Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Sunday, April 7, 2019

My Blog is Moving!

Good morning gardening friends,

In 2008 I began writing Miss Jolie Ann's Kitchen garden. I cannot believe it has been over 10 years! In the early 2000's I was super inspired by the emerging cooking blog movement. I regularly followed blogs such as Smitten Kitchen and 101 Cookbooks. This new internet age of food writing was deliciously exciting to me.

As a passionate cook and kitchen-gardener, from 2008-2014 my blog heavily focused on recipes reflecting my vegetarian whole foods seasonal diet. I loved researching and creating recipes, styling and photographing food, and especially sharing food with my community with hopes of someday writing a cookbook. Many of you attended Second Saturday Supper's with Miss Jolie Ann and trialed my recipes.

Thank you everyone for the many years you supported my recipe and food writing!

In 2015 I left full-time work to start my own business The Gardening Goddess. This blog reflected this shift in my professional life and posts became more about gardening with monthly and seasonal tips focused on organic vegetable and herb gardening.

When I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, viral disease, and multiple chronic illnesses in 2016 my blog reflected the healing journey I began.

Since the inception of the blog over a decade ago I have remained a passionate avid cook. However, I began writing less and less about food and recipes when my diet shifted to an omnivore gluten-free dairy-free sugar-free diet within the parameters avoiding my many food intolerances and following multiple healing diet protocols. The sicker I got and the more restricted my diet became the less fun creating recipes and eating became for me. When I was in the worst years of my illnesses the time and energy expended on following strict healing diet protocols was an exhausting chore.

So I choose to really dive into garden writing. I started a monthly garden column in The Concordia News, pitched a gardening book proposal to regional publishers, the proposals were rejected, and I wrote the book anyways! The Gardening Goddess Guide to Edible Gardening in Portland is so close to self-publication I am ecstatic. This summer it will be available at local independent bookstores, garden centers, and nurseries. Book release details are on my website.

In 2015 I launched my professional website and at this time it makes most sense to continue my blog via my website. The Miss Jolie Ann's Kitchen Garden blog will remain live so my readers can search old posts, in particular the wealth of recipes here. Going forward all new blog posts will be available on my website. It is the end of an era and the beginning of another.

Thank you for reading Miss Jolie Ann's Kitchen Garden the past decade!

With Gratitude,

Thursday, March 14, 2019

March 15 Garden Update

Good morning gardeners!

Many of you read my what to plant in the march edible garden post earlier this month. As we are now 2 weeks into March I wanted to offer you an update on my weather predictation and favorability of planting conditions.

We have some sunshine and much warmer temperatures on the way. Over the next 7 days it is looking like daytime highs in the 60s and overnight lows varying from the upper 30's to upper 40's. Over the extended 2-week forecast I see no risk of frost (32 degrees). Remember in frost temperatures seeds won't germinate, potato tubers and onion bulbs will rot in wet soil, and newly planted vegetable starts will suffer.

Our average last frost date is around March 15. Though, we could still have frost as late as April 15. That being said I think these warmer day and night temperatures are now ideal to begin planting your spring garden. Keep in mind we are only planting cool season vegetables March, April, and into the first few weeks of May.

You are holding off on planting all warm season vegetables until mid-May. This means no basil, beans, tomatoes, squash, etc. yet!

Cool Season "Bulk Vegetables" to Plant NOW:

Asparagus-from crowns
Garlic-from cloves
Horseradish-from roots
Jerusalem Artichokes/Sunchokes-from tubers
Potatoes-from certified seed potato tubers
Onions-from bulbs or bunches
Shallots-from cloves

Here are cool season crops to plant in the garden NOW with seed vs transplant preference:

Asian greens-seeds or starts
Collards-seeds or starts
Endive/Escarole-seeds or starts
Florence Fennel-seeds or starts
Kale-seeds or starts
Lettuce-seeds or starts
Mesclun Mix-seeds
Mustard Greens-seeds or starts
Peas-seeds or starts
Radicchio-seeds or starts
Salad greens-seeds
Scallions-seeds or starts
Spinach-seeds or starts
Swiss Chard-seeds or starts

Keep in mind if you are planting seeds directly in the garden I'd recommend covering the seed bed with a frost blanket to raise air & soil temperatures to increase germination rate.

Given the warm temperatures forecast this week I'm giving the ok to plant these from starts NOW broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.

Hold off until April on planting seeds of beets, carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi, parsnips, and turnips. Make sure the soil has warmed up to at least 55 degrees or their seeds won't germinate!

In the herb garden plant NOW cool-loving annual herbs like chervil and cilantro from starts. Biennial parsley is super cold hardy and can be planted now. Start planting NOW hardier annual herbs like chamomile and dill.

All perennial herbs can be planted NOW like chives, lavender, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme from transplants.

NOW is the perfect time for planting small fruit and fruit trees in your garden. Last week Jay & I enjoyed a leisurely stroll in the sunshine around Portland Nursery. I was so excited to see so many types of fruit tress now available in espalier form, columnar, dwarf and mini sizes. Lots of fruit trees are now grafted with multiple varieties on one tree. I love this! All perfect for the small space urban garden.

One last that I've given you the go-ahead for planting...make sure not only your garden is prepped with compost & fertilizer, but make sure your body is prepped. It has been a long cold sleepy winter. Make sure you stretch before and after gardening, take breaks, and don't overdo it. We can be so excited for spring gardening that we jump in and do it all. Our over exuberance can result in soreness, sprains, and strains. So ease into it my friends.

Happy gardening!
The Gardening Goddess
Wellness Through Nature

Thursday, March 7, 2019

What To Do In The March Edible Garden

Good morning gardeners!

The first day of spring arrives on the equinox March 20th. Perhaps you've already seen bright crocus and daffodils bravely poking up from the freezing soil. The earth is awakening and so is our persistent gardening urge. Seed catalogs in hand you are ready to start planting your vegetables and herbs! To be most successful in your vegetable garden keep in mind a few guidelines.

According to the Farmer's Almanac weather folklore sayings are as colorful as the imagination. When March weather is in like a lion it is out like a lamb. Relying on this weather proverb is as unpredictable as our wild March weather.

I write to you on March 7 and can you believe it that we had snow in Portland yesterday? As I write there is still a 40% chance of more snow today. That certainly would describe in like a lion! I usually say March is highly unpredictable with sunny days, chilly days, frost, rain, hail, sleet, and wind. And apparently this year we also have snow in March!

Here's our new garden space lightly dusted in snow on March 6

On average our March high is 56 and average low is 41 with 14 days of rain.

Historically our average last frost in Portland was April 15th, however, in recent years it has shifted to March 15th. Remember frost is 32 degrees and light frost is 36 degrees. For optimal planting conditions not only do day temperatures need to rise, the soil needs to warm, and dry out some. In wet cold soil potato tubers will rot, seeds won’t germinate and transplants will struggle to grow. As March proceeds into April we generally have more ideal planting conditions.

In the past couple of years we have got a jump start on edible gardening early in March due to warmer than average temperatures. This year I'm not so sure. When I look at the extended forecast for now through March 15 I see daytimes in the low 40s to mid 50s and nighttimes in the upper 20s to upper 30s. I think it is hard to say how late we will see our last frost. One thing is for certain, it is still way too cold for planting in the edible garden. I would wait until at least March 15th to assess temperatures and planting.

In March think cool season crops. It is way to early for summer heat lovers like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, basil, etc--you will plant these crops after May 15th.

Working in wet gardens causes soil compaction that impacts plant health. In prior years, I’ve had my raised beds "lasagna mulched," planted with crimson clover, and covered with a frost blanket that is keeping the soil warm and drier through the rainy season. In early March I typically will prepare my raised beds by removing the frost blanket, hoeing the fall-planted crimson clover cover crop, leaving greens on soil, sprinkling on an organic granular fertilizer, adding a fresh layer of compost, and then replacing the frost blankets. By mid-end of March when I assess the weather the raised beds will be prepped and ready for planting.

As many of you know my husband Jay and I were given a no-cause eviction to move out of our beloved rental house and garden of 8 years. So this spring is looking dramatically different for us in the edible garden.

Here are the 200 plants we potted and dug from our old garden in January to move with us. Here they are patiently sitting in their new home awaiting transplanting

We have so many garden projects to prepare for planting we will not be planting anything in March. After weeding, raking, clean-up, filling our raised bed we moved with us, and shifting around our 200 potted plants in March we should hopefully be ready by April for planting vegetables and herbs. A brand new garden is daunting on its own, but given the frequent snow, ice, and chilly temperatures the situation becomes overly complicated and delayed.

Here's our new garden space with the one raised bed we moved with us. As you can see there's lots of clean up and prep to be completed before any planting can happen

I look forward to sharing with you more photos and stories of our new gardening adventure as it progresses this spring!

Cool Season "Bulk Vegetables" to Plant after March 15:

Asparagus-from crowns
Garlic-from cloves
Horseradish-from roots
Jerusalem Artichokes/Sunchokes-from tubers
Potatoes-from certified seed potato tubers
Onions-from bulbs or bunches
Shallots-from cloves

Here are cool season crops to plant in the garden after March 15 with seed vs transplant preference:

Asian greens-seeds or starts
Collards-seeds or starts
Endive/Escarole-seeds or starts
Florence Fennel-seeds or starts
Kale-seeds or starts
Lettuce-seeds or starts
Mesclun Mix-seeds
Mustard Greens-seeds or starts
Peas-seeds or starts
Radicchio-seeds or starts
Salad greens-seeds
Scallions-seeds or starts
Spinach-seeds or starts
Swiss Chard-seeds or starts

Keep in mind if you are planting seeds directly in the garden I'd recommend covering the seed bed with a frost blanket to raise air & soil temperatures to increase germination rate.

I would wait a little later in March to see how the weather goes for planting: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. Or if you want to plant these now from transplants into the garden be sure to keep a warming frost blanket handy or use some other kind of protection from a cloche, cold frame or low tunnel.

Hold off until April on planting seeds of beets, carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi, parsnips, and turnips. Make sure the soil has warmed up to at least 55 degrees or their seeds won't germinate!

Mid-March is usually a great time to get started with your herb garden. Cool-loving annual herbs like chervil and cilantro can be planted Mid-March from seed or transplants. Biennial parsley is super cold hardy and can be planted now. Start planting hardier annual herbs like chamomile and dill later in March.

Additionally perennial herbs like chives, lavender, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme can all be planted from transplants in March. This month is an excellent time to divide and transplant perennial herbs grown in containers like chives, lemon balm, lovage, and mint.

Late winter into early spring is the ideal time to plant small fruit and fruit trees in your garden. This time of year you will also get the best selection at nurseries. Consider planting a dwarf or columnar fruit tree such as apple, Asian pear, pear, cherry, or plum which all grow excellent in Portland. Fruiting shrubs, canes, and vines include:


And don’t forget the strawberries!

In spite of the chilly beginning to March, spring really is right around the corner. A great garden always starts with a great garden plan. Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing you in an upcoming gardening class or in person garden consultation. Don't miss any blog posts, class information, and book release updates by subscribing to my email newsletter via my website.

Happy Gardening,

Healing People, Communities, and the Planet One Garden at at Time

Thursday, February 14, 2019

What to do in the February Garden

Happy Valentine's Day gardening friends,

As I write to you from my new home, outside it is rainy, gray, and in the 30's with windchill in the 20's. Last week we saw a little snow and ice. A pretty typical February by Portland standards. We did not receive any frost in the end of 2018. Our first frost finally arriving very late on January 1st. I was so grateful we were moved before any snow or ice hit.

I have noticed crocus, snow drops, cyclamen blooming and even a few daffodil shoots springing up. My hellebores and winter daphne were all in magnificent bloom in January as Jay and I dug and transplanted close to 200 plants to transport to our new home at the beginning of February. What a unexpected whirlwind my 2019 has been so far! I am reminded of the saying "Change is the only thing certain in life."

During cold, wet, windy winter weather we aren't usually thinking about gardening yet. However, all those seed catalogs sure are tempting, aren't they?

February continues to be a great month for preparing and planning versus planting. Take a gardening class with me, read a gardening book, and draft your planting plan so you are prepared when spring planting finally arrives.

I'm very excited to announce my first book The Gardening Goddess Guide to Edible Gardening in Portland will be published next month. Stay tuned via my email newsletter for full book release and event information.

Historically in Portland our average last frost date was April 15. Climate change has influenced our frost dates, and now our average last frost date is March 15. A light frost happens at 36 degrees, frost is 32 degrees, and a hard freeze occurs at 24 degrees. Most vegetable plants will not tolerate a light frost at the beginning of their growing season. Though, some cool season vegetables like brussels sprouts, kale, and parsnips taste better when fall harvested after a frost.

Cool season veggies are those planted in the early spring and thrive in the cooler temperatures before summer arrives. Some of the vegetables & herbs we will consider planting later in March are:

Asian greens
Mustard greens
Salad greens
Swiss chard

In March asparagus crowns, potato tubers, garlic bulbs, onion sets and bunches show up at nurseries. Joining them are perennial horseradish, sunchockes/jerusalem artichokes, and rhubarb. We can begin planting these in March when the weather is favorable.

As for February, it is a great time to assess your tools and supplies for the season. Twine, bamboo stakes, tomato cages, and fertilizer should be inventoried and purchased. Give your tools a good cleaning and take them in for sharpening. Make a garden plan and purchase seeds for the season. Remember to support seed companies who have signed the safe seed pledge. Always purchase organic and non-GMO seeds. Consider the diversity of heirlooms and the successfulness of regionally specific varieties. I purchase seeds from: territorial seed company, renee's garden, botanical interest, and seed saver's exchange. Purchase lily bulbs and dahlia tubers. I am a big fan of ordering from PNW nurseries: B&D lilies, Old House Dahlias, and Swan Island Dahlias.

Head out to the nursery to purchase cheerful potted daffodils, tulips, and hyacinth. Colorful cool season annual primrose, pansy, viola, and cyclamen brighten up front porch containers. Perennial hellebores are blooming in full glory at nurseries in February. At the florist pick up a pussy willow wreath and blooming branches. I adore my annual late winter/early spring ritual of weekly rotating forsythia, pussy willow, magnolia, cherry, and quince branches.

February is excellent timing for purchasing and planting fruit canes, bushes, vines, and trees. My insider tip is you will get the best selection at local nurseries at this time of year and the cool weather is perfect for planting fruit.

Trees: apple, pear, plum, peach, cherry
Bushes: blueberry, currant, huckleberry, gooseberry
Canes: raspberries, blackberries, marionberries
Vines: kiwi, grape

Don't forget the strawberries!!

I have many exciting, fun, and practical gardening workshops lined up this spring, starting this Saturday! Please join me.

Now is the time to schedule an in-person edible gardening consultation at your home. I love coming out and seeing your gardens-both big & small and helping you create a plan for your most successful, healthy, and abundant edible garden. Its like your own personalized gardening class in your own home with The Gardening Goddess. Schedule now before my March is fully booked!

If you are dreaming of a garden that also includes ornamental plants and don't know where to start I now offer multiple tiers of garden consultation and design. There is a level of service and price point for everyone's budget. Please check out my newly revised website for more information.

I look forward to hearing from you soon and sharing the magic of spring gardening that is right around the corner.

Happy gardening,

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Winter Garden & Happy New Year!

Good morning gardening friends,

The 2018 year is nearing the end and like most years it was filled with both the lovely and the challenging. As demonstrated in nature, life is after all a dance of balance. Thank you for sharing the gardening year with me by attending my classes, reading my blog, subscribing to my newsletter, and hiring me for your garden design and consultations.

And, wow, the last month of 2018 triumphantly concludes with a prosperous bang of handmade wreath sales, wreath making classes, and wreath making private parties. I am grateful for the many ways you all have supported my small business and the work I am truly passionate about. Thank you for sharing the gardening life with me!

For me January marks the beginning of "garden dreaming." During the cold, wet, and sometimes frozen winter months of January and February I am pouring over seed catalogs and itching to get outside into the garden. However, this start to winter doesn't really feel like a Portland winter to me. Autumn was truly magnificent with the range of exquisite colors bursting from trees and shrubs. Due to the almost complete lack of rain I was able to enjoy daily walks in nature. The unfortunate trade-off is that most of Oregon remains in a severe drought. This morning I observed Multnomah County was downgraded from a severe to moderate drought.

And as the winter begins and the year draws to a close, we have yet to have our first frost in Portland. The closest we've got is a light frost with a low temperature hovering around 34-36 degrees. Frost occurs at 32 degrees. For as long as I could remember our average first frost in Portland was October 15. A few years ago I noticed the disturbing pattern of frost not arriving until later in November and December. Upon research I noted several online sources now citing Portland's average first frost date anywhere between November 15-December 15. Well folks, it hasn't happened yet this year. When it finally arrives, I wager we've broken a record for latest frost date.

Due to this late warm weather I was harvesting lettuce through Thanksgiving. Several of my summer annuals are still blooming: cup and saucer vine, fuchsia, geranium, nasturtium, and purple bell vine. Typically a hard frost would have killed down my pineapple sage in December. It is still in glorious stunning red bloom, happily feeding our resident hummingbirds.

Maybe you have noticed these sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic shifts in our seasons and climate. Without "catastrophizing," I must say it does concern me quite a bit. As we transition into a new year and a time of making resolutions, perhaps as gardeners and stewards of our mother earth we can consider new ways to reduce our impact on the planet.

Usually at this time of year I begin writing about seasonal affective disorder, an inevitable side effect of living in the rainy Pacific Northwest. Sometimes we gardeners humorously like to call it seed acquisition disorder. A few years ago, a funny drawing by Joseph Tychonievich of Green Sparrow Gardens was floating around the Internet. He says, "The short dark winter days cause me to suffer from S.A.D.--Seed Acquisition Disorder.”

Portland gardening friends, I’m sure you can all relate to this! Maybe not so much this autumn and start of winter when the weather remains so mild and sunny. I think back especially to the winter of 2015-2016 when it rained so much enormous trees toppled over because their roots were no longer stable in the constantly saturated soil. And the winter of 2016-2017 when we had four snow/ice events by the second week of January.

After the autumn leaf raking frenzy and during the intensity of the holiday season we are mostly happy to have a respite from our gardens. At the beginning of every year the new seed catalogs arrive in my mailbox. In fact, in December I've already received catalogs from Seed Saver's Exchange and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I spend hours excitedly pouring over each catalog, wrapped in a blanket, drinking pots of my favorite tea and devouring every detail of the new and old favorite varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

Most years, come January and February I find myself in pajamas and rain boots, clipboard in hand patrolling my puddle-filled, mostly dormant garden. I gaze at the lush fall-sown cover crops and I ponder what worked and didn't work last year. List after list of garden plans are creatively drafted. Dreaming and fantasizing about peonies, dahlias, sunflowers, and lilies I mark up my seed catalogs and make online wish lists. I eat, drink, breath all the endless potential and promise my garden holds in the coming year. My unchecked gardening enthusiasm for heirlooms can also promise the emptying of my bank account if I do not practice some restraint.

Heirloom seeds offer a diversity of old-fashioned quality, and are rich in taste, color and history. Heirlooms are commonly defined as open-pollinated varieties that have resulted from natural selection rather than a controlled hybridization process and were grown prior to 1950. Some of my favorite sources for heirloom seeds for the Portland area gardener are Seed Savers Exchange, Baker Creek Heirloom, Botanical Interest and Renee’s Garden.

Territorial Seed Company is a family-owned company in Oregon since 1979. Check out their selection of seeds, some organic and heirloom.

When purchasing seeds you will see many terms like heirloom, cultivar, GE, GMO, open pollinated, hybrid, organic and treated. All of these can be confusing and are often misinterpreted by the gardener consumer. I found a handy online resource from Renee’s Garden called Seed Buying 101: A Seed Gardener’s Glossary.

If you are concerned about GMOs, signers of the safe seed pledge do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds. A list of companies that have signed the pledge is maintained by the Council for Responsible Genetics, a non-profit with a stated mission of educating the public about and advocating for socially responsible use of new genetic technologies.

With so many seed choices, where does a gardener begin? First, make a list of all the things you are interested in growing, their growth habits and size at maturity. Take measurements of your garden and draw out where you might place things. You are invited to join me for organic gardening classes in February and March. Or schedule an in-person or email gardening consultation appointment.

Winter is the perfect season to explore gardening books like The Maritime Northwest Garden Guide, one of my all-time favorites. My fantastic news is my very first gardening book will be released this spring! I cannot wait to share it with you.

Please also join me for a gardening class or workshop this winter/spring. I am continuing my always popular workshops at Portland Nursery, exciting new and updated classes at Portland Community College, and I'm happy to announce I will now offer gardening classes at Mt Hood Community College. Please visit my website for dates and registration information.

Enjoy every moment of the garden dreaming season before the hard work of spring begins. From my home and garden to yours I wish you a beautiful new year!

Happy Gardening,

Monday, October 1, 2018

What to Plant in the October Garden

Greetings gardening friends!

I hope the first month of autumn finds you happy and healthy. Our autumn has begun with brilliant sunny days in the 80s, thunderstorms, fog, and cool nights in the low 50s. In my experience October is a mild month with plenty of opportunity to garden and be out walking and hiking in nature. According to the NOAA in October on average we receive 9 days of rain with an average high/low temperature of 63/48 degrees.

Depending on what source you look at our average first frost date is anywhere from October 15-December 15. During the past few years I've observed our first frost to arrive later in that range around November 15. That's bad news for climate change and good news for gardeners and extends our growing season just a little bit longer.

Did you know that in Portland, autumn is considered our second planting season for the ornamental garden? This is a spectacular season for planting trees, shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses, ferns, ground covers, and native plants. By planting in autumn root systems get a jump start before the cold winter weather makes them dormant. Then in the spring they grow faster than those spring-planted. Additional bonus the fall, winter, and spring rainy season cares for your new plants without the chore of supplemental watering.

October is an excellent time for:
-Cleaning up and putting to rest the edible garden--raised beds, in-ground, and containers
-Planting cover crops
-Planting garlic & shallots
-Pruning lavender
-Planting all kinds of perennial herbs
-Dividing and transplanting existing mature perennial herbs
-Raking leaves and making a leaf mulch pile
-Planting spring flowering bulbs in the ornamental garden
-Plant cool season ornamental containers

CLEAN UP: Now is the time of year I put my edible garden "to rest" for the winter. As I garden intensively in and rotate three raised beds I don't garden year-round, but take the fall and winter off to rest and replenish the garden soil. In late September into early October I harvest the last of my summer crops like tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and beans. I put any plant debris infected with powdery mildew or any other disease or pest problem in the curbside yard debris bin instead of my home compost bin.

Once the raised beds are cleaned up I like to top dress their soil with finished or almost finished compost from my home bin. By emptying my home compost bin in the autumn I can start a fresh pile over the winter that should be ready in time for late spring planting. I cover the raised beds with a frost blanket pinned down. The frost blanket will keep out the marauding squirrels from burying their nuts and the neighborhood cats seeking a new litter box.

Any vegetables, annual herbs and flowers I grow in containers I also empty out at this time of year. I just add the potting soil and plant debris right into my cleaned up raised beds. As I clean up the raised beds I remove tomato cages, bamboo stakes, and trellis to store for the winter.

You can also plant your raised beds or in ground edible garden with cover crops through the month of October. Find more information here.

GARLIC & SHALLOTS: October is the time to plant garlic and shallot bulbs in the Portland garden for a harvest next summer. Pick up some garlic and shallots from your local nursery soon for best selection. By planting garlic and shallots in the fall they start to grow, then sit dormant during the winter, and spring to life again in early spring. The overwintering process assures superior growth, flavor, and much higher yields than spring planting.

Garlic is available in softneck and hardneck varieties. Softneck varieties are less spicy, store well, and have a braidable stem. Hardneck varieties have a spicier flavor, have larger cloves, and develop gorgeous flowering "scapes" in the spring.

Shallots are small clustered onions with deeper flavor than regular onions. They are highly valued by gourmet chefs and can easily be grown in the home garden.

We usually plant one variety each of hardneck and softneck garlic, as well as lots of shallots. This is a fun October planting project when there is not a lot else to be planted!

LAVENDER: Did you know October is the perfect time to prune your lavender? Cut the entire plant back by one third this month. This annual pruning will keep your lavender plant's structure in better shape.

SPRING FLOWERING BULBS: October is the time to plant spring flowering bulbs like daffodil, tulip, anemone, rununculus, crocus, hyacith, grape hyacinth, ornamental allium, miniature iris, snowdrops, and checkered lily.

Did you know you can also fall plant perennial lilies like tiger, asiatic, and oriental?

I like to tuck spring-flowering bulbs into the containers on my deck that currently are loaded with fall season annual plants.

Shop your local nursery now for best selection and get planting while we still have the beautiful sunshine. Remember not to plant in the wet soil on rainy days as this causes soil compaction.

FALL CONTAINERS: I am not ashamed to admit I am obsessed with fall color. Fall color is a category of plants in nurseries and garden centers that begins appearing in September. Fall color is typically cool season annual plants meant to replace fading summer annuals as temperatures cool. I have been shopping at the nursery 5 times in the past few weeks!

Traditional fall color plants include: mums, asters, pansies, violas, ornamental peppers, ornamental cabbage & kale, and dusty miller. I love them all.

When creating fall containers I include lots of these fall color annuals. I don't stop there. To craft spectacular sensory interest containers I consider sun vs shade location and then incorporate dwarf conifers, evergreen shrub starts in 4 inch pots, evergreen ferns, evergreen ground covers, ornamental grasses, herbs, and even a few late blooming perennials like pineapple sage and brown-eyed susan. For unbeatable jewel tone color in your fall container don't forget the heuchera!

We had a very fun time creating these containers together in my fall interest container design make and take workshop in September.

Don't forget to accent your beautiful fall containers with a selection of pumpkins and winter squash. And if you are interested in my professional expertise we can schedule a personalized shopping trip together or I design, deliver, and installment container gardens of all sizes:

October is a beautiful month with both sunny days and the return of rain. Wind whips around and stirs jewel-toned autumn leaves around the garden. Mother nature's show is exquisite in the autumn. Enjoy it now, while you can before the long months of cold, rain, ice, and snow are upon us!

Happy Gardening,

Monday, September 3, 2018

What to Plant in September

Good morning gardening friends,

September arrived this weekend. Do you feel the whispering of autumn in the cool early morning as the sun is rising later? Indeed Autumn Equinox is September 21st, however often we have delicious warm weather through September. Late summer in Portland means a garden bursting with fresh delicious produce. The summer bounty we are harvesting in our garden includes: basil, cucumber, cantaloupe, green beans, leeks, mesclun mix, summer squash, tomatoes, watermelon, winter squash, and zucchini.

Local stone fruit and melons are amazing this year, so get them this month while you can. Local apples and pears are just beginning to show up in stores. I've been freezing fresh berries and stone fruit all summer long. As the weather cools in September and October, there is some epic gluten-free baking of cobblers, quick breads, and muffins in store for me.

During those 90 degree August days it is hard to imagine summer is the time to begin thinking about a fall and winter garden. But believe it or not July and August are the months to begin planting your garden for a fall and winter harvest. Unfortunately the bad news is you may have missed your planting window for some winter crops. The good news is there is still plenty you can plant in early September.

Portland’s warm fall and mild winter temperatures make an ideal climate for food growing into winter. According to the farmer’s almanac our average first frost date has now shifted to November 15th.

When thinking about planting fall and winter edibles, in general you want them to be at harvestable maturity by this average first frost date. So if you are interested in planting broccoli and the variety you select says 90 days to maturity you need to count back 90 days from November 15th and plant on August 15th. Other factors that effect plant growth to consider are the shorter day lengths and the farther position of the sun during fall and winter.

Some crops that do well in the cooler weather of fall and winter are:
brussels sprouts
chinese cabbage
collard greens
endive & escarole
herbs-chervil, cilantro, and parsley
mache/corn salad/vit
mesclun mix
mustard greens
salad greens
swiss chard

You can also plant seed potatoes in the summer for a late fall harvest.

Many crops are intended to overwinter. You plant them in the fall and they mature for harvest the following spring or summer. Fava beans, garlic, onions and shallots are all overwintering crops. There are also many overwintering varieties of broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, and leeks.

A great resource for timing your fall/winter garden planting is the Territorial Seed Company. Check out their very informative fall and winter growing guide.

Some of the longer maturing crops are brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, celeriac, rutabaga and parsnip. It is too late to plant those in September for a crop in time for winter. If you want to give it a try definitely use a transplant vs direct seeding and be prepared for season extension with a frost blanket or cold frame.

What I suggest planting in the garden the first week of September:
From seed: arugula, endive, chervil, mache, mesclun mix, radish
From transplants/starts: beets, carrots,collards, cilantro, escarole/endive, fennel, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, parsley, peas-snow & snap, radicchio, scallions, spinach, swiss chard. You can also plant any perennial herbs in September.

In October I will plant bulbs for garlic and shallots to overwinter, as well as cover crops to help enrich the resting soil over the winter. And don't forget September and October are the perfect time for fall-planted spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, and buttercups! Stay tuned for more details on these autumn garden tasks.

While you are enjoying the end of summer and reaping the abundant harvest of your garden, remember to grab a glass of iced tea and kick back with your fall and winter seed catalogs and planting calendar. When the winter weather sets in you will be grateful you planned and planted ahead for a cool-season harvest.

Happy Gardening,