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The Toy Box Empty The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/3/2010, 8:39 am

The transition to SFG finally happned. The thought of starting a new garden at a new house at my age was just too much. Box built and nearly filled just in time for peas and their cold weather party pals.

Late February 2010 was one of those sudictive weather years for girls who like to get dirt in their nails. I have put in a square of heirloom snow peas for their purple blossoms, a short vine shell pea, two of a sugar snap and one of a dwarf sweet pea. Because it was so pretty out on pea planting day, I also put in a square of spinach and another of bok choi.

The 1st of each month is for the salad bowl. I like how easy it is to get more salad going in the little boxes. I am expecting one each of Mesclun mix, mixed red and green Romano and one of speckled trout. It is too early but the warmer breeze made me a little crazy so I also gave a place in the box for Chioggia beets (mid April would have been the smart time), some 4" carrots from the Burpee rack, and traditional white Swiss chard.


March 1st is also "start your tomatoes day" but I only have a packet of Black Plum Paste, an heirloom provided by Greenheart Gardens on Lopez Island. Today (March 3) there should be a Package from Territorial Seeds with Persimmon and Selitz tomato seed to start. Both did ok as far as tomatoes go in the PNW




Deborah . . .playing in the dirt in Everett, Wa
Lavender Debs
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The Toy Box Empty A Package on the Poarch

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/4/2010, 8:01 am

My tomato seeds! Welcome to my house, I’ve been waiting for you. A packet of Persimmon and another of Siletz. Both selected for Maritime Pacific Northwest conditions. This is not really Tomato country but in a good year, if you are a bit fussy and have the heart of an engineer (or are married to someone who is) there may be a couple of weeks of vine ripe tomatoes. Why, you may wonder, would a girl put all that effort into a couple of weeks for a sandwich? If you have to ask, then I cannot explain.

Little Cippoline onion seed were also in the package. Those uber expensive onions I see in the store are going into my patch. So are the torpedo shaped sweet Italian red onions that I have seen Lidia use. They do not go in until later, but the purple “Rubin” Brussels sprouts also came.

The fine folks at Territorial Seeds included a free packet of carrots, encouraging me to plant a row dedicated to my local food bank. What a terrific idea! Except that they are too long for my SFG. Maybe my dad will want these. Either way, donating to the food bank is a good idea. I wonder if I should eventually dedicate a box to charity or just glean from the boxes that I already have?
Lavender Debs
Lavender Debs

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The Toy Box Empty Baby Bumps

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/4/2010, 11:51 am

I just went out to dump some compost into the bin and had a look-see in the toy box. Whoo-hoo! There are bumps everywhere I pushed in a seed.

One noteworthy Chinese (snow) pea seems to be heading home. The root end came up instead of the leaf. Maybe I'll bang the gong (or is it a bong?) and try to make her feel welcome on this side of the world.

Deborah ....doing the dance of joy!
Lavender Debs
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The Toy Box Empty The Toy Box

Post  Ray'ssfg on 3/4/2010, 7:42 pm

Hi Deborah,
Great little video, we have a JR and I noticed yours had a track along the fence as ours does, they are all the same I think.
I am interested to know how your compost barrels work ? How long does it take to be compost ?
There are a number of barrel or different type composters available in Australia.
Cheers Ray
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The Toy Box Empty Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/4/2010, 8:17 pm

There is a beagle on the other side of that fence (Buddy). They are back and forth every chance they get.

Thanks for the kind video comment. Donna is my SFG hero (she currently has 38 video’s posted on You Tube). Mine makes me feel embarrassed, but, oh well.

I just do not know how long those bins take to make good compost. I got them last year from a wildlife recovery center my son worked for. They had WAY too much bedding etc for those little bins and asked if I wanted to take them home with me (otherwise they were headed to the trash. I thought I was going to start a garden that year, but the puppy I got for Valentine’s Day was not compatible with KEEPING a garden. I have been adding to the bins all last summer and this spring. They made lovely compost. I toss in worms with the weeds. My husband adds fresh grass clippings because he doesn't want clippings sitting in the yard waiting to be collected. They are easy for me to turn when they are not full to the brim and ready to use.

I am hoping to have more compost ready by April 1 for the next garden bed. I am a little worried. I know that if I added pure alfalfa pellets to the compost at our old place (the kind made out of pig wire (maybe 6" x 6" squares of heavy gage wire) as I was turning it (i.e. in layers, about a foot of compost, sprinkle of alfalfa pellets, repeat) the whole thing would heat up quicker and cook down faster. I came across a web page for these little guys. The manufacture says to keep a mix of about 50% brown (dry stuff like leaves and hay) and 50% green (wet-grass clippings, kitchen trimmings, raw weeds) for the best compost. I was wondering if I added a couple of flakes of Alfalfa hay to the bins if it would have the same effect as the pellets (rabbit food)

I'll be posting what happens in about 30 or so days.

My husband found a plastic bin that looks sort of like a garbage can with a handle. The axis is a bar with paddles. When you flip the bin over the axis breaks up the compost as it drops to the other side. It looks simple. It is also expensive. He wants to buy it because of the bigger opening for the mower bag. I don't know if I can find enough stuff to fill three plastic bins (I like to KNOW that no chemicals or herbicides have been used on my compost so I'm idgey about collecting from unknown sources).

I don't know why, but I am still surprised to find independent ratings on the web for just about everything. I put "compost bin ratings" in my search engine and found mine were highly rated. The system my husband likes is slightly higher than mine.....but ya gotta pay to play with those.

Deborah ....too long in her own head and spills way too much information.
Lavender Debs
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The Toy Box Empty Parsley

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/6/2010, 4:51 pm

Picked up a 4" pot of parsley seedlings. Now what?

I have a little tool called a widger. It is about the size and shape of a fingernail file but has a curve to it. I use it for lifting seedlings out of a nursery bed (or pot) and into their own container.

The Toy Box March_11

Because it is the year of reuse-recycle, I cut up the core of a paper towel roll, filled it with soil and set the seedlings in.

The Toy Box March_12

The Toy Box March_13

The Toy Box March_14

The Toy Box March_15

Deborah ....has a taste for something fresh!
Lavender Debs
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The Toy Box Empty Tomatoe Sprouts

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/7/2010, 3:14 pm

Tiny green arches have worked their way to the surface in the Tomato Pots. Still too macro for my camera, but not for long!

Today (Sunday, March 7, 2010) I will probably sprinkle a few Florence fennel into a square. I’m looking for a cloche for them as well as the spinach, beets and maybe the lettuce.

It is not too early to start thinking about winter gardnening in the PNW. Leeks should have been started last month. I have not even bought seed yet. Maybe today. I was seduced by a container of cookies at Trader Joes. Now that the cookies are gone the container is looking like a good nursery for leeks. With vermiculite in the bottom, jiffy 7 seed starting medium over that and leek seeds over all, pop on the top and wait for creation to respond.

Other seeds I will be looking for is Asylums and Calendula. Both are great for letting the bees know that they are welcome. I like calendula petals for different herbal oils and ointments. I have room in the herb garden for more calendula. It takes a lot of petals to make a good ointment.

A series of storms will be rolling across the North West in the next few days. Before the lion of March roars I am going to make some of Ann Lovejoy's spring mulch of Alfalfa meal, bagged steer compost, regular compost and a smidgen of Dolomite (maybe a sprinkle of kelp meal too) and start spreading it about an inch thick over my pots, herbs and roses. Maybe that will keep me from getting too restless for one day.

Deborah ....ready to play.


The Toy Box Wild_f10

Calendula at Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm in Washington
Lavender Debs
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The Toy Box Empty Ya picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel....

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/7/2010, 6:56 pm

AccuWeather is reporting that we have a "storm train" chugging into the PNW (March 6). Ray hurried to get the lawn mowed before RR gait came down. He got the walk way between the herb garden and the lavender garden cut, went around the edge of the deck and the wheel came off.

The good news is that I don't have to hurry and get a bin of weeds before days end for the compost. Instead, I had time to make and spread some spring power-green mulch on the strawberries, some of the herbs and potted plants. Even had time to divide up some of the chives.

The other good news is that the contractors next door left me a pile of tomato stakes from the deck they tore down. I thought they forgot. I was wrong.

Deborah ....life is good


Last edited by Lavender Debs on 3/7/2010, 6:58 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : just rememberd the words to the song)
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The Toy Box Empty Burrrr

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/9/2010, 11:13 am

Yesterday I had my Tomato sprouts out for some sun. Today I am happy to report that I did not leave them out over night.

The Toy Box March_16

We had such a mild winter in the PNW. There were many sunny days. Snow was a report about somewhere else on the evening news.

I knew I was getting excited about gardening too early, but it has been healing to my soul after being without a harvest for so long. Sure there were the herbs and lavender, a few strawberries, a little bit of salad and pole beans; but it isn't quite the same. I do adore shopping at farmers markets and will still haunt my favorites for stone fruit, mega flats of berries and fall apples and pears. But to take my coffee out to the garden and welcome the morning with birdsong awakens something deep within that gives me a sense of God given purpose. My impact on earth is no more than a good season of sweet peas. I don't care that it is short, sweet, and easily outdone by others, I just love feeling the pleasure of my God and seeing hope for tomorrow in a delicate carrot or onion sprout overcoming the burden of the loam that once was a weight to overcome but will become an anchor and nourishment to her life, short though it may be.


The Toy Box March_17

The talking heads on the evening news were excited about snow in Seattle. Crews were sent to the far reaches of King County to get video of actual snow coming down. In a year of tragedy, police murdered while they prepare for their day, multiple young girls whose lives should be about to burst into blossom are instead found grossly violated in a shallow grave, babies killed by boyfriends or stolen away by the nanny.... I can hardly blame them for the child-like excitement over a little snow. It must be sweet relief to make a day about getting ready for snow. The news was everywhere, it’s coming! I was relieved to see it has not come to my house yet.

I was concerned about our usual unending spring precipitation. Ray and I took some time to cover the toy box with heavy plastic. I am more worried about drowning the infant sprouts then I am about snow. Can you see the picnic table-cloth weights we hung from the plastic? Seemed like a fantastic idea. I had to find clothes pins to help. The cover blew off when we were not looking.

The Toy Box March_18

I've taken my coffee (my 2nd cup, still too cold out to have the first one out there) on the deck. This morning the cold was a bit too hard core for me.

A few random frost shots.



The Toy Box March_19

Lemon Thyme and Oregano (the pots encourage the puppies to go ARROUND the bed)

The Toy Box March_20

Strawberries....doesn't look like much just yet.

The Toy Box March_21

Golden Marjoram. The chives in the background have never been this lush this early.

The Toy Box March_22

Here comes the sun (little darlen) here comes the sun and I say... it's alright.
Lavender Debs
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The Toy Box Empty The Persimmon Tomatoes

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/10/2010, 2:02 pm

After only 6 days there are sprouts!

Just today the Black Plum Tomatoes that were planted in peat pellets are coming up. That took a whole three days longer then the seed put into jiffy 7 starting soil. The pellets always seem like they are cold. I wonder which will harden off better?

Deborah ....wanting to learn.
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The Toy Box Empty The Onions have sprouted!!

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/11/2010, 10:31 am

It only took three days on my dresser! Whoo-hoo! Now I need to get myself to Costco to find more plum tomatoes. The container makes a good nursery flat and for all my talk, I still need to start my Leeks.I've been taking my tomato sprouts to the deck every day that the temp is above 40 degrees. So far they are looking good. Today the onions join them.

The "Storm Train" is still rolling through the PNW. We have gone from freezing to drenching. I'm told that it is worse in south west Canada (Now that the Olympics are history the snow comes). Did I hear correctly? Winds gusting up to 30 mph? Thought I had to live in New Mexico for that kind of wind.

After listening to the rain all night on the sky-light I have this song running through my head.

Deborah .... Wishing her baby brother a happy birthday today.

Lavender Debs
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The Toy Box Empty Spring Forward

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/14/2010, 1:27 pm

If I had to pick a least favorite day of the year, the day we change to daylight savings time would be in the top three.

March 14 We have a sun break this morning. Since I can never be sure how long the shine will stay, I took my camera out to the garden for baby pictures. I want to do another short video but I need to charge the battery first. I also need to figure out my editing software.

The Toy Box March_24

This pretty little thing is a Golden Snow Pea. There are shell peas too. Still waiting for the snaps and sweets.

The Toy Box March_25

I went with the smaller Bok Choi this year. I think there are 4 to a square.

The Toy Box March_26

It was just too pretty out to not play plant paparazzi, “Rosemary, Rosemary, look over here! Is it true that you are hooking up with Basil?” Rosemary would not confirm the rumor, neither would she deny it.

The Toy Box March_27

I usually have to buy a new Tarragon start because the winter tends to be too cold here (there is still time for that to happen) and because I am too lazy at the end of the season to bring a start in. This was covered with a milk jug but the wild wind that slammed through the PNW knocked it off. It landed next to a broken pot that covers a place where the puppies tried to tunnel through. Looks kinda junky.

The Toy Box March_28

The Lavender Garden Not much to look at this time of year.
The Toy Box March_29

Found this enticingly scented Thyme at a Lavender farm in Sequim, Washington

The Toy Box March_30

English Thyme thrives on abuse. Large sprigs of this girl went into the stock pot all through the winter.

The Toy Box March_31

At least they are not frozen. Strawberrys.

The Toy Box March_32

The Toy Box March_33
Lavender Debs
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The Toy Box Empty Re: The Toy Box

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/14/2010, 6:00 pm

What a wonderful pictoral essay on your garden. Thank you! I'll look forward to seeing your continuing process.
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The Toy Box Empty March 14 video blog

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/14/2010, 8:17 pm

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The Toy Box Empty What a difference a day makes!

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/16/2010, 1:48 pm

Gardening seems to be a passion that involves a lot of hurry followed by a whole lot of wait. I hurried to get peas in on time then wait, wait, wait until finally there were bumps, then a single anemic looking sprout. Even last night it didn't seem like much was happening. But this morning the snow peas are shooting up all over their little space. Whoo-hoo!

The Toy Box March_37

The snap peas are not showing any signs of life. Neither are the sweet peas. They are both from the same company so I thought that maybe the seed was bad. I poked around with a finger and found that indeed, they are doing fine, just not springing up as fast as the snow and shell (English) peas.

The lettuce has put on her big girl ....um, leaves and is springing up as well.

Deborah ....who gets excited by the little things.
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The Toy Box Empty Re: The Toy Box

Post  Mirjam on 3/16/2010, 5:31 pm

Hi Deborah,
You're right, it is fun to watch other peoples' progress (as you said in the european section)! I'm still waiting for my peas and sugarsnaps to break the soil... we're about to get better temperatures now, so I hope it won't be too long now!
It seems like you have a lot of sprouts, are you gonna thin them out, or are snowpeas grown closer together than other peas/beans?
Mirjam
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The Toy Box Empty Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/16/2010, 7:05 pm

Hey hi! Mirjam (come on peas!)

Yes, I am going to leave them like they are. I've had them like that in regular beds and in pots. This could get crowded with all the other squares. I will put in support and if it doesn't work out, I'll do it different next year. You'll get to see what happens before the season ends.

Deborah ....wondering where you are gardening at.
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The Toy Box Empty Happy Birthday Christy!!

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/19/2010, 1:38 pm

At least one of everything that I have planted has popped up. I was really starting to worry about my sweet and snap peas. This AM there was one sweet pea sprout and two snap pea sprouts.

March 19 There was frost glittering in the morning sun on the deck again this morning. My new weather station says it only got down to 34 degrees F. but it has to be colder than that to make frost doesn't it? The Accu-Weather icon on my desk top said it was 28 degrees F in Everett. I wonder where their station is at.

Germanition: The best germination so far is from "Uprising Seeds" in Bellingham, Washington. They were the strongest in the garden. The Golden Sweet Snow Pea, an heirloom, came from them. They have a web page but I picked mine up at the Everett Natural Foods Co-op on the Waterfront. Territorial Seed Company in Oregon and Greenheart Gardens on Washington's Lopez Island seem to be next in germination vigor. I have gotten both of those from the Mt. Vernon Natural Foods Co-op. TTS does have a mail order option and I have pepper plants and a bay laurel coming from them this spring. The prize for the WORST germination has to go to Ed Hume Seeds. I personally like Ed. However I just recently read a list of who DOES NOT sell GMO seed from Monsanto and Ed is not on the list. Both my sweet peas and snap peas are from Ed Hume Seeds. I will not make that mistake again. Falling in the middle for germination strength is Burpee Seeds that I get from a rack at Lowe's. All of Burpee Seeds EXCEPT their hybrid tomatoes are GMO-Monsanto free. I have lettuces, carrots and radishes from Burpee. My shell peas (moderate germination strength, about a third of them have sprouted but those that have are growing strong) and boc choi are all from a company in Oregon that imported the seed from China. All but one of the boc choi look very yellow/anemic.

The Toy Box March_38

The Toy Box March_39 <-Snap Peas, Radish & Lettuce-> The Toy Box March_40

Chore of the day: Fill a big pot with fresh medium and put in some more of Mr. Hume's Sweet peas for my summer deck. Maybe they will do better now that the days are longer.

Deborah ....who might take Rudy for a ride to Marysville's Sunny Side Nursery to see if it is open yet ....and maybe to listen to the new sound system.
Lavender Debs
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The Toy Box Empty One Hundred Dollars Later

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/22/2010, 9:08 pm