Sunday, February 27, 2011

Getting Started

It always seems that taking the first step is the hardest.

I am great at coming up with ideas. Transforming them into reality is another story. The idea of this garden blog, for instance, has been growing in my mind's eye for months now.

So today, as I put the final pencil strokes on our 2011 garden plan I decided to jump in.

My goal for this year's garden is to take full advantage of Portland, Oregon's long growing season.

I kicked off this year's garden last weekend by planting 32 feet of peas, 16 feet of lettuce, 8 feet of spinach and 4 feet of carrots. Fortunately all are seeds, not seedlings, so they should be unaffected by the arctic blast that we've had over the past few days.

I also planted some garlic and shallots. Apparently they are fairly easy to grow, which, if true, will make me wonder why I have not grown them before now. That happened last year with shelling peas - they are amazing!

I guess I should give a little background info before we get too far into this ...

My husband Mark and I have three raised beds on our city plot. One is wood, measures 3.5 by 11 feet and is situated on the west side of our house. The other two are converted metal cattle troughs measuring 3 by 8 feet that we placed on our driveway on the east side of the house.

Our goal is to have a garden that provides us with fresh vegetables and herbs throughout the growing season. Beyond the usual suspects, Mark also challenges me to grow varieties that are not readily available at the local grocery store or farmer's market, or that are altogether expensive. This year we are growing radicchio, shallots and zucchini - all of which oddly fall into into that latter category. Seems odd since zucchini can be so prolific, but I digress.

Beyond requesting that we grow specific vegetables, Mark plays little role in the garden until harvest. His specialty lies in transforming the bounty into delectable snacks and meals to the delight of our friends and family. He is also my partner in crime when it comes to canning foodstuffs for gifts and our larder. In other words, I mainly focus on the plots, and he mainly focuses on the pots.

Next step : Start scallions, bunching onions, cipollini onions and leeks in the kitchen pop-out window.

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