Garden Journal

Spring is here! There are so many cliches about Spring but for me, this was my first one with a big garden to build around the corner. Living in NYC, there wasn’t much access so, for ten years I suppressed my urge to dig. Things are changing fast there. All kinds of growing efforts are popping up working to get more access to more land for folks there. The community gardens have such long wait list and interest in gardening exploded last year. Hopefully, the trend gurus are right and yard sharing will be the biggest garden trend of 2010!

We’re in Halfway a little town in Eastern Oregon, hardiness zone 5a, near the old family ranch in Keating. Hundreds of people grow beautiful gardens here. I am the new kid on the block. The terrain looks like all the old western movies you’ve seen, a high mountain valley. Cornucopia is still covered with snow and though, some wise women here have told me that planting outside should wait til the snow is gone from the foot hills of the valley, I have not been able to hold myself back. People have been saying it’s an El Nino year and it’s warming up fast. It was warm enough to turn the compost piles today. Having sat on my butt in front a computer for the last four months was not the ideal training regime for moving huge the semi broke down pile.

So we’ve had two days of 50 degrees or better so I’ve set my makeshift green house out. It’s running 80 degrees during the day inside. It’s not exactly a thing of beauty. Martha would barf I am sure. It’s just a shelf system wrapped in 3mm plastic. Also, lined the shelves with black plastic to protect the shelves but, also to absorb a bit more heat. I am thinking about painting a 5 gallon bucket black and filling it with water for a bit more radiant heat. For a lot of things in there that’s probably not needed. All in all it’s quite serviceable. I’ve decided not to use my LEDs this year, they were a big disappointment last year, and the wood shop where I kept it is always cool.

I may sell some plant starts at the farmers market if things go well!

So indoor starts so far:

Tomatoes
Brandywines
San Marzano’s (for drying and sauce)
Matt’s Wild Cherry
Sweet 100’s
Black Krim

Peppers
California Wonder
Chinese Giant
Anahiem

Herbs
Basil Genovese
Basil Thai
Culinary Sage
Munstead Lavendar
Greek Oregano
Sweet Margoram

Other
Japanese Eggplant

Outdoors (Mar 3rd)

Alliums planted last fall:
Globemaster (big pom poms that look like Dr. Suess plants
Egyptian Walking Onions
White Bunching Onions

Greens
Red Ruben Romain
Spinach

In the greenhouse
Sugar snap peas
Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli
Chinese Bok Choi
Collard Greens
French Mesclun Mix

Around the yard
Poppies
Lavender Elegance
Sunflowers

I’ve been thinking about hops mainly because I love the smell of them. Apparently, hop workers used to get so drawsy from the hops they would nap at work.

The grapes, trimmed back in early February kind of scare me but, folks tell me if you don’t think you’ve pruned too much with grapes you’re doing it wrong!

The plum and apple trees are starting to bud and, of course, we all worry that a frost will come a long and kill all the blooms. I realize now, I’ve never been here to see the apple blossoms! In this valley at least I’ve been told a good apple year means you have two so so years of apples after that. We have two trees. I am not sure what the one in front of the house is, but the other one, the Cortland produces the most fragrant crisp tart and sweet apples I have ever had. I actually didn’t like apples much before I met this tree…or maybe I just never had a fresh apple!

I know that the people in the valley have a cider pressing party sometime in the fall so I am already looking forward to that.

We have amazing blackberries on the land and down near the pond some raspberries showed up last summer but there were only three or four berries. There’s a couple wild cherry trees and I’ve heard apricots will and do grow in the area. I’d like to plant almonds and a walnut tree but, a few of the volunteer Cottonwoods or the random Catalpa that popped up will have to go.

I’m finding there is a reason it’s called Cornucopia Highway….

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