Living in the Idaho Panhandle and trying to garden is a learning curve.
The Idaho Panhandle—locally known as North Idaho—is a region in the U.S. state of Idaho encompassing the state’s 10 northernmost counties: Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Idaho, Kootenai, Latah, Lewis, Nez Perce, and Shoshone (though the southern part of the region is sometimes referred to as North Central Idaho). The Panhandle is bordered by the state of Washington to the west, Montana to the east, and the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north. The Idaho panhandle, along with Eastern Washington, comprises the region known as the Inland Northwest, headed by its largest city, Spokane, Washington. (source Wikipedia)
Overnight frosts can last until late May, even early June. Neighbors have told us horror stories of snow on the 4th of July. Never having gardened on this scale before – the thought of losing precious babies protected in the greenhouse was a bit daunting. However, those precious babies were crowding each other in pots and in danger of becoming root bound or bolting (as was the case with the Spinach)
We waited out weeks of what seemed like endless rain spending our time putting up deer netting and building a totally MacGyver’d gate and rigging these blue hoops (I’ll explain later). Then it came, a break in the clouds. It was now or never! I scrambled into my Mucks with a rake and a tiller to break up the soil and aerate it enough to dry out and kept my fingers crossed for a dry day.
beets&peas with zinnias and dill for companions
yellow onion, white onion, walla walla sweet onions, leeks, carrots, parsnips and dill
It’s been a few weeks from planting day (in the boxes) and I’m happy to say that everything is happy and bursting with growth and life!
So about those hoops? I kept seeing gardeners with these really cool mesh systems over their crops to protect them from bugs, hungry bunnies and rainfall. But they were all so expensive! So with a little creativity, some rebar, bendable tubing and tulle – voila! I made my own netting system! I’ll do a DIY on it soon, as well as a garden tour video.
After all the boxes were planted, only one thing was left. Our ground crops. Now the cool thing about living out here? EVERYONE helps everyone. Mention a pie in exchange for your neighbor to come over and rotatill the ground, and you have yourself a deal! Now with the corn, sunflowers, squash and sweet potatoes in the ground as well as a clustering of pots and buckets for everything else – this family will have itself a hearty late summer harvest!