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I first arrived in this green city 14 years ago, in late September. I remember asking an acquaintance why he loved living here. I’ve never forgotten his answer. He replied, “It’s eight months of drizzle for four months of heaven.” Eight months later, I finally understood what he meant. Spring and summer in Portland can’t be beat — anywhere! The warmer weather also brings with it a return to earth and to the soil. Yes, I’m talking about the citywide pastime of gardening. Soon, our little seedlings will be ready to blossom in their beds, and while you’re preparing for planting, we have some basic tips to help make the process a little less painful and a lot more fun.
April is a good time to start some seeds before the warmer weather hits, and it’s time to get the actual plants in the garden bed. Unfortunately, starting seeds and then messing with their roots is a surefire way to kill a sensitive plant. To protect fledgling root systems, planting new seeds inside eggshells can be a lifesaver. When the seedlings start to grow and the tiny plant is ready for the ground, all you have to do is crack the bottom of the shell and plop it in a hole.
I’ve also fallen victim to a late freeze, so if you need a safe “greenhouse” space for a sensitive plant in early spring, a milk carton with the bottom cut out works splendidly.
I’m not the most seasoned gardener, so I often seem to forget which plants I’ve planted where and what directions I should follow for care. Those undersized and stubby plastic markers never seem to stay put, and I’ll admit to losing them in the denser summer foliage. This year I’m opting for wooden spoons. It’s a larger and easier way to label the garden and of course, they look cute when painted, adding a little flare and personality to the garden space.
Now that the stubby plastic tags don’t need to stay in the ground, place them on a key ring and keep them with your trowel and pruners. That way, the plant care instructions are always handy when you need them, without searching through the soil!
Happy planting, and may your harvest be plentiful! Don’t forget to check back with Portland Family for more tips on living basically — and tell us some of your tricks and tips, too!