Category Archives: Back to Eden Garden

Harvesting what I did not plant…

September 12 (1)
I missed the my spring chore season. The tomatoes I started in March, for the most part, did not get planted. Squirrels ate the pea sprouts. I was so busy with school in May that the beans did not get planted, corn did not go in, there wasn’t even a good row of salad greens. The Fava beans I planted while Ray trimmed fruit trees got lost in a weed patch. Depressing. Even so, there seems to be an abundance.

September 12 (2) bean August 1st I was feeling an urgency to get out and plant… AUGUST 1st! The garden is usually on a “harvest only” schedule. It is late for winter crops and I am too busy putting up baskets of tomatoes, beans, cherries, peppers and cucumbers. But I missed my planting target dates this year for different reasons.September 12 (4)

Just add water and seeds. My soil had become hard, disinclined to embrace seeds in the dusty soil. We needed to re-hydrate while it was still drought season. Running sprinklers is not something we like to do, but there was no other way to bring the life back to the garden. Jade II green beans, Soleil yellow beans and our favorite Dragon’s Tongue beans, each got a row of garden space on August 1. Honestly, I was not expecting to harvest beans from such a late planting. It was a roll of the dice. Today I saw tiny beans developing. Hallelujah! We prayed for God to glorify Himself in the garden, but I sort of suspected He was very busy elsewhere. There are moments in life when I feel like the Almighty is showing off His love for me. We also put in cucumbers, as of this morning, they have blossoms that I dare to hope that the Almighty will show off his love again and make ripe cucumbers.

September 12 (5) Volunteer Tomatoes. Like many of you, I am a collector and saver of heirloom vegetable seed. I have a greenhouse and a great collection of tools for seed starting, but the tools only gathered dust this year. Even so, I am eating sweet, Sweetie Cherry Tomatoes by the apron full. I did not plant any this year, so how do I know what they are? They grew in this spot last year. Heirlooms reseed themselves and come back the next year true to type without any fussing from me. God gave them one job, “Be fruitful and multiply” They seem to be really good at glorifying God.

September 12 (6) orchard Apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, plums, raspberries, loganberries, cherries, herbs (both medicinal and culinary), cut and come again greens and the best eggs ever. Even if I do not plant another seed, God willing, we will have fresh food. I love reading about Eden. God put the man and his wife into the garden to work it and tend it. That is what we do. We can work it, crowding every unused space for plants that are beautiful and good for food. But we can also have seasons like this one, where we only tend to what is already growing. We still eat, knowing we are loved.

Debs in Everett, Washington… tending this years garden. There is sweat on my brow but it feels good.

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Filed under Back to Eden Garden, Chickens, Fresh from the garden, Square Foot Garden, Urban Farm

Hello September!

September 1, 2017 Hello I love September! The scent of the air, the birds getting ready to travel and, finally (!), the weight of blankets while I sleep. September mornings are chilly but the afternoons are usually hot. Most of my apples and pears are ready to harvest. Their scent fills my kitchen with perfume that inspires favorite old recipes for pastries and pies that mom and grandmas used to bake. I just need remember to do my baking early in the morning while it is still cool.

September 1 flowers My September garden is usually just winding down but for different reasons I was not able to get a garden planted last spring. No peppers or corn this year. I did plant some beans and cucumbers on the first of August. We might get some green beans this fall. I was out weeding them this morning and noticed random flowers growing in the garden. I did not plant them. They are Fever Few and Snapdragons growing with the beans. I am so blessed. We are also getting chard and purple peacock kale that I planted in February (the last time I still had time and energy to plant) that look lush and inspire cheesy pasta dishes. I also put in two kinds of carrots, leeks, salad onions and cilantro on August 1st. All are doing well. I’ve been clipping a lot of cilantro. Surprise! if I look carefully in the mess that is my berry garden (Ray calls it a berry big mess) I can find some Autumn Gold Raspberries! (the plums from our young tree were amazing!)

September 1, 2017 lunch No more Box Lunches. Snohomish County in Washington State does not allow me to start a food business in my home kitchen. (I’ll keep my thoughts about that to myself, they are not as kind as I want to be). We are eating up our test recipes. I’m also trying new recipes for home. I made a big pot of Hawaiian Baked Beans in my Instant pot that are very close to what Grandpa Ray used to make. Shhhh! I did not read the directions very carefully and made a couple of mistakes that I think I will keep making with this recipe. Yum! Served the beans with left-over PNW Coleslaw with Spicy Lavender Dressing, Parmesan – herbs de Provenance bread sticks and ate up the Pumpkin Fairy Cakes. We still eat well!

September 1 2017 Par ici et par la... Debs in Everett, Wa, doing a word study on “In Him” for my Ephesians Study (the first of many In Him word studies on my other blog)… word study or a fun rabbit trail? Either way, YHVH speaks.

September 1, 2017

Praying for the rescue workers in Huston. 

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Spring again… happy me!

3March 26, 2017 (26)

Tiny Pink and White French Breakfast Radishes

Every year about this time, the daffodils bloom, the birds sing during the day and the frogs party by the light of the moon. We survived another winter. It’s good to be alive.

2february-25-2017-1 I have a couple of garden projects I like to start in January and February, but those are mostly to scratch what starts to itch with the first seed catalog. My Gardening starts to get honest when the peas and first potatoes go into the cold, wet soil.

3March 26, 2017 (21) I planted a lot of pea seeds, Tall Alderman, a French Heirloom sno pea, Sugar Snaps and a row of Green Arrow peas. I could show you pictures of those but right now they look a whole lot like clean dirt, wood chips and a nice structure Ray made for them to climb. These peas (a big pot of Cascade Snap Peas and another of Maestro) I started on Presidents Day. They seem to like it outside.

3March 26, 2017 (27) Potatoes: These were started in February. I’ve planted Vikings (Purple, Gold, Fight Fight) Yellow Bananas, and some kind of yellow that I saved from last year. I still have some Russet Burbanks and another fingerling still to put out. We do not have a lot of room for lots of potatoes, but we do what we can. A man once said that if I haven’t had a fresh from the dirt potato then you really do not know what a potato tastes like. He was right.

There is more to spring then peas and potatoes. I had a walk-about  this morning to see whats happening. Here is a small selection.

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The Herb Garden …chives are looking good

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Comfrey coming up in the Raspberry bed. It won’t be long until I’m pulling up big bundles of this daily for the chickens and all my medicinal needs.

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Two years ago I planted some very expensive flowering broccoli (a kale-brussels sprout hybrid). It comes back, or maybe better, it doesn’t die. Every year it sends up a new stem and makes a new branch of kale flowers. I guess it was worth the price of the seed. My hens sure like it.

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There is still a lot of work to do but we are enjoying every moment.

3March 26, 2017 (18) That’s my Rudy Valentine standing in my new strawberry bed. It was supposed to be an asparagus bed but they didn’t take. So all of the strawberries that I pulled out of the herb bed went upstairs into my new strawberry bed. I think these are called Pacific Reliant. I bought two or three plants last spring and now they are everywhere… well they were everywhere, now they’ve moved to this bed. In front of Rudy is a stand of Fever Few, the tea from the flowers does everything an aspirin does without eating away your stomach. The echinacea (cone flower) is just coming up all burgundy and fresh. If I’m not careful where I step, the scent of peppermint fills the air. It’s nice. Welcome back Spring!

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A Garden Journal for March

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Perhaps the most anticipated month of the season, March is when things start getting real. The tomatoes that we all fuss over all year long are started. Actual outdoor gardening begins.

March the 17th, sleep the 18th has long been my personal motto. Not for the reason you may think. On St. Patrick’s day, after putting on a creamy green soup and popping soda bread on a cooling rack, I head outside to plant peas, potatoes and onions. Some years it is with a slicker and golishes (an old word for rubber boots), other years it is in shirt sleeves and tenny runners. Both give me joy under the Worm Moon.

Vivi at Vivie’s Kitchen Garden Adds a tray of celery to the list. That sounds good to me! On it.

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Twenty-eight Packages of Tomato Seed

One 8 x 4 Tomato garden. august-6-6-copy

Maybe there is enough room on our little urban farm. We start the season intending to give plants away, but we always have too many. By the time we are ready to part with our Toy Box Tomatoes, our friends and fellow teachers have already bought plants from different places. We end up tucking them EVERYWHERE

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Soil Blocks and Tomato Seed  Twenty eight packets of different tomato seeds. Twenty-six of them are either OP (Open Pollinated) or heirloom. All of them are beloved.

It starts every year , right around the 2nd weekend in March. I used to start in December when the catalogs would come. I am easily seduced.

march-21-tomatoes

Every year they do what they were created to do. I’m such a sap, each season I get VERY excited …from the moment their little green leaves arch up, to the time when they are big enough to up-pot, and up-pot again… until they start spending their days out on the deck. That is when the work begins. We have jumped out of bed, Wrapped up in an old robe and sloggers when we hear the rain on the window, remembering that we forgot to bring in the seedlings!

april-1-2016-5-tomato Early in the season Ray and I carry trays of seedlings, including at least two trays of tomatoes, out for natural sunlight. We do not use heat mats or artificial lights. We get our best results without them. Everett, Washington is not tomato country. The sooner they adjust to our chilly maritime climate, the better they produce.

 

may-24-2015-12-rudy-lettuce-tomato Planting day is a big deal. We used to be SFG’s (Square Foot Garden) but are transitioning to BTE (Back To Eden). The tomatoes go into a 4’x8′ foot SFG that is in transition to BTE. In early April I like to plant a salad grid. Different types of lettuce go in width-wise every twelve inches and radishes go in length wise to make a boundary. Tomatoes are planted in the squares that have been formed by the lettuce and radishes.

may-24-2015-3-tomatoes This structure (pictured to the left) used to be for pole beans. Ray had already put it in the ground one year when I needed to find more places to plant tomatoes. It is an eight foot 4″x4″ (sunk 2 feet into the ground). On the top it has a cross made of 2×4’s. The cross is attached to the top of the post and comes out like spokes. String or wire is attached to a tent stake, goes up and loops around the end of a 2×4, then comes back down to another tent stake. I can plant eight tomatoes or 16 -ish pole beans. It works great for both… though some modifications need to be made to the string for tomatoes.

tomato-pole-4 A better view of the tomato-bean pole a bit later in the season. This was the first year. Now I spend time tying loops every 18 or so inches in the string when I use the pole for tomatoes. Beans hang onto the string but tomatoes need to be tied on. Without the loops to run the tie tthrough, the weight of ripening tomatoes accordions the vine to the ground.

I am fairly sure that there are tomatoes growing under the cold frame in the lower right of this picture. I get a little excited by 28 packages of tomatoes. It’s like finding a box of color crayons I have not used in a while. I want to try them all… again.

may-24-2015-4-tomatoes Finding more places to put tomatoes. These potted tomatoes were all my determinant (Mostly Siletz) and cherry tomatoes. They actually did quite well. The Black Cherry on the end was not happy until it started weaving itself through the picket fence. The rest were happy with a tomato cage. We save the big pots from buying fruit trees. Ray remembers buying a few of them. We found out that you can get them for free from the recycle at LOWE’s. The lady at the check stand told us they go fast because the growers of medicinal herb use them for their closet growing operations.

may-31-tomatoes-2 We still needed more space… Ray had some extra fence posts and left-over lattice from another project. We would like the lattice to go all the way to the ground, but this was all we had at the time. The 2×4 at the bottom is where I tied string from the board to the lattice. A girl can only keep track of just so many tent stakes. Tomatoes were also tucked into a ceramic pot (yielded a whole batch of tomato sauce… they really like growing in ceramic!) and in a more decorative SFG in the front yard.

august-13-2014-6 The so called “climate change” warmed up Everett’s chilly summer. Our son Chris kept finding canning jars on sale (he works with nurses, they know lots of good information) to help put them all up.

In a normal Everett Summer, I have to grow tomatoes in the Green House if I want a vine Ripe tomato. We plant them in the green house with basil (another plant that is not a fan of Everett) and had ripe tomatoes to the end of October. (the sad looking header picture shows our tomatoes in October)

august-11-2015-1-tomato Cherry tomatoes only needed to be picked once a week. They were like candy on warm days. They come in every color, yellow, red, blue, orange, even white but they all taste like sweet tomatoes. Imagine that!

The full size tomatoes need to be picked every three or so days. For some reason they go from just a bit too green to over ripe in the blink of an eye. The local wild life keeps an eye on our full size tomatoes but ignore the tangled mess of cherry tomatoes.

Last season, for the first time ever, we could have fried green tomatoes every week in September and not make a dent in the tomato harvest. I can hardly wait to see what this season has in store for us.

september-30-2015-2-tomatoes

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Good by Snow Moon

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Somehow we came to the end of February and the chores are all checked off of my list.

  • Soil Blocks made. I can see broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage sprouting
  • Winter Sowing didn’t get to those, but we did plant artichokes, and parsleys.
  • Fava Beans were the last to go in , but they are in!
  • Potatoes were beyond Chitted, we found our seed potatoes had sprouted.
  • Onions had a hair cut
  • Fruit trees pruned

Just made it! I had to put our yellow potatoes into dirt. There is a huge pot of yellow potatoes in the green house and a tub of potatoes growing just off of the deck. As I write this they are being snowed on. Last hurrah for the Snow Moon.

2february-23-2017-1 Late start on the greenhouse salad because of rat wars. YUCK They are not gone yet, but they seem to be out of the greenhouse. Thanks Ray! If I look closely I can see mixed Asian greens from Botanical Interests. Grab a pack if you ever come across them. They make a lovely spring mix. We like them while they are still tiny. I also see French Breakfast Radish from seed I saved a couple of seasons ago. Still waiting for winter Spinach and Scallions.

2february-23-2017-5 Artichokes and parsley are doing a nice job, Onions have had a hair cut, even the Tarragon has been divided and repotted. I was worried about my Tarragon. I’ve had this plant for as long as we have lived in Everett. If I had to buy a new start it would not be the end of the world. I guess it is a matter of pride that I’ve kept it alive and fresh all this time. Wa-hoo Creation!

2february-232017-3 Outside, under our kitty kover, the garlic and shallots are doing great! Every time I flip the lid off for the day the scent of the herbs inspires me to make soup. Yes, I see weeds, but they are not ALL weeds It looks like the chamomile is already coming back. I think it liked wintering under the kitty kover.

2february-232017-1It was late when I pressed the last Fava Bean into the chilly loam, but I promise the day was clear and bright when Ray and I went out to putz in the garden. Ray pruned our trees. There is a video but I have not tackled that yet. The new plum is covered with buds. On the espaliered apple tree I think he might have removed as much wood as he left. We still need to tackle the the different cane and vine berries, they are waiting for us. I planted my Fava beans near by that day. Now and then he wanted my opinion on what did I think about what he is cutting. Isn’t he awesome! Look at the beautiful soil under the chips. Sadly, the rows look a little red neck (I r redneck). There are not many open spaces for the dogs to run in the garden. The mini fences and blue bailing twine is to discourage the dogs from running through the new bed of beans.

2february-25-2017-1 Just a hint of whats happening in March, under the Worm Moon. Why Worm Moon? It is going to start warming up enough to make happy worms!

  • Choose your tomato seed
  • Get a bed ready for peas
  • Choose pepper seed
  • Get ready to plant onions
  • Are your early potatoes ready?

Now, Whose going to teach me about Dahlias?

febuary-toy-box-copy

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Why is it called the Snow Moon?

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Grandpa’s old wind mill needed paint last year. Ray had a little fun.

After a two year absence, urban snow has a measure of charm. Since there is nothing else to do, Ray took pictures for me. I’m ready for it to go away, but it is pretty.

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Front View, The Toy Box SubUrban Farm

It came late at night with blue lightening. We’ve heard of it but this was the first time we’ve seen snow lightening. OK, truth? I slept through it. Ray saw it.

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Akani, Honeycrisp and Winesap… I think?

Ray turned our front yard into a garden. Doesn’t garden sound prettier then yard. Prisons have yards, homes have gardens. We put this multi-espalier apple tree in last season. The neighbors came by to tell us we shouldn’t put the wood chips right up against the tree trunk. They all gave us their different credentials. It seems to be happy the way it is.

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Flower Pots and Watering Cans

I thought I got everything put away. A couple of inches of snow and suddenly it is too late for “should have”.

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Wild Woman Gardening

So, good books? Now is the time to nest in your quilt, find a pretty mug and brew up some tea. As I am about to post on Tuesday night, Ray leaned over and said, there is another storm warning. More snow and freezing rain tomorrow. And THAT my gardening friends, is what we mean by, “Under the Snow Moon.

1february-7-2017-weather

February 7, 2017 in Everett, WA

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