It's been a good year for gardening in Seattle, at least in my garden. Thanks to great new tools* and Steve Solomon's recipe for homemade fertilizer, my house has been swimming in home-grown vegetables all summer. I'm fortunate that a friend lets me garden a 300 square foot plot behind her house. Here's a photo of part of today's harvest; various kale/collards, zucchini, tomatoes and the last of the pole beans:
Perfect for the Eocene diet.
It's no secret that I like potatoes, especially growing them. Potatoes are a lot of fun to grow, and they're more productive than any other garden crop in terms of calories harvested per area of land. My friends know that if they just don't encourage me, I'll eventually stop talking about my potatoes. Last year, my potatoes did poorly, and I had to suffer the indignity of driving past Western Washington's lush potato fields every few weeks on my way to Anacortes, so I was determined to be the Scrooge McDuck of potatoes this year.
With potatoes, you never know what you're going to get until they come out of the ground-- that's the excitement and anxiety of it. The season is over, the vines have all died back, and you'll either find a profusion of large round tubers, seemingly floating unattached to anything in the soil around them, or you'll find a bunch of runted grape-sized nuggets barely fit for a snack. Here's what my garden fork dug up from about a quarter of my potato beds this year:
A five-gallon bucket 2/3 full with russet potatoes-- about 15 lbs. Not bad. They taste better than their parents did. Must be the terroir. Next up: Yukon Golds.
Gardening in Seattle has its advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that it doesn't get hot enough to grow heat-loving crops well. I grow tomatoes (see above), but mostly cherry tomatoes and they didn't really start producing until about three weeks ago. The main advantage is that it doesn't get very cold in the winter, so it's possible to garden year-round. In particular, hardy greens like kale, collards, cabbage and arugula overwinter well. This year, we planted an unreasonable amount of kale and collards, so we'll be dining on them all winter.
* A sharp scuffle hoe by Rogue Hoes, a sharp Japanese hand hoe, and burlap sacks as weed-suppressing mulch. These take most of the work out of weeding.