Compost and pre- gardening

It is a busy busy busy time. And so beautiful. The winter veil has lifted and spring shines with sun and heat-well the Pacific Northwest’s version in the high 50’s and 60’s at least. Not like what I grew up with in Florida! We have been busy in the garden and I’ve been ordering loads of merchandise for the bricks and mortar Chez Chloe. Boy is that fun. Like consumerism on crack, I’m sure I’ve used that line before. And now we are in CA for spring break. Party on garth (that one too). We will spend two days in San Francisco and then head to Santa Cruz and La Selva beach. Once back to Orcas we will be in full on garden mode so I’m making this one long post!

Flowering currant and forsythia

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The slugs are are making me nuts eating our daffodils

spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-7 One of my favorites- hellebores. I get more of these every year.

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 Just before we tilled last week. I’m trying to warm up the soil in a couple beds

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and keep the girls out of the sorrel- they love this tart, high vitamin C filled green

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Budding blueberriesspring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-9

Our garlic is doing well. My original seed came from Filaree Farm in Eastern WA. We’ve got a couple hardecks, rocambole and spanish roja, and two soft neck varieties that I like to braid, nootka rose and inchelium red. It is an easy crop that is planted the first couple weeks of Oct and harvested around the first week of July depending on the weather and amount of rainfall. We are still eating garlic from last year’s harvest but the garlic clove knows it’s seasons and they are starting to grow germ and wanting to reproduce. Still edible though.

spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-4 Garden view from the house side. Just in front of those plastic covered beds is soil that was cover cropped with an overwinter mix of clover, vetch, rye and field peas. It will all be tilled under shortly.spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-5

We’ve been working hard on our compost. These shots are from last year. We put the fresh kitchen scraps into this old olive oil barrel and layer with depleted soil often from the greenhouse beds, leaves, and now chicken manure/straw from the coop. We can periodically roll it around to mix it upcompost  wendyellenthomas.com

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Then we shovel it into a wood compost bin

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I found the design for this compost bin at vegetable gardening with Lorraine – It was about $175 in new cedar materials but aesthetically pleasing in the garden and it will last yearscompost  wendyellenthomas.com-8 We love how they stack and the top has a hinged lid but we find we aren’t putting new kitchen scraps in here. I might make some adjustments.compost  wendyellenthomas.com-9Otis doing what dogs do- blehcompost  wendyellenthomas.com-6 compost  wendyellenthomas.com-2

The girls waiting to dig their beaks into this yummy stuff

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See all that green in the back- we are seriously talking about fencing it off for sheep and maybe even a couple goats:) I’ve been stalking my neighbors with animals, I mean helping them milk their goats and it’s getting my livestock yearnings going again. Well you know I mean that in a good way.spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-14 This is our new asparagus bed. Nice and deep, layered with our home made compost, some old recycled soil from greenhouse beds that needed refreshing and finally some sacs of Whitney Farms mushroom compost and garden compost. It’s important to do the asparagus bed the right way from the start as it will last years and years if cared for properly.It is now filled to the top. We also planted four new apple trees. I’ve never been a good long range planner but I’ve decided to change that story. We put in a Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Spartan, and an Akane. We presently get so many apples but it’s time to start insuring for the future. Next year more plums.spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-13A couple shots of the girls- I can rarely get them all in one shot. We started with 15. Lost our 1 exotic chick the first night…Then lost 1 rooster who was left outside of the coop and was taken out by a raccoon. We sold 4 to our neighbor and then for the first time in 20 years, one was snatched by an eagle. And then there were 8spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-11 They will soon be fenced out of the garden. They do an amazing job of scratch tilling and fertilizing when the time is right (fall/winter) but that time is over. They will do the same to freshly sowed beds and pea starts and this makes me want to put them on the dinner table. So we need to get them secured on their side of the yard!spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-10

Our new babies- 5 Welsummers including 1 rooster and a little cuckoo maran. We lost one cuckoo the first night home. These guys lay the dark chocolate brown eggs… in about 4-5 months. spring happenings 2014  wendyellenthomas.com-15And now a few egg dishes we’ve been enjoying with the abundance of eggs- fresh pea shoots, sorrel, chives and fresh goat cheese

farm eggsFrittata with sorrel, spinach, capers, and a little fresh goat cheese… it’s a staple I tell you
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How about a little chives, sorrel and spinach with tomatoes and avocado:) This also had a couple green garlic leaves diced and tossed in.IMG_4955 Ok- here’s a little something different. A couple fried eggs with bacon, polenta croutons and fried avocado IMG_4911 And last just a simple dish with wilted spinach, bacon and fried eggsIMG_4891Hope your spring is off to a good start!

19 responses

  1. Fantastic post! I love your garden. Slugs .. Grrhh, horrid little critters. Your compost looks edible .. Wow! Love the info, pics and such great food shots! Thank you for sharing .. Have a great break :)

  2. Oh! Thank you for sharing all of this scrumptiousness! It’s supposed to snow again tonight here in CT. Yikes. So done. What a spot you have there – and gorgeous garden and damn fine looking eggs!

  3. Oh my goodness Wendy…you have a very beautiful place to live. I don’t think I would need to go to California for vacation…looks like vacation everyday at Chez Chloe’. Although I do love Santa Cruz..especially Capitola. Beautiful egg dishes.

  4. What a lovely garden!
    We are considering getting some chickens. They look so fun… I do worry about eagles getting them here in Northern California. We are right by a huge lake so eagles are flying over all the time.
    Asparagus is such a rewarding crop. The years while you restrain yourself from harvesting are still lovely because the fern fronds are so pretty.

  5. Such beautiful spring awakenings Wendy! There’s something so wonderful about getting out on a crisp clear day and enjoying the beautiful spoils of nature. So lovely and those hens look like they’d rule the roost, given the chance ;)

  6. Ack – new chicks – I can’t let my husband know – I have to physically restrain him from buying more every time we go to the feed store LOL
    Recipes look yummy – I am jealous of your garden progress – we still need to do that but just haven’t gotten around to it and it will start getting hot here soon so I think we will need to wait …

  7. It’s beautiful where you are! There’s still snow on the ground here in Winnipeg. It’s been so cold the garlic doesn’t know it should sprout. I’m just thrilled it’s going up to +5C today! Your chickens look so adorable!

  8. Frohe Ostern Wendy! Danke für die schönen Gartenfotos insbesondere auch für die tollen Ideen für ein leckeres Mittagessen :-). Bei uns an der Ostsee in Timmendorfer Strand beginnt die schöne Jahreshälfte. Viele (Hamburger-) Touristen besuchen den Strand, um die ersten schönen Sonnentage (15°C) bei einem Spaziergang oder im Strandkorb zu geniessen. LG

  9. I think you deserve your well earned break. I’ve enjoyed seeing your garden, your as so ahead of us here in New Hampshire. The forsythia is just starting to bloom and my New Hampshire garden was just tilled yesterday.

  10. Wendy, it’s some “garden” you have ….. massive. Ages since I had sorrel last time, something I really like. Nice pair of legs in the pictures too … and Otis is have become a big baby!!! And the hens are doing just fine – lovely post …. Wendy.
    And I wouldn’t mind that plate for lunch in a hours time. *smile.- egg and bacon …
    That house in the background of one of the photos – me like very much … is it yours?????

    • Oh hi Viveka- so nice to “see” you! I’ve had so much to do in real time and I’ve missed my blogging world. It is a big garden and I love it. And I love those legs! That is our house in the background- very pacific northwest with lots of wood. We’ve been on the property for almost 21 years and in that house for almost 16 years. xx

      • I thought so that those legs sat on someone special that … belongs to you!!! *smile – he is a very handsome man.
        Your house is the kind of house I can imaging living in. Love the style. Because when I saw pictures from your house before I got the idea it was a bungalow.
        Stunning property, understand that you all love it there.
        You have your own Garden of Eden – look out for the snakes, but you live on an island – you shouldn’t have any. I miss your blogging too – but there is a life out there too.

    • It’s pretty dreamy and it’s hard to leave to go to town to work even though I love my little shop:) I’m completely occupied with the garden and our soon to arrive four legged potential milk providers… hence not a lot of blogging lately (like answering comments two weeks later). All good.

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