Monday, May 16, 2016

The big question mark

I decided to revive the neglected blog to answer some questions I've been asked a lot lately, so here goes:

Q: You have a gardening blog???
A: Yes, a very sad, neglected, little gardening blog.

Q: What can you plant in May in the Tetons?
A: I always start my sunflowers after May 1st, or I find they don't bloom for long (or at all) before the snow flies. Snap peas, chard, and potatoes are cold-tolerant. My brother is also planting Brussels sprouts now and has had good luck planting them in May.

Q: Will you be able to garden this year?
A: Yes, thanks to quite a few generous people.

My Idahoan buddy planting potatoes
(mutt also imported from Idaho)

I had to really get a move on this year, as we leave tomorrow to go to Salt Lake City for surgery. I have avoided spinal fusion (scoliosis) surgery for as long as possible, but am now unable to do many of the things I love, including gardening most days. My spine, that curvy question mark of anatomy, is dictating the answers these days.

Thanks to my husband, some really helpful friends, and a few good days from my spine, I was able to get the winter compost spread, top off the raised beds, plant peas, chard, potatoes, and sunflowers, and get the beds weeded. The tomatoes are also planted (on carts in the garage), and my daughter and mother in law will faithfully roll them in and out, in and out, until I am able to do it myself. My porch may not be the flower-fest it usually is, but I got a very nice hanging basket for Mother's Day.

The plan. (so I can remember what the heck I did, pre-pain pills)

When we first decided it was finally time to have surgery, the thought of not having a garden this year made me incredibly sad. So THANK YOU to everyone who knew how much it meant to me and jumped in (and those of you who have pledged help this summer). It will be a challenging summer, but I look forward to having friends in the garden.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The bear emerges...

Quite a crazy spring in the Tetons. Bears are emerging from their dens a month early and Teton Gardening makes its earliest spring post ever. The arguments of environmentalists and climate change deniers echo through the valley, but no matter what you believe, this is one crazy spring. When neighbors rake grass instead of shovel snow in February, it makes you wonder.

Last spring was a hard one, as I lost my first gardening partner. My mom was flawed and sometimes difficult, like us all, but my memories of spending time with her in our flower beds growing up are some of my favorites. I have always thought of her when I planted pansies in the spring. She was fun and colorful and will be greatly missed by many people. I am grateful she gave me a love of digging in the dirt. 

We also lost our canine gardening companion, Alida, shortly after. She loved being in the garden all day and made sure I always could find a tennis ball nearby. She lived a good, long life and we were lucky to be her people. 

In a fog, and really just wanting to be on the river, I didn't garden as much as usual last summer. I have amazing people in my life who did all they could to bring some joy back to me and make me realize that there is still so much to be grateful for. Mom and Alida lived out loud and made fun their first priority and I am listening to that lesson.

I grew only what would thrive on neglect: raspberries, garlic, chard, and salad greens mostly. Potatoes were a fun first experience for me. I planted them in a raised bed in the spring, threw some compost on, and forgot about them all summer. Digging up shovels full of fresh potatoes was a gardening nerd's dream, just ask my husband, who rolled his eyes at my enthusiasm. I'll definitely plant more this year. 

I'll end with a little February 2015 documentation, since my main purpose of having this blog is being able to look back and see what was going on at that same time in previous years. Who knows, next week we could be under a foot of snow, but for now it's spring in February!





Free moose poop fertilizer

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Friends are the flowers...

My mom is a calligrapher, so she always had quotes around the house in pretty handwriting. And as cheesy as it is, this one came back to me today - "friends are the flowers in the garden of life." Since I start my evening job again next week, that will mean less free time. And yet I haven't been gardening much this week, I've been spending time with friends - going to the farmer's market, rafting, drinking a beer in the sun. 

It rained all day on Labor Day, so we had to cancel our rafting plans, but the yard was lush and green and it was a good time to do a little harvesting.

Best gift ever from my brother and sister in law - wellies! 
Great for sloshing around a wet garden (and also for dancing in the mud at music festivals :)

When the rain is falling and the neighborhood is quiet,
 it's a perfect time to pick flowers and bring some garden indoors.

Sunflowers and Delphiniums

Daisies, Delphiniums, Snapdragons, and Mint

The Delphiniums drop a lot of petals, but are so pretty. 
These have been a struggle in the garden this year, really leggy and falling over. But now they're worth it!

I've been eating the tomatoes as soon as they become ripe. They're the sweetest they've ever been this year. These have been my favorite - Mr. Stripey (which I bought in honor of our stripey cats)

And this week, I replaced my pansies. It seemed kind of silly, since we will only get to admire them for another month or so. But the last batch got mildew and these were on 10 bucks of happiness...

Enjoy that last bit of summer, Teton gardeners!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Return of the errant gardener

Sometimes life is better lived away from a computer. Okay...all of the time. The garden has been in a state of semi-neglect, but in between music festivals and time on the river, somehow everything stayed alive. (p.s. thanks daughter & hubby for helping with watering duties!)

Here's what's been going on in the garden:

Garlic curls (scapes) were harvested - half of them about 3 weeks ago and the other half about 2 weeks ago. I leave some on the plant longer, as this makes them spicier. I made several containers of pesto to freeze and the rest are in the fridge waiting for inspiration.

We've had at least half a dozen dinners' worth of chard. So good in the steamer!!

Raspberries are going absolutely nuts. I am getting about a pint per day. Hard to believe they were started from my neighbor's donations 2 years ago this fall.

Love these lilies! This was the first bed I planted when I bought my house (thanks to a kind donation of starts from one of my student's parents). They only started blooming last year, 6 years after planting.

The wildflower bed is only a year old but is doing well back in the south of the lot where no sprinklers reach. It was beautiful a few weeks ago, but is now going to seed.

And last but not least...the tomatoes. Anyone who has followed the tomato saga knows that this year's crop is making me so happy! Having figured out last summer that they just needed to be sprayed with calcium chloride once a week*, my blossom rot woes are over. 

*(best sprayed at dusk so the calcium chloride doesn't burn the leaves)

I also have been bringing them into the garage nightly now instead of only when it gets below 45 degrees. I have read that this increases their sweetness, and my taste tests say this may be true!

and I wanted to include this picture with our raft and duckies...some of the reasons for my garden neglect. Who says you can't have it all? :)

Until next time, happy gardening!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Spring, YES!

Happy Spring in the Tetons! (and probably summer everywhere else) Spring is different every year - it arrives at different times, it's wetter or drier than others, plants from last year come back more beautiful than before or sometimes don't come back at all. 
It's always a fun surprise party to watch.

The west facing bed over the last few weeks:
    when things were first coming up,            the annual rock re-do,               a photo from this morning.

An ode to tulips! 
I mean really, does gardening get any more gratifying than this??

Some especially beautiful new additions - a birthday gift from my awesome neighbor Shannon, 
from my favorite tulip farm-Wooden Shoe Farm in Woodburn, Oregon.

And, what's going on in the garden right now:
  • Yesterday's plantings: salad greens, rainbow chard, and snap peas from seeds. Store-bought daisies, snapdragons, and tomatoes. 
  • Got the cold frames out of storage and husband did a few repairs.
  • Garlic is up and thriving!
  • New wildflower bed is rough looking but everything planted last year is thriving.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oh husband, how I love thee...

And the masterful way you wield that table saw, that drill, that 
<insert any name of a tool you would use to build my never-ending wish list>

Winter is long...and cold. While there is nothing but snow and presents from the dogs blooming in the yard, let's talk projects. Besides the daily gardening, I always have dreams, dreams that may be too big to accomplish without manly help. 
But here's a little trifecta of honey-do just in case...

1. Pergola

They're so pretty!! This one is a little above and beyond, but *gasp* the stone fireplace! The cozy furniture! The twinkly lights! The stone patio! Insert me, the husband, some dogs, and a couple of cold beers. Heaven achieved.

A couple of great tutorials:

2. Fire pit

We've always gone the Home Depot instant fire pit route. They tend to rust and get piled over with snow in the winter, which means we never use it beyond the couple of months of summer we get.

photo credits:

A concrete square topped of with sandstone tiles

A simple but pretty fire pit using paver stones

Rectangle pavers in a staggered pattern. 

3. A stone patio...on which to put the pergola and the fire pit of course. I lean towards the natural stone, as we may also have a donation of stone coming our way. 

Love the seating on this one.
Photo credit:
The website also has great before, during, and after pictures of this project. 

We don't have this much space, but I love the flagstone walkway leading up to the patio and the built in flower beds. 
Photo credit:

Enjoy winter and whatever garden dreams you're having while the snow flies!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gardening under fire...and VICTORY

No, literally. A fire broke out across the highway from our home on 9/8/12 (yes, this is recent news due to the fact that I am a very slacky blogger). Here is a link to my Pinterest tribute to the Horsethief Canyon Fire: 

Helicopters and planes have been a part of my gardening life for weeks now. I've occasionally had to invent an errand and leave the house to escape the constant drone of engines above our house.

The view from our driveway about an hour after the fire started

A helicopter over the garden

Day 1 of the fire from the top of our neighborhood (P.S. huge thanks to firefighters who kept ours and many other neighborhoods safe. These are some seriously hard-working people)

Smoke still fills the valley, but the 3000+ acre fire is almost fully under control now.
(those are my neighbor's sunflowers. Here is an unofficial Teton Gardening trophy to her for the biggest freaking sunflowers in the neighborhood. Go girl!)

A picture I took today from above the valley 

And, now...on to the VICTORY part. It's the little things that make me jump up and down in the driveway, causing the neighbors to stare. But, when I tasted my first tomato of the season (finally!!) it was worth it.
See that?? Yeah, that's a tomato, sans blossom rot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was told I over-fertilized, under-fertilized, over-watered, under-watered. Finally, through the power of the almighty Google, I came to the conclusion that my tomatoes were calcium deficient.

CALCIUM CHLORIDE, people. Get ya some.

I now have the delicious, rot-free tomatoes I knew I could. I started spraying them once a week with calcium chloride. Tips on the bottle that seem to ring true: 
-once a week
-at dusk (so as not to cause burning)

I did still apply fertilizer once a month-Happy Frog organic tomato fertilizer is my favorite, but be warned *dogs love to stick their faces in this fertilizer*