Sunday, August 30, 2009


Every year I plant a row of marigold along the ends of most of the garden beds. They are supposed to be good for bug repellent and as a pollen source for beneficial insects but I also just love how pretty they are. My favorites for this are tall French marigolds. These aren't commonly available but Nichols Garden Nursery has several varieties.

One of my favorites is Frances Hoffman's Choice. These grow up to 40" tall and are great in bouquets as well as garden decoration. Bred by plant breeder Alan Kapuler they were named after plantswoman Frances Hoffman who said they were her favorite. Mine, too.

What I Did This Summer

I haven't been writing in this blog as much this summer as I had hoped to and the above picture is at least one of the reasons. This is baby Charlotte, the newest member of the family and she and her Mom and Dad and sister, Iris, have been spending quite a lot of time on Waldron. Actually all three of my daughters with friends and families have been here this summer which has been truly delightful.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


While I have been busy selling my vegetables at the market in Friday Harbor and my weaving and knitting wares out at Roche Harbor Island Studios in Friday harbpor has been busy selling my hats.
Photo by Claudia Fullerton

Friday, August 14, 2009

San Juan County Fair

We've been running back and forth between home and the San Juan County Fair in Friday Harbor this week but I thought I stop for a minute to share my onions that I entered in the Fair. They got a blue ribbon but got aced out for Best of Class by some really, really nice garlic. I'll have more photos from the Fair when I slow down next week.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wheat Harvest

Joel recently harvested this year's wheat crop. He and I figured out how to make a stook that would stand up and not fall over. We were quite proud of ourselves although any self respecting 19th century farmer would have laughed himself silly at our efforts. It's fun to know how to do things that were common in the past but it also worries me that we are loosing the skills people had to get things done with human labor. It is all very fine and well to not want to do hard labor anymore but all that machinery that has replaced human labor is run on the assumption of a continuing supply of abundant and cheap oil. And whether you think we have already reached Peak Oil or will soon, there is no new energy source on the horizon that will do what cheap oil has done. I think we need to at least maintain our knowledge of how to do things without big machines. We may well need some of those skills in the not too distant future.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dry Weather

We are in the midst of a major dry spell in the Pacific Northwest. We had a cool, wet spring which got things off to a slow but steady start but now our irrigation pond is empty. This does happen most years but not usually this early. We now have to irrigate from our well, which although having plenty of water, has a very low flow rate and we can't water the whole garden all of the time. So we start deciding which crops can do without water, which ones are mainly over anyway, which ones, like the winter vegetables, need to be kept well watered. We've pulled the water off the onions and potatoes, they're pretty much mature, off the statice because it will keep going for a long time even if really dry. Tomatoes can do without much water as long as they are maturing fruit. The fruit will be smaller but actually tastier as a result. Although it has cooled off this week the hot weather has been great for the melons and winter squash and corn, you can practically see it grow. Which speaks to one of my main philosophies about market gardening - grow everything. No matter what the weather throws at you something will like it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Apricots for Winter

Ah, here are the aprictos now. We got 7 quarts of canned ones and 4 pints of jam. Apricots are not a dependable Western Washington crop so this is really special.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August Garden

I got home this evening after three days running my booth out at Roche Harbor. I haven't been home since Friday afternoon what with that and the Saturday market and, as usual, the first thing I want to do is to go out into the garden and see what's been happening since I've been gone.

The squash and pumpkin plants are huge, almost covering the paths. I walked down between them because probably won't be able to tomorrow morning.

There are peppers set on the pepper plants, the corn is tall, the zinnias are in full bloom, the pole beans are scrambling up their supports, the hoophouse is FULL of tomatoes. It's a lot cooler than it has been but the evening is soft and lovely. I'm glad to be home.


Our daughter, Jennie, has a small apricot tree at her place on the island that was loaded with fruit this year. They are on a road trip, driving back east, so she asked us to harvest them. Joel is planning on canning them this evening. Canned apricots are my all time favorite canned fruit. What bounty.