Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Not...the Ballard Edible Garden Tour

Walking on the Ballard Edible Garden Tour, it was difficult not to be distracted by front-yard veggie gardens that were not part of the tour.  Obviously, more breeds more, and creativity to grow edibles in small spaces abounds in Ballard.

Looking more closely at the above raised bed, I spotted slug deterrents glued onto the top of the boards.  Two questions: how much copper is really in those pennies, and should we collect our pennies for this purpose in Canada (since pennies will soon no longer made)?

I close these 4 blog entries on Ballard with a cafe sign in Ballard honoring the happy chickens of the area:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ballard Edible Garden Tour, Part 3

The rain started to come down, so we could not explore this garden adequately.  The backyard has well-built raised beds with drip irrigation and supports for climbing plants.  Not seen is their "fence" of dwarf espaliered apple trees.  Similar to a couple other gardens, there is a toddler, willing to work.
Across the street is a curious area, also on the tour.  A large area is under construction for raised beds and a public park.  The City of Seattle bought the plot from a church which had died out due to celibacy rules.  This will be one of Seattle's P-Patches.  I would love to return later to see how this unusual open space develops.  More information here

By now we were huddling under our hoods because it was raining in earnest.  This last garden utilizes every bit of space on the boulevard all around their corner lot.  Both ornamental and edible plants are thickly planted, and you can see that "lettuce loves strawberries". 

Pots clamped onto a side fence grow attractive lettuce.

See the beads of water on this sign? 
Watch for a "NOT" Ballard Edible Garden Tour blog, coming up next!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ballard Edible Garden Tour, Part 2

I did not get a photo of the chickens, but they were free roaming in the back yard which is why this garden features a fence with chicken wire.  The hoops in this garden are covered with plastic over the winter, thus the large beet plants.  In the third photo, you can see the garlic patch in the far back.  A very thriving garden thanks to both chicken and goat manure. We liked the freshly-baked cookies that were for sale!

A work of art is how I would describe the following garden.  Not only are the paths organized neatly with chipped wood, there are special ornamental plants to attract pollinators, and there are attractive artifacts.  I especially liked the pump and the decorative "tea cup" piece.  The gardener has active worm compost bins (in an area outside the fenced garden), and uses the compost to enhance the soil. Photos cannot do justice to this lovely garden spot.  Note straw used as a mulch--this is commonly seen in Ballard.

I wished that I had asked about the hardware cloth used to frame some of the beds.  Perhaps slugs don't like the metal?

In this third garden, I was intrigued by their use of old bricks for a path on the boulevard.  Using a wedge, the bricks were split in half, making them easier to form into interesting patterns, and the split side is face up.  More brick is used in the backyard.  But the gardener noted that if the filling between the bricks is permeable, weeds are inevitable. 

In the backyard an artichoke is growing--I saw several on the tour. This may have been the gardener who said that his chickens even ate the poisonous rhubarb leaves!  But the chickens do more than peck away at the greenery and lay eggs--their manure is an important ingredient in the composting in this garden.

Watch for Part 3!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ballard Edible Garden Tour, Part 1

Saturday, June 23, 2012, was the 4th annual Ballard Edible Garden Tour.  Before the rain got too miserable, my sister-in-law and I saw 9 of the 15 gardens.  (Ballard is an area north of downtown Seattle, WA.)  The houses in the area are from the early part of the 20th century, and unlike in Vancouver, are not being torn down in great numbers, but are lovingly cared for.  Click on this link to read more about Sustainable Ballard and their Edible Garden Tour.  On this tour, I was fortunate to be able to explore backyard edible gardens as well!

What is behind the trellis?
Corn!  And a raised bed with copper strips wrapped around the outside to discourage slugs.  The trellis provides an attractive and useful foil in the front yard.  The back yard has an area for free-roaming chickens; unfortunately, I did not get their photos.
When we talked to the gardener at the second garden that we visited, he told us that he had rebuilt these boxes to conform to Seattle's guidelines for boulevard gardens.  One box is in the shade of a tree, and it had peas which I was amazed to hear had over-wintered!  I am not sure that could happen in Vancouver.

The lot is extra small because part of it was split off years ago for a second, small dwelling in the rear, so space for growing is at a premium.  Veggies are grown in pots on these steps, and there are more pots are along the driveway and in the back. The gardener likes to have flowering plants next to the front sidewalk to screen the vegetables from view, making the front very attractive.
This time, I got a photo of the chicken house (7 chickens live there), which spans both of the lots, and chores are shared. 
The third garden used a cover crop of crimson clover to improve the soil on the boulevard, and edibles are inter-planted.
Here's a way to keep a teepee together at the top!
Gardens in the Pacific Northwest invariably have spots with unavoidable deep shade.  The gardener in this garden has decided to grow mushrooms in three shady places in the garden.  He is hoping for mushrooms next year.  This is the first time I've encountered planting mushrooms outdoors.
One of the mushroom sites in the side yard:
 The backyard has an extensive garden.  The black plastic heats up this area for tomatoes and peppers.

More photos to come!!