cloudy day… good day for fishin the yakima. C YA!
just back from NOLA a couple weeks ago, itchin for that food. Caspers on aurora & 160 has it. poboys, gator, okra, sweet tea, and goodness!
Seattle Times- ‘No splendor in your grass? UW researchers looking into reducing runoff from NW lawns by mixing compost into the soil’ Section B 6/3/2010
consider this: lawns r fare from eco-friendly but can b a great source of mulch & organic matter. bag every other cut & give to your plants.
earth day 2: if u abso-frickin-lutely need a lawn put in a sub soil drip irrigation system and a rain sensor. good compromise, eh?
happy earthday! its a great day 4 putting in a veg bed! grow food – eat well – live fully. the future of food is your backyard!
zephyr’s breakfast farro risotto at elliot bay cafe has to be tried by all seattlites. great early spring porridge for dried fruit and nuts. incredible!
A variety of vertical garden styles
Space is tight in urban areas and as a result gardens are growing up…literally. More than the United States, Europe is using vertical space to grow semi-hydroponic gardens that help the urban environment on a number of levels.
The obvious benefit of the vertical garden is the immediate improvement in environmental quality. While traditional building facades serve as massive heat sinks that radiate heat and increase ambient air temperatures, living walls thermoregulate buildings by trapping heat in the winter and cooling buildings in the summer. But vertical gardens go beyond just outdoor applications. Indoor air quality can be improved as well by installing a vertical garden on interior walls. “Active” indoor vertical walls encase the plants in plexiglass and circulate air by their leaves and roots. Indoor toxins are trapped in the capillary mat and are transformed into usable minerals by microbes.
As far as garden trends go vertical gardens can most likely considered to be a movement or phenomena. Horticulture is experiencing a number of paradigm shifts on a number of fronts as we seek new ways to create gardens that are engaged part of our lives. For example, consider what the organic movement has done for gardening in the last 60 years. Edible landscaping is now more and more common as people considered first the impact of pesticides and then the impact of food on our ecosystem. No we are considering our potential to clean up the environment in a very aesthetic manner.
The current undisputed master designer of the vertical garden is Patrick Blanc. His designs grace the facades of chic architecture around the world. His system of polyamide capillary felt and waterproofing membrane is braced to a metal structure and then planted and irrigated semi-hydroponically. It is a simple and effective design that is lightweight, allowing for massive gardens that can reach seemingly infinite heights. But Blanc’s design prowess only represents one side of the many possibilities now posing themselves in the vertical gardening world. It may not be too long before Blanc’s seminal work is considered a design strategy of the past, but don’t cross your fingers.
While Blanc relies on long sheets of polyamide felt to weave his extensive tapestries other designers like ELT, are working with panels of plants that range from 4 to 12 square feet. The benefit of the modular system is ease of maintenance and possibilities of variety. At any time the panels can be rearranged to create a new design or removed entirely to troubleshoot maintenance issues. This too may be archaic in a not too distant future. I say that because the inventiveness that the work Blanc and the other vertical gardening pioneers have inspired will surely lead this environmental horticulture phenomena to new heights.
I drool on myself thinking of the fruit that I want to grow. I go catatonic and slack jaw as my mind wanders from one out of body culinary hallucination to the next leaving a gapping hole for the drool to just dribble out.
I live in a rental in Wallingford a cute and quiet garden neighborhood of Seattle with two lawns, one in the front and one in the back, neither of which I can rip out and replant with childish haste the fruits that I dream about. The thing is, I’m not even sure that the effort and care that I would undoubtedly put into these trees and shrubs and vines would be reciprocated with ripe fruit. My USDA hardiness zone is 8, which would to easily thrive here, but fruit? That’s a little trickier. The chill hours (the number of hours needed for a fruiting perennial to stay dormant before production) I have, it’s the ripening time and the heat to do so that I’m not so sure about. Regardless I’m in a rental that I won’t be in for long enough to even experiment with these fruits so until I do I will describe them while I drool on my self.
#1 Paw Paw (Asminia triloba) : The Banana of the North. ~ When I was a kid my grandpa Scotty used to buy me an eclair before we went fishing. The custard would ooze out of the dough and down my chin and I would smile this huge smile. Since I first heard about the Paw Paw and how it tasted like spice custard I’ve wanted to grow it, harvest the ripe fruit one early summer morning and go sit in a boat on a lake and think about all the fish I don’t have time to fish for because I’m eating real live natural custard with a huge smile on my face.
#2 Persimmon (Diospyros kaki and americana) ~ Diospyros means fruit of the gods according to Lee Reich. He may be lying but he ain’t lying if you catch my drift. When I lived in Olympia, WA I would go to the co-op and get these delectable fruits from Burnt Ridge Nursery right about now. They didn’t last long, but Good GOD! I would pay half my student loans per pound and take it to the front stoop of the store and eat it, suck on it, rub my lips with this small human heart shaped half-rotting fruit just basking in the sweet jelly like glory of the meat. I can’t think of one that made it home. And those were just the Asian varietals. The Americans were so different. Butterscotch in flavor and the size of a large cherry tomato. I don’t remember much about that day that I tried the wild American Persimmon. It was sunny and I was in White Salmon on a friends farm, the rest is a blur, all except the butterscotch.
Yup, that's Shipova
#3 Shipova I have never tried a Shipova, but I once grew several when I worked at Sleeping Lady in Leavenworth, WA, but I never saw them fruit. Somewhere between a European pear, an Asian Pear and heaven lies, according to catalogues, the flavor of the Shipova. They are rare beauties whose graceful habits are ruined by pruning (so I’ve heard). They don’t store so you must eat them quickly, but it’s been getting around that store them isn’t as much of a problem is taking a break from eating them.
Do you grow any of these? Let me know. I promise I’ll leave some for you…
eat well. live well. be happy.
save your back and use a tarp
I found that for an easy low impact mulch for vegetables there are two options. Leaves and grass clippings. During the summer months using grass clipping that you collect from your push mower is a great free mulch that offers nitrogen to your vegetables. It is readily available and easily acquired for free. But now its fall and the grass is about to hibernate for the next 6 months. We’ll need a mulch for the winter to protect our soil and help retain moisture in the ground through the winter so that it’s available early spring. Just in time is the falling of the autumn leaves. You may not need to drive some of Seattle’s Maple and Elm lined avenues to collect all you need for your garden this year, you might be lucky enough to actually have enough in your backyard or sidewalk. Last weekend I visited a friend on 20th Ave E and found two laborers and two home owners collecting leaves all bound for the yard waste bin. They were more than happy to have me take them away. My truck wasn’t quite full so I kept raking. One home owner actually came out and gave me a bottle of wine for raking his sidewalk! I’ll be using the sidewalk leaves in my veggie beds next season. I left the street leaves for obvious reasons. Leaves decompose more readily than wood chips do and don’t steal nitrogen like their woody counter-parts
- Leaf Mulch
Wood chips are great for perennial beds. Save your back and have your local arborist drop a load of chips. They have to get rid of them and rather than paying for the dumping fees they are happy to unload their days work on to you. The trick is you may not be able to dictate what kind or how much you are getting. You should also be careful not to get fruit wood if you are mulching fruit trees. The fruit wood that is being chipped rarely is just pruned out stems and branches. When an arborist is called in to do work it often revolves around disease. When using diseased wood chips it is important not to mulch trees in the same family. An easy way to get around this is to use conifer chips on fruit and fruit chips on conifers. Pine needles are also good mulch but have a tendency towards acidifying the soil which works well for some berries like Evergreen Huck and Blueberry which both like acidic soil.
Once you know what you need, this is the time of year to start collecting your mulch from your neighborhood.