Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair, Continued September 9, 2008

There was so much going on at the Harvest Fair, I couldn’t fit it all into one post!

The turnout was big this year, due to the nice weather and, I think, the increasing interest here in all things “green.”

Happy folks listening to music:

Harvest Fair Crowd

Young fiddle player in the bandstand:

Fiddler at Rest

As I mentioned in the previous post, I didn’t get to attend any workshops this year. This one on “hot composting” looked cool, pitchforks were flying! I just peeked at it through the apple trellis:

Composting Demo

Lots of friendly animals to visit, we city folks get so excited by the most common barnyard animals. These goats were super happy to be fed tufts of grass by anyone who passed by:

Friendly Goat

This mobile chicken coop was a real conversation-starter. Hope a certain farm machinery company doesn’t ever sue this guy for logo infringement! The city of Seattle allows chicken keeping, with some restrictions. Click here to find out more.

Mobile Chicken Coop

The end of summer in Seattle always brings a frenzy of activity at Farmers’ Markets as we all realize we’ll be stuck with a limited selection until spring, if we plan to eat (at least mostly) local. Everyone was snapping up the late-summer goodies at the Fair’s big market.

Pepper tower (I saw someone carefully asking about and writing down every variety after purchasing a smaller one):

Super Fancy Pepper Chain

Pile o’ sweet corn:

Corn Pile


Box O' Tomatillos

And a nice reminder that not everyone can afford Farmers’ Market prices, so we need to donate produce when we can to help everyone eat the good stuff:

Beet Hunger

I came home with a nice little flat of winter veggie starts (several lettuces, spinach, a mild mustard, Chinese broccoli and rainbow chard) to put in the parking strip. I’m going to get to it this week before the snails discover them!

Flat O' Winter Veggie Starts


Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair September 8, 2008

After much anticipation, our time at the Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair was on the short side this year. My kiddo was super wiped out from the first week of kindergarten, so we didn’t spend as long as I would have liked there. We saw lots of friends though, made some fun kid crafts, marched in the mini parade and did a quick turn around the fairgrounds (the wonderful Good Shepherd Center in Seattle’s Wallingford Neighborhood). Next time, maybe I’ll leave the non-gardening members of the family at home and I can dawdle a bit and maybe even go to a few of the many workshops they offer on sheet mulching, wild edible plants, making preserves, etc.

I got to the winter veggie starts stand a little later than I’d have liked, and some stuff was already gone or somewhat picked over. I didn’t come with a list, though, so I tried not to be too disappointed and ended up coming away with a nice variety.

Winter Greens Starts

The herb-wreath-making station was really popular. A nice gal helped us make this one with our daughter. Easy to do! Just take three bunches of herbs, twist-tie each at its bottom end, put them end to end and wrap them with ribbon. You can weave in flowers later, and leave ribbons to trail down behind. Here’s ours, in progress:

Herb Wreath in Progress

Also popular, unsurprisingly, a chocolate tasting table from Theo Chocolate. Their stuff is fair trade, organic and insanely yummy. I think my daughter didn’t even taste hers, it went down the hatch so quickly. I savored it a bit more, and highly recommend the 3400 Phinney line, especially the fig/fennel/almond variety.

Theo Chocolate Tasting

Lisa Taylor, the Children’s Garden Program Manager, gleefully rounded up a ton of folks for the parade at noon.

Parade Power

She led the way with chants of “What do we love? The sun!!!” and other gardening-related silliness. She also passed out hilarious costumes including giant carrots for the adults and mini worm capes for the kids:

Worm Girl

We hooted, hollered, shook noisemakers and paraded our way through the festival grounds a few times, then eventually ground to a halt and disbanded, shedding costumes like molting butterflies.

This is getting kind of long… I think I’ll have to do a Part II!


Plant Sale Impulse Purchase

I was just lingering by the plant table at the Harvest Fair on Saturday, not really intending to buy anything since I’d already nearly filled up my little red wagon with winter veggie starts, when I looked down and saw this fairly unassuming, not terribly attractive baby shrub.

Ornamental Pomegranate

I wasn’t going to buy it, honestly! It had some deadwood around the base and the leaves looked like they might be deciduous (I took a solemn vow this year – shrubs must only be evergreen from now on!) But then I saw the tag:

Dwarf Pomegranate

Do I really **need** an ornamental pomegranate? Well, of course not! But I was thinking quite recently that the fruit tree I wish most that our climate allowed was a real, actual, fruiting one. So, I guess this is the best we can do in Seattle, sans greenhouse. The guy behind the sale table said he has one in his front garden and he has already received five notes from passers-by asking what it is so they can get one too. He did warn me that it needs pruning to stay small, and that it can attract aphids. Oh, and my plant guide says it needs regular watering and monthly fertilizing in order to flower properly. Hm. Normally I would resist something with this many care needs, but maybe it will be worth the work. It likes full sun, so I’m putting it in the parking strip and we’ll see what happens. The hummingbirds should like it, since the flowers are red.

Here’s what it’s supposed to look like once the flowers bloom.

Ah, plant sales. There’s always something there you probably should resist but just can’t!


Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair is Coming August 27, 2008

If you live in or near Seattle and have a little time free on Saturday, September 6, head over to the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford for Seattle Tilth’s annual Harvest Fair. Get all the details here.

Goats, bees and chickens to visit, winter veggie starts to buy, a parade at noon, flower wreaths to make, music, organic gardening clinics, compost advice, a farmers’ market, tons of stuff for kids, and even more than that. Rain or shine, it’s a great event.

This family got talked into wearing some of the Tilth staff’s costumes last year. I particularly admired the guy who was willing to be a giant carrot for the parade.

Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair Parade 2007

I go every year and always come home with fun stuff to over-winter – rainbow chard, herbs, leeks, broccoli, etc. and all of it goes in the parking strip. Here’s my haul from last year.

Homeward Bound Plants

Catch it if you can!