January 23rd, 2011

Work Updates

In the last few days, despit being mired in cold and soggy January, there have been some nice little signs that spring is on the way… Flowers are starting to come up and green buds are starting to develop on our hazelnuts. With this and the nice(ish) weather that we had over the weekend, we’ve begun to try more to wrangle our yard into shape. There’s still a ton to do, mostlly in the back, but we have a bit of a deadline for getting some things in order. We have an area that is slated to become a native shade garden, thats where our hazelnuts are, and we recently reserved quite a few plants from the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District’s native plant sale that are going to fill out the slope behind our house. Right now there are a few plants that we have put in: the hazelnuts, salal, a sword fern… But the rest is a somewhat unruly mixture of grass that has held out since before construction which is slowly being taking over by some very welcome volunteer woodland violet and is occasionally being encroached on by some very unwelcome ivy. In mid February when we pick up all our plants, hopefully this will begin to take shape in a real way.

Elsewhere in the back yard, we have a new dedicated lettuce patch prepped and ready for the spring. In the back corner we have a little food producing area that is a bit sparse but is coming together with raspberries, rhubarb, tea, and apples with a second apple tree to be planted soon along with a quince. We are in fact going a little tree crazy with other likely additions this spring being a pacific dogwood and a pomagranate.


We have had the pleasant surprise of camas in the last couple of days showing up outside our bedroom.

So far, only a few have started to come up, but they are active on both the ecoroof outside our bedroom and our entry ecoroof. Its nice to see some life on the entry ecoroof because it was hit hard by a heat wave last August. This was after the camas and Oregon irises had gone dormant, but some of the hardy plants like strawberries were killed off, so its nice to see things springing back the way they are. We are contemplating some new plantings to replace the strawberries… Probably giving in and planting some sedums (we recently ended up with several Sedum spathulifolium), as well as planting some licorice ferns to add some winter seasonality to it. The champs of this ecoroof are still the nodding onions which are looking great.


Our garlic is going well, as are the fava beans, and we now have a large pile of mushroom compost ready to be brought in when the fava cover crop gets turned in in the next few weeks. Hopefully we’ll get it moved soonish, because we’ve had piles of soil out by the street for a little too much of the time this last year.

Root Cellar

Since moving in our root cellar has been full of various pieces of leftover building materials, bicycles, and makeshift shelves to hold them. Recently we have managed to clear all that out, either finding room for things or passing them off to our contractor. Its a bit late for any storage this winter, but will totally be set for next year.


  1. That root cellar is the main reason that I started reading this blog! I really want one of my own. My grandma always had a well stocked root cellar and I love the idea of being able to put up enough food each year to make it worthwhile. Can’t wait until next year when you stock it! I see an outlet, do you have plans for a freezer down there?

    Comment by S@sha — January 25, 2011 @ 10:21
  2. Hi Matt,

    I’ve been following your garden adventures. Very inspiring. I was wondering where you got your mushroom compost. Can you say?

    Comment by Lola — January 25, 2011 @ 13:40
  3. S@sha – Glad you’re excited about our root cellar, we’re super thrilled to finally be able to set it up. We don’t have any plans for a freezer down there, although we keep toying with the idea of buying a quarter cow, and if we do we’ll probably pick up a chest freezer for the basement.

    Lola – We got the mushroom compost from Mt. Scott Fuel. We’ve gotten soil delivered from them before and its always worked pretty well.

    Comment by Matt — January 25, 2011 @ 18:17
  4. Please let me know WHEN the chickens are no longer welcome in your yard. I don’t want to wait until you tell me the chickens have ravaged your lettuce patch!

    Comment by Jim — January 30, 2011 @ 19:14

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