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!


Seattle Gardens to Visit September 2, 2008

Another garden blogger asked me to recommend places to photograph flowers and nature in Seattle. There are so many, it was hard to narrow it down. But here goes (click on garden names for links to their sites)…

Washington Park Arboretum
This is the biggie in town, many acres of landscaped gardens owned by the University of Washington. It contains a Japanese Garden, tons of mature trees, and you can even rent a canoe at the UW boathouse below the football stadium and paddle past lily pads and see the place from the water,

Gardens at the Ballard Locks
These are very manicured, lots of fuschias, and it’s also fun to watch the boats go through the locks. There’s a fish ladder too for watching the salmon come through, but I think it might be the wrong time of year for that.

Bloedel Reserve

If you have time to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island, the Bloedel Reserve is supposed to be amazing (I keep meaning to go, but have never been).

Kubota Gardens
Japanese garden in the southern part of Seattle. Embarrassingly, I haven’t been yet,even though I love Japanese gardens, but it’s supposed to be very cool.

Volunteer Park Conservatory
Free and open to the public, it’s the city’s greenhouse and contains a lot of really amazing stuff. Gigantic cacti, a corpse flower (might be done blooming/stinking now), tons of tropical stuff. A photographer’s paradise! The Asian Art Museum is just a few steps away, as is a big water tower you can climb to the top of (stairs, not scary) and look out at the entire park.

Woodland Park Rose Garden
Best May through August. Near the zoo, in case you’re planning to go there as well.

Here is a listing of other public gardens owned by the City of Seattle, in case you have time for even more:

Seattle Tilth Demonstration Gardens
Lastly, my favorite garden-supporting organization has demonstration gardens that are worth a peek. They have a lot crammed into a small space, and all is done sustainably.

A lot of neighborhoods in Seattle have great home gardens you can see from the street. I like the DIY ones the best, in neighborhoods like Wallingford, Ravenna, parts of West Seattle, etc.

Nature is everywhere here – you might look up in the sky and see a bald eagle one day or a great blue heron the next. There is a beaver pond a few miles from my house, and salmon spawn in the city’s creeks. There are still ancient trees in the city, at least a few, and mountains are visible from so many vantage points. It’s a great city to garden in or just to visit.

(Arboretum Japanese Garden Photo by Mary Nagan)

(Arboretum Japanese Garden Photo by Mary Nagan)


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!