Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sustainable NE Seattle Edible Garden Tour - Part 4

This is the well thought out and densely planted 1/4 acre yard of Sustainable Eats. Even the front parking strip has been turned into a productive gardening space.

Repurposed burlap bags are situated on the sidewalk strips and used for growing zucchini and potatoes.

Peas are growing next to the fences and flowering in beautiful colors.

Raised beds, leafy greens, tomatoes, corn, raspberries and other goodies can be found in the front gardens.

The side yards are colorful and productive as well.

A big thank you to Sustainable NE Seattle for sponsoring this most excellent garden tour. Your gardeners are innovative, inspirational and generous. I'll look forward to the next tour.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sustainable NE Seattle Edible Garden Tour - Part 3

Did you know that ducks will lay an egg a day for at least four years? That's a lot of eggs when you have three ducks. 1,095 per year to be exact.   I was surprised how chatty ducks are. They had a very entertaining conversation with their owner while I was visiting. I might need to add a couple of them to my menagerie. I wonder if they like chickens?

In this yard, rain water captured from the roof is used for watering the gardens and filling the web footed friends wading pool. It takes about a barrel of water to fill the duck pool.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sustainable NE Seattle Edible Garden Tour - Part 2

This garden has been nurtured over the last two seasons and has quite a lot of character. Repurposed wine bottles border the raised bed that meanders around the small yard. There are several YouTube videos on how this space evolved from a grass lawn into an edible garden. Be sure to watch parts 1,2, and 3.

Mixed in among the vegetables sits a bust of Homer Simpson, I think it use to be a Chia head.

Cottage cheese and sour cream containers wrapped with copper tape make for good protection against the ever prolific slugs that will consume everything yummy in the garden.  The copper color also adds a nice warm tone to the browns and green of the edible scape.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sustainable NE Seattle Edible Garden Tour - Part 1

Today the Sustainable NE Seattle group held the Edible Garden Tour of fifteen of their member's gardens. What a wonderful opportunity for gardeners in the Seattle area to see what kinds of foods are being grown in our maritime climate, how small spaces can produce an abundance of fresh organic home grown food and the changes people are making to live more sustainably.

In the next several posts, I'll be sharing pictures of some of the gardens I really enjoyed.  Every gardener/farmer was incredibly generous with explaining the who, what, when, where, why and how of their gardens.

The first garden I want to share is an amazing place that has everything from bees, to a contemporary root cellar, to a passive solar system which produces so much energy that the extra power is sold back to Seattle City Light. This family is passionate about living sustainably and I could certainly see it while touring their garden.

The solar panels and storage units that have been installed on the roof of John and Sue's home provides electricity while also heating water for home use and the thermal floor heating system.

Broken ceramic pots make for a colorful and functional raised bed for growing the leafy greens.

Snap peas

This is an innovative modified hoophouse. The supports are rebar and the cover is a light weight nylon netting. Underneath the blueberries and strawberries can ripen and are safe from being consumed by the birds. I thought the rebar frame might be a good option for setting up an electric fence to keep the deer out of my gardens.

Top bar bee hive.

And the rainwater collection system.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Potato Update

My potatoes seem to be adjusting well to their new home. The starts are gaining color and the stems are thickening. I dug a trench and will back fill the trench as the potato plants grow. Yes, the potatoes are planted in part of one of the dahlia beds.  I lost some dahlia bulbs this winter and decided to consolidate the survivors and use the newly freed up space for food production. This section will be home to the tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Repurposing is For the Birds

I learned here that the left over shell or chaff from the coffee bean roasting process can be used for the bedding in chicken nesting boxes. I found an organic coffee roaster located close to my home and the nice owner was more than happy to provide me with the leftovers from their week of bean roasting.  The chickens seem to be happy with their new beds and they also enjoy eating some of it as well.  I do find the chaff sticks to the eggs more than the pine shavings, but hey, what's the matter with being a little chaffed?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Busy Wildlife

During the last couple of weeks, there has been a lot of wildlife activity in the yard. I've seen the bobcat, the deer, a raccoon and for the first time ever, the big black bear!  Not the little bear I was expecting, but a bear that I estimate to be about half the size of our daughters horse. So about 600 lbs. We think it might have been a male.

While I was loudly whispering for my daughter to bring the camera, she was telling me to get off the deck and come inside. A little role reversal and I didn't get the picture of the bear.

However, I did get some pictures of the havoc the deer seem to be reeking in my garden. I mean really, they were even in the raised beds that are about two feet up and the reason I know this is because they left foot prints. Bad deer.....very naughty.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Maybe Just a Tad Late?

I have never grown potatoes and decided to expand my seed genre this season. I purchased the potato seeds and they arrived about two months ago. I put them in the garage to stay cool and dormant and had every good intention of planting them in a timely manner.  Well, the weather is heating up here and I decided the potatoes needed to be divided and placed in the soil. When I opened the potato bags, I was surprised to find little anemic shoots reaching for the light in our dark garage. Yikes! I hope they will still grow into productive plants.

Also needing planting are the tomatoes, celeriac, basil, lavender, cabbage, sage thyme, artichoke, peppers, and eggplant starts.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Art of Sharing

My neighborhood has several families that grow food to different degrees. Some of us have large gardens and some of us are starting the first garden. I find that most gardeners are very open about sharing growing tips, cooking and preserving tips, and extra veggie starts.  I love the way the food brings people together, an exchange done with heart and soul.