With the rapid onset of winter here in Portland come some changes in our yard. The last of our beans came off of the vines, as did our squash, and tonight we’ll be eating the last of our artichokes. The most dramatic change though (one that happened a couple weeks ago) is that our cascading feral tomatoes and tomatillos came out. In their place is a field of fava beans and garlic which will over winter and provide early spring harvest.
As cold and wet as it may be outside right now, it is one of the best times to get the yard under control because the wet cool weather is ideal for establishing plants before the hot dry summers. We still have quite a bit of landscaping to do… It has been a bit overwhelming to get everything sorted out, but we plan to conquer small portions at a time. As small as our yard is, its still a difficult task to wrangle the yard into shape when working it with your own hands. First up will be the slope in between our deck and the sidewalk which will be a native shade garden. We currently have a couple of small hazelnut trees and a volunteer violet patch, but have plans for native roses and ferns.
We began planting the park strips earlier in the summer and plan on continuing to develop them as fall continues. Our plan is to put in a handful of anchor plants and supplement with seeds. The planting scheme is basically to create a wildflower meadow, and in the patch that we have already planted we have streambank lupine, western columbine, idaho fescue, great northern aster, and kinnikinnick. We plan on extending that along our street front and augmenting with additional seed for paintbrush, meadow penstemon, and nodding onion. With many native wildflowers, planting seed is pretty easy. To get seeds to germinate indoors there is a process of stratification that needs to be done, but that is all done to mimic the cold wet winters that the seeds would naturally experience. So now that cold and wet weather has set in, our main job is to prep the ground and then be patient until the spring.