A Change of Seasons at the Retreat

By Vito Zingarelli

The brilliant coloration of witch hazel framed against the equally radiant coral-barked maple outside the Farmhouse is the best indication that Fall has arrived at Hedgebrook.     Read more

An Update from the Hedgebrook Garden

By Cathy Bruemmer

The growth in June is outrageous.  We have gone from famine to feasting and I’ve renewed my job as vegetable pusher.  Actually I’m pretty much just a salad pusher (keep reading for Denise’s amazing Caesar dressing), but at least the greens are abundant.  The pea vines are FINALLY flowering and I hope by next week we can start picking.  Strawberries began ripening this week and the first bulbing fennel are beginning to fatten up.  Mustard greens and baby bok choy are making their way into the kitchen and the first big bundle of carrots wound up in Julies Indian stew.   Read more

Slow Spring

By Cathy Bruemmer

Seattle Tilth’s Maritime Northwest Garden Guide refers to April as the month of the slug. If you’re at Hedgebrook it’s the month of the snail. They are everywhere. I hunt in the mornings, watching for their slime tracks and looking under leaves. The rhubarb is an especially popular hangout. Sorry to those of you who are squeamish, but I’m merciless with my boot stomping. I feel a bit like the momma bear out there protecting my young. Given the cold weather and slow growth, the seedlings need all the help they can get. Fortunately, there’s Sluggo, an organic slug and snail bait that I buy in the giant 10-pound jug. Between the boots and the bait I think the garden has a chance.

There’s not much to harvest yet. This past fall I decided to put the garden to rest and cover crop every bed that wasn’t planted in garlic. I dug the cover crop into about half the beds in late February. Those have been planted in peas, salad and cooking greens, herbs, beets, spinach, carrots, fennel… Today I hope to finish the second round of bed prep. I grow starts at home on my sunporch, and it’s about time to move some flats out.

Two years ago I discovered a new pest in the garden: root weevils. They are tiny, the color of dry dirt and they devour new seedlings. I’ve always preferred direct seeding. It’s a labor-saving choice, and I find transplanting tedious. Twice I’ve added parasitic nematodes to the garden beds hoping they’ll eventually win out over the weevils.

Between the cold and the pests it’s been a slow start this year. My usual springtime optimism seemed to finally return, along with the swallows, last week. A little sunshine and a few degree increase on the thermometer makes for a happy gardener.

 

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