Pea Planting Weekend

President’s Day weekend is traditionally pea planting weekend. I’m not sure why. The seed packet says “direct sow in early spring as soon as soil is workable.” That’s kind of meaningless, since our soil doesn’t freeze. I don’t know who told me to start pea seeds on President’s Day weekend in the PNW, but it’s an easy milestone to remember so that’s what I’m doing. And it’s exciting! These are the first seeds I’m sowing outside in the in-ground garden!

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Trimming the Onions

Last weekend I gave the onion seedlings a haircut. Trimming the greens is supposed to allow more energy to go toward growing stronger roots and forming a bigger bulb. Some sources say to trim them when they reach three inches tall; others say it’s best to trim them when they are five to six inches tall.

White bunching
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Starting Tomatoes & Jalapeños (+ Potting Soil Test)

Yesterday, I started the tomatoes and some peppers (jalapeños) for the year. The tomato seeds are *entirely* seeds that I’ve saved from years past, which is very neat in my opinion. I’m growing six different kinds of tomatoes, ranging in size from a large Coeur di Bue tomato to a small sungold-type tomato.

I’ve never grown peppers before. I don’t know why, but I have the impression that peppers will be difficult to grow in our mild climate. These are “Early Jalapeños” so hopefully they will be quicker to grow and I’ll have better success with them.

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Seeding Starter? Potting Soil? Potting Mix? Oh My.

I used up the last of our seed starter and potting soil with the last round of seeds that I planted, so we needed to purchase some more. Okay, no problemo, right? Wrong. I find the world of potting mixes to be extremely confusing. There are so many brands, each has several different types of potting soil or seed starting mix. Each claims to be the best for your plants. Which one do you buy? Should you spend more for a “higher quality” mix? What makes a mix higher quality?

At three stores near me – Cornell Farms (a local garden store up the road from us), Fred Meyer (Portland’s version of Kroger), and Home Depot – there were 30 different brands selling potting soil or seed starting mix and 57 individual products. I started making a spreadsheet of all of the options and pretty quickly realized this would be a frustrating endeavor.

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Pruning The Fruit Trees

Yesterday was a beautiful day for fruit tree pruning – high 40s with partly sunny skies. My dad has already been pruning some of the trees – the apples and pears mostly – in bit and pieces, here and there. Nate and I went around and assessed all of the fig trees and took some more branches off the apple trees and pear trees.

And after – looks about the same.

We have two apple trees (a Red Delicious and a multi-variety apple tree), two pears (both Comice, I think), and several fig trees that have all been propagated from one fig tree that was here before we lived here (it’s a purple fig, I don’t know what kind). As we were pruning, we counted the fig trees – nine in total, a veritable orchard!

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Fertilizing My Growing Onions

The onions that I sowed a few weeks are growing really well. I’ve heard that onions (and other alliums) are “heavy feeders,” so they benefit from a good amount of fertilizer.

The Walla Walla onions are on the left, and I didn’t sow them very thickly because they will get big and I don’t like to thin seedlings. The white bunching onions are on the right, and I sowed them thickly because they won’t get big bulbs.
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