Spring is a glorious time when you are not pregnant (like I was this time last year...hugely, beluga-whale pregnant). Instead of "It is beautiful and sunny out, but I feel like laying down and sleeping... who wants to watch Curious George?," this year I can say, "It is beautiful and sunny out - let's go dig in the dirt!"
This is an important difference, since I am coming to realize that Oregonians get very little sunshine from November 'til about...now.
Here is what the precipitation looks like at the town nearest us (sorry if you don't think graphs are as fascinating as I do):
You can see that October is when we lose all hope and become depressed after a glorious summer.
So instead of staying inside and, you know, doing dishes and putting away laundry like I should be doing, I keep dragging the kids outside with me to work on stuff. Just kidding. They love it.
I am quickly learning that gardening in the Pacific Northwest (especially west of the Cascades) is about as idiot-proof as it gets, and extremely rewarding with very little effort. Case in point: I accidentally killed a potted primrose when we moved here. I put it on the back porch, it fell off and out of its pot, I didn't pick it up, and the plant magically came back to life as soon as it started raining. Here, you have to fight off nature to keep it from growing out of control, as opposed to where we used to be (9000 feet, semi-arid), where you had to nurture growing things, pray, and beg them to survive.
Anyway, here are a few of my projects for this year. If you think that all my projects look pretty redneck, please keep in mind that my monthly garden budget it $15... so I am doing everything as cheaply as possible.
Project #1: Grapevines! I am attempting to propagate some grapevine cuttings to grow along the huge trellis off my back porch. Somewhere between cutting and planting, I lost track of which ends are the...uh...root ends and which ends are the growing ends, so we will see how this goes. Note the classy 5 gallon bucket pot (with drainage holes on the bottom...my husband was thrilled that I ruined his bucket).
More free natives. The purplish thing in front is a wild Oregon creeping grape, then the twig behind it is a red twig dogwood. These guys are by the chicken run, and I am hoping when they mature, they will provide some bug habitat and fruit for the chickens (all the stuff I got has fruit or foliage or both that is edible for animals).
This is the last native. It is a narrow-leaf buckbrush, which apparently thrives even in drought. So it is way out in the garden where I don't water regularly during no-rain season. It is a nitrogen-fixer (my permaculture-newbie self got excited about that), and I am excited to plant things around it someday that are cooler than the current dead grass.
Here is what is going on with a bunch of those salvaged plant containers. They are housing seedlings! Hooray! And yes, the seedings live on top of the trash can. That is the only place on the sunny back porch where the chickens can't eat them and the dog can't knock them down with his tail. We currently have baby tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, broccoli, and impatiens. There were nasturtiums, but they were taking over and blocking the sun from the other seedlings. I killed them. My 3-year-old cried.
This is the beginning of project number... 3 dozen? I've lost count. Leaning against the trunk of the badly-pruned tree are a bunch of branches that I pruned off the apple trees. They are going to hopefully become a little bean tipi for the kids to play in. I always knew my tipi building experience at my last job would pay off! And... is tipi building knowledge the kind of thing I can put on a resume someday if I go back to work?