Soil and Cellar

Growing and preserving foods in Seattle

January in the Garden

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This isn’t actually about what’s going on in the garden NOW, because that’s a whole lotta nothing. In keeping with my recap/resolutions last week, I’m going to run down the couple of fun things going on in our garden in the last year.

All in all, it was a low key year in the garden. My weekends weren’t spent very productively. But we spent plenty of time hanging out outside, having bbqs and dining with friends.

Thimbleberries on the shrub, in various stages of ripening. You can also see how soft and large these leaves are (I have heard them called - jokingly? - "nature's toilet paper.")

Thimbleberries on the shrub, in various stages of ripening. You can also see how soft and large these leaves are (I have heard them called – jokingly? – “nature’s toilet paper.”)

Thimbleberries galore! Thimbleberry – Rubus parviflorus – is a Northwest native shrub with sweet berries. I picked these as they ripened in July – about a handful a day – and froze them. I ended up with about a cup of frozen berries after a couple weeks. They’re so small, I couldn’t think of the best way to use them so I just ate them. This year I’ll make a plan. Sometimes it takes me a couple years to figure out how to harvest and use edibles.

Desert King figs are green with pink centers. This is the type that does the best in Seattle.

Desert King figs are green with pink centers. This is the type that does the best in Seattle.

We got our first figs off the tree! I am super proud of that. They were delicious! I hope for way more this year, and soon I’ll have enough to make fig jam. Fingers crossed! No fruit on the prune yet, but we’re hopeful for this year.

Our raised beds installed. Here we are checking the level, and adding cardboard at the bottom. We have tons of morning glory in this part of the yard, so we wanted to beat it back as much as possible.

Our raised beds installed. Here we are checking the level, and adding cardboard at the bottom. We have tons of morning glory in this part of the yard, so we wanted to beat it back as much as possible.

Also, we finally built our raised beds! They are installed, and just need soil and we’ll be ready to go this spring. We better get started soon, President’s Day is around the corner.

Saffron crocus - Crocus sativus - flower showing off some of its potential.

Saffron crocus – Crocus sativus – flower showing off some of its potential.

And saving the best for last. The Crocus sativus bloomed and gave us saffron again this year. Last year, I picked saffron but didn’t get to use any of it. I tried to shield you from this painful truth (ie, was embarrassed)… it molded! I thought it was totally dried by the time I stored it, but there was still enough moisture and it went bad. This year I am keeping it in an open container, so as not to trap any moisture. Now I just need to use it. Soon, soon… I have about 10 strands. Does anyone have any ideas for how to use it?

Check back this spring, I hope to have a lot more to report!

3 thoughts on “January in the Garden

  1. Do you like yellow rice? You could use the saffron for that. I love crocuses, but I don’t think that they grow well in Florida. Great job growing them!

    • What do you serve yellow rice with?

      • I like to use it with stirfries. Our favorite way is baked with chicken thighs. I cheat and use a bagged mix. Just pour the rice and seasonings in the bottom of a 9×13, add the required amount of water, then top with chicken thighs and bake at 345 degrees F for 50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Yummy!

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