Thursday, April 29, 2010

2 More free plants!

After tending to the garden and writing the blog earlier today I checked Craigslist and found someone was giving away free rhizomes of hops!

Thanks to Bill of Lakeside, I got a rhizome of Cascade hops & 1 Mt. Hood Hops rhizome. Being that I do not know much about making beer at this point other then I know what beers I like and which I don't. So, I did a little research:


Derived from a cross between fuggles and the Russian hop

Alpha Acid: 4.5-7% Beta Acid: 4.5-7%
Aroma: Pleasant, flowery and spicy, citrus-like.
Storage: 48-52%
Used For: Good for flavor and aroma, but an acceptable bittering
hop. Ales and lagers

Mount Hood--Domestic--Finishing
Aroma variety with similarities to the German Hallertau and
Hersbrucker varieties, released in the U.S. in 1989.

Alpha Acid: 5-8% Beta Acid: 5-7.5%
Aroma: Mild, pleasant, clean, light, and delicate.
Storage: 50-60%
Used For: Aroma and flavor. American and German ales and lagers.

I found this information here:

Personally, I am excited, next year I could be harvesting hops for my own brew! Now the big question, where to put it in the garden!?

Buckwheat arrived!

Seeds of Change finally got my order of organic Buckwheat to me. According to the package, it will produce flowers in 5 to 6 weeks and grow 3 to 6 feet tall. It will smother weeds. When cut for green mulch it will turn into a weed free, mellow and loose seedbed for other plants. Hence why I used this in the vegetable garden in the empty beds for fall.

Again, according to Seeds of Change, it will attract numerous beneficial insects, and make phosphorus, calcium, and potassium readily available as it decomposes as green mulch, so for me it is win win.

This got sown this morning after anti-slug patrol. The 3 Sisters garden bed was also planted with more scarlet runner beans and corn.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hail & rain.....

Hail 4x in 2 days, spotty downpours made Winterlake re-flood somewhat, and impossible to work outside well. So, been stuck in the house cleaning the shop, starting seedlings and general boring stuff. On the plus side, I found a bulb planting tool today along with several long sections of pvc tubing. Perhaps this will help make a hoop green house in the future?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Up's and Down's

The last 2 days I have been mostly inside due to it raining outside. Rain + Chronic Pain = Bad times. However, yesterday I royally screwed up in a good way. I was composting a strawberry patch and left 1/3rd of a bag of composted chicken manure in the garden cart. This morning when I went out, I found a garden cart full of liquid fertilizer.

I don't know how I am going to use it since I shouldn't be using it, but I reckon it will go on some weaker plants. Speaking of plants, I have spent 2 days building tomato beds in the key hole garden area with more beds to be made. Coffee is ready, time to get back to it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I decided not to lie...

...the last 48 hours have been utterly disappointing on many levels. First off, Friday, as we know was the day I was supposed to get 2 Currants from 4H at a local school. This sort of happened.

My wife and I drove up to the Elementary School, I went inside to the office and was escorted to the gym. I was then immediately shot down from my Earth Day happiness when I was told they only had 1 Currant for me and they could refund my money or I could pick something else. Being that they did not have much else to pick from, I went home with 2 Lupin. It seems the nursery that brought the plants in from 4H picked the wrong quantities and I was the only one who didn't get a full order.

Being that I know some, but not all Lupins are edible I went with them, but as I passed the salt water tank filled with sea stars and 1 sea urchin I couldn't help but wonder if I just caused someone to be as screwed as that sea urchin (food of sea stars). All I know is despite the fact that this was for charity, I am unsure if I will participate in the future. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy supporting local schools and the 4H, I just don't like being screwed over during it, or unintentionally screwing over others.

Day turned to night, and night back to day and Saturday slapped me with more disappointment. The chronic pain made it not possible for me to walk and do the Mushroom trip at the Slough I was at 2 weeks ago. This upset me and the Mrs. since we were looking forward to this for weeks. However, there was an upside.

We found a sack of potatoes that started to eye up tremendously, so we planted them in the garden for a 2nd set of potatoes this year. As for what goes on today... ..only the future knows.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Replanted a Currant...

I brought the 1 Currant bush I have on the property and moved it closer to the house & vegetable garden in hopes that it will attract birds to dine on the slugs as well. Today I also have to go pick up 2 more Currant bushes & plant them.

I also have to plant a Korean Silver Fir Tree that was given to me by the owner of 3 B's Nursery when I first moved to Coos County as my Christmas tree last year. This Silver Fir Tree is beautiful day or night, and it is hard to place because it means a lot to my wife and I.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I hate slugs as much as chronic pain

Chronic pain can make one forgetful, as in the case of yesterday. I had thought I had blogged, but alas, it seems I did not. All I got accomplished yesterday was breaking my weeder (the tine bent 90 degrees in the wrong direction) and built a single terraced stair in the back of the house area. Which now needs some compost, top soil, and some ground cover plants.

I did also plant a Geranium plant in the keyhole vegetable garden area. Today I need to make sure I set up 2 spots for Currants to be planted tomorrow which I receive as part of Earth day from the local 4-H chapter. Currants are great for us to eat, but also attract birds that eat my arch-nemesis... the slug as well as other fruit & vegetable eating insects.

Predators of slugs include: small mammals, snakes, spiders, amphibians, birds, carnivorous beetles, other slugs, and humans. A predatory nematode, Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita, is being sold in Europe and Britain for slug control. Hence why a varied garden with all types of insect attracting plants, bird and small animal attractions are good. Over time, the slugs will be controlled by natural means, such as our new property guest, "Roland" the Opossum. Our friend told us about Roland last month when she visited but my wife and I only met Roland last week. I can only hope Roland starts doing a better job because in my opinion, a slug is worse then a deer or rabbit in a garden patch.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Yesterdays forecast, SNOW?

Well, not exactly. The cherry trees are in bloom and basically, while I ate my dinner outside it snowed cherry flower petals. It was like being in a surreal anime film. I am using beer to deal with slugs besides picking them, but this mornings rainstorm didn't help matters. Wood ash seems to be of little to no help, last thing to try is lime which will work 2-fold since the soil is very acidic in places.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Worked around the home today....

...but I did manage to get in some time to transplant some heirloom tomatoes. More debris also got moved. Now I am starting to need large (1' wide or much larger) rocks to border the dry stream bed I made near & around our pump shed. More birds are taking up residence eating bugs all over the property left and right. At times it is an amazing site to see, acrobatics that would make the most experienced dare devil pilot blush.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Carrots love tomatoes...

...and that is exactly what got planted together today. In addition I am still surveying and removing debris. Nothing exciting going on.

Friday, April 16, 2010

More stuff found!

As I said before, there is always something to be found here. Today while clearing the firewood off of a wall to reveal a planter I found another solar night light for the garden. It is utterly destroyed, but I am sure we can use the guts for other projects.

In the mean time, besides the above, I have added Chives, Fennel, Dill, and Coneflower seeds to Herb Spiral. The removing of the firewood gave one of those liberating feelings I got like when I removed fencing elsewhere on the property. I continued surveying the area and plan to till later today.

Oh well, back to work work.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I started this when I first moved in. I have been slowly surveying the grounds and what plants are where, slope of the land, major structures, tree, plants, etc. for planning purposes of the landscape. While removing debris yesterday I discovered planter boxes in the vegetable keyhole garden area. I look forward to finish mapping this area and planning for the future such as a wind energy, passive solar heating, green house, gray water recycling & planning out life cycles of the the trees here for the next 100+ years. When planning out permaculture, we should plan out that far ahead, trees & forests have natural life cycles.

For example, in the orchard, we started putting in leguminous trees in between the fruit trees so that they provide nitrogen via bacteria in their root system. I.E. - Free fertilizer for the life of the tree. Tomorrow I will continue to remove debris, and surveying this area since next Friday (Earth-day) we are planting 2 Red Currants which we are getting locally from a natural plant sale. This will make 2 types of currants we will have on the property. Yum yum!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Just another day...

...around here. All I got done yesterday was turning over the compost pile. It's large by home standards, but not very large by micro-farming standards. I am still in the process of making a worm composter that goes over my garden cart. I am also still in the process of cleaning up and out building for guests / wood working / repairs around the home.

As my little green friends in Warcraft used to say, "Work work."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Taking the day off....

It has nothing to do with how much it is raining outside. It has everything to do with being married 13 years today.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More fruits in the food forest....

Thanks to going to the class yesterday I learned that I have 2 more berry plants then we thought we did, and we have a lot of them. We have learned that the river area is littered with Elderberry trees which make excellent jams, jelly, fritters and more. We also have Salmonberry on the property. This puts us at nearly 30 types of perennial fruits and vegetables on the property which I look forward to harvesting & using with friends.

The teachers of said event yesterday taught about disease in the area amongst the trees, why native plants are very important, and how they use no herbicides or pesticides since they grew up and evolved with the native fauna of the area.

After a short hike to better learn native plants and discuss harvesting techniques the class potted up cuttings of various plants and were able to take some home. I was able to bring home a wild strawberry plant from the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. I hope to introduce it amongst a new bed of strawberries to give the fruit a more wild flavor of old. Perhaps in the future I will plant more wild fruiting types as well since I love strawberries. It was given to me from a local botanist of the area named, "Dennis" where he wild strawberry took over his lawn.

The idea of that in several places sounds great to me. In 2 weeks I go back to learn about wild edible spring mushrooms. I really look forward to this since it seems we will be collecting on the trails. Well, gotta get to work outside.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Going out to learn today....

That's right, I am still learning as we all do until the day we die. Today I am going to the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve . I am going to be taking a 3 hour class on native plants for the backyard landscape. Since I want to attract beneficial insects, birds, and heck, even a hedgehog to help maintain the backyard this is the place I want to be today.

I am excited to go. :) In the meantime leading up till then, I will be puttering about, still working on demolishing the area for the new greenhouse.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Yesterday it hailed 2x, and luckily despite all this hail the plants are still doing well. I saw the first of my Sunflowers this morning while removing the few cloches I have. I quit drinking all soda recently so between my wife and I we have very few 2l bottles to make cloches from. Our pet cat went to the vet again today like yesterday. No more bandages for her, but she has to continue wearing an Elizabethan collar for a while.

Today I am planning to work on a worm composter that will fit under my new garden cart. I hope and plan to use this as mulch for the vegetables this year as well when planting new things. I still need to make or find a way to recycle a cold frame to help start more vegetables and some watermelon for my wife.

Personally, I think watermelon is good for 1 thing.... to hide a bottle of vodka in the meat of the fruit, or to be a show piece when presenting fruit salad. I digress, and got a small blow to helping the orchard out. The buckwheat I ordered is now back ordered. Hopefully it will be here in time for use this spring. I wanted to plant it now so it would be green mulch. In fall I plan to use seed balls method of adding clover, vetch, and some other cover crops, some of which may be odd to you. These cover crops would include daikon radish, mustard, & kale to name a few.

When I chop and drop the vegetation next spring, it will be green mulch under the canopy of the orchard and make the soil better as well as crowd out weeds, well, just simply make everything healthier.

Well, one more note then I am off to work. Yesterday I went for a walk in the more forested area coming to where we plan to put in a pond at the end of a grey water recycling system. I noticed the usual kinds of mushrooms and fungi I see, but then I came across the image at left. Exotic huh? I have no clue what kind it is and have no plans of touching it. Live and let live I say. To me it looks like bleached coral but that is my creative mind coming through again.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A day of planting

Short and sweet today. While demolishing more of the greenhouse area I finally moved the climbing rose and planted:

1 Anise Hyssop
9 Napa Cabbage
9 Brocolli
9 Spinach
9 Early Jersey Cabbage
5 Garlic
4 Strawberries
& 3 Violetta Precoce Artichoke

Monday, April 5, 2010

No Hail!!

Yesterday was the first day that it hadn't hailed several times in one day allowing me to scramble outside and work till I dropped from pain.

I continued demolishing the new greenhouse area. I started with removing many plants to the herb spiral area and elsewhere as well as planted a Flowering Gooseberry. I also kept removing stones & pebbles, bucket by bucket to the small formal Asian garden area. I am looking to eventually grow some shitake mushrooms in this area.

Then I found some broccoli munched heavily by slugs, so they were moved to a safer area and wood ashes spread around. When I checked this morning they appeared to be doing better.

I also built a stair (one of a great many) in the orchard area since the land slips eastward, which leads me to the easy work I did. I ordered some organic buckwheat seeds. These will be broadcast sown in the orchard area upon arrival. After flowering it will be chopped down and used as green mulch as it crowds out weeds.

Right now I am taking a pet to the vet and it is raining. I am unsure how the weather will be today and how much outside work will get done.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Had to take it real easy...

I had to take it easy this week since I am getting over my cold. Almost all the work I did this week I did today. First I removed some brush and the old owners vegetable garden. There I planted some wild flower seed. Then I removed some large logs from a blackberry bush followed by railroad ties.

We had some family friends visit, and a gift of a large toolbox with a tin foil hat in it today. Later in the day, amidst the 4 hail storms we had today (over 20 this week) I pruned a few alders of sucker trees as well as finished pruning the grapes. Since I am starting to feel better, I might actually get some work done tomorrow.