Monday, May 31, 2010

Propagated Plants for Sale at the Arboretum

An hour long stroll on Memorial Day brought us to the visitors center at the north end of the Arboretum.  Peaceful walk with the puffy rain clouds making way for blue sky and birds chirping from tree to tree.

The main road over top of the hill was closed, so we meandered along, cutting in and out of the woods.  Perhaps one day the road will be permanently closed to metal on wheels.

At the back side of the visitors center we discovered a paradise of hoop tents and tables filled with propagated plants.  Wood chip lined paths made for a more comfortable walk amongst the starts than the paved walkways. The hoops are PVC pipes, most of the 1/2" diameter variety, with black shade cloth draped across.

At the farthest south west corner of the nursery, you'll find a large picnic bench, under cover, next to 2ft tall cold frames.  The shaded glen and rustling of leaves takes me back to the estates and gardens in south east England.   Just like many of those gardens, there are propagated plants for sale.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring Into Bed

Seattle is in the year of urban agriculture.  Planting strips are often used for veggie gardens, raised beds springing up in unique locations.  Seattle Tilth brought communities together in early May to create edible gardens for low income neighborhoods.

Fruitless in Seattle

Just checked on our two plum trees this morning and I counted a total of two fruit set.  The last few years these trees were extremely productive.  We're talking 100+ lbs every year.  We've certainly kept busy drying, canning and making fruit leather out of this year the trees seem to be on vacation, and I'm ok with that.  It will help ensure I don't get completely sick of the things, and they'll probably go back to their overly-productive selves next year.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Become an Urban Farming Mentor

The Urban Farm Hub is starting classes this Thursday for people interested in learning how to mentor others in gardening to grow their own food. If you're interested check out the link here.

Perhaps you are looking to start your own garden and don't know where to begin? That's what these mentors are there for. Of course, we were at Beans and Bunnies are always happy to provide advice and answer questions.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Garden Project with Kids

If you're looking for a cheap and fun activity to engage kids in the garden, consider this nifty seed planting project. It can be fun for adults too!

- 1 egg carton
- 1 small plastic garden pot to hold soil
- 1 even smaller plastic garden pot for scooping
- 3-4 cups of potting soil
- 2-4 packets of seeds
- scissors

Step 1: Prep by cutting the egg carton in half. Each kid will get 6 little planters. Fill the larger garden pot with soil and set the scoop inside the bin.  Find a good location at a kids height to plant.
Step 2: Have your 3yr old scoop soil into the the egg carton
Step 3: Lay out the selection of seeds and let them pick what they would like to plant
Step 4: Have them hold out one hand so you can pour some seeds in. It's ok to give them extra seeds, u can always thin the plants later.  Odds are good some will end up on the ground anyway.
Step 5: make a small indentation in the center of each egg slot and ask them to pinch a few seeds into the indent.  Have them sprinkle seeds in each of the 6 spaces.
Step 6: Get their help to put any extra seeds back in the seed packet.
Step 7: Next, they scoop a little more soil and pour it over the little holes in each to cover the seeds. I get them to clean up the excess that likely ended up on the table or steps when the first put soil in to cover the seeds. This way they can only grab small amounts and the seeds aren't covered too heavily.
Step 8: Help them water the seeds
Step 9: Enlist their help to clean up.
Step 10: If you can, point to a plant in your garden or a book to show them what their seeds will turn into.

We enjoyed eating our lettuce directly from the garden and then planting the seeds.

Tip: use the top of the egg carton as a tray for the newly planted seeds, it makes it easy to carry the egg crate for the kids.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Husband's New Pets

Our new earthworms moved into their 18 gallon plastic home today. Shredded paper, garden soil, and some vegetable scraps are in there to start them off with food and bedding.

They reside in our carport. Holes are drilled at the top of their bin and in a nice pattern on the lid.

Looking forward to their contribution to the garden.

Should I be concerned that the husband referred to them as pets?

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