Sunday, October 18, 2015

October 25th - Our 6th Annual Hazel Heights Fall Work Party and Potluck

Come one come all to the Hazel Heights Work Party and Potluck 

Date:  Sunday, October 25, 2015
Time:  11am to no later than 1:30pm 
Place: 4212 Baker NW (Toby & Beckey's, two houses north of p-patch) 

Please sign in, 
catch up a bit with each other over goodies from our potluck feast and figure out who's doing what for the work party, then on to the garden. 

All Hazel Heights supporters and neighbors are most welcome, not just plot gardeners, so please help spread the word! This is one of only two "everyone" events each year, requiring  attendance from at least one representative of each individual plot (other is spring brunch organizing meeting & work party on first Saturday of every March).

Here's more important event details, please skim through:

* There's always the chance we'll get more rain than shine--finally--but that just emphasizes the importance of getting our P-Patch community garden ready for winter. So please start digging out those rain coats & rubber boots just in case. We'll set up the large umbrella or canopy on cistern plaza if needed.

For the potluck please bring whatever you'd like, great if has some HH-grown ingredients but not necessary. Coffee and assorted teas provided. (If you find yourself short on time just bring yourself, there's always plenty.)
* Planned work party activities: 
> Tending front entrance & other common areas by weeding, bark mulching, planting winter colorspots
> Digging up summer weed growth from main access paths & upper cistern tap area
> Grooming raspberry patch & railing repairs 
> Digging & replanting horseradish> Getting Giving Garden plot ready for winter harvests & collecting donations for food bank
> Light pruning of any larger common area plants that have gotten out-of-control (heavier pruning needs to wait until they're dormant)
>  Toolshed tidying
> Finish beating back any overgrowth by native plant slope fence along North 42nd Street (soil likely too wet to work on slope behind fence)
> Pre-prepping beehive area for our new colony arriving next spring (volunteer beekeeper Paul's order wasn't fulfilled this season due to nation-wide shortage, already has on order for next year & backup "Plan B[ee]" so we can welcome our honey bees back!)

Be sure to double check & update your info on spreadsheet records provided by our volunteer hours coordinator Debbie Murray! All hours volunteered by everyone are important! She sends to P-patch Program following 10/31 reporting deadline.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fall Clean-up and Overwintering Options

The October 25th pot luck and work party signals the official end of the summer growing season for the Hazel Heights p-patch. 

But the growing season doesn’t have to end if you don’t want it to.  With our temperate Pacific Northwest climate, we can plant February through November and harvest year round.

Here are some things to consider if you are interested in overwintering.

What to Plant
  • Root crops, brassicas (broccoli, kale, cabbage), salad crops and peas. Can be enjoyed up to the first frost of November or longer if the winter is mild. 
  • Hardier crops like fava beans, garlic, purple sprouting broccoli, and hardy greens like kale, collards and Brussels sprouts will keep growing through a wet winter. 
  • And don’t forget, the Giving Garden harvests all year round as fresh vegetables are needed no matter the season. With fewer gardeners growing duing the colder months, overwintering has an even bigger impact for the Giving Garden.

How to Prep
  • Loosen the soil where other plants have been harvested, use compost to mulch around the new plants when you set them out
  • Too much nitrogen in the soil increases the water in the soil and plans for faster growth but makes plants more susceptible to frost damage.
  • Use no fertilizer at all September through February. Come spring, you can top-dress the soil around your overwintered plants with a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer or composted manure to spur faster spring growth.

Plan ahead for the Spring
  •          What you do with your garden in the fall can make a difference to your spring planting.
  •          Plants pull different types of nutrients from the ground so consider where your vegetables were planted in the fall and plan to change locations.
  •          Different plants breed or are susceptible to different types of pests, take inventory of your soil and plantings to ensure you aren’t hosting a breeding ground for pests.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Water -- It's Everything!

What a great summer we had!  We all love the warm sunny days.  But many of us don’t ever think about the fact that a sunny summer means the potential of a drought. 

Here in Seattle, and specifically Hazel Heights, we were heading toward a drought.  Seattle Public Utilities asked residents to conserve 10% of their water usage.  And as of August 7th, we had just 19 inches in our cistern.  That means at c. 100 gallons per inch, that's 1900 gallons, or about 950 of our watering cans.  At 50 watering cans a day, we forecasted that we had enough water in our cistern to last just three weeks.

After our mid-August rain storm, the water level increased about 6 inches, or 700+ gallons.  Giving us enough water to get us through September. 

As of 9/10, the water level is about 1,800 gallons above the lower tap. Our storm on September 5th, gave us another 1/5th  of an inch.  We are well positioned for the fall.  

Here's a graphic showing the water level of our cistern over the summer.