One of the biggest things to get used to living on the North Oregon Coast is, even with our little inland microclimate (we’re about 10 minutes’ drive from the ocean), the fact of the matter is our planting season starts several weeks after what it did back in the city…and it makes me crazy with anticipation! Example? “Peas by Presidents Day is now Peas by St Patrick’s Day” and I’m now just getting my seeds started in our quasi-hothouse for tomatoes, peppers, cukes and tomatillos to plant the first week of June or so…not May 😦
Our planting list for 2020’s veggie garden’s 12’x4′ raised beds:
* Bed 1 – Peas, Kale
* Bed 2 – Spinach, Lettuce, Carrots, Potatoes
* Beds 3, 4 – Tomatoes – 2 full beds!
* Bed 5 – Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers, Tomatillo
* Bed 6 – Squash/Zucchini
* Bed 7 – Onions, Shallots
* Bed 8 – Strawberries
* Bed 9 – Garlic
I’m growing collards and rainbow chard in pots, and like to mix in bee’s friend, parsley, borage and basil in with the tomatoes and peppers to support our honeybees. We have an existing herb garden and 9 fruit trees planted between 2018-2020, and I’m going to experiment in the hothouse with some more sensitive plants, like cilantro (which I’ve killed every year for..ever…so am trying this approach to see if it’s me or the climate, hahaha).
We’ve got a gorgeous week upon us out here in Oregon, with sunny skies and temps in the mid-60’s (that’s awesome for us) so I thought I’d share what’s going on in our garden in early April…
See what I mean? Compared to some areas of the country, I’m feeling antsy as our spinach and lettuce are just starting to peer out of the soil (not even ready to get thinned). Because of the wind we get that tends in gusts to occasionally blow down my rickety pea trellis, I’ve decided to try out bush peas instead that don’t require it – my first time ever! – and with that experimenting with the pretty purple Sugar Magnolia seeds which are already so interesting as the leaves are even a greenish-purple 🙂 Along with that, my first planting for the season, done in late fall, is finally looking awesome – GARLIC! Yep, an entire 12’x4′ raised bed dedicated to four different locally and organically cultivated garlic varieties, because we never ever grow enough! I got a chance to learn about (and sample!) some last fall from a Clatskanie farmer at a local gardening show and am pretty stoked. PS – these were all planted in perfect rows until two mischievous chickens climbed over the old protector and wreaked havoc…but were fortunately caught before they decimated the garlic, and I have since covered the hoops entirely with bird netting. Yes, next year there will be achicken tunnelcreated for the growing season!
And while these aren’t edible, I may just be happiest about the fact that we have tulips in our lives once again! Other country folks will know that tulips are like dark chocolate to the deer population, so there is no growing them out in the middle of the yard, and being a gal who had hundreds planted in our former house in the city, it was a tough transition. So this past fall I planted all my bulbs in containers and put them up against our back deck which has been a huge success! I’ve got a few alliums in the center which have yet to blossom, and am thinking about doing this with sunflowers next 🙂
Our little hothouse is getting busy this year, with the seed starting with and without heating mats (I only have two so am experimenting with the third on the table which gets some pretty intense warmth in the mid-afternoon sun). I’m also using my lights because even though it’s sunny, last year I discovered that without them things were weaker, so the timer has got everything automated 🙂 PS – the low table was DIY’d by yours truly when we installed windows last year and realized ladders were not sensible for the immense weight, so I used this awful old “desk” I’d torn out of the master bedroom almost immediately after move-in as the tabletop…and my husband suggested we move it into the hothouse after. Perfect! And it’s waterproof!
I reuse the plastic pots every year in the hothouse, and label them so I remember what’s what. Usually it’s more detailed labels but for some reason I’d poured all my tomato seeds into one jar and forgot to specify what kind they were! So beyond my Romas, it’ll be a surprise what kinds of tomatoes we get 🙂
So we’re not “growing” any birds this year (husband and I assumed certain things would be happening in our life to prevent that kind of availability so we didn’t order any meat chicks, oy! That being said, our neighbor is borrowing a “stud” rooster to see if he’ll get any of her chickens knocked up, so we’ll see if that might be an idea for the future as one of our Delawares is clearly dying for a date…!). That being said, I did want to show how our DIY nesting boxes are wildly successful with the 4 chooks (they were the ones spared from last year’s harvest)! Because of dorky chickens and occasional wind gusts, I screwed them to the old wooden boxes they sat on and yep, still weigh them down with a rock or jar of what-not. They are 9 months old now and have been laying regularly for several months, while the ducks are about 2 or 3 a day. Of course chooks lay in the day and ducks around dawn, so I’m gathering a couple times a day.
There are multiple things to celebrate in this garden photo I took yesterday afternoon that would seem not very interesting to most on first glance. 1) The chooks are big and healthy! 2) The sun is out! 3) The duck’s dirty pool (filled every other day with water from our rain tank that’s connected to the barn’s gutter) is perfect water for the garden beds! And my favorite? 4) Our 13-year old girl Lucky, 15 months post-adoption, has now graduated to the status of Associate Farm Dog. Meaning? She can now come into the garden with the chooks and ducks and has zero interest in them. She’ll never go beyond Associate level, since she doesn’t actually care about protecting the birds (as her primary interest is eating their poop), but the fact that I no longer have to worry about them being around each other is a very, very good thing. And I must say, one of the black chooks (Australorp) I think has a crush on her as she stares at Lucky through the fence (longingly?) and runs up whenever she trots near the gate to come in. 🙂
Next up here at Beloved Farms…?
- Tapping my fingers until the seeds in the hothouse germinate.
- Anxiously wait for my onion sets to arrive (there have been ZERO onion seeds at the stores so I had to order online and now battle the throngs of newbie gardeners, hoping they’ll come in sooner rather than later).
- Prep hives for our two new packages of Oregon-raised honeybees arriving on the 18th since we sadly lost both last year.
- Weed like crazy (any eco-friendly tips for clover, y’all? It’s way worse out here than it was back in the city and commandeered where our poppies usually grow…!).
- Plan for the next section of front lawn we currently have covered to de-grass.
- Anxiously await May when I can plant zucchini and butternut squash seeds in the raised bed.
- Stare down the strawberry bed and hope I see blossoms soon!
What are you up to in your garden? What’s making you crazy this year? Any happy surprises?