Reclaiming my Green Thumb

I was raised in Central Oregon. Deschutes county is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, if you like the desert. From my childhood home, I could go to the mountain for sledding, go fishing in the river, and go rock hunting in the same day.

River view over River Bend Park in Bend, OR.
River Bend Park | Bend, OR

But unless you were planning on growing hay, potatoes, or livestock, central Oregon isn't a haven for green thumbs. Central Oregon has a short growing season. It's plagued by heavy snow in the winter, and sweltering sun in the summer. Without heavy water usage, and extensive greenhouses or cold frames, you're only likely to see about 5-6 months of good lush growth.

Foreground: Farm pond with juniper trees. Background: Smithrock State Park Rock formation
Smith Rock State Park | Terrebonne, Oregon

In 2016, my husband and I packed up our kids and using every penny of our tax return that year (and a personal loan) moved to the Portland, Oregon area. Its been a hard four years, but I don't regret the move and the people we've met. Surrounding myself with beautiful greenery rekindled my passion for growing beautiful things.

Portland, OR Neon Sign
Iconic Portland Oregon Neon Sign in Old Town

Our apartment in one of the Portland suburbs didn't support much of a growing season. There wasn't enough sun for most plants, and we weren't allowed to have shelving or storage on the porch space. I was able to grow a decent batch of sugar snap peas, and a fair crop of really pathetic carrots one year. But everything else I attempted to grow on that porch failed.

Dead planter
Dead Plants Make Me Sad

Story Time

My husband tries so hard to be helpful. We had a fly problem the first year we were in that apartment, and discovered the following winter that other pests liked the property too.

He spent hours researching plants that repelled gnats, flies, fleas, etc. He went out while I was at work and the kids were in school and bought $150 in "hardy" plants, and associated gardening things.

Now, hubby did NOT inherit his mother's green thumb. He has, at best a murky brown thumb. Within 2 weeks, everything he'd bought had withered and died. I asked him not to touch my garden, and made him a crochet succulent for his desk.

Fast Forward, I've moved to a duplex with plenty of sunlight and porch space. We have a small back yard that I've recently gained permission to fix up. I've been doing a little bit here or there to get our garden started. So far, I've got a few plants going.

Peering through the foliage, a growing chocolate cherry tomato hangs.
Little Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes

This plant was about 8 inches tall when we bought and transplanted is about 2 months ago.
Chocolate Cherry Tomato plant in cage

Of the 12 seeds I planted, this is the only one that sprouted for these Sugar Pumpkins
Pumpkin Sprouts

My sugar snap peas are blossoming.
Sugar Snap Pea Blossom

We were gifted a variety of cucumbers
Variety of Cucumbers

This Pepper plant was chosen by my oldest son, Connor.
Emerald Giant Green Bell Peppers

This was an unnamed heirloom pea packet we found. They are thriving.
Heirloom Peas are thriving

I just got the container and verified pickup for a pairing of Elderberry bushes. The boys and I started prepping that planter space today. You'll have to wait for the next post to learn more about that project.

See you later in the week!

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