Archive for July, 2011

* winter vegetable garden bed

Posted on July 27th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.


Like I mentioned in my last post, Mark built me a fourth raised bed.  The other three are on the south side of the house in the parking strip (that bit of ground between the sidewalk and the road).  This one is on a kind of awkward little piece of dirt that is next to our driveway.  It’s been divided about half lawn and half a bed of ornamental grasses, with some bulbs thrown in for lack of anything better to do with it.  We realized the other day that it gets great light, though.  The house blocks a little of the morning light, but it gets all sorts of afternoon exposure.  And bonus, no permit needed.

We designed this one to be a little bigger than the others since the spot was larger.  It’s 8 feet by 4 feet, versus 6 feet by 3 feet on two of my others, plus the baby 3×3 herb bed.  It’s made out of the same materials, though: cedar fence slats and wood stakes.  We use these fence slats for everything; they are cheap ($1.37 each) and nice to work with.  The old beds are holding up fabulously, too.  The slats are 6 feet long, so by chopping 2 feet off half of them, you can piece the 8 foot side and use the rest for the short ends.

bedfour

The dirt was the most expensive part of the project.  If we had planned better, we probably could have come up with a better solution than bagged, but we really underestimated the volume required.  It’s a mixture of composted steer and chicken manure, topsoil, peat, and a compost-based growing mix.  We also supplemented with my not-quite-finished compost.  I had three full wheelbarrows of mostly chicken bedding+manure, garden waste (not weeds), grass clippings, and the compost+straw from the failed potato bin experiment.  It was actually breaking down quite nicely, so it will only need do a little finishing at the bottom of the bed.  It’s been a cold Seattle summer here anyway, so the plants might not mind some extra heat as they germinate anyway.

I am holding out hope that the winter garden will do a little better than this year’s spring and summer garden.  Between the new bed and space that opened up in my other beds, I’ve got broccoli rabe, baby bok choy, kailaan (another Asian green), Chinese cabbage, collards, turnips, brussels sprouts, beets (three types), chard, carrots (three types), scallions, peas (two types), kale (two types), and broccoli.  And I reflexively sow more mesclun mix, arugula, radishes, and herbs any time I’m out planting.  I also left some space for a row of Walla Walla onions to be planted in August.  Garlic and scallions will replace the tomatoes later in the fall.  I’m a little late on a few of these, and a little early on others (according to my usual array of Pacific Northwest guides plus some winter garden specific resources [last 2 links PDF]), but it’s such a weird summer that who knows.  I’ll probably reseed in two weeks just to be sure.  I haven’t totally given up on summer yet: today I also planted a purple basil start I found on sale at the Whole Foods.

In my other beds, I’ve been planting in blocks, using a sort of square foot gardening approach.  But last week I was walking home from lab and stopped in my tracks at these amazing raised beds down the street.

beautifulbeds

They are giant, and there are three of them, planted up with rows of tiered veggies and flowers spilling over (check out the nasturtiums in the furthest one).  I love the look of the rows, so now I have rows too :)

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* ladybugs vs. aphids

Posted on July 25th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.


My poor broccoli is being swarmed by aphids.  I’ve been washing them off with the hose every day, but they are back the next day as gross as ever.  I fed the chickens my one lone stalk of broccoli that I’ve gotten so far this year.  I just could not wash away all the aphids and it was too off-putting.  I ate one of the clean side shoots and it was delicious, lucky chickens.  Lester gobbled it up.

We were at the Fred Meyer this weekend buying winter seeds to plant in my new! fourth! raised! bed! and they had bags of ladybugs as an impulse buy at the cash registers.  We actually had already checked out, but Mark goaded me into going back for them.  There were zillions in the bag!  We waited until nightfall and let them free in the garden.

I was pretty convinced they would all just fly away, but this evening, I found them feasting on aphids!

ladies

Eat, my ladies, eat!

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* chard

Posted on July 24th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.


My chard is doing much better this year than last year, when I lost it all to leaf miners (the nibbles you can see on the ends of a few leaves are from me).  Aren’t the colors pretty?

chard

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* shallots

Posted on July 23rd, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.


I dug up my shallots last week and they’re now hanging out on the back patio to cure.  They look great! I was a little worried because they sent up scapes in the spring, and the internet claimed that wasn’t a good sign.

This is the yield off one bulb planted last fall (well, plus one more that went into a marinade last night).  I’m harvesting the other bulb cluster today.

shallots

I have to say, the garlic and shallots were the easiest and most trouble-free thing I’ve grown so far.  They were also a welcome bit of green in the garden over the winter, not to mention tasty!  I’m totally going to plant a few more varieties this fall.

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* pathetic potato harvest

Posted on July 11th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.


I somehow screwed up my trashcan potatoes and they all died last week.  I was optimistic that meant they were ready, even though they never flowered or anything.  So we dumped them all out on a tarp and got this totally underwhelming result.

potatoes

The photo is approximately real life sized.  These are teeny!  I think I wasn’t watering them enough.  Oh well, better luck next year.

I roasted them with some olive oil, fancy salt, and pepper, and they were delicious.  Extremely creamy in a way you don’t get from the grocery store.

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* Urban Craft Uprising highlights

Posted on July 9th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Links, Wants.


I had a fun time at Urban Craft Uprising today.  I didn’t end up buying anything, but I did pick up a bunch of promotional cards for future reference.  Here are some of my favorites this year (all photos from their respective websites):

necklace10019

  • Dottyspeck, silver jewelry in organic and geometric patterns

daintylinen_2

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  • lumafina, more jewelry (you might sense a theme brewing)

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I wish I were going tomorrow for Jill Bliss‘s drawing workshop!

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* Garlic harvest

Posted on July 8th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.


My first garlic harvest. Im still kind of astounded at how easy they were to grow. I havent tasted any yet.

The variety is German red.

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* Cornhole accoutrements

Posted on July 6th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Sewing/Fabric Crafts.


We spent the holiday weekend at our friend’s beach house on the Oregon coast. Beach house-y activities were requested and we suggested cornhole. They would make the board, and I was responsible for the beanbags (cornbags?)

doublestack

One set is made from light denim and the other from a thrifted heavy curtain. They are all double-stitched and filled with feed corn. Regulation all the way!

pile

I love this curtain for some reason and have lots of it left. What should I make with the rest?

stack

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craftlog is under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license. That means that you are all welcome to take and repost my photos, replicate my projects, remix my ideas, whatever you want as long as you give attribution (a link is fine) and it's noncommercial. Thanks!