5/21/2009 – Weekend in Central Oregon + 2 More Starts

Last night my friend Phil and I got back from a long weekend over in Central Oregon. It was a really nice relaxing trip. Usually we plan a hike or backpacking trip for these types of weekends, but this was a little last minute. So, we spent most of the time just hanging out at his family’s cabin in La Pine, with the exception of a trip to Bend on Saturday to get a few things for repairs on the cabin, to eat some tasty Chinese food at Chan’s and to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine in the Old Mill District. At the cabin we continued our quest on Skies of Arcadia for the Game Cube, juggled the soccer ball, watched Howl’s Moving Castle, made and ate our traditional tacos with somewhat non-traditional ingredients and fairly severely broke our recent resolutions to cut down on our soda consumption. So, even though it would’ve been great to go on a hike, it was nice to just relax and get away. Simply being outside at the cabin or driving around with the windows down on a sunny, mid 80s day in Central Oregon is wonderful. Phil and his family are heading over there next weekend and he’s really looking forward to it. My family and I are going camping next weekend ourselves at Taylor Park, where my Grandparents have had a spot for many years now. Should be good and relaxing once again–sitting around the campfire and around the table playing games. Fun stuff. Anyway, tonight Phil came over ’cause I was giving him a ride to his parents’ house to pick up the car he would be driving over to the cabin this weekend. This was the first time he had seen any of my gardening efforts (at least in person). I was hoping to get another bed built or set, but since I didn’t get started on things until about 8, I decided just to do what I could. So, I transplanted my Thyme into larger pots and started a couple more plants inside.

The rest of the seeds I have are ones that ought to be sown directly into the beds outdoors, so I will have to get those beds built beforeI can do much more. Being out of town on the weekends makes that tough, but it’s worth it to relax and hang out with friends and family.

plants in the window

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5/4/2009 – Potato Leaves Coming Up

I planted my potatoes, what, about two weeks ago. I didn’t really have any idea when to expect any green things to pop up from beneath the soil or what they would look like when they did. A couple of days ago I was looking at the bed and noticed a few little tiny leaves. I wasn’t sure if they were weeds or if they were coming from the potatoes, so I left them alone. This morning I went out again to check them out and they had gotten much bigger and more like real leaves. I was pretty excited. Here are a few pictures I took of them. I think the darker colored ones are from the all-blue variety that Hillary gave me, and the others are either from a yellow potato she also gave me, or from the red ones that I got from People’s. Woohoo! I really enjoy this gardening stuff.

potato leaves popping up

potato leaves popping up

potato leaves popping up

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5/4/2009 – Bed #2: Onions, Lettuce & Carrots

The forecast for last weekend was for rain all day Saturday and Sunday, but it was nice and sunny on Friday! So, I left work at 3:00pm that afternoon and stopped by Dennis’ Seven Dees Garden Center on Powell to buy some onion starts. I ended up buying three different types, whichgave me a ridiculous number of them–way more than I could possibly use. Thankfully I think my friends Tasha and Melanie can use some and my friend Hillary said she would take whatever I had left. (She actually has enough room for all of them at her little farm). Anyway, after picking those up I headed home and worked as quickly as possible to set and level my second raised bed, add another 2×4 around the top like I did with the first one, and fill it with dirt–specifically a mix of horse manure compost, construction sand and the clay soil we have in the back yard–all before the sun went down. My niece Allie kept me company and helped with all the dirt-moving. She loved it.

layout for my second bed on graph paper with pencil, eraser and carrot seed packet

So, I got the last wheelbarrow of soil into the bed right at dusk, cleaned everything up and headed in for the night, where I stayed up until 3:00am obsessing over what to plant in the bed and how to lay it all out. I was trying to think about which plants would go well together and came up with a layout involving 48 onions, two tomato plants and about four square feet of carrots. I read that onions and carrots like to be near each other and both enjoy the partial shade in the heat of the summer provided by the tall tomato plants. I was pretty happy with my plan, if a little worried that I was crowding the tomatoes a bit, but with that I went to sleep.

raised bed planted with onion and lettuce plants and carrot seeds

In the morning, well… afternoon, when I got outside to get to work I saw just how many onions I really had bought, and decided to scrap my plan and plant a lot more onions. That was maybe a dumb idea, but I couldn’t stand to waste all the onions I got. So, I ended up planting four rows of each type that I got, which turned out to be 114 onions! Yeah, that’s a lot for a backyard garden. But I guess we’ll just have lots to give away.  :)  In the remaining space I decided to transplant the first lettuce seedlings I started along with a little section where I sowed a smattering of carrot seeds.

onions in raised bed with marker reading: spanish yellow sweet

I finished it all off by making signs for the things I planted with some shims my dad had in the garage that were just the right size and shape. The weather was crazy that day, and shortly after I finished up in the rain a fairly intense (if short) storm blew in complete with thunder and really strong winds. So, I didn’t really need to water anything! The plants weathered the storm beautifully, and I was very pleased looking out and seeing my first bed planted with things I could actually see above the soil.  :)

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