Category Archives: garden

Winter seeds for the birds

Sunflower seed head still has some left for the birds.

Sunflower seed head still has some left for the birds.

Last fall, I cut down all the volunteer sunflowers that had grown in my community garden plot, and brought them home. I propped them at the top of the backyard, hoping the birds would appreciate them. This morning, I finally saw that they do! A few chickadees were picking on the sunflower heads. It’s nice to see a natural food source work out.

By the way, you may have noticed that I’ve been tweaking a few things around the edges on this blog. I’ve returned to the original name, “Writing Every Day”.  Since I’ve taken up the challenge to write a story a week, I will blog about my writing. This will continue to be the place where I write about whatever else interests me, such as reading, cooking, and gardening. With one big exception: bees!

I’ve launched a new blog about bees, “Native Bee Ranching.” This is where I discuss why bees are important, how they live, and what you can do for them. So if you’ve enjoyed my previous writings about bees, especially the native bees, I hope you’ll check it out.


Like a sleeping red giant, a tomato glows

Here it is: my first tomato of the year!

Bright red tomato

Good old Better Bush tomato!


Our current little bit of wildlife

Cats very interested in the outdoors

Cats very interested in the outdoors

What could the cats be looking at?

Continue reading

Strawberries: 3, Slugs: 0

A cluster of strawberries

A cluster of slug-free strawberries

It’s June, and that means strawberries. Big, bright strawberries. Handfuls of them day by day.

I even remembered to put out beer traps for the slugs. Oddly enough I haven’t caught any yet. Nor have I found the characteristic circular bites taken of sweet, sweet berries. I wonder if the recent heat dried them up?

Meanwhile in other fruits…

Image…I picked an Alpine strawberry yesterday. As it was a bit dry and tough, I probably should have waited until after last night’s rainfall, but it was still a strawberry!

This heat is good for one thing…

A bitty green tomato

A bitty green tomato

My first tomato has set fruit!

If a squirrel can plant corn, I can too

A big bag of sun-burnt spinach and a bag of of  Chinese mustard greens in flower.

A big bag of sun-burnt spinach and a bag of of Chinese mustard greens in flower.

It’s finally shorts weather, and I went a little nuts today planting warm-weather seeds. In my herb garden, where a squirrel grew some corn last year, I planted to some corn. Also a random packet of sweet basil, which may or may not sprout.

In the pocket where I grow a tomato, I sowed edamame, and Cousa squash. Also a random packet of Dusty Miller, which is even less likely to come up.

At my community garden plot, I harvested another pound of Chinese mustard greens, and a couple pounds of spinach, slightly sun-burnt. And planted some green beans. By then, it was too hot to pick a random packet to sow, but the spinach was growing in all sorts of random spots, so that has to do.

I love the smell of parsnips in the afternoon

It smells like victory.

Last fall's parsnip harvest

Last fall’s parsnip harvest

At the end of the season last fall, I dug up about two dozen well-formed parsnips, almost six pounds worth. Also the usual tomato, eggplant, and chile pepper.  This was the biggest surprise, as I had never had any luck before growing carrots or parsnips. But last winter, I had enough parsnips to last me until April!

Over the winter, I tallied up which plants were more successful and which weren’t. On the worth it list:  Tomato plants, Parsnip seeds, Shallot sets, Eggplant plants, Carrot seeds, Pepper plants, and Squash seeds. Not worth it: Broccoli plants, Potato sets, Parsley plant, Snap pea plant & seed, and Lettuce plants. The mushroom kit was a nearly complete waste of money, and the raspberries & strawberries that I planted years ago continue to pay off.

Community garden plot full of greenery

Community garden plot full of greenery

This spring I renewed my resolution to avoid buying plants, and to trust my seeds to sprout. I resolved do better at growing greens. I have done better at planting my community garden plot to square foot grids. I marked out paths inside the plot.

Bags and bags of greens

Bags and bags of greens

Today was my first harvest. I picked several ounces of pea tendrils, a pound of flowering yu choy, and three pounds of turnip greens! Smells like victory!

So I celebrated by planting more parsnips.

A bowl of cole

A bowl of Brussels sprouts

A bowl of Brussels sprouts

Finally my first harvest of Brussels sprouts, after planting them last spring! They grow so slowly. I think they didn’t even form sprouts until late in the summer. And of the four plants, only one has formed sprouts worth snipping, just barely the size of my thumb, and just barely starting to open.

On the happy side, it’s  a cole crop and hardy in cold weather. A little snow come and gone, and the Brussels shake it off. And then I remember that maybe I might want to eat a few, so snip, snip, snip — a bowl of cole!

Today’s ounce of raspberries

Raspberries in a circle dance

My late season of “everbearing” Heritage raspberries is coming in dribs and drabs. There are just enough flowers to keep the bumblebees coming back to the raspberry patch, and just enough fruits to keep me checking on them every few days. Some days, I almost get a handful of raspberries!