Plant Perennials For the Garden that Keeps on Giving

It is surely the biggest flower that you’ll ever eat, and the only one with a heart. But if you’re not careful, its spiky petals can prick your fingers. This mystery vegetable is, of course, the artichoke, and it’s one of more than a dozen perennial vegetables that can be easily grown to provide food year after year with much less care than anything coming out of your annual vegetable patch....

Tomato Starts and Traditions

I possess a solid resume of struggling houseplants and moldering windowsill herb pots − I could give a sideways glance to a dandelion and kill it. And here I live, in the bountiful Pacific Northwest, where anyone with a scrap of soil has a Pinterest-perfect garden. When we got our first house with a big backyard, it wasn’t peer pressure or aspirational living that got me curious about gardening. Instead, it was the voice of my dearly departed grandmother with her no-nonsense attitude: “You don’t know until you try, so get out there and get your hands dirty.”...

Seeding is Believing

I am restless behind my windows, and the garden beckons. But January always offers up slate-gray mornings and frosty nights, and though the winter solstice is behind us, I feel boxed in by these short days. As I gaze out at my streetlight-lit garden in the endless eventide, I decide that the only antidote is an armchair getaway. In a time like this, gardening catalogically has to suffice....

Prepare Your Garden Beds Now for Winter

In late autumn, my gardening thoughts turn not to the seed, but to the ground. The philosopher, poet, and — perhaps most importantly — farmer Wendell Berry often refers to the soil, from which all life springs and returns....

A Plunge into Pungent Alliums

As pumpkins appear on porches, carved into grins, think about warding off vampires – but not by hanging a necklace of garlic across your shoulders. It would be better to spike some cloves into the ground....

Fall Roots

Get another crop underground now...

Plotting Your Plat

On a nice day soon, I'll get down level with the soil and press my rake handle into it, creating a shallow furrow. Time for seeds to bring the garden back to life. But as I contemplate the future harvest, I focus on the past, too....

Plant a Radish

I am not a natural gardener. I didn’t grow up with carrots sprouting in the backyard. In fact, I looked with envy at my friends’ raised beds, with fence posts fashioned from driftwood logs and old fishing nets strung to keep the birds out...

Learning by Taste

It is easy to say that change is too difficult. But South Whidbey dug in — into the soil, that is....

Sweeter After a Frost

Magenta hues brightened the ribs and veins of this January King cabbage as it experienced increasingly cold winter weather....

Eat Well, Be Well

“He’s an extraordinary chef and food-service director, but he’s a better human being,” says Glenn. “His passion and sincerity about this is impossible to miss.”...

Wild Abandon

Perhaps you’ve admired a perfect head of lettuce in your garden or a friend’s—the spray of burgundy speckles across the rounded whorls of soft green leaves. But have you seen it six months later?...

Sol to Seed Farm

“I went out there and thought it was amazing,’” Matt says. “Even when I was just doing something mundane.”...

Bring on the Kiwi Berries

Every year Burnt Ridge, Dolan’s fruit- and nut-growing operation located east of Chehalis, harvests thousands of pounds of hardy kiwifruits from 200 cultivated vines—grown on trellises, not in the forest canopy. The wooden and wire bracing groans beneath the weight of the grape-sized, fuzzless fruits....

Nuts About You- The American Chestnut

In Europe, before the arrival of potatoes and corn from the New World, chestnuts were an essential starch. Chestnuts have been grown since prehistoric times, especially in the hilly, marginally fertile regions of Northern Italy and Southern France, where much of the land is difficult to till and plow....

Cool Season Abundance- Succession Planting

At long last, the first tomatoes are on the vine, the beans are coming in bushels, and friends are beginning to ooh and ahh over your burgeoning vegetable beds. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning for winter....

Asian Greens Demystified

We have the great fortune of mild weather here in the Pacific Northwest and while wearing a wool sweater in July is never fun, the gentle temperatures do help prolong a growing season that can last all year long....

The Third Pomme- Quince

Whence the quince—so beautifully ripe, organic, and local to the Puget Sound region? It's from an island farm of odd fruits. Guemes Island, Idaho, Iran, and the Garden of Eden hold in common what is thought to have been the forbidden fruit in Paradise: not an apple, but rather the quince....

Critter Control

Nothing is more annoying than discovering something other than ourselves is eating its way through the vegetable patch. Our every inclination is to launch an all-out assault with an eye toward complete eradication, but this is an unsustainable and dangerous approach loaded with severe collateral environmental damage....

Precocious Peas

Willi Galloway gets a jump on the season by pre-sprouting pea seeds in her kitchen before planting....

The Seedy Season

Have you discovered the wonder of growing at least some of your own food? Then you know how good fresh-from-the-garden-moments-ago produce can be. This year, take the next step and sow your own. It's easy!...

Diversifying the Bean Pot

To get started with your own heirloom garden, you need look no further than the plentiful, versatile bean....

Cultivating the Past- Heirloom Vegetables

When you sit down to dinner with the folks at the family homestead, a dish may circulate that sparks discussion. Not about the food, but about the vessel: an antique passed down through generations, carefully stored and brought out on special occasions. It often comes with a story about where the original owner got it, or how it has traveled to be in your hands. What if the food inside that dish carried such a heritage? In some cases, it does....

Small Town, Big Market-Port Townsend

Port Townsend is known for many things: historic buildings, wooden boats, walkability and the sort of scenery that makes people move here from other, likely warmer, regions. But day trips aren't any fun if the food isn't good, and that might explain the town's recent notoriety. It's delicious....

Two-Step Tomatoes

I've never tried to save tomato seed. Most instructions involve mixing the jelly-like seed with water, fermenting the mixture and other more complicated machinations. Langley shared her two-step, easy-peasy process with me and assured me that even though it's pretty disgusting, it works like a charm....

Artichokes

"When I got to Italy and started to understand how versatile artichokes were and what an amazing flavor they have, I was hooked and started experimenting with them on many different levels."...

The Big Red Beast-Rhubarb!

The rhubarb plant in my garden is a monster not easily tamed. I cut it back and it just grows larger, shooting up new stalks and even more enormous leaves, smothering my new dill shoots that are doing their best to find the sun....

Ballard Bees

Just when you thought the urban farming movement couldn't get any, well, farmier, along came something new for people to buzz about. Right on the heels of parking strip gardens and backyard chickens comes the third generation of city-based sustainability: honey bees....

The Tomato Freak

Pike Place Market has long been considered a national landmark, and a city treasure. It's even inspired a public market movement across the country. But, unlike San Francisco's Ferry Building, regularly drawing Seattleites to shop or eat can be challenging, because it's also one of our most popular tourist attractions....

A Juicy Kind of Love – Melons

When I was a little girl, I briefly wanted to marry a cantaloupe. The love affair began with my father's silly knock-knock joke involving a kid-friendly punch-line: "I can't elope tonight, my father took the ladder," and ever since then I was hooked....