Gardening is a constant learning experience

by Muriel

I used to live in Santa Clara county in California- one of the four areas in the world with a Mediterranean climate and an absolute heaven for a gardener once you've amended your soil. I was lucky enough to have a plot that had been receiving regular contributions from the family farm for nigh on 25 years. The resulting combination of climate and soil meant that I got bumper crops all year round. Then we moved to the Cascade Mountains of Oregon.....
Living in the mountains, gardening is something of an art form-- we have had recorded instances of snowfall in every month of the year, so there is no such thing as a frost free growing season, though we can normally hope for about 90 days. I have been experimenting with cold frames to grow some of the hardier crops such as mache and carrots through the winter, and I've gotten involved with a Community Greenhouse project- the local nursery provides space for us to start plants indoors so that we can get a head start on the short growing season. The soil is volcanic, with very little tilth, so we are planting in raised beds, straw bales, and this year I constructed a growing box.
Experimentation is showing me which plants and varieties do best here. Eventually, I hope my new garden will rival the old one.

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