Gardening in the Pacific Northwest
Back in early June, I filled my raised garden beds with seeds and starts. What a difference two months makes. The beds are bursting with plants, and I walk through my little garden each morning bursting with… something. Pride? Joy? Love? Maybe it’s some weird combination of all three. That seems silly. They are plants, for Pete’s sake. But they’re my plants. These green babies that I brought home as tiny little things and tucked into bed and took care of every day. Sniff. They grow up so fast. People obsess about stranger things… right?
So, here’s a July tour of my little outdoor pride and joy: my raised bed garden.
Greens: Lettuce & Kale
This year, I filled one raised bed with 3 different varieties of both lettuce and kale. As you might imagine, this produces an insane amount of greens. We have been eating green salads and juices just about every single day to keep up. Not a bad problem to have. Half of the lettuce has started to bolt, but the kale will continue to produce as we cut off leaves from the outside of the plant. Every time I carry in a bunch of kale, I can’t help but add it up in my head. Each bunch would be $2.50 at most local grocery stores!
We installed a simple but effective rabbit fence around the inside edge because those pesky rabbits were hopping up for their own person all-you-can-eat salad bar. For some reason, the deer and rabbits have been out in force in our area this summer. Why aren’t they scared of my children? It makes no sense.
But! I haven’t seen any evidence of slug damage this year. Using zinc strips as a slug barrier seems to have done the trick. This is a happy day. Should I make a speech? Give a toast? I might cry, and that would be awkward.
I also added a row of pole beans along the edge of the raised bed. The rabbit fence is doing double duty by serving as a trellis.
Celery, Onions, Carrots, Purple Basil
The celery I planted in an old black nursery container is growing happily. The container dries out quickly, so I just have to make sure the plant gets plenty of water. Other than that, it’s worked great.
The onion starts are doing well. That will be quite a few onions to harvest at once, but they will go into countless batches of Homemade Salsa and the world’s best/easiest Roasted Marinara Sauce in late August/early September so I’ll take whatever I can get! The carrots on the the other side of the bed were a disappointment this year. I started them too late, so they’re kind of lagging behind the rest of the class. Apply yourself, Carrots! Sheesh…
I planted purple basil seeds in an old pallet my husband had laying around. I really like the neat grid in provides. Note to Ed: this is not a request for you to bring home 3 more stray pallets strapped to the roof of your car. Thank you.
Tomatoes, Basil, Zucchini
Welcome to our tomato jungle. The tomato plants seem to like the bed we made for them this year. The picture from this angle makes them look a bit more crowded than they really are. There is enough space between the plants that we can send small children in to pick the ripe ones. So far, all have made it back out alive.
We have been picking our Sweet 100 & Sungold varieties for about 2 weeks now. With all the heat we have had, I’m actually surprised the larger tomatoes aren’t turning faster this summer. The plants are loaded with green fruit, so here’s hoping that we get a bumper crop in August-September.
I also tucked four basil plants in between the tomatoes. The basil seems to prefer partial shade so they make for good bedfellows.
Our zucchini plant on the other side of this raised bed has been producing more than we care to eat. Pretty much the only thing I like about Zucchini is when it’s used as an adjective for Bread. Too bad that requires turning on the oven in July.
I planted 4 cucumber starts along an old trellis. They are growing like crazy. I love giving the vines something to climb, so the cucumbers hang down for easy picking. Next year, I’m going to find a taller trellis, though. In the past week, the plants have completely filled in the space between the beds. We are currently picking 4-6 a day. Good thing cucumbers are my favorite vegetable.
Peppers: Jalapeno, Serrano, Poblano, Bell
On the other side of the cucumber vines are our pepper plants. They were getting so wild, we ended up caging several of them. All of the plants are loaded with peppers. We are starting to pick the jalapenos. I want to make a batch of Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos, stat. I just need to wait for a time when we have more people over, otherwise I could polish off the entire pan by myself. And I’m not even kidding.
There you have it! A quick tour of my garden, as of the middle of July. I’m excited to see what August brings!
Looking for a vegetable gardening resource specific to our Pacific NW climate? Check out The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest by Lorene Edwards Forkner (Amazon).
“There is nothing more regionally specific than vegetable gardening. What to plant, when to plant it, and when to harvest are unique decisions based on climate, weather, and first and last frost.
The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening: Pacific Northwest is a growing guide that truly understands the unique eccentricities of the Northwest growing calendar. The month-by-month format makes it perfect for beginners and accessible to everyone…” (Amazon)
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