Friday, September 18, 2020

Seed Saving With New Interactive Video!

As fall approaches in the garden it is important to collect and save the seeds from the plants that are growing. 

Did you know that most every fruit and flower grown in the garden has seeds that will grow into another plant? 

We can save the seeds and grow another plant next season by sprouting our saved seeds and replanting them in the garden.

We have put together a seed saving activity and video on saving beans, which are seeds. 

Beans grow in pods.  You will get to open up bean pods to collect and save the seeds.  Make sure to save your seeds, because in our next activity we will sprout them and grow a garden in a glove.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Cauliflower A Oregon Vegetable Harvest of the Month

Another great Video from Oregon Harvest of the Month.

Learn how to make Cauliflower Tots

Video below

Cauliflower Let's make Cauliflower Tots


2 cups grated Cauliflower

1/4 Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese

1 egg (beaten)

3 Tablespoons Flour

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Mix and stir ingredients well.  Using your hands press and roll form mixture into egg sized Tots.

Bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes


May be reheated

Pears, Pears, PEARS


Enjoy the following video from Oregon Harvest for Schools on Pears. Paul and his dad who immigrated from Kenya grown tons of Pears in Central Oregon.

Pear, pears, pears video from Oregon Harvest for Schools

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Today’s burning question. Is it OK to have slugs in my compost?

 No matter what I do I always have slugs in my compost. It occurs to me, is this OK?  Well The Grow VEG folks just posted this page today and I’m sharing it below.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Time to sow---again!!

Welcome to August!  As we are hip deep in watering, picking, processing, preserving and weeding we have work to do.  Now is the time to finish sowing seeds for fall harvest and overwinter crops.  In the Pacific Northwest where I live we experience an average of 268 growing days a year.  In July/August we sow seeds to be transplanted into our gardens or greenhouses.  Basically you sow in July/August the same crops you sowed in spring.

The Tomatoes are finally ripening

Every day bring a new harvest from the garden

Lettuce, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic (October), zucchini, peas, broccoli, Cauliflower, greens, kale, chard, beans, …the list is long.  So let’s get started!

Sow your seeds in 4” pots, yogurt cups, recycled plastic beverage cups and leave them in a sunny/partially shady spot to sprout. Use a potting soil or make your own with equal parts of clean sand, native soil, compost and a sprinkle of crushed egg shells for good measure. Keep your pots covered with bird netting if you have smart Jays like I do.  I think they sit and watch me then swoop down and take my seeds! 

 Ants and mice will also steal your small seeds.  Keep your pots watered, do not let the top of the potting soil dry out or it will make a hard crust which will inhibit the seedling from pushing up.  Once you see the first set of true leaves (the initial leaves are the seed leaves) fertilize with a weak solution (10% fertilizer to 90% water).  As they grow you may need to transplant the seedlings up into larger pots if you do not have space in your garden.  Be sure to get them in the ground as soon as possible after their first set of true leaves show and they are strong.  Protect them with cardboard collars (toilet paper rings work well) and watch for slugs, pill bugs or pincer bugs.  These will mow your seedlings down over night!

Tell Tail signs of Slug Damage

Many crops like carrots, greens (which includes cabbage, kale, chard, spinach, bok choy etc) can be grown all winter long.  Sow them now to get a good start and you will be harvesting all winter.  Think ahead as you sow your fall/winter garden.  Remember you will be harvesting in the rain and cold.  Hail and snow makes it treacherous for me to walk down to the lower garden so I plant my winter garden in a closer greenhouse.  

If you do not have a greenhouse you can create a hoop structure using PVC and UV plastic. With each layer of cover you will increase the temperature by 5- 10 degrees.  If you live in an area that frosts regularly but freezes rarely these temporary  covers will extend your growing season and keep your greens happy all winter long.  

So things to do now:

* Choose the seeds you want to sow
* Choose the location of your fall/winter garden keeping weather and accessibility in mind
* Sow seeds with tap roots directly into your garden: carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas, potatoes, garlic, onions, shallots
* Make your own potting soil from compost, native soil, perlite, clean sand and crushed egg shells
* Sterilize your pots especially if they have had seedlings in them in the past.  Soak them in a 10% solution of bleach and water.  Air dry
* Sow your seeds following packet directions
* Water to prevent a hard crust forming over your seeds
* Protect from birds, ants and mice
* Fertilize once the true leaves show with a weak solution
* Transplant into larger pots if needed
* Transplant into your garden ASAP
* Start scavenging materials for cold frames or low hoop coverings
* Keep seedlings watered and protected from excessive heat

Friday, July 17, 2020

Happy Friday! Here’s your garden planner for the week from Mother Earth News.

Mother Earth News Garden Planner
Start the Garden PlannerSubscribe to the Garden Planner
Greetings, gardeners! In case you are new to the Garden Planner, note that our twice-monthly newsletters bring you timely gardening tips and provide a list of customized planting reminders based on your garden plans.

Composting in the office often seems like a far-off dream, but here at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS headquarters, we’ve found an office-friendly solution: a repurposed trash can for the collection bin and a compost bin built from pallets.

Composting is a natural process, similar to the way nature breaks down leaves and other dead material on the forest floor.

If we want to re-create the kind of soft, fertile soil we find under the leaf carpet of a forest rather than the gooey muck of a marsh, we need to think of a compost heap as a living thing that requires the essentials of all living things: air, food, and water in a balanced combination when maintaining a healthy compost pile.

Sowing and Planting Reminders from Your Plans

You can click on any name to be taken to the relevant GrowGuide for that plant.

There are no plants in your garden plans for 2020 which need to be sown under cover or indoors at the moment.

Plants you can sow outdoors or plant out over the next two weeks:
Johnny Jump Up 
Tomato (Large) 
Tomato (Small) 

General Planting Reminders for your Area

You can click on any name to be taken to the relevant GrowGuide for that plant.

Sow under cover or indoors:

Sow outdoors or plant out:
Beans (Bush Snap) 
Tomato (Large) 

(Please remember that dates for sowing and planting are general recommendations based on the frost dates you have specified. You should always consult instructions on your seed packets and adjust for your local climate and weather if necessary. Plants marked with a * are using custom dates that you specified for the plant or variety.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Update on The Bridge garden - July sowing suggestions.

Yesterday we had a wonderful group of staff volunteers come to The Bridge garden to help with cleanup. It was a beautiful day and we got so much done! 

Please Comment below and  'Follow" us to get updated on what's happening.  👉👉👉

It was a joy to see my coworkers and catch up on their lives as we social distanced, worked and heard about their success stories with their personal gardens.

Bren helped empty the blue shed because we’re getting a new one!

Iya and Bren cleaned up tables and placed everything outside to allow it to solar sterilize.

Maureen deep watered because today is HOT

We found weird worms that I’ve never seen before:( Caenoplana is a genus of land planarians from Australia and New Zealand.  They are known to be in our region.)

Jenny weeded the beds

Tim and Michelle dismantled old garden beds and the compost bins.

Iya used her Tetris skills to pack the dumpster full!

 Who said video game skills don’t transfer to daily life?

It was a wonderful day with friends.

Here are your growing reminders for this week:

July means fall sowing. Here is a list of what to do now in your garden. Keep seeds covered with bird netting to avoid ants, mice and birds digging them up. This time of year I sow all my seeds in 4" pots because of the warm weather. IF you sow in seed trays they will dry out over night and not sprout.

* Sow leaf lettuce - I grow New Red sails, Butterhead, Olga Romaine

* Sow Broccoli- I grow Waltham or Calabrese

* Sow Beets - For beet greens and pickled beets

*  Sow Carrots - Danvers half long OR Yellowstone; 

       (carrots require constant moisture to sprout which may   take up to 2 weeks. This can be a challenge in the warm         weather.  I sow them in space vacated by other crops, in         the shade of another plant.)

* Sow Sugar Snap Peas - Pole or bush

* Sow Cabbage

Your winter squash should be planted but if you've not done that yet you can still get them growing before the fall frost.

Plan on looking into garlic. I plant mine in the fall in the greenhouse so it is ready to pull in May or June of the following year.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Gardens in Bloom June 2020

Greetings gardeners, this fun video highlights what is growing, blooming and fruiting in our school gardens.  Many of the plants you will see in this video were grown from seeds planted by Kalmiopsis Elementary School students in March before schools were closed.

This time of year is such a fun time in the garden with pollinators hard at work, we see beautiful blossoms, fruits and vegetables growing quickly before our eyes.  

Please share a picture or video of what you are growing at home.  

Friday, June 26, 2020

Early Summer in your kitchen garden

Good Morning Gardeners!

During a normal early summer gardening season in our 17C school gardens we would be gearing up for the summer food program, sowing and harvesting for the salad bar and processing the excess produce in value added products. Here is an image showing average weekly harvest from 2019.

This summer of COVID19 is different in more ways than one.  This summer the school garden education/farm to school crew and maintenance dept are working on infrastructure.  When students return in the Fall they will see two new greenhouses erected in the gardens.  We are putting our raised garden beds to ‘bed’ for the summer by covering with cardboard and wood chips which will help conserve water as we complete the work on rebooting both gardens this summer.

Even with limited growing activity in the school gardens there are always chores to do.  In this final week of June it’s time to start thinking about our Fall gardens.  Below is a list of  ‘To do's for you to consider working on.  Happy Gardening!


* Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli (Sow seeds in pots, flats, garden for late season harvest)
* Bean, Squash, Sweet Corn - Resow if first sowing failed
* Bush green bean - make ongoing showings in your gardens for continuous harvests
* Summer Squash, bean, carrot, fall cabbage, leaf lettuce and turnip - Sow seed in areas vacated by early crops
* Cilantro - make another sowing


* Mulch around most plants EXCEPT Herbs 
* Leek - hill soil around stems
* Weed regularly 
* check for pests, white fly, potato beetles, squash vine borer, corn borer


* Zucchini, summer squash - harvest when fruits are 3-4” long
* English Peas - Harvest when pods are plump and firm
* Green Beans- harvest before pods bulge
* Pickling Cucumber - harvest when 2-6” long 
*Cabbage - Harvest central head, but leave plant to form smaller side heads


*Hand pollinate all squash for better yield

Monday, June 22, 2020

Week of June 22 - Let’s keep this garden going!

As our gardens burst out of spring and into summer we see a change.  From sowing cooler weather crops to summer crops that love the heat, the tasks continue on.  Everyone’s gardens are different and as such, keep in mind we  need to adapt to our micro climates as everyone has unique climates.  

The cabbages in my garden that I’ve so religiously guarded from slugs and cabbage moths are ready to harvest.  All 12 heads have formed at the same time.  This year I sowed Farao, a variety I’ve not grown before.
 I will definitely repeat this because we are swimming in Coleslaw and Sauerkraut! 

So what can I put in their place once I harvest?  The best rule of thumb I’ve read is think of crops as falling in to 3 different criteria.  Leafy, Fruiting, Root crops.  So once I pull the cabbage I’ll sow a root crop, probably carrots.   By always cycling through leaf, fruiting, root you will help you garden to avoid pests.  If you always sow tomatoes in the same place you will deplete your soil and invite pests.  As long as you keep the same cycle, Leaf, Fruit, root you will alternate crops and help your soil to heal.

General Planting Reminders

Sow under cover or indoors:
Tomato (large or small)

Sow outdoors or plant out:
Beans (Bush Snap) 
Potatoes (Main crop) 
Sweet Potato 

As always, keep an eye on those pests.  They can mow down your well tended garden in a night.  Here at our house we have rats, gophers and squirrels to deal with.  It never ends!

Hand pick pests, squash beetles, slugs,

Mulch to conserve water

Cut off suckers on tomatoes and strip bottom 2 feet of indeterminate tomatoes to prevent blight.  Here's a good article on vertical growing.

Pinch tops of peppers to force side stems and increase your harvest.

Hand pollinate squash.

Consistently harvest beans to continue production.  If your bean runners are growing taller then your trellis, snip the top and they will bush out below.

Amend soil when re sowing with 1 hand full compost, 1 hand-full perlite per square foot and replant with an alternate type of crop (root, leaf, fruiting) 

Finally, continuing to build your compost. An even ratio of greens (fruit and vegetable cuttings and garden trimmings) to browns (dried leaves, dried grass clippings, paper bags or cardboard) and crushed egg shells;  layer it all with shovels of your native soil and sprinkle with water occasionally for the worms.  

Start thinking on fall sowing.  I know Fall you say?  Yes. Many crops for fall harvest are are sowed in mid summer.