Victory Gardens for Change

Man tilling soil in his victory gardenThis blog is not intended to be a political commentary – and yet, in light of recent events here in the U.S., how can it not be – and as a citizen of the world on this lonely planet Earth, how can we not become political – or at the very least, outraged — when we witness so much destruction that could mean the end of our very existence?… Read more

Spring Equinox – a Discovery of Miracles!

Dandelions shine like the sun!

Dandelions shine like the sun!

It is, at long last, the Spring Equinox. I love this time of year when each new bud is a discovery.

Cornelian and Nanking cherries, forsythia, daffodils, nettles and purple deadnettles, the first dandelions…

It seems that only yesterday, it was still quite wintery, and on a blustery day, I was picking the sticky cottonwood buds from the nubbly branches that break off in the wind, littering the forest floor, just begging someone to come along and recognize their significance.… Read more

Seed Order Madness – and Indications that You Might Have ISOD

Alternate Title: Garden Visions and Realities: Creating a Practical Seed Order – or not.

Seed Order 2016

Do we have enough seeds yet?

I originally wrote this post shortly after Groundhog Day, when we were just praying for a ray of sunshine and a shadow – and here we are now caught in the middle of March Madness, aka the Ides of March, which is called that for good reason.… Read more

Spring Garlic Woes

Dear Readers:

I have been receiving letters lately from folks worried about their garlic. It is understandable. With great anticipation, we insert these naked little cloves in cold soil, just as the season takes a downturn; we stress throughout the snows and storms of winter as to whether they can possibly survive; come early spring, we are elated when we see their tender tips emerge, apparently unscathed; then we plunge into worry and anxiety when, despite their rapid growth, they show signs of yellowing tips; we scrutinize them for other diseases, insects, “issues;” we feed them, water them, murmur soft nothings of encouragement; we marvel at the beauty of their gangly scapes, waving in the wind; and then with a certain amount of apprehension, we begin digging the bulbs, 9 months in the making, one by one; we cradle them gently, inhale the fragrant aroma as they hang to cure in gentle breezes, and then we, sometimes with great flourish and ceremony but without apology, devour them.… Read more

Cracking the Seed Germination Code

Many folks in the Pacific Northwest are starting seeds this month for transplanting later in the spring. But what about seeds that we can plant outside right now? I did some research and came up with a list of those plants that germinate better with a period of cold or fluctuating cold/thaw cycles, which is exactly what we experience at this time of year (and often throughout the entire winter).… Read more

Crocus, Frogs, and Bees! Oh My!

First Crocus
AHHHHH! The first crocus! The first sounds of frogs! The trumpeter swans returning – and the obvious increased chatter of everything from songbirds to eagles calling to each other across the fields! What a difference a month can make! The longer daylight hours are quite noticeable and much appreciated.… Read more

Fruits of December

willow winter

SparrowsOn this winter solstice, I cannot help but wonder – why does not our calendar begin at this turning point of darkness into light? And now that our days will begin to get longer, why are we not entering “spring?”

It seems to be the season of extremes – wind, heavy rains, even snow for us so close to sea level, and yes, also sunshine, all the more appreciated.… Read more

Caterpillar Slaughter

Large tent caterpillar nestI have squished them with my bare hands, blasted the nests open with a power hose, sprayed them with vinegar, burned them alive with a blow torch, and for those that survived all that, drowned them in soapy water. If you, too, have stood aghast at the havoc they have wreaked in your beloved fruit trees, have vowed to take action, if not declare outright war, and have been somewhat taken aback by their tenacity – yes, we are talking about tent caterpillars – read on.… Read more