Willamette Valley's Allison Inn & Spa

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THE STATE OF THE GARDEN

August 17th, 2014

This week can be summed up,”tomatoes, beans, cucumbers galore and white bees.”

Finally the tomatoes are coming on strong. These are “Sweet Pea” which is variety  tomato. We’re picking them daily.

We are finally starting to get red peppers. Remember that we do have hot Cayennes and Jalapenos, in addition to sweet peppers.

We’re also picking beans daily. We have lots and lots of beans. Keep pickling.

Cucumbers should be picked daily, but we’re settling for an every other day schedule alternating with squash, to keep our brains and knees functioning.

We’re going to harvest carrots this week. They are now full-sized.

Parsley has been harvested. We need to wait  7-10 days for it to re-grow.

Plenty of basil to make into pesto to freeze… then to be brought out in January.

Chard looks good, as does celeriac and Brussels sprouts. Chard you may have now, while the other two will be ready in the fall.

In the meantime, see you in the Garden.

Anna

THE STATE OF THE GARDEN

Week of AUGUST 10, 2014

Yes, beans are here and par for the course, we have planted quite a few. This coming week we’ll pick daily, until our knees rebel from picking the bush varieties.

Lurking back while distracted by the beans are the squashes. We really do try to not miss any when we pick them, but they are very adept at hiding from our eyes, then bursting forth with glee the next day. At least winter squash will be easy to find when we pick them!

This is perfect weather for both beans and squash.

Cucumbers will keep us busy this week. They are producing like their existence depends on producing seed. No surprise there! I’ll warn you when there seems to be a downward trend in production.

       

Beets and carrots are there for the picking… or they can stay in the ground. We have a lot and plan to plant more this week.

Swiss chard is currently looking marvelous. The leaf-miners and slugs are not damaging the crop. I’m sure they’ll be back, so we’re enjoying the fact they are away on vacation. Let us know when you need some. Just transplanted fall crop of chard last week.

Peppers are amazing this year. There is a lot of fruit set on. You’ll be seeing more this week.

Tomatoes are a bit slow setting fruit because of the hot spell, but gathering momentum. Hope to pick twice the amount this week as last.

Basil is out of their slump. Pesto time is here. We have a lot ready to harvest in all 4 varieties.

Keep making salads -lettuce is surviving the heat. We will harvest a mix as needed.

We checked the bees last week. The new queen has settled in and her hive is busy gathering nectar and pollen. They are preparing for winter. We will need to feed this hive with sugar syrup and some honey from the stronger hive.

See you in the Garden - if you can find your way through the squash vines!  Anna

THE STATE OF THE GARDEN

Week of August 3, 2014

August has arrived. Blackberries are ripe, figs are ripe, plums are about gone, early peaches are available. None of this bounty is in the Garden, however, you’ll have to visit the farmers’ market or go foraging.

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In the Garden, the onions can no longer be considered “spring onions” as it is August and they are large. We’ll soon pull them and dry in the greenhouse. It has been a great onion year.

The leeks continue to look great. Let us know if/when you want any.

The garlic is all drying in the greenhouse.

Ha! The beans pulled a stealth move that had us picking them on Friday for the first time. Yes, we’ll soon be wading in beans. We sort of had the “eyes bigger than the stomach” syndrome. In our case, it was January planning/wishing leads to an overwhelming amount of harvest in August/September. Prepare to subdue the beans.

The squash and cucumbers are striving to make us cry “Uncle”. Keep using both as the end is still a ways off.

The winter squash, pumpkins, and gourds are developing nicely and will be ready for you in the fall, not now. When you need a break come out to see them cascading down the bank to the north stock tanks.

In the north stock tanks, we have some melons. They are still 3-4 weeks away from ripening, I think.

We can harvest basil and parsley as you need it. Both are growing like they’ve tasted fish fertilizer.

The peppers and tomatoes are taking their sweet time before inundating us. We’re harvesting them a couple times per week.

The lettuce cycle continues. We’ll endeavor to not completely fill the walk-in with it. By harvesting it small, it doesn’t take up as much space!

Carrots, beets, and chard, are ready for harvesting when you need them.

We need to work out a better system for the basil micro-greens. They look awful after time spent in the cooler. We’ll keep it in the greenhouse until you need it.

See you in the Garden.  Anna

In full bloom. #hydrangea #theallisoninn #willamettevalley

                                 THE STATE OF THE GARDEN

 No, we didn’t have snow in the Garden this week, but we did begin seeding the vegetables that we’ll harvest during winter. Turnips and parsnips are in the ground. The kales we seeded into flats in the greenhouse. We’re waiting for seeds for the rest. The plant succession dance goes on.

In the meantime, we have enormous onions that we’ll keep harvesting. They got a little out of hand in the size department.

There are still plenty of leeks. We’ll harvest them as you need them. There’s no rush as they will just keep growing into cool weather.

The carrots and beets are a good size and ready for more harvesting. We’ll also have some thinnings of each for you this week.

I was wrong about the lemon cucumbers, the first ones were harvested last week. You can expect increasing amounts of all cucumbers until cool weather. Pickle season has arrived.

The march of the squashes is in full swing. I’ll be glad to remove some of the crookneck squash plants. They were a substitute package of seed for one of the varieties that we’d ordered. Just to compound their errors, they are the most prolific of the summer squashes.

We’ve taken a new tack on the kale/flea beetle problem. We sprayed with Neem oil last week. Neem has a sub-lethal effect on all leaf sucking/chewing insects. It changes their behavior so that they starve. We’ll spray the mustard and chard this week. Hope to knock down the population to a tolerable level. Anyway, no kale is harvestable for the first part of the week. Check back at the end of the week for kale availability.

The peppers and tomatoes are ripening in increasing numbers. I don’t think we’ll have “chase-us-out-of-the-kitchen” quantities yet, but that time is coming soon. Think back 1 year, we had no ripe tomatoes until the end of August. This is a good tomato year.

Keep making salads. The lettuce continues to grow well. We have quite a cycle of lettuce seeding, transplanting, and then harvesting going.

We’ll harvest a bunch of chard on Monday prior to spraying. It looks good but it is right next door to the mustard which is flea beetle haven.

There still plums available above the reach of the resident deer herd. We have a secret advantage called a step ladder.

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See you in The Garden.

Anna

This place never ceases to amaze us. Beautiful ¡Salud! event at Stoller Vineyards. Thanks to all who came and supported! #salud #ipnc #willamettevalley #stoller

THE STATE OF THE GARDEN

We managed to slog through the hot spell last week…grateful that we didn’t have to haul water in buckets from a nearby creek as  access to piped water saved the garden.

From the contents of the walk-in cooler, we are starting to harvest vast amounts of squash. The moral is—use in every dish you can, or let them shine if you so desire. Shall we start bringing in a few squash blossoms now?

While concentrating on squash, who should appear on the scene but cucumbers. We are currently harvesting the pickling and English type. Lemon cucumbers are 7-10 days out. But then… one never knows with cucumbers.

You can use beets and carrots in judicious amounts. They are particularly nice right now, young and tender.

Parsley was promised last week, it got overlooked in the Trials of the Temperature. We have plenty and could easily supply kitchen needs.

We have a small supply of Padron peppers, Gypsy peppers and Jalapenos ripening. Plants are still growing, so more to come. The rest of the peppers    need to turn red or yellow before they are considered ripe. Same applies to the tomatoes. Earliest varieties and smallest are ripening. We should have at least a ½ baking tray ready this week. You’ll have to wait for larger heirlooms another 2-3 weeks. It simply takes time to grow large tomatoes and then to ripen them. Think red not green.

Beans were just forming flower buds when I checked on Friday. I’d say 7-10 days before we actually have any to pick.

Chard is doing what it is supposed to do, grow. We’re picking enough now that the damage from the leaf-miner is minimal. Kale is still under attack from Beetle Bunch. However, their enemies, parasitic wasps and nematodes, are gathering forces and will soon be attacking. There is just a time lag for them to catch up.

Onions and leeks are still great. We can harvest as much as you need.

We’ve pulled the earliest garlic and now drying in the greenhouse. You can use any time; let us know to bring some in on our daily harvest runs.

Micro-greens are out of control. (A common theme in the Garden this week?) They are growing very quickly and don’t hold well at all outside growing    …use them or lose them.

We’ll keep filling giant bins with lettuce. It holds better in refrigeration than in 100 degrees.

See you in your sun hat in the Garden.

Anna

This is where we will be next Thursday. Come join us at Stoller Family Estate for the ¡Salud! Summertime event. Visit our FB page for more details. #salud #ipnc #willamettevalley #oregonwine (at Stoller Vineyard)

THE STATE OF THE GARDEN

Our garden priority this week is to keep everything hydrated, including ourselves. As long as they have necessary water, the plants thrive with these long sunny days.

Prepare for the onslaught of the squashes. They were innocent and cute last week. This week they’re starting their bid to take over the garden. We’ll harvest Monday, Wednesday, Friday. If they get particularly vigorous, we’ll pick on Saturday as well.

It won’t be long until cucumbers burst on to the scene. I think they’re a couple weeks out.

We continue to harvest the earliest of the tomatoes & peppers. The upcoming hot temps might delay fruit set for a few days, but that is only temporary. The heat won’t be a detriment to the green fruit. It will continue to ripen nicely.

A few baby beets should be ready this week if you want them. We also have baby carrots ready.

It seems that we can only focus on 1 plant health problem at a time. It is now time for the basil to be pampered. Current plantings are less than stellar. They should be flourishing. Consequently, we’ve planted more and are giving the current plants life-giving fish fertilizer.

We have plenty of parsley right now. It’s easy to fill a 3” Lexan a couple times a week, if you need that much.

Onions are wonderful. They’re still going strong, no dying tips yet signaling that they’ve about reached the end. We will keep harvesting largest ones.

The problem child this week is kale. Well kale isn’t exactly the problem; it’s the flea beetles and aphids that are trying to make kale their home of choice. I’m seriously thinking about yanking the whole lot and giving it a rest for a few weeks. However, since kale is so beloved, we’ll soldier on. We see a lot of Lady Bugs, so hopefully they’ll invite all the family to an aphid feast.

Keep using the micro-greens. They are ready to use in 2-3 weeks from sowing & we’ve been sowing quite a lot.

“Regicide: the killing of a king or queen”. Yes, regicide happened in The Garden this week. We dispatched one of the queen bees and installed another on her throne. Inquiring minds want to know why we would do such a thing since bees are having a hard time without their beekeepers deliberately killing them. The hive of the queen in question was failing to thrive. Their population was low and as a result they weren’t bringing in enough nectar to make honey to get them through the winter. The queen is the driving force of the whole enterprise. If she is failing for whatever reason, the rest of the hive also suffers. So in an effort to save the hive, we replaced the queen. Time will tell if we were successful.

See you in The Garden when it’s cool.  Anna

THE STATE OF THE GARDEN

Week of July 6th 2014

We are spending a lot of time watering this week as the forecast is for hot weather for at least the next 10 days.

The heat may put a “spanner into the works” of our lettuce production, as it prefers cooler temperatures. We’ll keep it well watered and harvest it small.

The reign of the squashes has started. We have a mix of colors and shapes for your chef-ly projects. The quantity to harvest will slowly increase…to have useable amounts this week.

Carrots are baby size, so let us know if you want any that small, otherwise, we’ll simply keep watering and harvest later.

As we get large onions, we harvest them. Same goes for leeks…both look great right now.

Let us know if you’d like more fresh garlic. Soon it will be time to pull it and let dry in the greenhouse.

Chard supply is keeping up with demand.

Kale supply is ahead of demand. Turns out there are only so many ways that kale can be disguised!

We have established a weekly fish fertilizer routine for peppers and tomatoes. We are harvesting green tomatoes when you need them and a few Padron peppers.  By planting some earlier varieties, we spread the harvest over a longer period. We will have a plentitude of tomatoes and peppers in another 4 weeks. I know you’re concerned by the earliness of the tomatoes and their general lack of jungle-ness. It’s a ploy to lull us into complacency. Remember, it’s only this first week of July.  Don’t let down your guard, they’re watching and waiting to flood the kitchen with tomatoes when your back is turned.

Are we even on speaking terms about kohlrabi anymore? I’ll check to see if they are still edible. If not, cream of kohlrabi soup? Kohlrabi smoothie? Kohlrabi facials? Compost?

Cucumbers, beans, beets, celery root, are still a ways from being near harvesting. This should make you very glad, because I foresee a lot of pickling in store for you this summer. Well, maybe only cukes and beans will be pickles.

We also have basil, parsley and micro-greens in useable amounts. Not amounts that will cause you to run us out of the kitchen brandishing roasting forks, just nice usable amounts.

See you in the Garden, when it’s cool.  Anna