity of my compost pile, but either way, I won’t be trying this again. Luckily, I’ve got good straw for my garden next year.
  • Add fruit trees and blueberries plus herbs to patio bed – A+ on this one! We added four fruit trees plus more herbs this year. I hope to even add more next year. Muah!
  • Attempt winter gardening – F. This did not happen this year with Europe in the mix. I COULD have been a bit more proactive in August and I’ve still got this month to get things started if I really want to but I’d rather focus on putting things to bed properly to start fresh in the spring.
  • Add a bee house – C. I didn’t do this, but I did make a few bee watering ponds and placed them around the yard. So there.
  • Add more flowers – B. I loved, loved, loved sunflowers this year so will definitely plant them again! I had mixed reviews on my flower seed starts – the cosmos did well but everything else sorta flopped. Note to self: just buy starts instead of trying to grow from seed.
  • Add rocks to front flower bed and plant bulbs – D. I didn’t get to the rocks part as I’m looking for free landscape rocks but I did plant some bulbs, which didn’t fair well. I might just pull up the weed barrier and soil and let this bed go back to grass for lower maintenance.
  • Add tomatoes in front yard? N/A. I didn’t need to because they do so freaking well in the garden. We harvested tomatoes until mid-October.

GOALS for 2016

  • Make new raspberry bed next to shed and add new everbearing varieties – I think I’m going to try to order from Raintree Nursery this year.
  • Get current raspberry bushes healthy again – I just cut them all down (sad face) and am going to give them a second chance next year armed with organic fungicide.
  • Move strawberries to border patio beds and add new ones in main garden.
  • Add two blueberry evergreen bushes to the patio bed plus two to the front side yard – I’ll get these at the Seattle Tilth spring sale. The three I got last year rocked this summer.
  • Add two dwarf peach trees to the side yard.
  • Find a better way to net the garden. An ongoing problem…those freaking birds.
  • Build a permanent compost bin.
  • Divide main garden bed into 6 or 8 smaller patches for easier management. Add perennials and/or herbs to give it more of a punch and attract bees! Bee balm!
  • Prune apple trees. This guide is helpful.
  • Continue to maintain a pesticide free and organic garden!

OK, are you a crazy garden lady like me armed with a plan or do you let your planning happen more organically? Please don’t let me be the ONLY freaky planner here.

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Seattle Tilth’s Urban Farm Tour

Seattle Tilth Urban Farm Tour - chickens, permaculture and organic gardening - cultivatedrambler.com

Ya’ll know my love for Seattle Tilth so when their Chicken Coop & Urban Garden Tour was announced, my calendar was marked STAT. The idea behind this event is to have urban farmers open their yards for insight and inspiration for us up and coming farmers. Hosts were available for short tours and Q&A at each location.

Farms were open all over Seattle, but my Mom and I were on a bit of a time crunch so we stayed close to home in the south end. We visited five sites that afternoon and walked away with a ton of great ideas. I’m actually glad we didn’t check them all out as I’ll be able to check out the north end next year for even more inspiration! (more…)

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garden update.

I’d like to think that we’ve hit phase two in yee old garden these days. Ya’ll know just how crazy hot it’s been in Seattle and the garden definitely has responded to those 90+ degree temps (so has my water bill). I pulled the lettuces and peas last week as they were either bolting or dried up. We had a great pea harvest this year so I didn’t feel too bad yanking them up though Stella was sniffing around for them. Spoiled dog.

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imperfect.

Common Pacific Northwest garden pests and diseases
Our garden is good from afar, but far from good! Trying to keep it real here folks. Yes, I work my butt off to try and keep things tidy in the garden but time and time again, I’ve been shown that no matter what I do, the garden gods will do as they please. And as they please means disease, pests, seeds that don’t sprout…you name it, I’ve witnessed it. I try and not take it too personally, but man, it can be a bummer sometimes! Here are the few issues I’ve been dealing with as of late:

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