Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Freeway-side Gardening September 18, 2009

Filed under: flora,veggies — greenwalks @ 8:43 am
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Often, the urge to garden in the city despite lack of an ideal site is just overwhelming. Waits for P-patch slots can be years-long, so sometimes people just get out their shovels and dig wherever they can, whatever the challenges may be.

A few years ago, I saw a guy working on a steep, brush-covered hillside at the corner of a very busy freeway on-ramp here in Seattle. I couldn’t actually believe he was making a garden there, but he was. He cleared the brush and weeds away, tilled the soil, and started planting. And not just tough, easy-care plants, but veggies and flowers. Lots of them.

I used to pass this garden several times a day but hadn’t for a while, and I was delighted to see that it is still thriving despite the daily dose of exhaust it must get from all the passing cars. And despite being at a kind of hard-scrabble crossroads where a lot of down-and-out folks hang out, nobody seems to have raided or vandalized the plot. I don’t know how many people notice or enjoy it as they hurry past, but for me it’s a true testament to the creativity and tenacity of the urban gardener.

(These photos were taken from the car on a blasting sunny day, so are not ideal.)

This is the view you see from the street – sunflowers, amaranth, marigolds, kale, cabbages, rosemary – the works! Red, orange and yellow to brighten a dull stretch of road – what’s not to love?

Streetside Seattle garden by I-5 onramp

In this one, you can see the simple wooden retaining wall the gardener built to hold in soil and maybe keep folks from wandering in from the sidewalk.

Seattle urban garden

The onramp retaining wall is visible in this next shot – no joke, it’s right there!

Farm in the city

Have you ever gone to great lengths to establish a garden in a non-ideal site?


You Know You Haven’t Gardened in a While… September 13, 2009

Filed under: bugs,flora — greenwalks @ 7:22 pm
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… when you put on your gloves for the first time in ages, feel little tickling on the back of your hand, ignore it for a bit, feel it again, peel off your glove and…


Then you attempt to contain your instinctive shrieks and curse words since you know the neighbors are out on their patio, and instead you do the most insanely uncontrollable flapping, hopping full-body shudder dance you have ever done in your life. The favorite gloves will now be consigned to occasional use, as they are now suspect and will always be The Earwig Gloves.

No, I did not take a picture, but I did find another earwig while cleaning off the porch today so I can continue my long and tedious deck-painting project. I would much rather be gardening than painting or all of the other long put-off things on the house to-do list. But first, I will need new gloves. Ew, is there anything more skin-crawling than an earwig? Wait, maybe don’t answer that, I’m sure there is. At least it didn’t pinch me!

I hope to be back to slightly more regular blogging now that summer is over and I’m no longer on all-day mom duty. We had a lot of fun and even saw a few nifty gardens during the school vacation, but the time for gardening, blogging and blog-reading (and commenting) was pretty much nil. I look forward to catching up on what you’all have been up to and seeing how your gardens grew during the season.

Much nicer than a bug photo, I hope – some cute stripy small Dahlias my mom grew this summer.

Stripy dahlia


Skywatch Friday – September 4, 2009 September 4, 2009

Filed under: sky,trees — greenwalks @ 10:06 am
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Little windows of summer sky through my parents’ cherry tree:

Blue sky through cherry tree

Soon those leave will be a thing of the past. And the future, maybe, if they head to the compost pile. Wish we could bank the sun in the same fashion!

For more Skywatch Friday posts, click here.


Anthropomorphic Tomatoes September 3, 2009

Filed under: edibles — greenwalks @ 11:00 am
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My folks grew these ultra-goofy-looking tomatoes – I picked them up a few days too late for Molly’s tomatoes-with-body-parts contest, so they didn’t win any prizes, but they sure might have. Photo is blurry but maybe you can still see, they’re pretty hilarious.

Tomatoes with noses

What’s the oddest-looking edible you’ve ever grown?

(I must say that most of my parents’ tomatoes look completely normal and perfect – these were special exceptions held out in case they made the trip to the judging on Tiger Mountain!)