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March 29th, 2013

March Slides Out Like a Slug

slugLook who came for a visit on a blustery day with pouring-down rain interspersed with moments of glorious blue sky. No worries—it’s a banana slug, a Pacific Northwest native that doesn’t do as much damage to gardens as the non-native dark-colored ones. It apparently doesn’t like having its photograph taken. —Debbie Leung, Olympia, Washington

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November 7th, 2012

122 Slugs and Counting

DebbieLeungThere was a break in the rain today, so I had to get out into the garden. It was gray, dry or lightly misting, and warm (about 60 degrees). First, there were lots of slugs, the little kind—there had to have been over a hundred that I “dealt” with. Many were on the Portuguese kale. What is amazing about this “kale” is that they are making giant heads, about 8 to 10 inches across! I’m going to wait for a good frost to sweeten them up before harvesting.

Portuguese kale, or "tronchuda beira," from Renee's Garden

Portuguese kale, or "tronchuda beira," from Renee's Garden

Remember the giant kohlrabi from last year, ‘Superschmelz’? I’ve been letting them get really big to really test them and thought I’d bring one in today for lunch. It wasn’t very pretty, but it was a good 8 inches in diameter and very heavy. I cut off a wedge, peeled it and it was fabulous! Sweet, crunchy, and not woody. It’ll take a while to eat it all!

'Yellowstone' carrot, 'Jester' acorn squash, and 'Chersonskaya' winter squash

'Yellowstone' carrot, 'Jester' acorn squash, and 'Chersonskaya' winter squash

Two weeks ago, I pulled another ‘Yellowstone’ carrot from a mid-April sowing for a stew. It just keeps getting bigger! Here’s a picture of it with the ‘Jester’ acorn squash, both surrounded by the ‘Chersonskaya’ winter squash. Haven’t tasted the squash yet. Beautiful, but I’m disappointed by the yield of both varieties.

While finishing up fall chores in the garden after lunch, I noticed more slugs! This time I counted: 122.  —Debbie Leung, Olympia, Washington

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September 4th, 2012

Slug Patrol

DebbieLeung It’s still warm enough to wear T-shirts, but it is definitely fall here in Olympia. Mornings are chilly and days are in the 70s. You can feel it in the air and see it in the light. Days are getting shorter. I could use a bit more summer!

Last week I thought I’d start slug patrol again since another planting of lettuce seedlings got devoured. I found hundreds of those pesky little slugs. Then I started counting. Yesterday there were 61; today 58. Most were on the Portuguese kale and ‘Little Jade’ Napa cabbage (the fall crop that is growing very quickly), followed by ‘Ozette’ potatoes and kohlrabi. I also found some on arugula, beans, and peppers.

A brief report on some of this year’s trial varieties: ‘Black Cherry’ tomato is starting to ripen and taste quite fine. ‘Indigo Rose’ tomato plants are still filled with large cherry tomato-sized shiny black balls. I let a Portuguese kale grow without harvesting its leaves, and it’s starting to form a head! Got small ‘Purple Peacock’ broccoli heads, one off each plant, and the side shoots are quite slow in coming. ‘Jester’ acorn squash is putting on squash and they look beautiful. I had high hopes for the ‘Chersonskaya’ winter squash, which were starting to make a number of squashes, but they look like they probably didn’t get pollinated—they’re drying up while only a couple inches across.

'Yellowstone' carrots from Fedco Seeds

'Yellowstone' carrots from Fedco Seeds

Here’s a picture of the ‘Yellowstone’ carrots. They look great but don’t taste so great fresh; it’s a good carrot to cook with. The ‘Atomic Red’ carrots are about an inch tall. I’m growing them for the winter season.  —Debbie Leung, Olympia, Washington

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August 9th, 2012

Cool, Cool Summer

debbie_tnHere in Olympia we’ve had about 5 days in the 80s or higher, so the tomatoes are just starting to set fruit and peppers are starting to flower. This is my first full season at my new garden after 25 years at my other place, so it’s like learning to garden all over again. There aren’t many big slugs here but lots of the little ones, which are much more insidious. You don’t realize they’re there until everything is gone and you wonder what happened. Together with a very cold, late spring, there were no early greens to speak of. Most are just now putting on size after several plantings.

GoldenEgg

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The ‘Golden Egg’ summer squash (above) from Burpee is now coming on and is quite tasty; looks nice, too.

LittleJade

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I got one ‘Little Jade’ baby Chinese cabbage (above), which was actually quite large.

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The Swiss chard Neon Glow Mix (above) from Renee’s Garden is pretty; tastes like chard. ‘Yellowstone’ carrot is a beautiful light yellow and quite sturdy but a bit dense for my taste to eat fresh. I’ve been grating it and putting it into everything when I remember. I’m growing the red carrot ‘Atomic Red’ for fall/winter. ‘Capitano’ bush bean is just now putting on beans. I don’t think it’s fair to rate it because those dang slugs kept eating the leaves back so the plants are quite tiny. Got to give it points for continuing to try to grow and reproduce!

Shangri-LaMarina

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Last year’s viola ‘Shangri-La Marina’ (above), an All-America Selections winner, made it through the winter and is going gangbusters. —Debbie Leung, Olympia, Washington

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