Friday, March 30, 2012

Rhubarb--Queen of Spring!

The rhubarb (Rheum palmatum) leaves are unfurling, coming out of the magenta nubbins that started poking out of the cold wet soil a few weeks ago.  They'll need to be divided next year, to keep them from entirely taking over the area they share with the asparagus and perennial herbs.  Not necessarily the best bedfellows, but it's where they are right now and everyone seems to put up with it, so moving them around hasn't been a high priority. 

I love the way the crinkly leaves have a slight red tinge to the edges to match the color of the stems.  These plants will be almost 4' in diameter by June, with leaves as wide as those inflatable exercise balls.  Mmmmm, I can almost taste the strawberry-rhubarb jam already...

Now is the time to add an inch or so of good compost around the root zone of rhubarb.  The roots are huge and look a lot like bright orange sweet potatoes when cut.  It takes a lot of stored food to grow those gigantic leaves and a lot of green surface to manufacture enough food to support those big roots! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Vegetable Gardening Classes in Poulsbo Parks & Rec catalog!

Poulsbo Parks & Recreation's 2012 Spring/Summer catalog is out and there are so many cool classes available!  Almost makes me wish I was a kid again to take some of them.  Almost... 

I have 5 classes offered there and will be particpating in the Summer Pruning class put on by the Poulsbo Tree Board in July.   

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ready to do some serious thinking about growing some of your own food?  Here are some events and classes I'll be doing in the next few weeks:


Tuesday, March 27, 3:00-6:00 PM  Farm Walk at Pheasant Fields Farm in Silverdale

Come join me for a fun afternoon touring a working farm!  Learn about soils, year-round growing and equipment to make gardening and small scale farming easier and more efficient.  I’ll be giving a talk on starting seeds indoors.  Presented by WSU Kitsap Extension Small Farms Team, Pheasant Fields Farm, and Washington Tractor. 
$10 per person or $15 per family
Registration online at or call 360 337 7026


Starting Seeds in the
Organic Vegetable Gardening Class

Saturdays April 14 and 21,  10:00 AM-4:30 PM   Organic Vegetable Gardening  Learn the basics or hone your gardening skills in this 2 day course.  Topics covered include garden planning and design, soil preparation and testing, plant selection, synthetic-free fertilization and pest management, irrigation and harvest tips.  Students will start seeds to take home for their own gardens.
Bring a sack lunch and your edible gardening questions!

$98 and $10 materials fee

Poulsbo Parks & Rec

Register at 360 779 9898


Tuesday, April 17, 6-8:30 PM  Grow Your Own Salad Bowl!

Learn what vegetables you can plant together in one container to harvest complete salads! Students will plant and take home their own Salad Garden Bowl.  Plants and materials provided.

Poulsbo Parks & Rec

Register at 360 779 9898

'Didn't know you could grow
beans in a container, did you?
Saturday, April 28, 10-Noon   Container Gardening    
No room for a garden plot?  You can still grow lots of great veggies on your patio or deck in containers!  Learn what to look for in a container, what kinds of soil to use and which vegetables to choose.  You’ll be surprised at what you can grow in a small space!
Bainbridge Island Parks & Rec
Register at

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dinner from the Winter Garden

Ahh, my first blog post! 

I just came in from the garden with an armload of kale, broccoli and carrots.  They were all planted last summer for harvest through the winter and early spring.  Steamed Purple Sprouting broccoli and freshly pulled carrots for dinner tonight!  Not very Irish, but we’ll be celebrating St. Paddy’s tomorrow with a colcannon of the last of 2011’s potatoes and the kale I just picked. 

Harvesting the last of the over-wintered crops makes room for the new plants in the greenhouse waiting their turn to get into the garden.  I’m a little later than usual this year, but the broccoli, cauliflower, Bok Choi and cabbage will be ready in a couple weeks.  The tomatoes will be going in under a low tunnel cloche soon after that.