April showers bring May… tree stumps?

Usually in the Willamette Valley we get rain from October/November up until June and sometimes July. That means we have between 9 and 10 months of rainfall with a slight smattering of snow now and then (or a big fall every few years, big being very relative) and sometimes a bit of Indian summer in October. This year has thrown all that logic on its head.

We had two snowstorms. Not a smattering of snow, but two huge (for our area) snow storms that shut down the city and everyone in it. The first one happened just after we closed on the house and the second one in mid February. They were both doozies, that’s to be sure.

But after the snow, we began to have less and less rain.

February ran to March, which led to beautiful, uncharacteristically sunny weather with intermittent rain storms through April and into May. On one of those uncharacteristically sunny days, we (meaning me) decided that it was the perfect day to start on our raised beds and plant a bunch of beautiful veggie starts. 

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That’s me, with the newly assembled and filled beds! That pile of debris to the right are the remnants of just some of many of the awful Hawthorne trees smattered around our property. 

The beds were filled with strawberries, salad greens and herbs, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, onions, garlic, beets, tomatoes, peppers, and tomatoes, and we wanted to plant melons and squash as well, but ran out of room. We have six 3×6′ beds in total, 3 of which were gifts from mom and dad (thanks!) and the rest were purchased from a local company called Redwood Northwest, and are incredibly sturdy, inexpensive and easy to install. 

After almost 8 weeks, the beds now look like this:

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Tomatoes, brussells sprouts, and asparagus

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Tomatoes

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Onions, scallions, garlic, and golden beets

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Broccoli and cauliflower

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Lettuce, kale, and dill

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Strawberries

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Sugar snap peas, brussells sprouts, bell peppers, and hot peppers

 

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Close up of our sugar snap peas

We planted all of these and five fruit trees, plus pruning and clearing the arbor of some super healthy and strong grape plants that came with the house. 

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The arbor was pretty much bare, but now the grapes are getting huge.

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We already have some baby grapelets sprouting!

Behind all this loveliness of growing, happy edibles, we have a mountain of fury and terror lurking on the whole south border of the yard. 
When we bought this house, our first attempt at taming them looked like this:

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Thank goodness for machetes and garden loppers

Paul bought a machete and proceeded to start attacking them one night after work. Soon they started to look like this:

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And now they look like this:

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It is amazing to see the huge improvement, not to mention the vast amount of square footage gained, from doing basic (and free) plant gut jobs. The work is hard, but deeply satisfying, and all the neighbors thinks we’re awesome now that the house is being taken care of. 

This past week we also removed two large, ugly pine trees, and a butt ton of English Ivy that has been overtaking our fence on the side. 

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It’s the small battles that make such a huge difference. And now, to end the world’s longest post, here’s a picture of our house on this beautiful day!

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That open space to the right may have a porch in the next few months….

 

Now we just need the front door to be painted and hung!

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