March 19, 2015


The so-called Pineapple Express is blowing through my area, bringing cool temperatures and steady rain. It would seem like there’s nothing to do but stay indoors. But not everyone has that option. As I look out my kitchen window, birds are in the bird bath  (which is now quite full) and hopping all over, picking up dropped seeds from the feeder.

Just a little reminder to me that weather is no excuse. I can still throw on a sweatshirt I don’t mind dirtying and go dig in my garden. Heck, the soil is all nice and soft for me!


Last Saturday was “Cabin Fever,” a gardening conference sponsored by Spokane County Master Gardeners. It was a full day, for a very reasonable $75, with a lovely presentation of international garden photos and four break-out sessions. Every one I was in was excellent, and I got some nagging questions answered. I even ran into one of my writing friends that I didn’t expect to see. What could be better?

Most surprising to me was the presentation on straw bale gardening. I was familiar with the concept, but hadn’t thought about it much. Now, I realize I have everything I’d need except the actual bales. It just might might give it a try!


After a week of promising myself I would get the trash and last-year’s vegetation out of Bed 1, along the driveway, I ended up tearing everything out of Bed 4 instead. Bed 4, right beside my back door, had several huge, woody herb plants what had choked everything else out. So now that’s clear and I have plans for coleus and foxglove. Those are seeded inside, but I’m also interested if any of the lilies-of-the-valley or daffodils are still alive under there. While the seeds grow, I’ll have time to keep an eye on that bed.

In addition, I have set up my small greenhouse and moved my largest flowers out to begin hardening off. The greenhouse is thick plastic and starting to show some wear at the joints, but it should see me through the season.


In my second wave of starts, I have Kosmonaut Volkov tomatoes potted up. I put my peat pots low in a couple of tall 4″ pots, with room to add soil as the plants grow, rather than potting up again. Marconi sweet peppers are starting to appear, but so far nothing on the chocolate mini-peppers, even with heat. It’s pretty disappointing. I’ll have to ponder whether to start more Marconis or just wait and buy plants. As part of Cabin Fever, I was given a sample packet of Brandywine tomatoes. I’ve grown those before and liked them, so I’m sure I’ll start a few, too.

Indoor Forest

After I got done pruning my cherry tree, a few weeks ago, I took a dozen or so of the thin twigs and plunked them in water. They’ve actually been budding out, and now I have some lovely cherry blossoms on the dining room table.

The “zombie lettuce” I’ve been growing in a water tray continues to thrive. My first one, a romaine type, was putting out roots, so I set it in potting soil. Now to see if it takes to that.


My original bee house is re-tubed and waiting for a break in the rain. I’ll hang it over Bed 4, where it’s sheltered from wind. The bird feeder was nearly empty so I took it down during the rain. I’ll empty it and let it dry so mold doesn’t set in.

For all of you with heavy snow last month, I hope you’ll be able to thaw without flooding!


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