After years of living in some great Seattle neighborhoods, I left my teeny-tiny house in Seattle (a real-life version of the cottage I drew as a kid, complete with pointy-tip tulips of unnatural colors and spiral smoke escaping the chimney). I moved to the country, to a schedule of tides and ferries, to five acres of possibilities and a community of kind people.
I found a gem of a house, just needing someone to provide the polish. (photo circa 1900)
Locally, the farmhouse is known as the Peach Palace, a moniker not so much based on the fruit in the orchard or the size of the house, as much as on the paint hue that covers its frame. (One pays a price for the savings found in another person’s paint mixing mistake.) Actually the color has grown on me, and no matter what the hue, I am smitten with my home, its history and welcoming presence.
In the orchard, my newly planted trees bend with the promise of future bounty. For now, they’re just getting settled. I grow apples, peaches, pears, persimmons, quince, berries, figs and cherries, mainly because I love to eat apples, peaches, pears, persimmons, quince, berries, figs and cherries.
On a personal note, I’m someone who embraces the beauty of the bulldog…
Succumbs to the power of pie…
Contends that summer is never long enough…
Shares his hammock…
And sofa with bossy (and weighty) interlopers,
Plays with his food (reprising my role as Cyrano de Raspbergerac)
And finds that any time his feet are walking in tall clover, it’s a good day.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me here. [contact_form]
How are you doing!!!!! Your mom and my mom were talking and Maxine said to check out your website, so here I am. Where are the aracana (sp?) chickens? (we used to call them the easter egg chickens) Your mom thought those were great!
Love to all, Robin
PS: My husband, myself and our son are living in Las Vegas. I’m the wildlife manager at the Flamingo Casino.
So do not fall over or anything, tis I. Where are ya out there? No calls. Is all the world a stage and you are fine and well as the leading man playing the –hello– of course, leading role. Then it goes without saying but I simply must, doing a magnificent go of it dharlink! Not hearing from you makes me wonder if your are well and happy. Hello to Miss Gracie and Mr. Boz.
Dearest Gi Gi, for my low profile of late I have no glamorous tales to spin nor delectable distractions to boast about. The Peach Palace turned 120 last year and while her plumbing is not that old, it certainy seems to be failing at rate suggestive of that age. You shall hear from me shortly, plumbers putty and teflon tape in hand.
Plumbers putty and teflon tape — so is that what you call life in the fast lane on Vashon? Are Miss Gracie and Mr. Boz supervising the repairs? Old homes are a constant source entertainment and occasional exasperation. Plus, they are known to take on the personalities of their owners, so beware.
I hope that you are doing well…
Tom on the West Coast –
I discovered your blog about a month ago and have greatly enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing your life and your adorable dogs!
I am about to begin a transition, leaving one career to head into the great unknown, and have thought of blogging about it. I’ll turn 50 in five years (gasp, that’s the first time I’ve put that in writing!). I thought it might be fun to chronicle those five (years) ’til fifty and that might also be a good outlet as I ‘reinvent’ myself….. But I’m having trouble making that first entry and getting started…. Any advice?
Thanks – ellen on the east coast
Hi Ellen, Congratulations on your bold move; it sounds like you’re in for a fine adventure. And trust me 50 is no big deal. There’s a lot of wisdom imparted in five decades. Just think of your writing entries like a conversation with a friend. Share a little background with the reader, then the ‘whys’ of your story, the ‘whats’ you hope to find and ‘hows’ of each step, planned or unplanned a the case may be. Each entry is just a part of your journey, simply share your insights, doubts, ephiphanies, setbacks and victories. Take the reader along on your trip of self discovery. Best of luck, Tom
Thanks for the advice and encouragement – you helped me bust the writer’s block I’ve been having. Still tweaking my first post but it’s nice to be starting!
As part of my new life I’ve purchased a little studio apartment and am doing a kitchen/bath renovation. I spent the afternoon checking out appliances this afternoon and got some puzzled looks when I asked if they had a special Boz-style dishwasher…. (I love that photo!)
Tom, each day when I check the site, I realize just how much I miss the Tom life! What a great time and my life and you the frosting (buttercream of course) on top! I always think of the visit to the Pink Palace and how much I would love to bring the Hubby there! He has never been west of Ol’ Miss!!! Thank you for writing and for keeping the blog clown free (thus far). I love you dearly and miss you madly!
Hi Tom, just want to leave you a little note to say what a great web page you have. Not to mention the great house and dogs also. I am a very close friend of Roseann, Miffy’s sister. I also live in NJ and do lots of theatre with Roseann. Keep up the great work with all your doing. Everything looks great.
Hey, Tom. Not sure how I found your blog but I enjoy it very much I, too, am a gardener and I covet your beautiful fruit. I live in Franklin, Tennessee where every pest known to mankind comes to vacation. Do your fruit trees take a lot of care?
Hello Tom, I stumbled across your website while doing a search on Avalon Pride Peach. I noticed with interest that you are successfully growing several peach varieties. Our Avalon Pride trees have an odd kind of leaf disease, at least I think it is a disease. It is not leaf curl, but the young leaves look kind of watery with pink blotches. Have you noticed this? I also noted that you had good luck with Indian Free. I had five trees in our orchard and they all died. Have you tried Autumn Rose? It seems to be pretty sturdy and has somewhat similar fruit.
I’d like to stay in touch and hear more about your fruit growing experiences on Vashon. Have a nice Summer! Jim Gilbert
Billy — thanks for the kind words and aren’t we lucky to know Miffy and Roseann. Lucky indeed.
Hi Mabel, you know fruit trees do take a little work, but my suggestion is to do a little research online about what varieties do well in your area.
I really like http://www.gardenweb.com where you could do a search for the fruit your want to grow and include Tennessee in the search, say “Apple Trees Tennessee”. It will return related posts for your area. I tried it and there are fruit growers a plenty in your area asking about the best suited varieties. Apples that thrive in Washington State may not do so well in the Volunteer Sate. The site’s forums are full of great local gardeners ready to share their knowledge.
In addition, check out your local extension office or Master Gardeners group. In fact I found a great link from UT extension about selecting and growing fruit trees in Tennsessee.
Here’s the link: http://www.utextension.utk.edu/publications/homeGarden/default.asp#gardening
Good luck and good growing!
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. My Avalon Pride peach trees haven’t experienced the leaf problems you cited but they’ve been a little slow growing. It’s remarkable what a little too much shade will do to quell growth. I’ve yet to harvest any AP peaches here on Vashon, but when I lived in Seattle the tree was a real backyard treat. The fruit split a bit on the stem end and would be a beacon for earwigs, so I applied tanglefoot to paper wrapped around the trunk to keep them off. It really was a delicious peach, better flavor and juice than the Frost though not as profilic as the Frost.
I planted an Autumn Rose peach. It was a nice healthy bareroot tree when I planted but it succumbed to Peach Leaf Curl. It’s likely resistant at a later age, but I didn’t protect it accordingly and it didn’t rebound.
My Oregon Curl Free did quite nicely and is growing like gang busters. Produced fruit last year but none this year — still young though.
The Indian Free peaches were remarkable last year and I had quite a few on a robust tree. I think the tree may be a biennial producer as I have very few this year. Then again it could be a wet spring is to blame too. I made jam out of some of them and it look like blackberry preserves the fruit was so dark. Delicious and a bit of tartness that’s unusual in a peach.
I have Charlotte also which has produced a few peaches this year for the first time and I’m encouraged. None of my peaches are close to harvest and are still hard and green.
My Q-1-8 in Seattle did very well if you could beat the squirrels, but the one here on Vashon has yet to produce. Next I really am thinking of suspending a clear plastic tarp over them during bloom season to see if that helps with pollination. Keeping the blooms dry…what next ;-).
I hope this helps a little and I look forward to sharing more and bragging about the crops to come.
You posted such a kind comment on my blog today. I clicked on your link and it brought me to your terrific blog. I would love to come over on the ferry for a visit sometime. I’m not sure how to email you.
Oh My – I did not realize just how much I missed you til I read this – each day was so much fun with you and Mark – how long ago it was – back in the ‘old-days’ – love love love the dogs – I shall have to come visit one day –
Good September morning, Tom,
Hello from Dash Point, just across the water.
I am so impressed with your site – such a great mix of valuable information, delicious photography, and insightful comments. HOW do you do it all? 🙂
I just checked the Harvest Celebration Farm Tour – sad to see you’re not on the list. Do you offer any farm visit opportunities?
I’ve participated in some of the Small Farms courses and hope to take what I’ve learned south to our property near Hood River OR. (Hard to contemplate leaving Puget Sound area at times, though.)
I’ll bookmark your page – it’s a new favorite!
Deb, I don’t know that I do it all, considering a mountain of laundry sits on the back porch, dog hair and dust are found on any level surface, and the silver tarp on my barn is now officially an architectual feature, but I shall embrace your compliment and say thank you most kindly. Hood River is a stunning area, and prime pear growing. Consider planting Conference, Concorde and Comice pears, amazing all. Comice is Harry and David’s Royal Riviera Pear grown in the Medford, Oregon area.
Carol S. was kind enough to tell me about your website, which is fantastic! I am glad to know your whereabouts after all the years that have passed since working with you at JNUTRAS. Guess what–I have a pair of kiwi vines, too! But we only acquired our 1935-era house in San Diego County last year, and planted it then. We do have a trellis for it, hope it decides to use it with gusto. I will keep you posted.
Cindy, how great to hear from you — wow it’s been years. From Juneau to San Diego, nice escape to the country’s finest climate. Maybe Ms. S. and I need to plan a visit. 😉
I came across your website while looking for a wedding location. Funny where google can lead. I enjoyed your article on Dinah, and am now in love with your bulldogs— they’re gorgeous, and quite fetching.
Thanks Janna — B&G are blushing. My friends Ryan and Anna got married at the Youth Hostel on Vashon. It was a blast. Here’s the link: http://tallcloverfarm.com/?p=89
Congratulations by the way!
hi tom!! found your gorgeous site through another gardening blog….sometime as a child during ’70’s i found this old book at our family’s alabama lake cabin…Onions in the Stew, nonfiction/hilarious account by betty macdonald of her adventures living on vason island in wartime/post wartime 1940’s, became one of my all time favorite comfort reads…..because of betty’s vivid description of her garden and the vashon scenery i have always been facinated with that area…i’m loving that i’ve found your site!! thanks! nanne (wow, that was a dissertation!)
Welcome Nanne, and thanks for the kind words. You know Betty MacDonald’s farm on Vashon is now a really sweet B&B. Here’s the link, just in case you venture to the Pacific Northwest: http://www.bettymacdonaldfarm.com/
I haven’t read Onions in the Stew, but it’s on my list–otherwise I may be voted off the island. cheers, Tom
This truly sounds like paradise. We’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest but it sounds like a wonderful place to at least visit. You’re lucky to have landed in such a beautiful place. Maybe we’ll be lucky to own a little slice of island one of these days.
Thomas: thanks for the kind words. I love the Pacific NW; it’s a special place. And it looks like your garden could share that same description. Cheers!
Howdy! Found you via Thomas at A Growing Tradition. Love your house (even the peachiness!)- it has that old farm charm that I so desperately crave.
Thanks Taylor, peachy it is. I fear I’m not allowed to change the color based on some neighborly feedback.
Tom, do you think B&G would enjoy being terrorized by young boys? If so I’d love to come hop a ferry one August day and meet you!
Sounds like a good life. Love that house and the picture in autumn with it partially hidden behind the trees is stunning.
Nice to meet you (again, as we both suspect) last night! I look forward to seeing you on Vashon sometime soon.
Thanks Sara, It was great to meet you, too; and the island’s too small not to cross paths in the very near future!
I linked to your site in my pursuit of jam-making (Mes Confitures, to be exact) ideas & techniques. Now I’m hooked, if for no other reason then viewing the pics of B&G. Thanks for so generously sharing your knowledge & experience. I would love to look you up on my next trip to Washington.
I found your blog last spring and it really inspired me! I had never gardened before and took your recommendation for seeds. I got all baker greek and pinetree and the vegetables turned out amazing.
I made a vegetable garden in front of my school as my BFA thesis here are Cornell University. And everyone commented about how beautiful the veggies were!
Check out the website!
And thank you so much for your ideas and inspiration!
Maggie, I’m truly touched. I love your website and illustrations. If I can inspire an artist, my work is done for the day. Again, thank you for the kind words and the gift of making the world a more beautiful, tastier and healthy place. Just think of all the folks you’ve now inspired.
Just wondering if you have ever done any cooking with squash blossoms. I have a ton available to harvest and hope you might have some words of wisdom.
I’ve done the unthinkable and harvested the squash blossoms, only to find out they don’t last very long… Can you, perchance, hurry up with a response???
Karen, I’m so sorry. I missed your first comment. Here’s what I do with squash blossoms.
Ricotta stuffed squash blosssoms from epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Squash-Blossoms-Stuffed-with-Ricotta-354966
I substitute the 1/4 C mint with 2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh basil and I don’t bother with making the tomato sauce–just use what’s on hand or canned.
Another thing, I only use about 1/2 cup of bubbly water (thicker batter), or use the remaining egg white in the batter instead.
Good luck, these are delicious!
Here’s a stuffed squash blossom recipe that I’ve always wanted to try — it’s a little unique and from Rome via Saveur Magazine: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Stuffed-and-Fried-Squash-Blossoms
…warning, contains anchovies 😉
Just discovered your blog this weekend. Lots of good reading here! I’m a Vashon wannabe and have really liked your posts. You have the life I’m after.
Would like to exchange emails and chat a bit.
curtis [at] microbiologist [dot] net
Ron, thanks Ron, you bet, let me know the next time you in stone’s throw of the island.
Curtis, I’ll check in with you. I have to admit blog life always looks better 😉 Real life, well I need to start showing the weeding, painting, mowing, rock piling, scrubbing and bramble control.
Oh my. I suddenly feel as though I’ve met my long lost brother. I followed the link from a comment you made on The NYTimes and now I’m absolutely smitten with your blog. What you’re doing here is quite inspiring. I do many of the exact same things you do and I photograph them as well. I live my life according to the flow of each season. I even make a big ceremony out of saying goodbye to summer each year. May I share some photos with you Mr. Kindred Spirit?
Hi Jacqueline, welcome and thanks for those fine compliments. I’m flattered. Of course, I’d love to see your photos.
Very Very wonderful blog Tom! I’m looking forward to revisiting often 🙂 be sure to post your game recipes too, I’m always looking for new inspiration 😀 ~christellar
I stumbled on your blog after trying to get my hands on all things Vashon. Like someone else posted, I am a Vashon wannabe and am doing all I can to relocate to Vashon from Southern CA.
I long to do all that you do (even bramble control and weeding) in the hopes to live a simpler lifestyle and appreciate the “little things”. Keep blogging and giving us glimpses of island life… you keep me motivated to keep on keeping on..
Hi Joyce, thanks for the kind thoughts and Vashon love. Now I must offer a disclaimer, it does rain a lot, but after a while gortex becomes a second-skin 😉 Good luck on your journey!
Trust me, everyone we talk to about our move warns us about the rain. I am well ready to sacrifice living in the wet north and give up living in the dry desert south. We are so ready for a change!
Thanks for the kind reply and words of wisdom!
Good answer Joyce, that was a test and it looks like you have the right attitude! The Northwest is a magical place.
Tom!!! Love your blog and the message you send. Also, I’m in dire need of help with my cooking so this is perfect. I hope you are doing great!
All the best and Happy 2011!!
I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind answering a quick question. Are there any job possibilities on Vashon itself? Maybe just a local pizza place or clerking in one of the stores?
Just curious if there are little odd jobs available on the island.
I am a good friend of your neighbors Tim and Nancy. I came across your blog looking for some images of Vashon Farm Houses. I am currently involved in a project that I would like to discuss with you, and writing in general. I remember you as well from a yoga class I used to attend with Wendra? Regardless, it would be nice to get together for coffee at The Minglement sometime to share ideas and B.S. in general.
let me know if this suits you.
Hi Tom! I have been on a long search for the best figs, and in my search I came across your website. I would love to chat about your fig trees! Please feel free to e-mail me when you have a moment! Thanks! Also, I like a lot of the pics you have posted on here! The dogs are fun!!
Do you have chickens? Just wondering… seems like the kind of thing you might be dabbling in.
I did have chickens for the last four years, and then the raccoons did some arms trading and broke into my impenetrable coop, no doubt wearing masks and black turtlenecks. They got all of my chickens, so I’m rethinking how I approach keeping my next flock safe. I’ll let you know what comes of it, and it will involve electricity.
I found your great website from Gen’s great website! Great minds as they say! What can I say that hasn’t already been said ? Nothing! I too love the simpler way of life & “outside” is my favorite place to be! No wonder it is always the biggest request from kids & dogs & cats alike! “You wanna go outside?” as they bolt out the door! Anyways ,love the decision you made that let’s you do the things you like to do, that we all wish we could too! And above all thanks for sharing with us all! Because reading your blog is nothing but a ball!!
Thanks Roberta, your generous words and kind spirit are most appreciated. Great to meet you!
Long time no talk!! I love your website, just stumbled on it when going thru web links on my Egencia PC!! We miss you, the place just isn’t the same without you!
Please drop me a line to catch up.
Happy happy days!!! Ellen
I (E) found your site while looking for Ozette potatoes for my mom and up popped your blog. We are Vashonites and have long admired your stacked fence. Years ago I heard that the Peach Palace is haunted; any such experiences? Given the size of our rock in the Sound, I’m sure we’ll meet one of these days.
Emily and Alex, nice to meet online and hopefully next in person. I keep my eye out for you around town and make an official introduction. Warm regards, and thanks for the kind words. As for the house being haunted, yes, the house is haunted with former hospitality — I love the place.
Tom, I recently found your website after visiting Vashon the 1st week of April. My sister and her husband live in West Seattle, but I have been in Manhattan for some 25 years.
Thinking it’s time to get back to nature, and some peace and quiet. So I am seriously considering moving to Vashon.
Everyone here thinks I am crazy since I am single. However my dream is to have 5 acres, a dog, a real garden, but in an area that isn’t so glitzy like I saw on Bainbridge.
I probably won’t move for at least 2 years. It would take that long just to sell my place here, arrange my work and then actually find a place in Vashon. In the meantime, any hints or suggestions you can offer would really help.
You writings are great and with a good sense of humor.
You bet, I’d be happy to help transplant a New Yorker to our fair island.
I cannot believe it. I have just seen your rhubarb photo and I am so envious! Mine doesn’t seem to want to blush like your rhubarb. To make me feel better, my husband thinks that you have a special red variety but I know you haven’t. You probably look after yours better and don’t expect it to grow in a tub sharing with thyme, spring onions, coriander and blueberries.
Oh, and I guess yours also get liberally dosed with the crap from your latest post 🙂
Sleepinghorse you are right on all counts. I believe the variety I have is either Valentine or Victoria, both nicely red. And a whole lot of compost horse poop goes a long way in making those stalks robust. Rhubarb is a little stingy with space and doesn’t like to share it so much, and it prefers a cooler soil, so your pot my just get a bit too warm for it to thrive. So nice to hear from a friend in New Zealand!
My mother is a loner, someone who carefully cultivates her own company. It’s the rare occassion she chooses to spend with anyone but herself, her cats, or her husband who is the sort that has a tribe wherever he might be (an odd couple indeed!). But when I was ill, she would sometimes settle down with me and tell me tales, my favorite was Snow White and Rose Red. Regardless of the particular story, there were details that remained immutable; a host of animals that were more than meets the eye, lush foilage and hearty produce, an old house filled with love (or perhaps a castle), and a misfit or two trying to make their way in the world.
As soon as I began to read your blog I felt suddenly transported, could almost hear my mom say “Long ago and far away on an island few knew existed there lived a man with his 2 stalwart and noble companions. Their lives were simply enchanted and this is where our story begins…”
Thank you kind stranger, for a lovely start to my day.
Miss Harley Quinn, a no kinder compliment have I been paid. Thank you very much, and Boz and Gracie are most appreciate of your chosen descriptors. I fear I must steal your words, as I can think of no better, Thank you kind stranger, for a lovely start to my day.
I had just made a rhubarb pie and decided to make some rhubarb ice cream when I found your recipe through a google search. Coincidentally when I picked the rhubarb this morning I noticed my peppers and the far patch of tomatoes, AND my favorite rose bush had their tender parts all eaten away by our voracious deer. Seeing your Mutant Alien post made me feel, well, not so alone. I have built a back yard fence out of the nylon material as I see you did, so I hope it is sturdy enough. Clearly I need to get the front yard done quickly if I’m to have any garden at all, do you think Tamara could come over? 🙂
Thanks for the visit Melody, and the kind words, and as far as I can tell, Tamara is staying clear of other folks’ projects (mine included) for the next month or so. Cheers, Tom
I was wondering if you accept guest post for your blog. If you do, I would like to submit a few. I’m a recent college graduate, with an English major, looking to build out my portfolio. I can write on a wide variety of topics and am sure you would be happy with the quality. Please email me back if you are interested. Thank you for your time.
– Kathleen Hubert
What a great blog! Your farmhouse is absolutely adorable and your baking skills go so well with it. It was great meeting and talking to you this past weekend at D**’s and C****’s get together.
Hi Tom – You helped me with some questions on sweet meat squash. I mentioned my son is implementing a seed library at UC Santa Cruz. Here’s his website in case you want to take a look. http://www.demeterseedsproject.org Thanks again for all your great advice. Love your site.
I found you after a search about ripening figs. And now I have a question.
My next door neighbor has a fig tree that hangs over onto my property so I get figs!
But not a lot all at once. They ripen in drips and drabs.
I’m a canner and I’m dying to make fig jam.
So do you know if there is a way to process the figs somehow until I accumulate enough for jam?
Freeze? Mash and refrigerate? Anything?
Hi Jennifer, Here’s what I do when I’m saving up figs for a batch of Jam. I pick, clean and quarter them lengthwise and place them in a nonreactive bowl or pan with lid. I add a cup or two of sugar. Keep track of the amount so its included in the tally of measurements for your final recipe. I add the juice of a lime or two, lemons work as well. The sugar and citric acid preserve the figs as does keeping them in the fridge. You should collect enough figs over a week and be good to go to make a big batch of jam. I like to add crystallized ginger to mine, a version I discovered in Australia and glom onto eagerly, when I make my homemade fig-ginger jam. Good Luck!
I actually went with freezing after a little Googling. I think it might be more than a week until I get enough for a batch.
I’m only getting the “overhang” figs from my neighbor’s tree. ; )
As for the ginger idea… Love it! I make a mean Lemon Ginger Marmalade. Lemons also from a friends tree. I guess I should think about planting some fruit trees of my own. I’m a good leech though!
Hi Tom, After 5 years of neglecting my garden, post losing my husband, I just managed (with some help) to get the perennial and annual garden back into very satisfying shape. Am now planning to get started on veggies in the last, large raised bed. (Dirt here is rock and clay) This is optimistic, given that our annual rainy season is just coming to an end. Via a friend on FB I discovered your blog and wanted to add my praise to that of others. You are a very inspiring (and charming) fellow, and I’m more determined than even to get the veggies going. My biggest problem is lack of good seeds or any kind of variety. Do you know of any companies (good but not expensive) that would mail to Mexico? Also, after close to a year, I have only 3 followers and no comments on my book blog. You have a more inviting topic of general interest, but if you have a chance I’d appreciate your taking a look at my blog and giving me any critique or comments. It’s email@example.com. Thanks for your wonderful site, Phyllis
Hi Phyllis, thanks for your very kind words and visit. Sounds like you are one busy woman. First of all, breathe, and remember gardening and growing are processes not necessarily an outcome, at least that’s the case for me. So start small, plant something you really like and will enjoy. Next season add a couple more things. I’m horrible for planting way too much and then neglecting half of it. I’m learning to edit the garden a bit and know what I really want to grow and eat. As for a seed company, that ships to Mexico, I really like this new company called Living Seed Company, but I’m not sure if they ship to Mexico. I’m checking. As for your blog, I’ll take a look and give you my two cents. Again, thanks for the kudos and kind missive.
And thank you too, Tom. Seems as tho you did some reading between the lines and “nailed” me. On the other hand, I read once, “If you knew you only had a month left to live, how many times would you get up to see the sun rise?” I’m perfectly healthy, but sort of in that mind set at the moment. I’ll check out the seeds, and thanks again, Phyllis
You’re kinda cute. Any bio info you can forward to us lonely women?
Just wanted to drop a line to let you know how much I like your blog! As a fellow bulldog, nature and home renovation lover I can relate to your adventures!
Thanks for the visit Kate. I can see by your interests that you are a genius!
I am a new comer to your site but right off the bat I like it. I was wondering if you sell any of your plants, in particular I am trying to find a desert king fig from a reputable place in the northwest or one of the Olympian I have read about. If you dont, do you know where I can find one? I live just west of Port Angeles if that helps.
Hi Andrea, welcome and thanks! I don’t sell any plants currently, but I do know where you might find Desert King figs. I bet Sunny Farms nursery in Sequim has them later this winter when fruit tree stock comes in. They are pretty easy to find online: http://www.burntridgenursery.com/fruitingPlants/index_product.asp?dept=19&parent=7
and at One Green World nursery.
The Olympian fig is not likely to be available for a year or two: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/05/12/1183238/big-on-figs-a-retired-biologist.html.
I’m very inspired by your website, and especially your reports on your curl resistant peaches.
This past year I’ve moved onto 2.5 acres in SW Washington to a property that has several peach and nectarine trees in various states of happiness.
You’ve got me almost to the point of buying a couple more, but space is precious, especially in the sun.
Is there any way I could convince you to share some scion wood from the curl resistant peach trees you recommend. That way I could graft them onto my existing trees and get a head start.
I’d be looking for a couple of pencil thick trimmings of this years growth maybe 10-12 inches long identified with the variety name.
I’m happy to pay a nominal fee and for postage and such.
In any case, I’ve just found your site. I’m excited to see what you’ve had to say about persimmons and quince which I also love.
A friend forwarded a link to your beautiful blog, and I’m wondering if I could quote your lovely phrase: lit by kindness, kindled by friendship, and illuminated by community.
Hi Nancy, sure no problem. I’d appreciate attribution: Tom Conway http://www.tallcloverfarm.com
Thanks for the visit and the kind words Nancy, welcome!
Thank you for your reply. Sunny Farms is a great location for quality plants and foods, nice to see that others appreciate it also. Continue the good work into this wonderful New Year.
I’ve been enjoying following tallcloverfarm’ adventures. I reside directly along the central Oregon coast but still have been trying to develope an orchard. Apples and European plums do well but it seems as though Japanese plums bloom too early for our late wet springs. I have experimented with a large selection of the Leaf curl resistant peaches and have decided that most years the Frost is best here. The asian pears look like they will do well for me but I have struggled to get my European pears to pollinate well even with at least 6 different types. It seems to me that I have better luck generally with the self pollinating plants like the peach(Frost) European Plums and some of the Asian Pears.
You have inspired me to start growing the tulameen raspberries! We live in NE Tacoma, do you have any recommendations for local nurseries which might have the healthiest plants in stock? We’ve been known to drive around the peninsula to go up to Bainbridge Gardens, or head up north near Arlington. I am very picky about the quality of plants I buy, so was just curious. 🙂 Thanks so much, amazing amazing blog! I love it!
Larry, thanks for following along and sharing your insights, most appreciated. I agree with you for sure.
Sydney, try your local nurseries first, as now is the time to find bareroot canes and you can select what you want. You may try Portland Avenue nursery or Vassey’s Nursery in Puyallup. If you’re in Seattle Wells Medina usually has superior quality stock this time of year, give them a call first, that’s a long trek. I like Burnt Ridge Nursery too and they are often at the Olympia Farmers Market. Good Luck! Oh and the Richter Farm in Puyallup sells fresh berries maybe they sell plants too?
Cool! Thank you! I LOVE Vassey’s Nursery, we were there almost weekly last year around this time as we rehauled our front yard, and I needed shrubs other plants. 🙂 I have not heard of Burnt Ridge, will have to look them up! My 4.5 year old and I were going to have a girl day on Monday and go out to Poulsbo for bread, and I was thinking we’d go to a few “flower stores” too, she LOVES wandering around and imagining where we could put things in the yard. 🙂 Thank you SO SO SO much. Oh, and my daughter wants to know how you got such “emormous” rhubarb. 😉
Sydney, the secret to enormous rhubarb is a little filtered shade in the mix and a lot of composted horse or steer or chicken manure. I just ring the manure around the plant in the winter or early spring. I find a little shade in the hottest part of the day helps them too. Mine are planted in front of my peach trees, so they get about 2-3 hours of shade late in the day.
Cool! Well, ours don’t get a whole lot of shade, so may need to come up with some kind of screen. Would explain why ours gets a little wilty on hot hot days. So, I found that one of the only places around, right now, to have the Tulameen is Bainbridge Gardens up north. They also have a plant called Fall Gold. I have decided to rethink my single raised bed and do two slightly shorter ones. Keep them completely separate, but do half tulameen and half fall gold. Is this crazy? Do you have any experience with the fall gold variety?
Hi Sydney, Fall Gold are great and I grow them too. See link for pics: http://www.tallcloverfarm.com/2467/late-season-raspberries-falling-for-fall-gold-caroline
Now Fall Gold are ever-bearing , which means you can get two okay crops or one great crop. For two crops, prune out the dead and weak canes, you’ll have berries on last years canes and the new growth this year. But I actually like to cut Fall Gold to the ground in spring which means I’ll only have one crop but they are usually bigger better berries. Maybe try the two crop method first and see how they fare. Tulameen are July bearing and bear on last year’s new growth, so do not cut those to the ground, only take out the dead and weak canes: here’s a tutorial: http://www.tallcloverfarm.com/3366/pruning-raspberries-gardenings-whos-on-first
Am a newcomer to your wonderful site. My grandparents had a farm in Sunnyside, WA that included a small apricot orchard. Oh, how I loved fresh apricots right off the tree. Am determined to grow them here on the musty side of the mountains, in Tacoma. You gave up on yours after many attempts. I’m curious: did you ever try planting an apricot tree in a raised bed in amended soil? Did you try the recommended varieties like Puget Gold, etc.? Not sure if there’s anything you can say to stop me from trying, but maybe you can help me see the light here… 🙂
Hi Matt, welcome, and you know I have an admission: I did not give up on apricots after all. I’m currently trying some Canadian varieties, but have yet to replant Puget Gold. The two biggest problems: too early a bloom for pollination by local pollinators and boring insects, make that insects which bored into the tree. I say go for it. Give Puget Gold and try and I’ll keep you posted on my other young apricot trees. I just planted one called Scout from Fedco of Maine, so if they can grow an apricot in Maine, I can grow an apricot on the musty side of Cascades. Good luck!
That’s wonderful to hear, Tom! Sort of. I think. I had been worried about wet soil, but it sounds like I have other problems to consider, as well. We live on a north-facing slope, which I’ve heard can help with apricots because some trees bloom a hair later when planted on a north-facing slope. I wonder if it helps to plant other early-blooming plants nearby–maybe entice a few pollinators to get busy early. As for borers, I’ll have to read up on that. Don’t really want to use chemicals, so that could be a problem. Where are you buying your apricot trees, by the way? I won’t plant until next fall/winter/early spring, but it never hurts to be organized ahead of time…
Oh, just Googled Fedco and found their site:
Tom. My cousin lives on Vashon and I would like to give him a peach tree but am not familiar with what possible varieties would be a good selection if any. Can you email me some suggestions?
Hey Tom… ya don’t know me but I bet you know my Santa Barbara buddy Melissa Kehl! She’s the new vet on Vashon and she’s wicked funny! I was searching horse manure and stumbled on you and your place- crazy! I teach in Santa Barbara, but when I come to visit Melissa and Tim can I come visit your beautiful farm and see how a real farm should look? All of it just blew my mind. I’m doing what I can with my little Craftsman cottage, but WOW what a little land can do. Mind blowingly perfect!
Hi Jordan, you’re making me blush, and sure let me know when you’re on the island, hopefully you won’t be disappointed …”you call this a farm?” 😉 I’ll keep my eye out for Melissa, she’s at Fair Isle Clinic, great to hear about her. Thanks again for your generous words and enthusiasm. A craftsman in Santa Barbara sounds pretty awesome too!
Hi, Tom. I was researching sweet meat squash and stumbled on your site. After 5 minutes of reading, I think I’m a little bit in love! Thanks for that!
You\’ve probably seen this, but if not, you will enjoy it. Dog related: (grin) http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v