June 29th, 2013

Project Found: Home-Grown Goodness of Late Spring Bounty

3/30.  In 2013, once a week, I highlight what I have found and that which has found me.

Project Found this week is fresh from the garden! The weather has just recently morphed into the hot-hot (at least for Portland) dryness which dominates July and August in the last day and a half. Greens and herbs have bolted and gone to seed, and today we picked the last few stragglers in the strawberry patch.

Before I move on to the next planting phase of my gardens, I need to say thanks and goodbye to the produce we have had thus far. Is this what it is like when your kids go off to Kindergarten? Sad and sappy and exciting all at the same time, with the nagging, unreal feeling of time moving too quickly?

Radishes. Peas. And lots and lots of strawberries. Just a few of the delicious fruits and veggies that have come our way so far this season. Some are from our garden, some are from the farmers market, and all were divine.

What good things are in season where you are?

May 22nd, 2013

Back Porch Garden Update: Starting to Bloom and Fruit

Last years Mugwort wreath looks out on my back porch. It is the first of many decorative touches to the back porch garden, I can tell. Hanging out on the back porch has become a daily (or more than daily) thing to do. Since I am out there so much, why not make it beautiful? Or is it the other way around; I am out there because it is so lovely to be enveloped by plants?
I found this green tin planter on the street. I find so many beautiful things on the street. I also found the Lily of the Valley growing in a crack on the sidewalk, and used the blunt end of a fork in my lunch bag to gentle extract it from its crack to come home with me. I am an opportunist, and I also don’t believe in coincidences. When something comes my way I wonder, “Is this a sign? Do you want to come home with me? Must be!”. In this way I am quite permissive.
Words cannot describe how much I miss Lily of the Valley. It just doesn’t grow in my neighborhood the way it did back in Minnesota. I had a 5 x 3 patch of them behind my garage by the compost bin there. It made going to the compost such a lovely experience. There is such bliss in filling shot glasses with the drunkenly fragrant Lily of the Valley flowers.
Speaking of compost, Rob found a free compost bin on the side of the street a couple weeks ago (see what I mean about finding free stuff!). Get this: I figured out later that the moment he found it I was at home saying to myself, “If only we had a compost bin, then my gardening experience would be complete”. No joke. It is set up by the bike garage and a few other residents put their compost in there, too. It is almost full. It’s only been 2/5 weeks. Somehow a sense of community has be created over a free compost bin.
I want flowers and vegetables mixed together. Fuchsia and lettuce go well together, don’t you think? Marigold and chard are a nice match, too.
The strawberry below was abandoned. I found the chipped hand-thrown pot with some dried strawberry leaves and a bunch of weeds inside. I thought I’d use the pot for something, sometime, not knowing that it would sprout new growth in the spring. What a sweet surprise. This is my second season with it. They are very good, kid of wild tasting, like strawberry candy.
My back porch garden is growing on me as it grows. I feel like a kid before Christmas as lay in bed at night; all those pots and flowers and veggies are just on the other side of my wall. When I wake I go out and look at them, see if anything has changed.