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Welcome to Wednesday Street Prophets open thread. Come in, pull up a lawn chair and tell us how your garden grows!

Front porch entry.
In my post last month (Kill Your Lawn), I described how I occupied my front yard with five large raised beds to turn it into my own family food system. This year, my yard has been chosen by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition for the Edible Front Yard Walking Tour, so I have been busy getting ready for that. As my husband says, weeks of hard labor for a 15 minute event!

Ordinarily, I ignore the esthetics of my front porch; however, the impending tour led me to paint my wicker. It is an evening tour, so the nicotiana will be perfuming the air.

The tomatoes are the queens of the garden as always. The north bed gets the most sun. I cover crop this bed in crimson clover during the winter, so the soil is excellent.
This bed is new this year. The original strawberries became shot through with weeds, so I removed the soil and replaced it.
New bed this year, planted with peppers, summer squash and cantaloupes.
I was very happy to find pepper plants which look like I planted them weeks ago.
Sweet bell peppers.
I love cucumbers so I have a lot of them. I planted them behind the tomatoes and have trained them vertically so they can seek the sun.
We love beans, so I have both pole and bush beans, yellow, green and purple. I discovered I have a deer problem and have covered them with bird netting which will be easy to lift to harvest and yet deter any grazing.
I have them strung up in free form fashion like a spider on LSD.
I have about two dozen different vegetables planted this year. In this bed, I will have my fall/winter/spring garden. I've planted overwintering carrots and will plant collards as the lettuce comes out. I've planted broccoli which should overwinter. I also planted some ground cherries (tomato family) in honor of my mother who always planted them.
Lemongrass, basil, broccoli, ground cherries and little cabbages.
We have two Asian Pear trees out front which have given us over twenty years of fruit.
I need to get out here and thin the fruit!
The asparagus bed is doing well!
My daughter's first truck which I use as a greenhouse, tool storage area and heat sink for blueberries and tomatoes.
So, how does your garden grow?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Home (10+ / 0-)

    Having been on the road for the past five weeks, we pulled into the house a few minutes ago. The two stay-at-home pooties greeted us and then the two camping cats came in and got re-integrated with the pack.

    The last couple of days were very hot for travel--hot weather coupled with the failure of the dash air in the coach (no air conditioning while driving) and the regular air conditioning not really cooling when we camped last night.

  •  Our snap peas and spinach leaves got eaten (9+ / 0-)

    by something. I'm not sure what, they left just skeleton leaves behind on both plants. But our pole beans and large green leaf lettuce did great! So did our dill, sage, and oregano. I'm not sure how to tell when the Garlic is ready to pull. We have spaghetti squash planted, and while we've gotten a BUNCH of flowers, we haven't gotten any squash started, despite hand cross pollination attempts with a paintbrush. We need to de-weed the bed now that the beans and lettuce are harvested and get ready to plant the pumpkins. I just hope we can keep them wet enough over the hottest part of the summer.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 01:12:07 PM PDT

  •  I love your "spider on (8+ / 0-)

    LSD" method of stringing up your beans. In addition to the herbs I plant every year, this year I only planted tomatoes and peppers in my vegetable garden. I have already harvested a couple of peppers and the tomatoes are starting to look pretty good. It will be a while before I can pick any of the tomatoes, though.

    It would sure be great to have all of those Asian pears growing in my front yard!

    And I LOVE how you painted your wicker furniture. Good luck with the tour!

    Progress is made peace by peace.

    by StateOfGrace on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 01:23:32 PM PDT

  •  I love garden pron. (9+ / 0-)

    I had to let my garden go fallow while I was staying at my mother's to provide her care.  When I moved back home, I was consumed by new position at the Augustinian Center.  So, this year I revived just a few of my raised beds.  Next year I hope to have a full garden again, although it might take a couple of seasons to retame all my plots.

    •  You get some terrific sun in your part of (5+ / 0-)

      Oregon--bet you can raise some great tomatoes!

      They can really go to the weeds, can't they? My one strawberry bed was so bad, I just replaced the soil. This time I put landscape cloth under it. The lawn does seem to want its revenge!

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:25:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm east of the Cascades, so yes, we get a good (5+ / 0-)

        amount of sun.  However, my place is right up against a bluff on the south, so my sunset is earlier than in town.  I've had to plan my crop placements accordingly.

        The bluff also creates a "wind tunnel" effect which amplifies the strong gusts here in the Columbia gorge -- yet another major challenge.  My first year here, I awoke one morning to find all my corn rows flattened.  I was able to salvage the crop by uprighting and staking the still young plants.  It's the only place I've ever lived where one has to stake corn!  

        •  Staking corn! (4+ / 0-)

          Yes, the wind does whistle through there! And the winters are so very cold also. Here we have been able to depend upon mild winters; I've kept broccoli for two years for instance. However, this past winter we had two snow events which took a lot of older plants out. Hard to know what to expect but I am hoping for a long season into an Indian Summer.

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 03:02:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Winters here have been milder of late . . . (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rebel ga, occupystephanie

            but I've lived in some really harsh winter states -- Ohio, Vermont, Maine, Wisconsin -- so my home state of Oregon now feels downright tropical in comparison.  July and August can be very hot and dry, too.

            I've never tried to winter over broccoli.  It just never occurred to me.  Perhaps turning one of my raised beds into a cold frame would make it possible.  I've been meaning to do some cold frame experimentation anyway.

            •  What I have done is simply throw a sheet or (0+ / 0-)

              blanket over the plant when the weather turns cold, taking it off in the morning if it warms. I tried plastic sheeting one year but it was just too messy to get into in the cold rain and it tended to cause mildew on the plants.

              We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

              by occupystephanie on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 08:30:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Very nice, Stephanie (8+ / 0-)

    Your tomatoes and peppers look lovely.  I think I see a couple of garlics flowering in there too.

    We just harvested a couple big armfuls of garlic. As soon as the stalks start to dry and topple, we pulled them up.

    I saw a 20-garlic chicken recipe that I'm gonna try with this harvest. (Don't  tell your chickens).

    I hope the honor of getting chosen for a tour was worth the extra hassle of gussying up the homestead.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:07:45 PM PDT

    •  Yes, I was really excited to get picked! (5+ / 0-)

      And I must admit, it does look pretty nice.

      I have early garlic--Chinese Pink-- which I harvested about a month ago. I love to throw them in the iron skillet with some small potatoes and onions on the grill. Great to have so much garlic that you can afford to be profligate with it! Love handing out heads of it too.

      The ones left I think are onions.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:29:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a wonderful front yard you have! (8+ / 0-)

    I love it. So great you're using it for food. I missed your earlier diary, so thanks for the link. Your beds are a good size: big enough for considerable food but not so big as to be unmanageable work. Kudos and congrats on the yard tour. Yah, it's 15 minutes for them, but then you get to enjoy the beautiful neatened yard yourself, for days at least ;-) It's like when my mom comes to visit - the one time I seriously clean cobwebs and all, lol.

    I'm very impressed by how well your toms, cukes and peppers do. I'm up in the San Juan islands, and though we have an ocean moderated climate, our soil doesn't get warm enough for those reliably. I grow mine in my unheated greenhouse in  5 gallon pots. The few hundred miles latitude really makes a difference.

    I use raised beds too because the soil up here is very thin most places, glacial till. There's the upfront labor, building and filling, but then it's much easier I find to keep up and protect from pests. I don't plant many kinds of things but lots of what we like: peas, broc, potatoes, greens, carrots, beans. Also zucchini, beets, artichokes, delicata squash that sometimes ripens. And lots of perennial berries. I LOVE raspberries and blueberries, dedicate quite a bit of area to them. They have just started coming in. We had blueberry pancakes for dinner last night and raspberry scones a few days ago. Yum!

    Lots of sunflowers and nasturtiums for the birds and bees and butterflies too.

    I would very much appreciate seeing how your garden is doing further along into the summer. I hope you'll diary again? Thanks for this beautiful tour of your front yard.

    •  You live in one of my favorite places in the PNW. (4+ / 0-)

      Understand about the gardening tho. We lived in Astoria for a decade and I could grow nothing there. Sounds like your garden is a paradise. We must always think of our pollinators! I have lavender for them and honeysuckle and plan to plant some more. They need all the help they can get!

      Thanks for taking the tour!

      The peppers had fruit on them when I bought them! Cheating in my newly planted bed!

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:57:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My maternal grandmother lived in Cannon Beach. (3+ / 0-)

        Her husband (she and my grandfather were divorced) raised a fabulous vegetable garden, but he was quite a remarkable and industrious individual.  I was young when they passed away, and not yet interested in gardening, so I'm afraid I didn't pick up any of his tricks, sad to say.  And, we usually visited in the summertime, so my experience with his garden was primarily as a harvester.

        •  What I remember about my Grandmother's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          gardening was just her canned goods. And she had a cider press with a small forest of tiny apple trees around it.

          So much wisdom there that is lost to us as we became dependent on the "modern" way of getting food from large stores.

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 08:37:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Much of the reason I garden is so I know (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            what's in and on my food. Modern agriculture has become scary and dangerous, even as it has also become ridiculously cheap to buy, as a percent of disposable income. Our priorities have turned upside down when it comes to food. Considering how fundamental food is to life, you'd think we'd value it more as a society.

            That food cultivation knowledge is still out there. That and the trial and error of our efforts can bring that wisdom back into use. In our small ways we are doing that around the country. Keep gardening :)

            •  OceanDiver, that is very wise. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              My trust level in food has gone way down. I used to cruise through WinCo and fill my cart. Now I can find little to buy there.

              I've been hanging with a bunch of old farmers with PhDs and am learning a lot about nutrient dense soil and the food it produces. It all comes down to the soil. If we drench it with poisonous chemicals, we kill the beneficial "mini-herd" of critters and microplants which in turn grow the food. Soil is not Dirt.

              Our local sustainability coalition is urging people to eat at least 40% local which is really unrealistic unless you have a garden. Not sure where we are on that but we eat what is ripe in our garden and shop at our twice-weekly farmer's market even for meat (which is just divine, BTW Bacon to die for.)

              We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

              by occupystephanie on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 08:11:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I'll have grapes, (7+ / 0-)

    if I outsmart the squirrels.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:22:59 PM PDT

    •  Love grapes. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, jgilhousen, Eric Nelson

      Alas, so do the squirrels as you note! The Scrub Jays love just about everything. I am getting into bird netting this year in a big way--not just for the birds but also the midnight deer herd.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 02:59:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, my, the deer! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson, occupystephanie

        My dog used to bark them off.  I had to adopt her out when I was caring for my mother, and she is missed both for her companionship and for her excellent skills at protecting my crops.

        I love being able to see deer in my neighborhood, but I really must find more effective ways to keep them away from the food I grow.  I mount sparkly whirlygigs from the Dollar Store on stakes around and about the garden, which works well in the daytime when there's sun to reflect.  But, at night, the deer can lay waste to an enormous swath.

        •  Do hope you get your "deer" dog back! (0+ / 0-)

          I am using bird netting and have had no more depredations but I am wondering how that can work. My neighbor told me about using it because it seemed to work for him.

          They have motion detecting sprinklers also which might be a thought. That could certainly startle a deer I would think!

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 08:34:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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