Sweet Promises from Fruit in My Edible Yard

Vegetables aren’t the only edibles in my yard. I enjoy growing a variety of fruit, from berries to rhizomatous perennials to fruit trees. Their cheery buds and flowers fill my garden with sweet promises of desserts, jams, ciders and fruit salads to come. Here are more images from the first days of spring.

Sigerrabe grape bud

The Siegerrebe wine grape is breaking bud.

Strawberries in flower

Strawberries are forming flowers and new leaves close to the crown.

Blueberry buds

Buds on the blueberry bushes, with spring ephemeral flowers behind.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is sending out curly new leaves and showing bring red on its fast-growing stalks.

Bartlett Pear

Bartlett pear in flower.

Pear buds

Abundant buds on a pear tree.

Pear floweres

Exuberant flowers on a pear tree.

pineapple guava

New growth on the pineapple guava, which last year produced two bushels of its tart fruit!

Raspberries

Lush new leaf growth on the raspberry canes.

Plum flowers

Delicate flowers on the Italian plum tree.

Breaking Bud at Spring Equinox

I took a photo break from gardening on yesterday’s sunny Saturday afternoon, the first full day of spring. Here are images from my garden.

Broad Windsor fava flower

Broad Windsor fava beans are just a foot tall, but starting to flower.

Kosmic Kale

A new perennial kale, called Kosmic, was recently introduced by Oregon’s Log House Plants. I like its variegated leaves.

Chablis carrot

Overwintered Chablis carrots are finally starting to sprout some new leaves.

Lacinato kale in flower

Lacinato kale is in full flower. Leave have turned bitter, but I’ll let it stand to feed the early pollinators.

Mustard sprouts

The mustards Ruby Streak and Green Wave sprouted thickly.

Sprouts in the cloche

The spring cloche, planted two weeks ago, shows crammed rows of sprouts, and a couple of bare spots where the seed (probably too old) did not germinate. That’s an opportunity for a second wave of planting.

Bok choy starts

Newly planted bok choy seedlings are being protected under a grid of green fiberglass hoops covered in floating row cover.

Open cold frame

The last of the winter lettuce heads are ready to cut. This cold frame, which has a swiveling front panel, is wide-open for the warm weather.

Lettuce lineup

More mature lettuce from winter. This lineup includes, l-r, Red Velvet, Little Gem, Bronze Arrowhead and Simpson.

Giant Winter Spinach

Giant Winter spinach, also a holdover from the cloche, is ready for cutting, along with its arugula neighbor.

Garlic

Garlic always stands so cheerily above its mulch this time of year.

Champion collard in flower.

Champion collard in flower.

A new asparagus crown is sending up its slender, second-year shoots.

A new asparagus crown is sending up its slender, second-year shoots.

Osaka Purple Mustard

Osaka Purple mustard has been spicing up our salads all spring. Now the leaves are almost too hot.

Purple Sprouting broccoli

It is indeed sprouting season, and the shoots of overwintered Purple Sprouting broccoli is on our table nearly every day.

Sugar Ann snap peas

Sugar Ann snap peas on compact, overwintered vines are still in the cold frame, and already producing.

Starting Your Edible Year: Free Classes Begin Sunday

Do you want to get started in the vegetable garden, but are unsure what to do right now? Come to my first free class this Sunday, March 15 at City People’s Garden Store in Seattle’s Madison Park.

seedling closeup

I’ll share a bunch of timely reminders in “Start Edibles Early for Longer Harvests.”

Now is a great time to get an early batch of edibles into the ground, and plan for multiple harvests.

The class is the first of “The Edible Year, a four-part series that runs through early June. Each class is at 11 a.m.

Here’s the whole series:

  • March 15 — “Start Edibles Early for Longer Harvests”
  • March 21 — “Soil-building and Amending for Edibles”
  • April 18 — “Growing Great Tomatoes”
  • June 7 — “Think Next Spring: Starting Long-season Vegetables”

If you’re in West Seattle or across Puget Sound on the Kitsap Peninsula, you might be interested in these other talks on my calendar this spring:

  • April 12, 1-2 p.m. I’ll do an interactive “Season Extension Demo & Talk” at West Seattle Nursery & Garden Center. Please note: this is an outdoor location, under a tent, so dress for weather.
  • May 20, 9:30 a.m. I’ll travel to Kingston for a talk on “Planning For Year-round Edibles.” It’s sponsored by the Kingston Garden Club, but open to the public.

Idea Tour: Photos from Portland

Comfy benches warm up a cold stone wall. A beehive gets circus-colorful. A wiry orange table makes friends perk up, and rusty steel grounds a garden scene.

These were many of the ideas I found when wandering through Portland’s Yard, Garden & Patio Show with my camera last weekend. I always like this show for its I-can-do-that vibe, and this year did not disappoint.

Here are some shots from my tour.

Purple mustard greens

A stand of giant purple mustard among lettuce wowed visitors to the edible garden display. The greenhouse is from NW Green Panels.

Colorful beehive

Why not paint your beehive with a colorful scene and top it with stunning copper!

Edible Garden juniper beds

The edible garden creators used juniper for some raised beds. They promote it as being longer-lasting than other woods.

Coreten steel raised beds

Coreten steel raised beds make a bold statement in the garden. The pricy steel rusts to a wonderful bronze color, then stops and is very long-lasting.

Marty and Mary Kate

Friends and fellow speakers Marty Wingate and Mary Kate Mackey were clearly in a cheery mood while chatting at a colorful outdoor table set.

Pots in water

The Dennis’ 7 Dees display garden featured a series of planted pots sitting in a water feature.

Galvanized planters

The 7 Dees display also showed galvanized steel planters tightly packed with edibles and flowers.

seeds in jars

Seeds saved in canning jars were part of the greenhouse exhibit in the edible garden display.

Seed heads

Why save seeds in jars, when you can just prop up the seed heads?

Nice benches

These benches, set into a standard wall of stacking concrete blocks, break up the monotony and must be much more comfortable.

Thanks to everyone who helped make the Portland show another rousing success, including Lucy Hardiman and Nancy Goldman, who do great work presenting a wide variety of seminars.

Try a Class at Craftsy; Free Giveaway!

If you haven’t yet taken a classinstructorbadge at Craftsy.com, now is your chance. It’s the perfect time to learn some new gardening techniques. And, I am collaborating with them on a free class giveaway!

Here’s the video trailer for my class, “The Extended Harvest: Vegetables for Every Season.” We’ll be giving a free class to one lucky entrant who checks out Craftsy between now and Friday, March 13.

To enter the contest, follow the link to my Craftsy class and create a free account. That’s all you need to do to be entered. While you’re on the site, browse around. You’ll find a number of short, free classes that will give you a great idea of how to use Craftsy.

I appreciated the professional, thorough approach the Craftsy folks took in helping me create this class.

Shoot1

Shooting a scene for my Craftsy class, “The Extended Harvest.”

We went through an extensive process to plan and organize the class material. Then, a producer, videographer and other staff came to film in my garden — three intense days of work that produced more than 30 hours of video!

They edited it down to 7 lesson, each about 20 minutes, for a total class that’s just over two hours.

Chopping compost

Chopping compost for the Craftsy class lesson on soil fertility.

You can watch one lesson at a time, or just parts of each, picking up where you left off. Re-watch any or all of it, as many times as you want. You can take notes, ask questions, and share with the class your own gardening projects. It’s easy and interactive.

There’s a gardening blog, and you can find lots of other resources too, like this free guide to container gardening.

I’ve become a fan of other classes, too, learning new gardening tips from other instructors, delving into a photography class, and trying an art class on drawing. There are many other topics, too, from knitting to cake decorating — a wide array of crafts and skills.

These online classes at Craftsy help you keep learning for life and mastering new skills. That certainly sounds like a formula for a healthy mind and a great garden!

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