Greenwalks

Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Bloglull December 29, 2010

Filed under: berries,blogging,flora,summer,veggies — greenwalks @ 3:04 pm
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My garden blog buddy Jordan of Metropolitan Gardens (check out his incredible blog if you haven’t already) said the other day that he noticed Greenwalks has been “in a bit of a lull” lately. That was a rather kind way, I thought, to point out the obvious, which is that I had basically abandoned it, and indeed all of garden blogland, since the end of last spring.

Why did I stop? Many reasons:  life challenges, lack of time, feeling like I had nothing novel or of interest to say or show, the usual. Did I miss it? Yep. Did I feel bad for just trailing off without explanation? Kind of. But here’s the weird thing – after two years (okay, not quite) of frequent posts and obsessive tagging, a ghost trail of Greenwalks still exists out there in Web land and the clicks didn’t completely stop. I did miss the comments and the nice exchanges with fellow bloggers, though, and maybe there will be a time when I am able to come back to this world more regularly, since it has been so fun to be a part of.

In the meantime, Greenwalks will probably stay in its unofficial lull. I hope to be back eventually, but for now will leave you with the last images I uploaded to my Flickr account at the end of summer – a bit of warmth on a day where snowflakes are floating down from the Seattle skies.

Cheers and Happy New Year to all, and may your gardens grow well this coming year!

Northgate Community Center Planters

Well-composed planters outside the Northgate Community Center. Lots of kids zipping around the next-door playground, but the pottery and flowers are intact. Miraculous!

Blueberry trio

Sum total of our blueberry harvest this year. I moved the bushes to a sunnier spot, so maybe next year we’ll get a few more?!?!

Green bean first harvest

The green beans are reliable performers in our small veggie garden. We enjoyed these within about 10 minutes of picking them!

Late summer harvest

Our harvests will never tip the scales, but it’s nice to have a little something fresh every day from the garden. The end of the snap peas (planted super late, but then a bumper crop since the summer was cool), some cherry tomatoes, basil (rescued from the jr. gardener, who usually eats every leaf before I can snip any!) and chives for three-onion risotto.

Favorite sunflower

Last but not least, my favorite volunteer Mexican sunflower of the summer. I haven’t planted these for years, they just keep coming up in my parking strip veggie patch! Every year, the colors are slightly different. I wonder what colors will show their faces this coming year?

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Strawberries-to-be July 13, 2010

Filed under: berries,flora — greenwalks @ 1:13 pm
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The berry crops in the Pacific Northwest have suffered a lot from the cool, wet spring. What is merely annoying for the home gardener has been devastating for farmers. Every week, at the Farmers’ Market we frequent, we keep hearing sadder and sorrier tales. Cherry crops have been hit hard too, as well as many grains.

I’m not much good at growing fruit, but have always enjoyed having a few alpine strawberry plants scattered around the garden. I usually let my daughter harvest and eat the tiny berries as she finds the ripe ones – they never even make it into the house.

The haul was pretty pitiful this year, but there are more on the way now that the sun is (sometimes) out. I love seeing those bright white blossoms, knowing that they will be transformed in a short while into a treat for my girl. The birds have mostly left them alone, even though some are planted near our birdbath.

This shot is semi-blurry since it was evening when I took it, but you can see the flowers actually morphing into berries.

Alpine strawberries starting to grow

Do you grow berries? Are you getting to eat any this year?

 

Last Handful of Strawberries November 4, 2009

Filed under: berries,fall — greenwalks @ 7:25 pm
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Our early fall in Seattle was lovely – warm, sunny days and cool nights, perfect for easing the garden gently into its winter lull while preserving some of the most stunning colors and extending the food crops just a bit longer. My fall harvest of raspberries was even more pathetic than the spring one, so I might have to rethink their placement or figure out how to urge them on better next year. But the baby alpine strawberries and bigger ever-bearing ones hung on for a last little flush.

There are never more than a few out there at a time and my daughter gets most (okay, all) of them, unless they have already been discovered by a squirrel or bird (why do they always just peck one hole and then leave it?? So wasteful, those wild creatures!). This was the last handful, picked a few weeks ago, and they disappeared down the hatch in about 30 seconds.

Late fall handful of strawberries

There are still fresh berries in the grocery store, tiny portions packed in plastic and shipped up from California, prices too exorbidant to bear. For now, these precious jewels will be just a memory, and something to look forward to again next summer.

(PS Oh, wrote this last week and just noticed today that there are a few more ripe berries! One final gift of summer, but then that will be it.)

 

What to do with a Tiny Berry Haul August 5, 2009

Filed under: berries — greenwalks @ 5:09 pm
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Whoops, forgot to protect the new blueberry bushes from birds and other critters, they took almost everything when I was out of town for a few days. Ditto the raspberries and we only have a few alpine strawberries per bush anyway at this time of year. When we went out to see what was there for dessert the other night, we came away with a pretty pathetic crop, especially for three hungry people!

Ridiculously paltry berry haul

Yes, there were a few blackberries from the rogue vine that got missed during my spring clean-out of a rather wild area of the garden. I’ll probably regret letting it stay, but I can’t resist fresh blackberries right out my back door.

Hey mom, what do you think we should do with these berries, since we don’t have very many?

Berry deep thoughts

I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Berry sudden epiphany

Add a sprig of mint, an Italian crumble cookie from grandma, and a whole lotta ice cream (chocolate fig and honey pomegranate, in this case).

What to do with a tiny berry haul

Eat on the porch while watching and listening to the only whisper of rain in months:

A breath of rain

If you eat dessert and then go all wacky afterwards in the rain, is it a sugar fit or a rain dance? Both, in this case.

Rain dance

Happy mid-summer, all. Here, we are finally out of the worst of our heat, for the moment anyway! Feels so nice not to be HOT all the time anymore.

 

A Box of Blueberries April 10, 2009

Filed under: berries — greenwalks @ 11:58 am
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One of the very few winter garden musings I have managed to actually enact at this point in the spring is my desire to try a few blueberry plants. It’s my first time growing any berry other than strawberries, and although nobody in our house is a huge blueberry fan, I figured maybe we’d become more so if we have a few fresh-from-the-backyard handfuls to incorporate into our summer diet.

I pondered putting these in the parking strip, but decided the temptation for passers-by to covertly sample would be too difficult to resist. If these do well, I might reconsider next year and add a few out there, put a “help yourself to a few” sign nearby, and see if I make some new friends (besides the birds).

Looking around locally for a bare-root organic blueberry source proved fruitless (sorry), although I imagine if I’d tried a little harder I could have found one. I finally just decided to order some from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, an organic outfit in California, as it was getting a bit late in the season for bare root and I didn’t want to miss out. Yes, I know it was not very eco-friendly to have my organic plants shipped from out of state! I hope to offset that by cultivating them without the use of harmful chemicals and maybe I can assuage my guilt in other ways too.

It was a pretty exciting day when the box arrived.

The box of blueberry plants arrives!

I’d never ordered live plants through the mail before, so I was eager to see how they were packed. The shredded recycled cardboard packaging was too cool to toss, I am saving it for a re-use.

Cool recycled cardboard packing material

The true test – how did the plants look? Pretty good, I thought! Already in flower, too, amazingly.

My new organic blueberry plants

I had selected two of the same variety, ‘Sunshine Blue,’ as it is self-fertile so doesn’t need a pollinator of a different variety. I was also drawn to its reputation for being on the shorter side and therefore good for a small space like mine, as well as its semi-evergreen habit which should provide some winter beauty in an area that is sadly lacking at the moment.

You can see a little bit, in this next shot, that the blossoms are pink at this point in the year. I believe they turn white later.

Hello Sunshine

All that was left behind in the box:

Just a few dropped leaves

I’d give Peaceful Valley a big thumbs up for their careful packing and quick shipping. They also responded very quickly and informatively to a question I had about the organic-ness of the plants, since it was a little ambiguous on their web site.

Plants in the mail – is this something you partake of, or do you need to see (feel, sniff, inspect the roots of) a plant before you make it yours?