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Posts Tagged ‘Port Orford Community Garden photos’

Today is a glorious day…warm and clear. In other places we might call it Indian summer but since the thermometer is topping 70°—an almost unheard of high around here even in August—I’ll just say we’re closing in on summer’s end. We head to the beach to soak up some sun. Folks are out in shorts and tees.  And the summer wind continues to barrel down the shore and US 101 from the north.

Laurie’s Red Onion Bounty © AME

But it’s clear the season is ending in the garden where the tomatoes have finally begun to ripen and the beans have passed from flower to pod. It’s obvious from the dying vines and drying onion tops that autumn has begun. The occasional cool breeze brings us up short, a harbinger of the months ahead.

Wax Beans Ready to Harvest © AME

Another sign: Early this morning was the peak of the harvest moon, the first full moon after the equinox. It’s outstanding because, unlike other times of year, the moon rises earlier after the sunset for a number of days in a row, making it appear as though the full moon lasts multiple nights instead of the standard one or two.

A final sign: Port Orford’s yards are littered with “vote for (fill in the blank)” banners, a sure sign that November is just around the corner. Here in Oregon ballots will begin to be mailed October 16. That’s also the final day to register. Please register if you haven’t and vote. It’s the only voice you’ve got. If you don’t know if you’re registered, need to register, or live in another state, check out this site for last chance dates:

www.longdistancevoter.org/voter_registration_deadlines#.UGji545AsUU

Just Do It! © AME

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I’ve found people who grow vegetables plant their gardens for a variety of reasons. Some like to dig in the dirt; some like to know where their food comes from and what’s in it; some just love to see the brown earth of a spring plot yield to vegetables green and yellow and orange. Some are looking for a particular favorite, say pattypan squash or fava beans. Some are after exotic herbs.

But secretly, I think everyone would agree that most of all, we’re all yearning for a real tomato.

Still Life with First Tomatoes © AME

When I was a child I didn’t like tomatoes. Of course the only ones I knew came from the store in four-packs—cellophane-encased, single file in a little white plastic tray. Later in north Jersey there was a farm stand nearby (honest, people still grew veges in the “Garden State” back then) and the tomatoes my mom got there were higher up on the scale. She and my sister used to eat tomato sandwiches—thick tomato slices between Miracle Whipped™, Sunbeam™ soft white bread. Still, I demurred.

But on our own organic farm in Piedmont VA, I came to my senses. Of course we grew, hands down, the world’s best tasting tomatoes. And in multiple varieties: incomparable SunGold cherries; Sheriff paste tomatoes; chunky slicing Big Beef; heirloom Brandywine. Checking our farm records, I discovered we picked over 500 pounds of tomatoes in one week in July!

Vine Ripened © AME

Oregon Spring Tomato Cluster © AME

Here on the cool Oregon coast, expectations are lower, much lower. Instead of pounds we measure in units; instead of being overwhelmed with the sheer volume we’re down in the garden each day, urging those Oregon Spring individuals which have set to ripen. A triumph, we picked our first two (almost) red ones a few days ago. One molded overnight; the other was actually pretty good.  Another is now ripening on a west facing window sill. Our SunGolds have made a valiant, but futile, stand against the deer. The orange cherry tomatoes, alas, have grown only leaves. The last two days have been mid-50°s with fog (sigh). As I write the heat has come on in the living room.

Still, the weather radio speaks of sun and 80° for two days next week! Perfect tomato ripening weather.

Hope springs eternal in the hearts of all us tomato farmers here in Port Orford.

At the Farmer's Market © SR Euston

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Nasturtiums

Port Orford’s Community Garden is in full bloom.

Garden Bed

A walk among the beds shows a full array of gardening possibilities for our quirky coastal climate. This August we’ve had mostly clear cool (mid-60°) days but those vegetables and flowers have also had to deal with full sun and a desiccating north gale, fog, partial sun, and even, very occasionally 70°+ temperatures (you can almost watch the squash and tomatoes grow on those days.)

While we’ve given up on our front yard garden’s tomatoes (the deer have delicately nibbled through the “deer proof” netting) the community garden’s got a nice high fence. Most of the grazers there are slugs which seem particularly fond of succulent greens. Still, most of us are seeing our gardens grow; for some there’s enough for our Saturday farmer’s market as well as for The Common Good, Port Orford’s food pantry.

Peas and Lettuce

Here’s what I’ve seen in the garden recently: snow peas (we harvested at least 20 pounds ourselves), broccoli, cabbage (green and purple), strawberries, chard, spinach, squash, kale, potatoes, pak choi, snap and pod peas, celery, lettuces, cauliflower, radishes, and herbs. There’s even some plump pea whose pods stick straight out from the stalk. The green beans are beginning to flower and the tomatoes and peppers have begun to set.

Potatoes

And the flowers! While the flashy orange, red and pink-edged oriental poppies are almost past, there are two beds which are overflowing with violas and velvety purple petunias as well as lettuce and tomatoes. Some gardeners have landscaped beds; others have beds completely devoted to spinach or beans. The sheer abundance of green is delightful.

Oregon Spring Tomato

We’re not certain our own, heirloom looking Oregon Spring tomatoes will ripen on the vine. Stan says we can always put them in a sunny window. But come fall, sun may be hard to find.

Still there’s a bright side of Port Orford gardening. We never need to worry about a killing frost.

Port Orford Community Garden

Petunias and More

A Votre Sante!

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