Friday, September 29, 2006

Sunflower Buffet

When I need to trim some of the sunflower heads to be able to walk down the garden paths, or for other reasons, I've been putting them in this feeder. At first, I could tell the birds had been picking out the seeds. Then I noticed entire heads would go missing. Caught the squirrel working his way across the pasture with his prize last weekend. Some tree somewhere is getting full of sunflower heads. Maybe that will keep him out of my other feeder this winter!

You see I found a home for the spiral topper I planned to put on the sign post before my dear husband got his topper up first.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's not a Crisis, It's an Adventure!

Don't worry, You! (You know who you are.) Any mid-life crisises going on in PG's little world? Of course, not! It was just like last week we were raiding the salad bar for strawberries and pulling out the blender!

Well, surely everyone has a hair or something growing where it didn't before...

Or no hair where there had been hair...

And sometimes it is easy to get going two directions at one time...

I don't know what it is, but I just cannot resist those double decker purple hats...

There goes that hair again...

And for some reason, friends HAVE posted little signs around the place...

But if there was anything like that going on, well, it would just be nature's little funny streak. But, no, no such events going on fast cars or anything... only a travel bug on the loose and blog about a snake's garden! Besides, let's just call it an adventure. Yeah, that's it... when we get there, it will be a mid-life adventure (regardless of what it looks like to anyone else)! And thanks for the book and the cute card!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Winter gardening advice, part II

Here are two more winter gardening tips. Enough delay, now I need to get my winter plans underway!

Silvia, from Windywillow, shared this comment: "A lot of the time, I see what nature itself is doing. Here in Ireland, my parsley-gone-to-seed has recently started dropping its dark brown seeds, so I have planted parsley seeds as well. I did the same last year around early September, and had a nice crop of parsley all winter for eating and cooking. I think Ireland's weather is similar to yours, so if you like parsley, planting now is good!" She also has a great post on growing roses from the seeds in rose hips. Sounds like a good fall/winter project also! My parsley is self-seeding now so I hope to have a new crop soon. (or maybe I should buy some seed. Does self-seeded parsley seeds need to go through a winter to sprout?

From the UK, John at Spade Work: From Plot to Plate shared this: "Don't know how cold it gets over there in winter but you'll be fine with garlic (mine will go in mid Oct) and perhaps you could try some winter hardy onion sets - these mature quickly come spring and you get an early (June/July) harvest of onions. Also I will sow winter hardy broad bean - Aquadulce Claudia and these will grow away in spring and in theory be less susceptible to aphid attacks! One gardens in hope rather than certainty. Good luck." A beautiful garden and blog he has too. Garlic definitely has the lead in votes for planting soon!

Thanks again for the great information shared.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Winter gardening answers, here

Thanks for the advice that has come in from my winter gardening question! These gardeners have encouraged me to give it a shot. I'll probably try the old windows I have as a cold frame and rain shield in one of the garden beds for some plants. Advice comments and links are below. Any other thoughts?

I enjoyed nice, slightly misty, walk around the garden tonight. All of those days of blue skies and hot temperatures don't even seem real now! No way we could have that many in a row. Steamed zucchini, spinach and tomatoes with our pasta tonight. The young zucchini looks great again, but really doesn't have the flavor of those born in the summer. Steamed garden spinach is nothing like that stuff I remember on our plates in grade school!

Molly, from Life on Tiger Mountain, also in Washington, shared the advice below, plus more advice in her Winter Garden post: "Your best bet right now is garlic, which the Issaquah Grange will probably carry, and which you plant in October or November, and then do nothing. It's like tulips, only easier because the slugs don't eat garlic. When the tops fall over in July you pull it up and there's a spot for next year's winter crops.You are a little late for winter broccoli. The days are getting too short for good growth. Salad greens you could grow under a cold frame." Sounds like garlic might be the winter crop I'll appreciate when we are short on light and long on rain. I love Molly's description of it above!

Harvest, of Real Food & Scandalous Gardening Secrets, shared the comments below, and it was her post I had seen on Bodacious Broccoli: "Of course it all depends on which zone you are in and which variety you grow . . . Over here on the west coast we can plant Broccoli any time between now and the end of October or even early November and get a late winter or early spring crop. Also there are many root vegetables and other delights. Like Fennel! Yum, I love the fall and winter garden . . . " I'm north of Harvest, though, with shorter and possibly more gray days. I think I'll try a few broccoli seeds just to see what they'll do.

Becky, from My Serenity Garden, shared this:
"I have never grown a winter garden. I would like to try though. If I plant anything now, it will be elephant garlic so it gets a head start." I love roasted elephant garlic, thanks for the tip!

Thanks, garden bloggers!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Winter gardening advice, please

Will you share information on what you'll grow over the winter? I suspect the time to plant is now, if not past, so I need to quit ignoring the shorter days ("funny, look how early it got dark tonight. Must be a storm coming in...").

This seed catalog came out in June, I think, from Territorial Seed Company where I have been ordering these past 2 years. Its cover is like a beautiful chalk drawing. Made me WANT to winter garden, but not enough to put the summer gardening activities aside and actually figure out when and what I needed to do.

So now that I can see an end coming to the summer fresh vegetable supply, I'm asking for your input on what you're planting now/soon to grow over the winter. Please e-mail, blog post, or post comments with your experience on having some fresh vegetables throughout the winter (and whether or not you'll cover them somehow). When will you plant them and when do you expect harvesting to start?

In western Washington, our winters can be relatively mild compared to many places in the country. Frosts, a little snow. We'll have rain and lots of gray days. Ground doesn't seem to freeze solid. Ice storms will put an end to anything not covered, I do supposed. If needed, I do have windows from the spring coldframe that I plan to set up in a garden bed, plus additional similar windows for expansion.

So far, I have young lettuce and spinach growing and plan to add some more. I started some peas in mid August to see how they might do through the fall. Maybe broccoli? I'm considering planting crimson clover in beds not being used. Any experience with this?

Thanks and many well-fed wishes,
Petunia's Gardener
(just because Petunia will hibernate, the gardener still has to eat)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

You want me to do what?

DH: "So that's where PG gets those crazy ideas. Here I've been blaming it on those garden bloggers!"

Friday, September 15, 2006

Here's a Bug for You

Blossom the Travel Bug has been released into the geocaching world or as I like to say, she's off on a garden tour by GPS. Maybe she'll show up in your garden soon! Here's a link to track her travels - Blossom's Link. Here you can see her in Petunia's Garden, before her departure. Below, she is tucked into the cozy zip-loc with her travel bug tag (which has a tracking number) and travel instructions. Storage bags seem to have quite the following in the geocaching world as they help protect the travelers from the harsh conditions in some of the caches and the weather.

Now, the hope is someone will pick her up from the cache she is in and then place her in another cache, anywhere in the world for another cacher to find. First, I hope they'll take a picture of her in a garden or natural habitat of some sort and post it on her page (above link) at I've enjoyed a number of great garden tours by GPS so I look forward to seeing where she'll go with others.

(She does sort of look like she may have been affiliated with a software company in a former life. By the time she came to us, she was living a life of her own and jumped at the chance for the garden tour.)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ode to Rain

it. all.
it. all. begins.
it all begins with a drop of rain
and soon all the drops are pitty pattering down on the rooftops and leaves and soon the drops soak into the earth it all begins with a drop of rain and soon the drops reach the roots and travel to the stems to reach the fruit of the sungold tomato it all begins with a drop. of. rain.
it. all. begins.
it. all.
it. all. begins. once. more
and the tomato hopes the drops will keep pattering down all night and soon the rainbarrels will be full and the drooping cosmos will droop no more it all begins and the pumpkin vines send every drop to the offspring and the air will be northwest fresh for every living creature rejoicing that the drops of rain. have. returned. once. more.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hillside Developments: The Installation

PG: Honey....? DH: Yes..... PG: We need another chair....

Emily making use of the cleared path down the hill in evening light.
Hillside Developments Part I and Part II are here and here.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hillside Developments: The Acquisition

Continued from Hillside Developments (or how it began).

Scene: After breakfast. Labor Day Sale at the Meeker Street Emporium (Union Gospel Mission's thrift store), a block down from Maggie's. Inspired by The Empress of Dirt, PG looks for an interesting cup & saucer, or other unique finds, etc. DH looks for geocaching containers or loot. (The Emporium was the source of PG's favorite weeding tool also.)

DH: "Did you see the chairs in the back?"
PG: "No. Chairs for what?"
DH: "The hill! There's even a little table." Starting to look hopeful, leads PG to the chairs.
PG: "Hmmm..." sitting down. "We could put a cup & saucer bird bath on the table. And half price today - total under $4 for all 3 pieces. This could work..."
DH: "Let's get 'em." To himself... Yessss!

DH's amazing luck once again changed lugging lumber, logs and stones up the hill to build a bench into something with no assembly required.
Next: The Installation.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Hillside Developments

Scene: Breakfast at Maggie's Diner, Labor Day 2006

Petunia's Gardener (PG): "Honey?"
Dear Husband (DH): "Yes...?" with a look of slight dread coming over his face (he has known PG for many years).
PG: "Let's put a bench up on the hill today, like we've been talking about."
DH: "Umgh..." realizing resistance would not help at this point.
PG: "We could use those big logs and 2x6's or 4x4's we have. Or those cement blocks. Just any sort of bench for now..."
DH: "You can carry that stuff up that hill then."
PG: "...and weed-eat a path, now while the grass is dry & somewhat flatten."
DH: "Are you going to eat that sausage?" (attempting the sometimes successful distraction defense play).

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Moonrise over hill and garden

We have this hill, more about it later. Tonight, we were there around sunset and shortly after noticed the bright moon. In just the few minutes it took me to get there, here is the moon from the garden, barely visable between the trees.
Maybe there is a little elevation on that hill after all! But more about that later too.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Garden Sunset

A nice finish to a beautiful Labor Day weekend. We're on the sunrise side of a hill, but even the hill and the trees can't get in the way of a determined sunset.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunflower Seed Harvesters

These dwarf sunflowers are just right for the cheery little chickadees. The earliest of the bloomers, mostly volunteers, are finally being visited by the birds. The chickadees are nice sunflower eaters also. They tend to grab a seed and fly to a nearby tree rather than eating in the garden. This has the helpful housekeeping benefit of keeping the husks out of the garden. Hanna, of This Garden is Illegal, explains all about the dark allelopathic side of sunflowers in Is Your Sunflower Inhibiting You? post. The sunflowers and I have worked out a deal though. We'll all work around (ignore) each other's dark sides. This little finch (hard to tell in the picture, but it is a female or young goldfinch) spotted me hiding under the runner beans. I'm sure he'll be sharing the story around the bird bath in the morning about the crazy lady he saw at the restaurant.
While some flowers are into the harvest season, here are some of the current bloomers in the expansion area/pumpkin patch. And here is a shot with some of the pumpkin vines showing. The pumpkins were planted June 11th (late) and the last picture is this post shows the new area around then. There are 2 larger than a basketball, but others have lots of growing to do.

Friday, September 01, 2006

2007 In the Works

Sept 2006: Here's my list to remember for 2007 - just getting started and will keep adding.

July 2007: updates have been added now.

  1. Purple beans called Blauhilde - Allotment 21, - I some sort of purple beans, but I didn't find blauhilde in time.
  2. Job's Tears - seeds for beads - This Garden is Illegal - July 11-they've sprouted!
  3. Tomatoes - Lots of Sungold orange/cherry tomatoes - didn't split even after the rain we finally had in mid Sept. Sungold started from seed and growing now. Soon to have ripe fruit
  4. Tomatoes- Lemon Boy - large & yellow - yes! I have one growing.
  5. Beets -must grow beets! which variety? I love my beets. Wonder if I can plant more now?
  6. Festival squash - Dave's Allotment & others - I have a different squash growing now.
  7. Flowering Sweetpeas - numerous tries resulted in no sprouts. Neighbor with greenhouse says she'll start some for me next year.
  8. Peas- plant early, by St. Patrick's Day at the latest. (spinach, broccoli & lettuce too?) Not sure the early planting of peas did much good. Nice crop this year, but don't think they did much growing in those early days.
  9. Flashy Trout's Back lettuce - It has done well, but did get bitter.
  10. Sunflowers - Italian White - planted!
  11. Brussel sprouts? - have seeds, when to plant?
  12. Carrots - which variety? none planted
  13. Cucumbers - Lemon - growing!
  14. Basil-Spicy Globe - I have it but it isn't growing the same as it did when we lived in AL
  15. Pumpkins - grow Snackjack again - they won't sprout! I'm trying again in some pots on the patio.
  16. Nicotiana -watch for self-seeded seedlings in the spring. I gave up, but now in July see that I do have some self-seeders (almost in the pathway of course).
  17. Marigolds (very nice, single, orange) from old seeds probably Tangerine Gem - some are now blooming. Still my favorite marigold.
  18. Let's maybe not let every volunteer sunflower grow where ever it wants to grow. Keep to the east end of the beds, perhaps. - yes, I have been more careful this year. I"ll have enough, but they shouldn't crowd out the veggies this time.
  19. Expand the herb garden by elminating the grass path next to it. - done! THe wide grass path now is beds with a seating area in the middle. Became a good home for lavender.
  20. Plant a long row of pumpkins and herd the vines out into the pasture - they are starting to need herding now. We'll see how it works.
  21. Plant winter vegetables in the bed furthest from the barn to decrease hours of shade.
  22. Soaker hoses! - July: now in place.

So, maybe lists are a good thing to keep! Many things on here have had results.