Thursday, May 7, 2009

Springtime in Seattle - Sue Shecket, webmaster and NW trial gardener

pacific northwest snowIt was an exceptionally long, rough winter here in the Pacific Northwest. We do expect a bit of snow to dust us now and then in Seattle, but this year was the "real deal" , with bitter cold and lots of the white stuff that stuck around for weeks. While we had some fun sledding down our very steep hillside streets, watching people cross country ski downtown, playing bumper cars on the side streets and bemoaning the inability of the city to plow anywhere but the mayor's neighborhood, the novelty wore off very soon and thoughts turned to the sad fate of our more tender plants and trees.
pacific northwest spring garden
Indeed I did loose a few old favorites to the snow load and deep freeze, but fortunately there is a happy ending to this tale of woe, as the exceptional cold also gave new life to long ago planted and forgotten bulbs. So when spring bloom season finally arrived (and even our Tulip Festival was 2 weeks late), it was spectacular.

sweet peas, larkspur, and poppies in seattleAgainst all odds, my fall planted sweet peas soldiered through and are up and running, and the early spring seeded poppies and larkspur also stayed afloat. I had sowed fava beans as a cover crop in the vegetable beds, and many plants did survive to be turned under and enrich the soil for my April planting of lettuces, greens, brocolli raab, bok choi, radishes, scallions, spinach, peas, chard, kale, carrots and beets.

raised vegetable beds The raised beds look a bit like a laundry line with row covers over everything to protect the seedlings from heavy rain, digging cats, hungry birds and murauding slugs and snails (an ongoing NW battle). I do start my warm weather crops indoors, and have a good supply of my favorite Sungold tomatoes to set out and share, as well as a sampling of our container varieties. Cherry tomatoes are more reliable in my less than ideal conditions (half day sun, cool nights), but I have had success here with our container eggplant and peppers, so have started Little Prince Eggplant and Baby Belle Peppers as well.

We are already looking forward to our first spring salads and I am, as ever, thrilled to see so many healthy seedlings sprouting in the beds. I'll be watching those nighttime temperatures closely with my seed packets out and ready for sowing lots of flowers and warmer weather crops.
We just published this month's Enewsletter - click to check it out: Add to your "garden ideas" toolbox.


Susan Duncan said...

The bulbs are proof that there are colors aside from white!! I enjoyed the win some-lose some balance of your comments.

Martha said...

Hi -
We spent a long weekend in Seattle this spring - April 23.

Our trip included a tour of Dunn Gardens. They were spectacular.

Our guide said Seattle weather was 3 weeks behind schedule so we lucked out seeing everyting at its perfection best.

Unfortunately, our docent couldn't tell a trillium from a daffodil so we had to guess from a list of plants for each garden.

We took lots of photos to look up the plants later.

On the upside, the weather was 60 and sunny and our fellow tour participants were a lot of fun.

Sue said...

Glad you enjoyed my city - you were lucky to get some of our best weather!


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