Homegrown

testing…1,2,3.

Soil testing in Seattle - cultivatedrambler.com

You guys. Totally nerding out over here! This confusing pic above are the results of my soil test that I took about 4 weeks ago. As a King County resident, you have access to 5 free basic soil tests for properties you either own or rent. It’s a great way to see what’s going on down below before you start planting your flower or veggie garden. My COG class instructor said it’s great to do this in the fall and again in the spring so you know what sorts of fertilizer to add.

I always though having to add fertilizer to your soil was B-A-D ie. soil is totally natural and you shouldn’t add anything but water to it. Ummmm, yeah. That’s totally wrong! (Though adding non-organic chemically processed fertilizer is still bad, so don’t do that!) Growing plants all season long can strip your soil of all sorts of nutrients so it’s wise to continually monitor it so you can add the right stuff and keep your dirt healthy. Who would have known?! My mind was totally blown the day we learned that. Sheesh.

Since I’ve discovered all of this soil stuff, I’ve seen really healthy soil and let me tell you, it’s a thing of true beauty. I have total soil envy now and vow to get mine looking like that one day. A girl can dream, right?

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an update.

Pacific Northwest Organic Gardening, 2015 Plan, Crop Rotation - cultivatedrambler.com

Because I know you guys are just as excited as I am about what’s in my garden this year šŸ™‚ Here’s the final game plan for growing season 2015. The large square is the main bed and the three beige beds are the straw bales. I am also experimenting with a small section on the patio but it’s becoming more of a slug feeding station vs. a garden at this point. (more…)

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bait.

Organic pests - cultivatedrambler.com

UGH. F’ing slugs! They are the bane of my existence right now. I bought all of these lovely little starters from the edible plant sale the other week and they are being violently attacked by these slimy suckers. Every morning I walk out onto our patio to find even more clinging to my traps OR even worse, on my poor plants! I’ve heard they can eat their own body weight in a day. Cool, real cool.

So far, I’ve tried:

  • salting them
  • crushed up egg shells
  • crushed up clam shells
  • grapefruit slices THEN salting them
  • beer in a shallow dish

If you have the time, nothing is more satisfying than salting them. Not sure if I’m sold on the egg/clam shell route, which is suppose to give them too sharp of a surface to slim around on. Grapefruit works well, but a dish of beer is my new go-to method. Stupid things just drown themselves. I also read that it’s better to not change the dish too much as they actually are attracted to their dead comrades. That’s twisted.

This is making me really reconsider ducks and chickens for our yard……. šŸ™‚

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bale’d up.

Row cover, Burien, straw bale gardening - cultivatedrambler.com
We’re getting a little cray cray up in here! Officially planted round no. 1 in the main garden over the weekend with the help of my sis, Liz. Stuff that went in the ground: snap peas, snow peas, sweet peas, two kinds of carrots, romaine lettuce, butter lettuce and arugula. Phew.She also joined me in my trek out to Burien to pick up three straw bales for my attempt at straw bale gardening. I’ve got about two weeks of conditioning with these bad boys then they’ll also be ready to plant. For those of you who think I’m nuts…..straw bale gardening is a way to garden if you have crappy or no soil. My plan was to build a nice stone walled bed in this location, but other things took precedent this year. My plan is to build that bed next year then transplant my raspberries there so they’ll be nice and contained.
In the meantime, I’m doing my own little garden experiment with these. From what I’ve read you 1) need straw NOT hay bales 2) they need to be “conditioned” ie. hit with lots of water and fertilizer to get them to start composting 3) sprinkled with some good soil 4) and then planted directly into. Seems easy enough. Stay tuned to see how this works out for me!
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yard werk.

Pacific Northwest Gardening, Organic, Springtime prep - cultivatedrambler.com

Top: A work in progress. Bottom (left to right): Every gardener needs a machete!, Stella checking out our new pear tree, I have a seed hording problem.

Well it’s that time again! Though this time seems to be earlier than most years – hello warmest February ever. Sheesh. This sunny weather has been putting me into yard/garden overdrive these days. Every weekend has had at least one full day of yard work. I even got sun burned the other day – WTF Seattle? I thought I would have a few more weeks of hibernation, guess not. So in preparation of growing season 2015, here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

Here’s what’s been done:

  • Pruned fig tree and grape vines
  • Pruned and re-strung raspberries
  • Pruned camellia, hydrangeas, pine tree and rhodies (thanks Aunt Susan!
  • Cleaned up peony bed and added two more bushes (yay!)
  • Added strawberries to the herb bed
  • Planted 3 apple trees along fence line
  • Planted 1 three-in-one pear tree on east side of house (how genius is that! self-pollinating.)
  • Planted round 1 of seeds near herb bed
  • Made a bad ass hippie stick art thing
  • Added landscape rocks to end of herb bed to make it look more finished
  • Picked up 10 bags of moo doo for veggies – highly recommend Sayers Fuel on Rainier

Here’s what’s left to do:

  • Buy blueberries for the blueberry patch – getting these bad boys at the Seattle Tilth Edible Plant Sale on March 14!
  • Straw bale garden alongside the shed – too lazy to make a real garden bed this year, so this will do
  • Figure out where to plant my 3 new dahlias
  • Prune plum tree
  • Finish veggie garden layout
  • Plant more seeds!
  • Make more fun hippie stick art!

Phew! That’s it for now. What have you been up to in your yard these days?

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