Tag Archives: Strawberries

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.

3March 26, 2017 (20)

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.

3March 26, 2017 (5)

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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Filed under Back to Eden Garden, Chickens, Square Foot Garden, Urban Farm

Thoughts on the first year Back To Eden project (Part 1)

Late winter 2014 and a choice had to be made. That is the season of mega piles of free green wood chips. Are we gonna do this or are we gonna just talk about it?

March 12, 21014

March 12, 21014 I come home from school to a pile of “We’re gonna do this”

We talked about it, We read about it. The reports were glowing. Huge juicy fruit and vegetables. Little to no work beyond planting, pruning and harvesting. No watering. Sounds too good to be true, and you know what they say about that. When I saw the text about a free load of fresh chips someone wanted to give away, I did not think much about it. The job always looks bigger when I see it then it does when I’m thinking about it.

Early winter strawberry bed under a blanket of composted horse and chicken bedding covered with more then four inches of green chips

Early winter strawberry bed under a blanket of composted horse and chicken bedding covered with more then four inches of green chips

I have a confession to make. When it comes to farm work and house work, I like to putz. I want to enjoy the process, hear the bird song, smell the earth. It’s true, I’m a bit lazy. But I like to finish a corner instead of getting crazy with step by step everywhere. We have a Square Foot Garden (SFG) at the back of our property dedicated to strawberries. Nothing was happening in the strawberry bed in March. Because I had heard that it takes a couple of years for a BTE garden to be really ready, I hedged my bets by layering in freshly mucked chicken bedding, a layer of older compost, finished by a layer of composted horse stable bedding (the lady next door worked at a boarding stable). Then I grabbed a shovel and a Lowes bucket. Then two Lowes buckets. I only put a four inch deep layer of chips on the strawberry bed.  It hardly made a dent in the pile of chips out front!

May 31, 2014 The strawberry bed is to the right in the (raised) SFG, finally growing through all the layers I put on it.

May 31, 2014 The strawberry bed is to the right in the (raised) SFG, finally growing through all the layers I put on it.

By mid April I was worried that I had killed my strawberries. Nothing, and I mean zero sign of green, was coming through. My neighbors and fellow bloggers were getting green already, what did I do to mine? Soon enough one, then three and finally a whole box of strawberry plants began to come through.

June 8 and we are getting ready for shortcake season.

June 8 and we are getting ready for shortcake season.

All my worry was for nothing. Jam season was right on schedule. I had worried about slugs with all the nice moist places for them to hid. To be honest, we had a few berries that had been taste tested but not at all like I was afraid of. I will keep my eyes open next summer if we are still here, but a little bit of sluggo early in the season is probably still a good idea. I did not use anything but a flashlight and a bit of salt this year. I did not water the strawberry box at all during this hottest of PNW summers. We had a hot drought that seemed to last from late May to mid September. The truth is, I couldn’t have done much work in the garden this summer even though I wanted to. Some fifteen plus years after a summer hike and suffering what some call a heat stroke (others tell me that people do not survive heat stroke, so I do not know what happened to me), I still get violently sick once it gets warmer then the mid 80’s. The summer of 2014 goes down as a summer spent in my room with the AC on. Blah! Mornings were good for getting out. I could stand about 20 minutes in the garden before that uncomfortable throbbing starts at the back of my head. My guys are all very good to me! Beans got canned, strawberries got jammed, but the poor dogs did not get as many walks as they would have liked. Never mind, it was still a fantastic summer and I have a lot more pictures of getting our Back to Eden Garden started.

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After-school chores

Valentine Mix Lettuce

Valentine Mix Lettuce

Friday, after school, was a bright and beautiful. I spread wood chips into a few gardens by the bucket full. I hardly even made a dent in the pile of chips. Here is the check list of chores done before the sun set and Sabbath began.

One lone strawberry leaf after filling this bed with compost and chips.

One lone strawberry leaf after filling this bed with compost and chips.

•Strawberry bed cleaned up, sprinkled with lime, a layer of alfalfa meal (like candy for the worms), followed by a layer of composted horse poo (a gift from a neighbor), followed by a layer of homegrown, wormy compost and finally by a layer of wood chips. It looks pretty (I also cleaned up all the brush encroaching on the strawberry bed…love the chop and drop method of cleaning up brush, which is actually a landscape plant that I do not know the name of, I think the local bumble bees call it buzz bush). Note, I did not drop the blackberry vines, I still toss them back over the fence.
•Spread buckets of wood chips on the fava beans and peas (nothing has sprouted yet)
Garlic•Opened up the garlic-shallot box to the fresh air (and later, to the fresh rain)
•Put the nuggets in the tractor for the afternoon (too much stuff has been planted to let them roam, poor chickens) Gave the girls the bucket of weeds and cracked snails from the strawberry bed. If they see me put a bucket of yum in their run, I don’t have to argue with them about going back in when tractor time is done.
•Covered the new rhubarb with wood chips.

Lettuce and mustards under a portable cold frame. Yes that is bubble wrap.

Lettuce and mustards under a portable cold frame. Yes that is bubble wrap.

•Covered an area in the new front (and probably last) SFG with the same layers as I put on the strawberry bed. But this time I took my spade and worked it all in before putting a bucket full of wood chips back on top. Ray was going to build a hoop house over that garden but worried that it would not look pretty enough for the front yard (we hear scary stories) so he repaired and set a portable cold-frame in the garden instead. Under that cold-frame I planted the Wolf Moon lettuce and Mesclun mix . I had a peek, they both look fine.

Still going strong in the Greenhouse

Still going strong in the Greenhouse

Saturday, I putzed around the green house while it was raining. Finally gave the Wolf Moon onions a haircut. I also up-potted the Imperial Star artichokes. The Green Globe artichokes that I up potted a week or two ago are doing fine. Every year I worry that I will kill the little sprouts by transplanting them and every year they prove that they are tougher then I am clumsy. The little purple artichokes have not even sprouted yet. Both the Parsleys are starting to get real leaves. I know where I will put them, but I think they need the cold frame too. In the PNW a cold-frame does protect from cold nights, but just as important, it protects baby plants from drowning in the rain. Spinach starts are ready for the garden. I will put them in the same area as the parsley. They can probably wait a weekend or two, but the younger, the better in my book …..err, blog. I moved a tray of peas (green arrow and maestro) in soil blocks from the 2nd shelf of the sprouting rack to the wide mouth of the potato pot where they will get more light. The Potatoes (some kind of yellow from the natural food co-op) are showing sprouts but are tentative about really growing in my unheated green house. So I do not feel too bad about giving the peas temporary quarters on top of their big pot.

The one job that I have not done yet, that I should have done a couple of weeks ago, is starting my tomatoes. Mostly this is because my bin of soil-blocker mix has a crack in the lid and the mix has turned to mud. Ray bought a new bin and the ingredients that we did not already have to make another batch of mix. But it won’t be soil block mix until we actually do the mixing. I keep reminding myself that it is still February. Then I panic because really, it is the 2nd week of March. Arrrgh! In addition to the dozens of tomatoes I already have seeds for, I will trial Jaune Flammee, apparently an earlier Tomato in the PNW, and Gold Medal, a full season PNW tomato.

Summer Dreams

Summer Dreams

Summer dreams… while the rain pounds on the roof. March 10, 2014: Underground Weather is putting their best face on this sticky wet weather: Showers, becoming less numerous. Basically it is going to rain most of the day. At least it should cool down at night, a good sign, it means things are clearing up a bit. 50/38 Sun’s up at 7:31 — 11 hours and 36 minutes later it sets at 7:07. A promise of sun is coming!

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Filed under Fresh from the garden

Putting the strawberry bed to bed

There is a little more here than garden maintainance. You will get a brief overview of harvesting chamomile, strawberry-tarragon spa-water, starting new strawberry plants and a little showing off of my puppies.

Just in time for summer

Finally, we have some heat! 88/61 some clouds and 10% chance of rain were on the weather menu but I’m not seeing it. It might explain the humidity. The beautiful sunrise was at 5:51 followed by 14 hours and 46 minutes of real summer. It sets at 8:37.

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Filed under Square Foot Garden, Urban Farm, Video

Cold, cold July (until today)

The Toy Box

Suburban Farm Episode #25 (Season 3)

I have no idea why or how you-tube chooses a cover picture. This looks liked my pumpkin vine growing outside of the fence. By the way, I did finally get my lawn mown. Sorry about the mess.

Is that a dragon fly sitting on my corn?

Today was warmer outside than it was inside, we have not had many days like that. Blue sky, 75/57 sunrise at 5:37, 15 hours and 15 minutes later the sun set at 8:52. I am missing my late walks with the dogs.

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Filed under Square Foot Garden, Urban Farm, Video

Summer comes to Everett! 7/4


Today is the first day in nearly a month that has not been defined by the amount of rain we have to deal with in the PNW! I picked my very first bowl of Rainer Strawberries, happily squinting in the sun. There were precious few. The chamomile blossoms were abundant. I wish I could share the beautiful scent of these two together. Turns out that there was just enough for breakfast. What more does a girl need?

Yellow Transparent Apples

I wonder if I remember correctly? I chose Yellow Transparent because of the Fourth of July pies made from fruit plucked from my grandma’s tree. Maybe it was later than July 4 that we had summer pie? These are a long way from ready. Maybe for Christopher’s birthday in early August (Maybe for Ray’s in late August)?

Mastro Shelly Peas

Unlike the strawberries and apples, it looks like there will be enough fresh peas for our 4th of July dinner….if I can keep my pea loving dog, Rudy, from helping himself. (see the video)

From June 19. I guess there has been some progress.


Cinderella Pumpkin seeing its first day of sunshine.

I cannot remember a day of sunshine since I planted these pumpkins. You can see how much they have grown since the video. I am not sure I will get pumpkins but it is only early July so I have not given up hope yet.

Gone Fishing

4th of July in the PNW, It is supposed to be clear today but I’m being told that the temp will only get up to 66*F (low of 50). The Strawberry moon is full. Pleasant day, pretty night (and it is not because of that moon). Sunrise at 5:16, sunset at 9:10……Happy Independence Day!

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Filed under Fresh from the garden, Urban Farm

Frozen Strawberry Margarita Pie

Ray handed me a page from the travel magazine he was reading. He gave me puppy eyes and said, “This sounds good.”

Garnish with strawberries, not chocolate easter candy.

So I made it. About half the recipe was made without kick, another pie from the same original recipe was made with kick. Both are good but there is something fun about the over 21 version.

For the crust: Pre-heat your oven to 350*F. (Chill your bowl and beaters for the whipped cream) Process two packages (sleeves?) graham crackers (yield @ 2 cups of fine crumbs) in your food processor. You can also put the crackers into a heavy plastic bag (like a zipper bag) and crush them with a rolling-pin. Add three tablespoons of sugar and two tablespoons of melted butter to the crumbs.

Press the crumbs into an 8 or 9 inch spring-form or regular pie pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Set on a rack to cool.

For the filling: In a blender jar or food processor add

  • 3 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated organic lime zest
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Tablespoons tequila
  • 2 tablespoons orange liquor (triple sec, Grand Marnier, Cointreau or the new one from Brazil)

Puree. You will have a prettier pie if you do not liquefy. There should be bits of strawberries in the finished pie.

In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip 1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream until it is stiff (whipped cream does not really make “peaks” like egg whites but the recipe tells me to whip it until there are stiff peaks)

Fold about 1/3 of the strawberry mixture into the whipped cream. Blend well. Add the remaining strawberries and fold in. Pour the cream-strawberry mixture into the cooled crust. Freeze the pie for 4 hours.

To serve, allow the pie to soften in the refrigerator about 40 minutes (you can skip this step if you made your pie in a spring-form pan.) Garnish with strawberries and thin slices of lime.

note: To make this pie without the alcohol, omit the tequila and orange liquor. Add 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract. It is just as good, you just won’t giggle as much.

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Filed under Everyday Adventure, Home Cooked