All-RIGHT! Very Cool! You have taken the first step toward joining the Barbolian Fields Fan Club!

There is one more instruction you must follow in this Double-Opt-In Plan to make sure you are a humanoid – and that is, check your e-mail and reconfirm that you do, indeed, want to be added to this elite club membership.

I mean, seriously, what have you got to lose?

And I KNOW you are curious….

(It must be the lure of that fancy decoder ring.)

In all honesty, I promise not to bombard you with a ton of emails. 

In fact, I have been really lousy about getting newsletters out at all.

But I am trying to make an effort to change this behavior, because all the website gurus tell me I should.

So – in the spirit of sharing fun and inspirational ideas, I am hoping you will toss a few our way & we can bounce them back into the blog-o-sphere.

And if there is something in particular you would like me to research / ramble about, or maybe if you have some experiences that you think might help me make sense of my little insanity – by all means, let me know! I can be reached at blythe @ barbolian[dot]com.  (The link takes you to a form to help cut down on spam.)

Thanks again, and looking forward!

Blythe

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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Eva

    Sitting here watching the rain and wanting to plant… something! I came upon your blog. I live in Poulsbo. I would love to hear more about your greenhouse. I’m having the same 40 at night 115 in the daytime problems. I installed a plastic (doubled) sheet over the door on the inside and close that at night which helps with loss of heat at night but it only helps a little. My big question is shade. I’m trying to make a food forest type of garden but haven’t a whole lot of space and a bit too much shade. I need something to go in those shady spots under the trees… anything, so any ideas would be so appreciated. I’m thinking huckleberry but they are not thriving and I can’t figure out why. They grow like weeds! Why are mine just barely existing?

    1. Blythe

      Hi Eva! Sounds like we could sit down together with a cup of tea and chat all afternoon!
      Re: temperature extremes in the greenhouse – The 55-gallon barrels and other containers full of water have helped moderate temperatures quite a bit. I am going to put up a shade cloth this summer that can be raised or lowered depending on conditions. I’ve also been checking into ventilation systems – Solexx sells a solar-powered louver and thermostatically controlled fan I might try out. So far, opening bottom vents and the doors have helped, but it doesn’t give quite enough air circulation. Plus – I tend to pack too many plants in there that take over everything (tomatoes & passion vines!).

      Re: shade-loving plants – I can so relate! A lot of veggies do quite well in part shade. It is easy to tuck in a few salad greens, onions, spinach, parsley, and chard here and there. Even beans can grow in some shade. Good King Henry is a good perennial vegetable that grows in shade. Ground cover ideas might include oxalis, sweet woodruff, lemon balm, sorrels, rhubarb, violets, lingonberries – even strawberries! My lungwort/pulmonaria is already blooming and the hummingbirds are loving it. It’s a beautiful ground cover, although not edible. Some slightly taller plant ideas: marsh mallow, columbines, and bergamot – and then smaller shrubs, such as currants, and honey berries (if you have room). Josta berries can do shade but they get quite large.

      My wild huckleberries took a couple of years before they took hold. They have a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding soil organisms, so when we get them from a nursery, they are kind of out there on their own. You might try to add some mycorrhizal fungi (which we can buy these days!), add some leaves, wood chips, and/or pine needles as a mulch, and make sure the area is acidic & fungal-dominated. Try to create that forest soil – maybe even bring some in from an area where you see them growing? I’ve heard this is also true with rhododendrons and salal. Also wondering – planting under trees can be tricky, depending on their roots – and could they perhaps be allelopathic?

      Hope some of these ideas are helpful. I was thinking of writing blogposts on these topics. Thanks for subscribing!

  2. Jan Van

    Hi and thanks so much for just being there ,& taking the effort .

    We all live here in southern Ontario, Canada.
    We have a 30 by 12 plot where we grow 700 to 1000 hard neck varieties for the last 6 years( for personal consumption).

    We have had our problems even wipe outs & have had to get new seed varieties ( 9 different types this year)

    Our concern is that we have to plant in the same spot every year ,we have no choice !

    ? What might we do to keep our plot healthy ?

    We rototill in horse manure every fall & use chopped leaf mulch after fall planting.

    Thanks so much for any advice.
    Jan Van

    1. Blythe

      Hello Jan – sorry for the late reply. My first thought was – wow – 1000 bulbs for personal consumption? That’s a LOT of garlic! My second thought was – you successfully (for the most part) grew that much garlic without rotating the crop anywhere? Talk about breaking all the rules! You must be doing something right! Or are you just defying the odds–for now? Because we both know that “everyone says” that pests and diseases will build up in the soil and bam! ruin you for life.

      But if we dampen the hysteria and look at this calmly, I would return to the basic concept of healthy soil = healthy plants. When plants are strong and healthy, they resist disease. The weak ones succumb. Build the soil, feed the microbes, and your plants will love you. You appear to be doing it right.

      Another person who pays no attention to such rotation mandates is Paul Gautschi (Back to Eden). He lives not far from us, and a group of us taking a native landscaping course visited his farm one day. As he explained it, God doesn’t rotate crops, why should we? Makes sense to me! Paul concentrates instead on mulching and building the soil. When it comes time to harvest, he reaches in, takes what he needs, and then puts some back. Same with potatoes.

      So there ya go. If cutting back is like, blasphemy – then keep doing what you’re doing. Personally, I don’t till, I just add on top and let the worms do the tilling – but every situation is different.

      Thanks for writing in – and let me know how it goes!

  3. Shannon Leska

    Hi! Just moved to Sequim from TX, on Heath Rd. Hoping to learn a lot from you:)

    1. Blythe

      We are neighbors! You are welcome to come visit our gardens any time! And would love to see the progress you are making on that rock pile you are dealing with! Certainly, it can’t be worse than what you find in Texas!

      1. Shannon Leska

        HI! I tried to find your farm the other day, to no avail:( What is the best route, vs my GPS?
        Texas just had a lot of fire ants to contend with, no rocks! But definitely better weather here:))

  4. Cat McPeek

    Tripped over your blog on my way to learning if I can grow sweet corn here in Sequim.

    1. Blythe

      Yes – we CAN grow sweet corn in Sequim! Last summer was a phenomenal year for those who did. I never thought I would transplant corn seedlings, but that is how I have had the greatest success. Where we live, though, the wind can be a real force to reckon with, and can make the difference between standing tall and fallen comrades. Corn has such a shallow root system for such a heavy, tall plant. There are a lot of places that are more sheltered than ours, though. I figure if I can grow it, anybody can. Thanks for stopping in. I hope to put more posts up soon. Come back again!