A Visit To The Seattle Community Garden

I was able to take a short trip back to visit Seattle, and of course the first place I went was…you guessed it….the Communtiy Garden!

It’s the official end of summer, everything is still looking good in the garden right now. Here are some gratuitous garden photos for your enjoyment!

The everbearing raspberries still have plenty of fruit
There are also some blueberries still on the bushes. This photo is looking up at the zinnia hedge from inside the blueberry cage. The zinnia hedge is just so spectacular this year.
This is a photo of the long beds. In the center is the asparagus bed with bush beans planted under the tall asparagus ferns. On the left is a tomato and cucumber bed.
All kinds of lettuce!
There are three full beds of basil – it’s all doing so well.
Up in the orchard, the medlars are looking like full-grown medlars, but aren’t ripe yet.
The quince are a week or two shy of being fully ripe as well.
This is one of the chestnut trees, loaded with chestnuts. I’m sad to be missing the harvest of these this year, but I’m glad I got to visit the garden once more this season.

My Last Time at the Community Garden

The place I’ll miss the most in Seattle is the Community Garden and Orchard.

I left Seattle on Tuesday morning. Here are some scenes from the garden taken on the weekend before I left:

The peas were busting out fo their bed
Walla walla onions….

…and red onions about ready to harvest
Sweet peas in bloom
The blueberries had just started to ripen
Squashes were growing nicely on the slope above the raspberry patch
Beans were just coming up in the asparagus beds
Basil had been recently planted and was doing well
Last but not least, the first zinnia bloomed. Not a moment too soon!

Although I’m sad to not be there in person anymore, this won’t be the end of the Community Garden for this blog. Nate is staying in Seattle and will continue to work in the Community Garden, so never fear – there will still be Community Garden updates!

The Community Garden At the End of May

As I was pulling horsetail out of the blueberry patches this weekend (again), I noticed that the blueberry bushes had formed recognizable (not yet ripe) blueberries. So soon?! It’s only spring!

Continue reading “The Community Garden At the End of May”

A Quick Community Garden Update: Spring Crops

The first crops that we planted at the community garden are growing fast now. Here are some photos I took when I was there last Sunday:

Potatoes
Peas
Onions
Lettuce

Lastly, I wanted to share a photo of the raspberry patch. Other members of the garden spent a lot of time recently weeding, laying down cardboard and bark chips, and replacing some of the polls and wires. It’s looking so good!

It Was Too Good To Be True

Well. The horsetail is back again. The north blueberry patch – the one we spent several work parties weeding and covering with newspaper and bark chips – has horsetail again.

We hadn’t seen any horsetail the past few weekends, so I was optimistic that maybe – just maybe – all that weeding and mulching had done some good. But of course not. It’s back again.

Nate and I spent a couple of hours on Sunday weeding that blueberry patch. Hopefully we can stay on top of it this year. Persistence persistence persistence.


It was a beautiful day out, and, while we were weeding, four other members of the garden were there working in shifts to plant the zinnia hedge.

The zinnia hedge prior to planting

This space separates the garden from the sidewalk/street, and so its nice to have some flowers out there for everyone to admire. We get a lot of compliments on the zinnias. Several passersby today said they couldn’t wait until the flowers were up: something for us all to look forward to.

Zinnias: planted and watered in

The Community Garden is Looking Good!

As we continue to be under strict social distancing orders in the state of WA, Nate and I worked at the community garden on Saturday morning alone again. We continued weeding the blueberry patch – the half that is still thick with weeds. We didn’t make a ton of progress, so I don’t have cool before and after photos to show you.

Instead, I’ll show you some of the other things growing in the garden. The garden members have all been working in the garden at different times throughout the week to keep things going. I think we accomplished more this week than we normally would with our usual two-hour Sunday work party, perhaps because people are spending extra time in the garden these days to keep busy and take their minds off of the current global situation. Also, since we’re not able to socialize, we’re more focused on the task at hand.

The asparagus beds, weeded, mulched, and staked out.

The asparagus beds (photo above) are looking really good! At the beginning of the season, these beds were so overrun with weeds that we couldn’t tell what was bed and what was path. Some of the other members of the community garden spent a lot of time weeding them and then mulching them up with more soil and compost to get them to this state.

The asparagus are coming up!

And so are the horsetail (sigh). There was bit of a snafu with the horsetail in the asparagus bed this week…someone mistook horsetail for asparagus and asparagus for horsetail. They pulled out the asparagus and left the horsetail! Oops.

Note: this is horsetail (kinda looks like asparagus, I suppose)

Fortunately, the mistake was caught that same day, and the asparagus was replanted with extra mulch, so (fingers crossed) it wasn’t too badly damaged.

In the raised beds, the peas are looking good and the onions are slowly growing.

Peas
Onions

We’ve also planted lettuce, beets, and carrots (carrots not pictured).

Lettuce
Beets

The rhubarb is growing rapidly! Soon enough we’ll have rhubarb to harvest, and I can’t wait!

Community Gardening Alone

Since we, in Washington State, are under orders to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy,” the gardening group is not having weekly work parties. But the garden must go on. So, we are all working individually in the garden at separate times, when we can. There is planting to be done, and weeding as always.

Last Saturday, Nate and I worked on weeding the blueberry patch.

The empty garden.

I’m not used to being in the garden by myself.

Here is the blueberry patch we were working in. See those funny green stalks sticking out of the ground? That’s horsetail. It grows super fast and spreads like crazy, and can practically drown the blueberry bushes by the end of the summer if we let it.

Below is a photo of the other blueberry patch. It used to have tons of horsetail too. We spent several work parties last spring pulling horsetail out of there, and then laying thick layers of newspaper and bark chips on top. We had to pull out a spattering of horsetail throughout the summer, but – at least so far – there’s not a single horsetail coming up here this spring, so all that work was worth it. (Those little green shoots in the mulch that you see are quackgrass, which is a-whole-nother story.)

We spent about two hours weeding that day.

Nate pulling horsetail

And here’s what it looked like when we were done:

Ahhh…so satisfying….

We need to get some newspaper and bark chips laid down here soon, otherwise that weeding will be all for naught. Hopefully we can get started on that this coming Saturday.

P.S. Dad – apparently horsetail is edible.

Welcome to the Community Garden

While I don’t have a space for a garden at my house, I am a member of a local community garden.

A panorama of the garden space

This community garden was started about 10 years ago (I think) by a group of people who saw an area of empty Parks Department land and asked if they could use the space to grow food. The Parks Department said yes, and after a few years of careful planning, we now have a large amount of space in which to grow food.

There is no cost to join the community garden; to be a member, just come to the garden work parties and help out. The produce that we harvest is split amongst the work party members and about half of it is donated to the local food bank.

The photo above is just of the garden space. There is also a separate orchard area that has a number of fruit, nut, and berry trees/shrubs (including figs, crabapples, plums, quince, chestnuts, aronia berries, medlars….). I wasn’t working in the orchard last Sunday, so I don’t have any photos of that space to share with you, but I hope you enjoy these photos of the garden space (info in the captions below the photos):

“Bermuda’s Triangle” / Pollinator garden / ???
Last year this was a pollinator garden. We haven’t decided what we’ll plant in this space this year — maybe beans and peas?
Raspberry bushes. Bermuda’s Triangle is to the right of this photo
These are some of the raised beds.
The white tent in the back has picnic tables where we have our potlucks.
On the top right side of the photo (the metal hoops) is one the blueberry patches.
For perspective, the raspberry patch is on the right side of the photo
One of the blueberry patches
Here’s the other blueberry patch. It was damaged in a snowstorm a year ago
On the back left side of the photo (the wood pallets) is our compost area.
The black plastic on the left side of the photo is suppressing weeds in area we call “the long beds.” We grow asparagus and strawberries there every year. Plus additional crops as we can fit them in.
Another photo of the long beds and the compost area
More of the raised beds
The long beds would be to the right of this photo.
The picnic tables and canopy and more raised beds

We meet every Sunday for a two hour work party and have a potluck afterwards. The potlucks are on hiatus in an effort to keep the coronavirus at bay, but we are still meeting for our weekly work parties. We’re working outdoors, not in a small enclosed space, and we try to spread out at as much as possible, keeping ideally 6 feet between each other. I’m really glad the work parties haven’t disbanded. Personally, I find the work to be a nice distraction at a time like. More importantly, the food banks are going to need the donations now more than ever.

[Update: Gov. Inslee issued a two-week “Stay at Home” order starting on 3/23/20, so work parties for the next two weeks may not happen.]

Last Sunday, we planted potatoes and onions, and did some weeding.

Potatoes planted in trenches in one of the raised beds.
We covered the ptoatoes with 1 inch of dirt and will cover with more dirt as the potato plants grow.
Onions!

Hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of our community garden.

(Note: In order to respect everyone’s privacy, I’m intentionally not showing identifiable faces in any of the photos I take.)