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  • Privacy Notice - The Westside Gardener
    a cookie if you appear to be using an older browser that way you ll only see the old browser warning pop up once rather than every time you view a page You should be aware that some information about your visit will be logged this is true with any Web site not just this one Specifically all Web servers track users by their IP address This is basic information

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/privacy.html (2016-04-27)
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  • How to Make a Complete Organic Fertilizer - The Westside Gardener
    so lime is included to balance that out Dolomite limestone is roughly half magnesium carbonate and half calcium carbonate Calcitic limestone is pure calcium carbonate Plants usually need more calcium than magnesium so if you want to be really tricky use 1 3 part dolomite lime and 2 3 part calcitic lime I use dolomite in the fertilizer mix then use calcite when I lime my beds each fall If your soil is alkaline you might experiment with reducing or eliminating the lime in this mix Bone Meal This makes up the bulk of the phosphorus component While the original Territorial recipe lists soft rock phosphate as an alternative source of phosphorus I prefer bone meal Not only is bone meal easier to find than rock phosphate it also is already being produced as a byproduct of the beef industry Rock phosphate is mined Less bone meal is required since it releases its phosphorus more readily The advantage of using rock phosphate is that it continues to contribute phosphorus to your soil over many years If you choose to use it double the amount use one part rock phosphate Kelp Meal Kelp meal contributes potassium and also many micronutrients This tends to be more expensive than the other components and harder to find in bulk Fortunately you need less of it than the other materials Another possible potassium source is Jersey Greensand It has the same advantages and liabilities as rock phosphate its very slow release In addition it does not supply micronutrients How Much Do I Use I often get e mails that say Great recipe But how much do I spread in my garden bed There is no single answer that fits all situations because different plants have different nutritional requirements It also makes more sense in many cases to fertilize plant by plant instead of broadcasting it into the entire bed If you want to know how much I use for the various vegetables check out my FAQ on Maritime Vegetable Culture This recipe will also work for ornamental plants and even for lawns but I haven t developed guidelines for those uses Where can I buy the components Whether a particular business sells any or all of these components will vary from year to year unfortunately Check with local feed or farm supply stores first I ve occasionally had luck finding bulk bags at plant nurseries If you live in the Puget Sound region consider checking your local McLendon s Hardware In my experience they usually carry most of these products in mid size bags 20 pound bags of cottonseed meal and sometimes kelp meal 20 pound bags of bone meal and of course 40 pound bags of both dolomite and calcite lime They re only a couple miles away from my place so usually I go there first Note that kelp meal is getting harder to find in bulk packages Further Notes When possible I purchase certified organic versions of all these products Philosophically I

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/howto/fertilizer.html (2016-04-27)
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  • Growing cucumbers: Current favorites, plus notes regarding culture - The Westside Gardener
    to keep rain off the plants and usually keep the ends wide open If you do choose to trellis your cucumbers you will need to assist them by tying the growing stems gently to the trellis every so often Unlike beans or peas cucumber vines do not naturally follow or cling to a trellis Without further ado here are my current favorite varieties You can click on any of the photos to view a larger version Marketmore 76 Marketmore 76 Available from Johnny s Selected Seeds This is the cucumber against which I measure all other cucumber varieties For me the tangy flavor and crisp texture of Marketmore 76 pretty much define the perfect cucumber The Marketmore series of cucumbers have been offered for several decades with the number denoting the year of its introduction with the 1970 release of Marketmore 70 being the first to the best of my knowledge The series has turned out to be very popular among home gardeners which has resulted in the continued development and release of new varieties Marketmore 80 and Marketmore 97 among them I ve tried the newer versions but I always return to Marketmore 76 The newer varieties have been bred to offer additional traits such as shorter vines and greater disease or pest resistance but in my opinion they don t quite have the same flavor as Marketmore 76 We don t generally have significant problems with cucumber diseases other than powdery mildew and cucumber beetles aren t general a threat here so I don t care as much about those factors as growers in other regions might Marketmore 76 tends to start bearing somewhat later than some other cucumbers but that can be balanced by also growing an earlier variety It requires pollination to produce fruit but the plant bears both male and female flowers so even if you only have room for one cucumber plant Marketmore 76 will do just fine Socrates growing under a cloche Socrates Available from Johnny s I tried Socrates for the first time several years ago I was intrigued by its description in Johnny s catalog as a Beit Alpha adapted to colder conditions which seemed to fit the bill for a cuke that d help me extend my growing season further into fall It turned out to be a great choice being both gynoecious and parthenocarpic it started bearing early in the season and kept bearing until the vines fell apart in October due to low light and cool weather It also has the nice tangy cucumber flavor I like But the next year I noticed the listing had changed Socrates was not recommended for outdoor production This was interesting since I d had no problems with it but I wasn t planning to grow it that year so I filled that away with the intention of eventually asking about it It turns out Johnny s reason for adding that warning was simply regarding cost Socrates is definitely quite expensive compared

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/articles/2012/cucumber_picks.html (2016-04-27)
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  • The Robin, Harbinger of... Ice?! - The Westside Gardener
    harbinger of spring billing The lens I had on my camera wouldn t be anyone s first choice for bird photos but the photo you get with the gear you have is better than the one you miss because you re hunting for a better lens isn t it I had to crop it pretty drastically but I think it turned out reasonably well all things considered Nikon D700 w

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/photos/ice_robin.html (2016-04-27)
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  • Favorite pole bean (snap bean) varieties - The Westside Gardener
    years but none of them managed to make much of an impression on me until Marvel of Venice came along This bean has a lot going for it a nice bright yellow color vigorous fast growing vines and superb flavor I d place it right up there with Fortex frankly Marvel of Venice is not the most well behaved plant though It s vines routinely overtop my 6 7 foot trellises fairly quickly so it often flops over on top of the neighboring variety That s really the worst thing I can say about it though in the grand scheme of things that not a bad problem to have The vines continue to prolifically generate 8 10 pods throughout the season I have noticed towards September these plants respond to shorter daylength by producing seeds more quickly so you need to keep picking regularly Once seeds began forming both texture and flavor go downhill a bit although they re still not bad Trionfo Violetto Available from Cook s Trionfo Violetto I used to purchase seed for this variety from Johnny s but they haven t carried it the past couple of years Fortunately The Cook s Garden still carries it as of 2012 The flavor is quite good although it s a notch or so below Fortex and Marvel of Venice But the color makes up for it Light purple flowers give way to 8 inch dark purple beans Cooking causes the color to fade somewhat to a very dark green I enjoy munching on these raw out in the garden they have a very nice snappy texture I used to refer to Trionfo as my favorite bean but Fortex has dethroned it however I do hope Trionfo continues to be available for many years Fasold Available from Thompson and

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/articles/2012/favorite_pole_beans.html (2016-04-27)
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  • Disjointed Ramblings: Why I'm still sitting out the e-book revolution - The Westside Gardener
    done I must point out that DRM restrictions can theoretically interfere with this since authors have the ability to flag their books as non lendable which is patently ridiculous but this has not happened with any of the titles I ve asked to be lent Another previous objection of mine was the inability to give Kindle books as a gift This too has been addressed and quite well as I can attest to from my Christmas shopping experience this year If you find a Kindle book you d like to purchase for someone you just need to click on the Give as a gift button located immediately below the Buy button on the right hand side of Amazon s web page You can even choose the delivery date which is handy if the book is intended as a birthday or Christmas gift In my previous ramble I d complained about having to use buttons to navigate through Kindle books My point of view has come about 180 since that time and I should explain why Last winter I had to have shoulder surgery because I d managed to completely tear a rotator cuff tendon the attachment of the sub scapularis if you re curious For the subsequent six weeks I was not allowed to use my right arm at all I was fortunate in one regard since I m a southpaw but if you spend a few moments to think about all those even trivial tasks you normally use two hands for you ll understand the adjustment I had to make I knew prior to surgery that I d have a fair bit of time to kill post op and it being the dead of western Washington winter I wasn t going to be outside enjoying the sunshine So that

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/articles/2011/ramblings_ebooks_redux.html (2016-04-27)
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  • From the Mailbag: Sowing in September - The Westside Gardener
    I don t know if you spend a lot of time in Portland but last winter it didn t hard freeze at all and I m from the midwest so that was weird It doesn t get very cold at all and there isn t really ice My setup is that I have probably 40 sf of very raised beds about 2 feet off the ground I don t need to do a whole huge amount of things and probably lettuce greens won t work because of the intense rain but I d really like to do carrots potatoes turnips garlic onions that sort of thing Are we too late to get started By this time of year the light levels are so low you re not going to be successful starting most stuff outside The exception would be plants like garlic since they can use the stored energy inside their cloves to get established If you have a cool spot where you can set up a growlight you could start leafy stuff inside with the intent of putting it out in mid winter once the danger of really cold weather is past I d probably wait until December to

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/articles/2011/mailbag_winter.html (2016-04-27)
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  • From the Mailbag: Sowing in September - The Westside Gardener
    all fall into this category Just be aware they ll probably not be full sized come winter so you might want to not thin them out as much but they ll be just as tasty as their full size brethren There s an interesting variety Beira Tronchuda that might be worth trying Territorial Seed Company refers to it as a non heading cabbage while Johnny s Selected Seeds lists it as a kale I haven t grown it yet so if you do I d be curious to hear how it works out for you given the late start Most roots won t work very well since there s simply not enough time between now and winter for them to size up and when spring comes they ll bolt Territorial sells a carrot named Merida though that can be sown this month It will go through winter rather small then start growing again in late winter Unlike most carrots it won t bolt in early spring so you ll be able to pull carrots in April or May I ve successfully sown Walla Walla onions for overwintering in the first half of September This won t work for most onions

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/articles/2011/mailbag_september_sowing.html (2016-04-27)
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