Monthly Garden Calendar for Pacific Northwest United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Debbie Leung


Hyper Red Rumple lettuce, Selma-Zebra pole beans, Cha-Cha kabocha winter squash. For 14 years, I was known for the unusual and ethnic vegetable varieties I sold at Olympia's thriving farmers market and through my home delivery program. I grew a hundred-plus varieties of greens, culinary herbs, and other vegetables as well as over sixty types of flowering plants for fresh bouquets on an intensively tended acre. I tried nearly every variety that might succeed in the mild, wet Northwest.

Severely downsized in 2001, my garden now supplies only several families and myself with fancy mixed salads, basic cooking greens, and whatever else catches my fancy. A new berry patch is made up of a rainbow of varieties, designed just to satisfy my cravings.

I remember fondly the small flock of chickens that scratched for insects and slug eggs while gobbling down harvest trimmings and weeds thrown into their yard. When bored, they would break free and join me in whatever I was doing. I'm sure more chickens are in my future.

A healthy rodent population, which the cat gallantly attempts to dent, gnaws on my crops. My Australian Shepherd watches over all and keeps the peace.

Many of the ornamentals around my home share my Asian ancestry. Old apple, cherry, and plum trees, residents on my three acres for longer than I, survive on their own resources with a few big fir trees, an open field, many kinds of songbirds, and a few wild bunnies. It's a testament to the beauty of diversity.