Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades
Steve Solomon, who started Territorial Seed Company, has revamped his 1989 book Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades: The Complete Guide to Natural Gardening (Sasquatch Books, Sixth Edition, November 2007; $21.95) by adding more, but not appreciably different, information about growing and harvesting vegetables. He includes detailed descriptions of everything from seed life and selection to soils, compost and extending the Pacific Northwest growing season. For that, it's a book worth having.
Favorite or New Plant
A few years ago I rediscovered the annual flower known as five spot (Nemophila maculata), an intriguing cool-season plant native to the grasslands and forests of central California. Easy to start from seed, this low-growing annual forms clumps of medium-green leaves with scalloped edges. Starting in mid-May, small white flowers emerge above and between the fancy leaves. Each five-petaled flower is cup-shaped, and the petals are adorned with delicate purple veins. A large purple spot appears at the tip of each petal, giving a perky and cheerful look to the garden. Planting in a cool, moist, partly shady spot will prolong the blooming season from its natural cycle of May and June right up through early August.