Kitchen Garden

06.07.16 Kitchen Garden

Our kitchen garden today…

Our house is 106 years old. The oak trees that were planted when the neighborhood was young tower over us and shade much of the yard. The west side of the house has the most sunshine so that is where we are building our kitchen garden.

Building it is an ongoing project! We started two years ago when my husband built the first of the raised bed boxes. Our soil is mostly clay with rocks and many tree roots, so we decided not to try to put the garden in the ground. For that limited space, we designed a square garden with nine 4 x 4 boxes knowing that it would take time to build the boxes, double-dig down for each box before putting in a better soil mix. Progress toward the finished project would be slow, but we decided to just enjoy it each step of the way. By Fall two years ago, hubby was able to finish 6 of the boxes and we brought in soil for each one of them. They were ready for spring planting.

So when Spring came last year, we planted our first garden boxes. That first summer of the garden was a “grand experiment” for each member of the family! None of us knew much about what we were doing, but we knew we would learn as we go along!  Grandboy and his Dad chose their box and planted a fun mix of everything including peas, pumpkins, Cosmos, and a sunflower! Daughter chose the middle box and claiming not to have a green thumb she planted flowers instead of veggies (they were gorgeous and got lots of compliments from passers-by). Hubby planted pumpkins, green onions, and bok choi in his box but unfortunately all three crops failed. I planted tomatoes and peppers in my boxes. It was a good beginning for beginners, and a great learning experience for us all. (I’ll post at a later date about what I learned about growing tomatoes!)

By the Fall, hubby had also finished the last three boxes so we filled them with dirt and planted Crimson Clover as a cover crop for the winter. This Spring, we planted our second kitchen garden. Son and Grandson planted some beans in their box. Daughter planted strawberries where the flowers had been last year, and then she planted pumpkins in two other boxes and squash in another. Husband planted some tomatoes that he started from seed indoors, and I planted my beloved tomatoes and peppers and also started my herb box. We also bought 5 half-barrels to put along the north border of this little garden and planted blueberries.

So our garden for this season is planted and growing. Despite the intense heat of the last few days (very unusual for this time of year here!), the garden is doing well. And we are learning more and more each day about vegetable gardening and about being good stewards of the land!

Joy Creek Nursery

Learning...

Learning…

We’re back to our “Wandering Wednesdays” after weeks of too-hot days that interfered with our motivation to wander. This week, we took our daughter with us and visited a special garden nursery in Scappoose, Oregon (about 18 miles north of Portland), called Joy Creek Nursery. We’re planning some changes to certain areas of our garden, so this was an ‘educational field trip’ for us.

The nursery is aptly named, “Joy Creek,” because it was truly a joy to walk through and experience. The display gardens were inspiring, and the selection of plants was wonderful. What a lovely learning and wandering day!

 

Kitchen Window Garden

Our kitchen window garden is the heart of our home. There were a lot of things we really loved about this sweet old house in the Grove when we first walked through it with our realtor. We loved the sunlight streaming in the windows, the beautiful old Douglas Fir flooring in the living room and dining room, the classical old staircase going up to the second level… and then the big kitchen greenhouse window! That window definitely was not from the same time period of the Douglas Fir floors, but it’s a wonderful window.

It has an eastern exposure and the sun is pretty direct until about noon, so house plants either love it in that window, or they don’t survive. I’m just starting to plant herbs, so we’ll see if parsley and chives like it there.

We have two bird feeders hanging at the sides of the window, so we enjoy watching many different kinds of birds, especially in the wintertime. And we’ve enjoyed some spectacular winter sunrises through the oak trees. Watching the wildlife, the weather, and the passing of seasons out that window keep us completely entertained.

I put together a collection of photos of the kitchen window garden, starting with the day we moved in and ending with photos of a little window gardening project the Grandboy and his Daddy did to learn about drip irrigation. Great little gardening project from Kiwi Crate!

Planting Memories

Our sweet weekend gardener...

Our sweet weekend gardener…

The times we spend at our home and garden in the Grove are way too short! It’s a wonderful break from our busy working lives in the Seattle area, and well worth the 3-1/2 hour drive to get here. We come as often as we can, but it’s hard to be part-time residents, and particularly difficult to be part-time gardeners. We so look forward to next year when we can move here permanently! These short weekends are particularly joyful, however, being out in the yard with our Grandboy, puttering around and planting memories.