Tag Archives: Raspberries

Olla, Beans 2.0 and a New Container Raspberry

The Olla

GrowOya's 3L Olla
GrowOya’s 3L Olla

In my internet wanderings I came across a post somewhere about ollas. An olla is a low fired unglazed clay pot with a narrow opening that is ‘planted’ in the ground and filled with water. Its narrow opening sits an inch or so above ground and is often covered with a lid. The porous clay slowly waters the plants situated next to it using a fraction of the water a normal watering would use. In arid regions ollas have been used for millennia and do work quite well from what I’m reading. Some might wonder what use an olla would be in the rainy PNW. Actually the summer months can be quite dry. Last summer there were weeks at a time where I was watering daily. It got so bad we were wondering if the well we used would run dry. If an olla could put a dent in that it would be awesome.

In the quest to ‘do-it-myself’ I found some YouTube videos that dealt with making your own olla with a couple of terra cotta pots, some silicone and gorilla glue. I may end up trying that but once I put together how much it would cost, time required and the ‘would it even work’ factor I chickened out and decided to purchase an olla (two actually). Home Depot had a sale going on and I was able to pick up two for what I would have paid for one at the garden outlets. The company that makes them, GrowOya has three sizes, I opted for the medium 3L size. I would have loved the larger one but not sure my raised bed (that pretty much sits on bedrock) is deep enough to accept it. I’m sure it depends on soil structure and number of plants but the site says the medium size will accommodate about a 3′ sq area. My plan is to use the two ollas as the sole source of water to water the squash I planted today (once it is established). If it turns out to be a success I may have to revisit those YouTube videos.

1 gallon pot of BrazelBerry Raspberry Shortcake, miniature raspberries.
This arrived in the mail yesterday. A little rough but in great shape overall and even has raspberries!


My first attempt at pole beans this year was a total flop. I wanted till the end of a warm spell to plant the beans which essentially disappeared (rotted?). I waited for the next warm spell and planted again. This time there was germination but it was spotty at best. Rather than try for beans 3.0 I’ve decided to offer the end of the trellis to a couple of cucumbers I started from seed. That’ll show em.


Park seed had a sale on the new BrazelBerry ‘Raspberry Shortcake’. This miniature little raspberry grows 2-3′ tall and is reported to do great in a container. The sale was half off the normal price so I picked one up. I was pleasantly surprised when it was delivered. There were half a dozen leafy canes in a 1 gallon pot. There were even a couple of raspberries!

Jerusalem Artichokes

A couple of weeks ago we tried roasted jerusalem artichokes for the first time. The taste was great but the gastric aftereffects were…interesting. I’m game for trying them again, so decided to plant the couple of small tubers that were in the batch I purchased at the local grocery. They’ve been in 6″ pots since then and all are about half an inch out of the ground. Today I potted all three in a 30L pot. No way I was planting them in the garden. Once you do you have them forever. I opted to grow them even if we don’t end up eating them. They have pretty little yellow flowers and would make a nice color addition to the garden.

Balcony Garden

In addition to a number of pots on the floor of the 50’ft balcony I have three long and two small round railing planters. I had started pansies in the three larger planters early this spring. One was replanted with the tomatoes and nasturtiums several weeks ago. Another was replanted today with a couple of mini dahlias, some allysum and a couple of lobelia. It will be gorgeous if I can keep enough water on it.

Potato flowers.
The potatoes are in bloom. It won’t be long now.

Other Garden Happenings

My garden is a 10’x20′ space that takes up two plots in the Rock Farm Community Garden. In order to be able to access the entire space, I placed some stepping stones down most of the bed in the middle effectively creating two 4.5’x17′ beds and one large 3’x10′ bed. A fellow gardener planted sweet allysum (Lobularia maritima aka Alyssum maritimum) between the stones in her garden and I loved the look so much I purchased a couple of 4 packs for my garden. My grandmother always grew and loved white allysum so I like to grow some every year. She’s been gone over 30 years but seeing the flowers always makes her feel close.

In addition to the allysum I planted out the zucchini and some zinnias I started from seed. Historically I’ve kept the veggie garden ‘pure’ but I’m finding that I really enjoy a few flowers sprinkled here and there too.

a handful of snow peas and three cylinder beets
First harvest of cylinder beets and snow peas.

The last of the spinach came out last weekend. It had pretty much all bolted and there wasn’t’ very much of it left. This was a small patch of Bloomsdale I planted very early in the season.

This past week saw the beginning of the snow peas and the first harvest of beets for the year. I planted a couple of varieties and this was an early planting of cylinder beets. They are roasting in the oven with some parsnips as I type. Speaking of parsnips, I may try growing some this year. They would be a brand new crop for me, tried salsify once in KY but never parsnips. A gardening calendar for the area recommended a June planting. If the weather holds tomorrow I may have to make a trip to the garden center to pick up some seed. They are a fairly long season crop that can overwinter in the ground here and are actually reported to get sweeter with the onset of cold weather.

All in all it was a good week gardening wise. It has rained on and off today so I was only able to get my hands in the soil this morning. Hoping for some more dirt time tomorrow.

Pitching the Tent

When I lived in Kentucky we had the Eastern Tent Caterpillar. In my experience with ETC there it kept pretty much to the apple, wild cherry, maple and other trees in our neighborhood. I don’t ever remember seeing it on smaller fruits. Here in Washington we have the Western Tent Caterpillar or WTC. Like its cousin to the East, this is a larva from a fairly nondescript brownish moth and it seems to have an appetite for the smaller types of fruit. More than one evening saw us picking these beasties off of the apples, raspberries and blueberries, easily getting several dozen within about 10 minutes. Fortunately their season was short and the damage minimal.

Snow Peas

The snow peas are doing well…finally. I planted a row early but had to replant when only a few came up and those that did ended up getting stepped on. I planted half a row again in the same spot and these seem to be doing great. This year I planted half of what I did last year and I do believe the yield will end up being higher.

The beans are doing well but it will be a while before I see a harvest from them. The garlic is coming along nicely. A little unclear on when I’ll need to harvest. Need to research that.
Garden 6-8-2015

8 Lbs

This is what 8 lbs of raspberries looks like right after picking. To be fair, I hadn’t picked one bed in over a week and the other hadn’t been picked since last Wed. Had I looked I could have picked more but I was hard pressed to get these in the freezer. And to think I started with 6 plants in each bed…


This morning I was pondering what to eat for breakfast. Bowl in hand, I remembered the berries. How cool is it to be able to take your bowl to the garden and pick your breakfast? Blueberries and a raspberries topped off with a little Fil Mjolk. A breakfast is born. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Even if you don’t have a large yard there are berries that will grow in containers. My blueberries have been in 5 gallon buckets for almost 10 years. Every few years I take them out and rejuvenate them by dividing, replenishing the soil etc. Strawberries do great in containers as do figs. I know a lady that is even growing raspberries in a container. I haven’t tried it but would imagine that gooseberries would probably do fine in containers too.

Not even 9am

It isn’t even 9am and to look at me one would think I had been working in the yard all day. The humidity is rather high, to be expected with all of the rain we have had lately. The highs have been in the upper 80s – low 90s and being the heat wimp I am my gardening outings are pretty much limited to early mornings and evenings. I am on vacation for the next two weeks so I will have a number of extended mornings to play.

Yesterday I finished harvesting the red and white currants. I have a 1 gallon batch of red currant wine from last year’s frozen berries brewing. It tasted pretty good with the light alcohol fizz as it went into the secondary. The recipe calls for leaving it for at least two years before drinking.

The blackberries should be rip within the next couple of weeks. I will have to net them this week or early next.

The spring crop of raspberries has been very disappointing. There really isn’t one. My typical m.o. with the raspberries is to alternate the two beds for spring crops. In other words a bed is cut to the ground in the winter every other year. The bed that was supposed to have a spring crop this year went wild sending up new canes. This will make for a bumper fall crop sans any catastrophies, but I am missing the early berries.

The beans are up and not nearly as thick as I would have hoped. I didn’t get the germination I usually do with the Southern States seeds. There should be enough to enjoy them though.

The gooseberries are about to start. It looks like it will be a bumper crop again this year. I have a 1 gallon batch of gooseberry wine brewing from last year’s berries in the basement.

The figs are looking like they don’t have a care in the world. I really expected some rust as wet as it has been but nothing yet.

I sprayed the grapes with the organic fungicide (Serenade) yesterday but I am afraid I was too late as I saw some black rot on several clusters.

I got the posts and cages in the ground for the tomatoes today. I will tie them up tomorrow. So far the deer and rabbits have respected the fence.

I was rather disappointed to see that what was white echinacea last year has come up purple this year. They either don’t come true to seed or there was cross pollination. I thought at least I would see last year’s white flowers but nothing yet.

The birds seem to be leaving the blueberries alone this year. It could be that the mulberry next to the porch where they are growing is full of berries or it could be that they are a little more hidden among the other plants on the porch. In either case I am grateful not to have to fool with covering them this year.

Late Cleanup

This week is my well earned vacation week. We aren’t going anywhere this week but I am using it to catch up on some projects.

Today I cleaned out the raspberry beds, cutting one to the ground and the other to about 12-18 inches high. They are just starting to wake up. I normally do it before now but it is still early enough I do believe. The variety is Heritage and since they will fruit twice I alternate beds so that each spring a bed is fruiting and that fall the other bed is fruiting. It makes for a very long raspberry harvest.

I also cleaned out the blackberry patch. Well…half of it anyway. I keep threatening to get rid of one non productive row. I do believe this is the year for it.

I bought some basil seeds yesterday that I will start tonight in the basement. I have some tomato seeds on order. I like to get them started by April 1 so I am right on target with that. I ended up not getting the garlic in the ground last fall so I started some in the basement about a month ago. I will transplant it outside probably this week.

There is still a LOT of cleanup that is needed in the flower beds. I am still not sure what I want to do with it though. We haven’t had the rain we need to keep it looking decent so I may just take out some of it and turn it back into lawn. The jury is still out on that one.

Awesome harvest

I had a friend come over and pick raspberries on Thursday morning. On Friday morning I picked and ended up with about 6 cups. I picked this morning and now have a gallon of berries waiting for me to decide what to do with them. Half will probably be frozen and the other half given away.

I roasted an eggplant on the bbq this morning for some Baba Ghanouj. I thought I had some Tahini but the can I had in the cupboard was way past its prime so I will pick some up at the grocery later today. The eggplant is in the fridge with the lemon juice added waiting on the rest of the ingredients. This will be lunch tomorrow.

This morning I also picked the rest of the small round watermelons and about 3 gallons of tomatoes. I only had a couple of melon plants and ended up with about 8 or 10 melons total. Not bad as I did absolutely nothing to them after planting other than splash water on them once or twice. The tomatoes will be canned later today.

I noticed one of the purple figs is almost ripe. mmmm

It is so dry here. Areas around us picked up some rain last week but it went around us. The flowers are wilting and looking pretty dry as are most of the perennials. Unfortunately I can’t afford to water them the way they need. I keep threatening to tap into the gray water for the ornamentals. Perhaps next year I will actually do it.


Gooseberries, cherry tomatoes, blackberries, raspberries and a zucchini. A good haul. The spring crop of the raspberries is about over while the fall crop is being pollinated. The blackberries are just starting to ripen. The birds have found them as they do every year. Tonight I will have to prune back the new growth and net them if we are going to get much in the way of a harvest. The drought last year has really cut back the number of producing blackberry canes this year as was expected. Since the blackberry fruit grows on the second year’s growth, how the new canes grow this year will give an idea of a possible harvest next year. Barring a below normal temperature winter, next year should bring a great blackberry harvest. While watering this morning I noticed that the everbearing strawberries in the barrel on the back porch are in bloom again.

Today’s Harvest

This is about the 4th day of the harvest of the Spring crop of raspberries. Each day there is a little more. I just baked a chocolate cake and made some chocolate frosting. Think I’ll put some raspberries on top. mmmm

Berry Good

I often get up long before I have to start getting ready for work to browse the garden. The morning is cool and the birds are out in full chorus. I do the container watering at this time, harvest what I can and just enjoy the morning. This morning on my rounds I came up with some of the early raspberries, the first couple of blackberries, a couple of handfuls of blueberries, currants, the first of the gooseberries and the last of the strawberries. What an awesome breakfast!

The dill is just getting large enough to take a small harvest. This batch went into a couple of small paper bags to dry. The bags will get a shake once or twice a day to insure even drying.

by: kerry