A-Boy Supply

Your Neighborhood Supply Store


7365 SW Barbur Blvd., Portland, OR 97219
Hollywood, 4010 NE Broadway St., Portland, OR 97232

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Herbs & How To Use Them

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)


Serve on pasta, bread, with parmasean cheese and pine nuts

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts

3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in food processor while slowly drizzling in olive oil. Blend until all ingredients are combined.

Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

Chamomile Tea

Drink before bed, to relax, or to calm an upset stomach

2 tablespoons fresh chamomile flowers

2 cups boiling water

2 slices apples (thin slices) honey

Rinse the flowers with cool water. Warm your tea pot with boiling water. Add the apple slices to the pot and mash them with a wooden spoon. Add the chamomile flowers and pour in the 2 cups boiling water. Cover and steep for 3-5 minutes. Strain the tea into two cups. Add honey to taste. 

Chives (Allium spp.)

Chive Butter

Spread on bread or melt over warm mashed potatoes

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp. chopped chives

Cream ingredients together in the bowl or container you will be storing the butter in. Cover the herb butter and store in refrigerator for 3 hours before use. Will keep for several days.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Lavender (Lavandula spp.)

Lavender Sugar

Add to lemonade, tea, or baked goods

2 cups of sugar

4 Tbsp. dried lavender buds

Blend them together until the sugar has a purple tint and there are no signs of buds. 

Mint (Mentha spp.)

Mint Cucumber Facial

Use to soothe your skin

1/2 Cucumber

1 tsp Milk powder

1 tsp Plain Yogurt

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Mint leaves

Wash the cucumber and cut it in pieces. Put them together with the milk powder, yogurt and mint leaves in a food processor and mix until you have a nice smooth substance Spread this gently and equally with your fingertips or with a cotton ball on your clean face and neck Now lie down, relax and leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes. Then wash it off with a warm wet wash cloth and warm water, end with a splash of cold; pat your skin dry with a clean towel. Finally apply a moisturizer.

Oregano (Origanum spp.)

Parsley (Petroselinium crispum)

Roses (Rosa Rugosa)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Essential Rosemary Oil

Use in shampoos, as an air freshener, or in aromatherapy large quantity rosemary.

Chop the rosemary. Use only the leaves. Discard the stems. You will need at least 18 tablespoons of chopped rosemary after it has dried, so chop a large quantity of rosemary to take shrinkage into account. Spread the rosemary out on the cutting board, and let it dry overnight. Place 6 Tbsp. dried, chopped rosemary in a glass jar. Cover the rosemary with 1 ¼ cups olive oil. Set the jar on a sunny windowsill for 48 hours. Give it a good shake every 12 hours. Place 6 Tbsp. rosemary in the empty jar and cover the mouth with muslin. Pour the contents of the first jar into the second. Pour slowly so the oil can filter into the second jar, while the rosemary pieces are caught by the muslin. Squeeze as much oil as you can from the rosemary caught in the muslin. Cover the second jar tightly and place on the sunny windowsill for 48 hours, shaking every 12 hours. You should change the rosemary as explained in the last step at least one more time, for a total of at least three soaking periods. Strain the oil a final time, and store in a cool, dark place. 

Thyme (Thymus spp.)

Sedums & Sempervivum Care

The Sedum family includes several hundred species. Sedums are found growing in rocky areas and on cliff sides in the wild. They are native to the Northern Hemisphere.  Sedums are also called stonecrops and classified as succulents. They have leaves that are thick that can help them survive harsh, drought-like conditions.

The Sempervivum family is more popularly known as Hen & Chicks. They are widely popular in gardens and as houseplants. Hen & Chicks are perennials and easy to take care of. The plant forms in rosettes of thick leaves with the offsets forming around the parent plant. The larger, parent rosette surrounded by little, baby plants remind us of a hen surrounded by her chicks, hence the name.

Sedums and Sempervivums can be grown in rock gardens, planters, or used as ground cover. They can handle full sun to partial shade. These plants don’t require a lot of care, but they do need well drained soil and to be watered when dry. They also do require dead heading.

These succulents can be divided and used to create more plants. All that is required is to take a cutting from the original plant, plant into another pot or another area of ground. This cutting will spread on its own and become another plant in your garden or collection.

There is a wide range of bloom time for these succulents, so throughout the year they will continue to change colors. Sempervivums will have a flower stalk grow out from the parent plant and drop seeds. After this flower dies, gently twist the stalk off to allow room the chicks to ‘hatch’. When the sun is the hottest and shining on the plants, this will be when the plants really show their full color.

Growing Tomatoes in the Pacific Northwest

Where:  Plant in a spot in the garden that receives as much direct sun as possible. Use the largest pot if planting in containers, nothing less than 5 gallon.

When: Seeds should be started indoors 6-8 weeks prior to the last frost. If you don’t have direct sun indoors and no grow light, it is easier to buy starters. Wait until after your last frost to plant tomatoes outdoors.

Soil: Soil needs to be integrated with organic, slow release fertilizer or compost, not manure.

Planting: First dig as big of a hole as possible, then bury the bottom of the stem. Tomato plants’ stems will root anywhere that touches the ground. Burying deep will make a strong root base.

Staking: The plant needs to be staked the same day as planting. Cages, stakes, walls, anything to keep the vines from the ground will work. Get creative. As the plant grows, continue to tie the plant to the stake, every 6-10”. The plant will grow more while being supported.

Care: Always remove leaves touching the ground. Keeping water off the foliage will reduce the chances of late blight. Covering plants during periods of rain will also help. Remove any side branches on the bottom 12 inches of the main stem. Keep pinching back even if they continue growing back, this makes the plant grow up rather than out. With increasing days and temperatures the plants require more water. Soak the soil, not the plant. Watering in the morning is the best time to prevent evaporation. At 5-6 feet tall, pinch the ends of the branches to prevent growing, this sends the plant’s energy to ripening tomatoes.

Harvesting: Each variety of tomato will look different when ripe. A way to check is the ‘bent knuckles’ on the stem that supports the tomato. If the stem is spread apart the tomato will come right off. Store harvested tomatoes at room temperature and shade to keep the flavor. At the end of the season, the green tomatoes can be harvested and they will ripen inside.

Tomato Varieties

Early Variety

Cherry or Small Tomato

Determinate Variety

Large Tomato

Heirloom Variety


Good Foundation for Your Garden

 Soil: Loamy soil is the ideal starting point for all gardens. It’s easy to work, drains well, and keeps moisture and nutrients. Deciding your soil type is easy, grab a handful and squeeze. If the soil falls apart, you have sandy soil. If the soil holds it shape but falls apart when you poke it, you have loamy soil. If the soil holds it shape even when poked, you have clay soil. Sandy soil will require you to till two inches of organic compost into the top few inches of your garden. It is especially important that the top inch or two have adequate compost to help support seed germination. If you have loamy soil only worry about tilling it while wet, and possibly mixing one-quarter of an inch of organic compost into the top six inches of soil. Unfortunately clay soil will not be transformed into good gardening soil. You should plan on buying some good-quality vegetable garden soil and place about six to eight inches on top of the existing soil. Dig down through the new soil and into your existing soil about three inches. Till well together, and you’ll be on your way to having great soil! This process helps to create mounds, and is often why urban gardeners opt for raised planter beds to hold their new soil in place.

Fertilizer: If able, making your own fertilizer is easy and great for the Northwest soil. Ask an A-Boy employee to help you find each of these items: cottonseed meal (use 8 dry cups), lime (use 1 dry cup), phosphate rock (use 1 dry cup), and kelp meal (use 1 dry cup). This can be spread about 50 square feet of your garden. There is also other premade fertilizer options, ask an A-Boy employee for advice. Once the fertilizer is spread, dig about 3-4 inches before you plant.

Planting at the right time: You need to reference the required soil temperature listed on each seed package and then take the soil temperature. You can use instant thermometer to do this, but soil thermometers are also available. Between noon and 2 p.m., insert the thermometer two inches into the soil where you plan to plant and record the temperature. Repeat this step for three to four days in a row and average the resulting temperatures. When the soil registers as warm enough, begin planting!

Deciding what to plant: The Pacific Northwest has a short cool summer which makes growing warm-weather crops difficult. Make sure to look at the back of each seed packet to know the requirements of a successful plant. Before planting, plan ahead by making a planting schedule for your year and draw out a garden layout of where each plant will go.

 Start Planting!


Veggie Harvest Dates

Artichokes: September and October

Arugula: May through December

Asparagus: April through June

Basil: June through November

Beets: June through January, plant rows 18” apart; when seedlings are 3” high, thin to 1” apart for baby beets, 3-4” for mature beets, 6” for winter storage beets.

Blackberries: July through September

Blueberries: June through September

Boysenberries: June through August

Broccoli: June through September, center plants 24” apart in rows 4’ apart. Complete thinning when the plants have three true leaves.

Brussels sprouts: September through January

Cabbage: June through February

Cantaloupes: August through October

Carrots: June through January, plant rows 18” apart; when seedlings are 2-3” tall, thin to 1 1/2” apart.

Cauliflower: July through September, center plants 24” apart.

Celery root: August through November

Celery: August through November

Chard: May through February

Cherries: June and July

Chiles: August through October

Collard greens: May through February

Corn: August through October, needs to be grown with at least four rows 30” apart. Thin plants to 8” apart in the rows.

Cucumber: July through October, space 18” mounds about 2-3’ apart. Plant four to five seeds; when seedlings have first true leaf, thin to one plant per mound.

Eggplant: August through November

Fava beans: April through June

Fennel: year-round

Garlic: August through November (stored year-round)

Green beans: July through September

Green onions/scallions: spring through fall

Huckleberries: August and September

Kale: May through February

Leeks: September through March

*Lettuce: May through November, plant rows 24” apart, when plants are 2-3” in diameter, sow new rows in between the started ones.

Marionberries: July

Melons: August through October

Mint: May through December

Onions: June through October (stored in winter)

Oregano: May through December

Parsley: May through December, plant rows 18” apart, thin plants to 3” apart.

Parsnips: September through February

Pears: August and November

Peas and pea pods: June and July, plant rows 18’ apart

Peppers (sweet): August through October

Potatoes: year-round

Pumpkins: October through November

Radicchio: May through November

Radishes: May through November, plant rows 12” apart; thin plants to 2” apart

Raspberries: June through August

Rhubarb: April through June

Rosemary: May through December

Rutabaga: September through February

Sage: May through December

Salsify: September through December

Scallions/green onions: May through November

Shallots: September through December (from storage through winter)

Shelling beans: September and October

Snap peas/snow peas/pea pods: June and July

Spinach: May through December, plant rows 14-18” apart, thin seedlings to 3” apart when plants are 3” in diameter, then thin to 6-8” apart if you want large plants to pick leaves from.

Sprouts: May through October

Squash (summer): June through October, space mounds 2-3’ apart, in rows 4’ apart. Sow three to four seeds; thin to one per mound

Squash (winter): September through February

Strawberries: June and July

Thyme: May through December

Tomatoes: July through October, center plants two to three feet apart.

Turnips: June through January

Watercress: May through December

Watermelon: August and September

Zucchini: June through October, space mounds 2-3’ apart, in rows 4’ apart. Sow three to four seeds; thin to one per mound