KnorQ's Kitchen

Serial Hobbyist

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Garden Edibles Update 6.17.15

 Well, the garlic was a bit of a flop this year. Many of the bulbs did not quite bulk up. This seems to be the general trend in the garden. Nothing is thriving despite building raised beds and adding special 4-way mix soil. Hmmm… perhaps I need to order one of those soil sample kits. Get all scientific on it. This year I am celebrating the first ‘crop’ of blueberries. I’m guessing I will get 25-40 total berries. Not enough for pie but this is a milestone for these bushes – it is their 3rd year in the garden and the first year I allowed the fruit to ripen. Below is a squash. I don’t remember which. I have about 9 squash plants in the garden this year. A mix of summer and winter (pumpkins).  Stupid stunted chard. What is the deal? I thought this was supposed to be easy to grow. The scale may be off in this photo but in real lift these chards are tiny and NOT growing. The following are pictures of the garden documented row by row. Below is the far left row which is the potato patch with columbines upfront and a dahlia in the back.   Below is the chard and pumpkin patch with a black eyed susan vine in the background.  Below is the volunteer strawberry patch up front, followed by volunteer tomatoes, summer squash and dahlia in the back.  Oh yes, and some random green beans…another crop failure from this year.  Below is oregano, rosemary and poppies up front followed by cucumber, shelling peas and a tomato in the back. In the very back along the fence are hard to see blueberry bushes.   In front of the left raised bed is another dahlia, basil, a blank patch for carrots, random lettuces, and two tomatoes.  On the right side raised bed is oregano, nasturtiums and thyme in the front, followed by lemon cucumber, the last of the garlic, random lettuces and three tomatoes.   Then to the right of the raised beds are winter squash starts in the back, two more dahlias, dill, and an echinacea

I forgot to take a picture of the grape trellis which is starting to look legit. Overall, though, the whole garden looks like it needs a hug. We are at a disadvantage being situated between two huge fir trees with tons of shade. But I look at other veggie gardens and realize we still need to crack the code on this gardening thing.


Road Trip > Rogue River

This past weekend we headed south to float the Rogue River from Hog Creek to Graves Creek. It was a gorgeous day and a beautiful float. There were flat stretches that required some rowing but mostly the rapids (up to class II for this section) were fun and swift.
    We camped at the Almeda Campground outside of Merlin, Oregon at site 28 which offered a lot of privacy (the park was only half full) and access to the river. We had warm, star-filled nights and gorgeous sunny days.  Domino Nights:    Above is the Galice Resort – a halfway point along our float that offers burgers, soft serve and a fantastic patio with views of the river. We rented the raft from Rogue Wilderness Adventures and used their shuttle service.

Garden stuff – around town

Char and I hit up the Montavilla Farmers’ Market on Sunday. We bought some tasty sausages from Scratch Meats, cherries and iced coffee then took a stroll around the neighborhood. This one street in particular had some flower lovers. Gordon – who lives in the house below saw me outside with my camera and came out to investigate. He was kind enough to invite me to view the lovely backyard which he has been cultivating for years with his wife.

Their neighbor is an active member of the Portland Rose Society. Obviously! This picture does not do justice to the number of roses he managed to fit in his yard. It smelled lovely! What a gorgeous day to be out and about.

Mailbox Update: 2014>2015

In May 2014 I decided I was going to get all gardener on my weedy patch of mailbox land. It was looking sad:


I scrubbed the mailbox, removed the grass and the useless Oregonian paper holder and did a little plant shopping around the yard and in local nurseries.  I ended up planting Tasmanian Tiger Euphorbia (I think), A random cistus that we bought off of some craigslist dude, 2 random sedums – I think one is ‘Angelina’?, a Yucca ‘color guard’, Euphorbia Fire Glow. After planting in May 2014 it was looking like this:20140513-122933.jpg

 Below is a picture of how it looks today. Not very artful but grown in and more pleasing to my eye than weedy lawn.
This area is still a little light on rocks but that is because I have dug every single one of them out of my yard by hand. I only killed one plant in this area so far- the Lithodora diffusa ‘Grace Ward’ is a goner. Not bad!

Hike > Ape Caves + Lava Canyon

This past weekend Portland hit 90 degrees – hot stuff. We are lucky in the Pacific Northwest to have many options for cooling off with beautiful lakes, the nearby coast and rivers galore. We also have lava tubes! On Saturday we headed north to hike the lava canyon trail then cooled off with a trek through the Ape Caves which stay 42 degrees year around. This area is gorgeous and is definitely high on the camping/exploration destination list. Even the drive along the 503 through Amboy was amazing. There are tons of opportunities for water sports, fishing and chilling along the Lewis River, Yale Lake and Lake Merwin not to mention gorgeous hikes around Mt. St. Helens. What a cool area with an interesting history. Both the Lava Canyon Hike and the Lower Ape Cave are easy 1-1.5 mile hikes with a longer 1.5 mile option on the upper cave.

  Above – waiting for people to cross the bridge so we could bounce on the suspension bridge. Looking down below.

This is our second lava tube & volcano visit in the less than a month. We are on a roll! Below Char touches the meatball in the Ape Cave.

  The entrance to the cave below. Good times.

Road Trip – Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens

There were so many beautiful places to visit on the big island of Hawaii … I just happened to take the most photos at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens. Below are pics from around the gorgeous grounds:                

Road Trip – May days in Hawaii

 A couple of weeks ago we flew to Hawaii – the big island – rented a car and drove in a big, beautiful loop around the island. We had an amazing time. We visited Kona, Volcano, Hilo, Wiapio Valley and the Kohala Coast. Magical stuff.


       Yes, that is lava in the background 🙂

Road Trip – Pacific City, OR

Mindi and Simon flew in from San Francisco in May and we spent some time exploring Pacific City and Portland. Good times!



Hortlandia Haul > HSPO Plant Sale

The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon’s Hortlandia plant sale was this past weekend at the Portland Expo Center. The annual plant pilgrimage always busts my budget on plants that I will likely kill.  My eyes are definitively bigger than my garden beds. Despite making a short list of carefully curated plants to purchase — I got way off course and purchased a bunch of plants I either don’t need or don’t know anything about. So many plants, so little plant knowledge. Here is what came home with me:Above: Impatiens Omeiana. This is one that I had no idea about but after Googling it I am pleased. If it lives and spreads I will love it under the left fir tree. Unlike the sweet woodruff I planted there in my impatience to have that area filled in. What was I thinking?Metapanax delavayi – False Ginsing from the Cistus Nursery booth. As I was headed out two people told me how much they love having this plant in their yard. Maybe it will one day be a great green screen along the property line. Below is a osmunda claytoniana –  interrupted fern. We now have very many ferns. Below is a Fargesia Robusta to replace the dud I bought off of some random Craigslist dude.Below, A new color of columbine to mix it up with the purple columbine I collected and scattered seed from

Above, hosta “orange marmalade”. These two seemed a bit risky. Above is Mukdenia Rossii – never heard of it before but was happy to read that the leaves turn a nice crimson color during certain times of the year. It looks delicate…I’ll kill it in no time. I did manage to do that with the plant below…sheeeez! It only took three days and this Gunnera Manicata Reddish was both limp and crispy. Annoying.

Above – this was a very random grab as I headed to the check out line. It is Aucuba Japonica “Clear Picture” -again from the Cistus booth. It was a good pick for our yard as it likes deep shade. Does it like deep neglect from a lazy novice gardener? Only time will tell. Below is a yellow flowered trillium with a great leaf pattern. It will make a nice partner to the existing solid-leafed, pink & white flowered trillium growing around the yard. Also picked up a lovey Japanese painted fern and two dahlia tubers – Mrs. Kennedy and RazMaTaz from Old House Dahlias. So that is the haul for 2015. May these plants live long and prosper. Even the Gunnera.

This week in the yard