My makeshift seedling incubator

I noticed that my dear friend Paris had a number of succulents growing in a tiny fish tank recently, and it occurred to me what an obvious step this should be for one’s spare old tanks. Of course, being the fish nerd that I am, I have at least one old spare tank lying around, so I promptly filled it up with seed-cells and

Some really early bush beans from the incubator

planted my tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and beans. I hope that they will not get too leggy or spoiled from the spa-like retreat of the tank.

I already had to move these bush blue lake beans out into a larger container, as they had just about reached the top of the tank, and were threatening to spill over onto my counter top. It’s FAR too early to plant them in the yard, but hopefully they’ll hold out long enough in the windowsill to be transplanted.

vaccinium parvifolium-the native red huckleberry, looking like a 30$ bundle of dead twigs

Much more excitingly, I rewarded myself for sitting through two hours of boring, pointless staff meetings by making a trip to the nursery and buying myself a native huckleberry bush, vaccinium parvifolium. Not a “true” huckleberry, it is in the same family as cranberries, lingonberries, and blueberries. It’s my FAVORITE berry, and does well in shady, poor quality, acid soil. That’s pretty much like saying it’s made for the PNW.

It’s not an evergreen, so right now it’s pretty sorry looking, but in the next few months, I’m hoping that it really perks up. They don’t do terribly well in gardens (production wise) but I think it’s worth it. The red huckleberry reminds me of the wild strawberry. You look at it and it’s so puny, how can it be as good as you’ve heard? THEN, you eat it, and all your doubts are assuaged. It explodes in your mouth with a burst of tart, intense flavour,  that is unlike any other fruit I have ever tasted.

Locally, many people I know prefer the evergreen black huckleberry, or vaccinium ovatum; again not a true huckleberry. It’s considered sweeter than the red, but I think it’s also a little blander. I’ve always picked the spiciest chutney on the platter though, so that’s just my sort of taste I suppose.

Gaylussacia baccata is the “real” huckleberry, and honestly, I’m not even sure if it would grow here. I can’t even say that I’ve ever tried them! Ha!

Anyway- I’m really, REALLY excited to finally have this huckleberry bush. It’s something that I’ve always wanted and I think it was a fair reward for tolerating two hours of talk about “action plans” and “appreciating our clients” and another year of a possible pay freeze. I can’t think of a better excuse to buy myself an expensive native shrub covered by pure wonderfulness.