Friday, July 31, 2015

8 Water Saving Tips for the Rest of the Summer

It’s been a tough summer for gardeners and plants in the NW.  July 2015 was the hottest month ever recorded in Seattle, with an average temperature of 71.2 degrees – which doesn’t seem very remarkable until you consider that in July alone, we experienced 10 days with high temperatures in the 90s.  In over 120 years of weather records, Seattle had never seen more than 9 days with temperatures at or above 90 degrees in a single year, let alone a single month.

Due to our unusually warm and dry summer, the City of Seattle has asked residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their usage of water by 10%.  Here are some ways to save water at our P-patch: 

  1. Water in the morning.  Watering in the middle of the day will speed evaporation and can burn foliage on particularly hot days
  2. Be proactive about watering plants in containers, once the soil has dried out in pots, it’s difficult to get it rehydrated
  3. Prepare the dirt around the base of your plantings to allow greater absorption
  4. Water close to the ground rather than spraying water from up high
  5. Use mulch around the base of the plant to insulate the any moisture.  Up to 70% of water can evaporate from the soil on a hot day if you don’t have mulch as a protective layer on top. 
  6. Increase organic matter – it builds humus in the soil which allows it to absorb many times its own weight in water that is then available for plant growth. 
  7. Weed control:  Weeds steal water that would otherwise be available for desirable plants.
  8. Be picky about which plant you water.  Don’t waste water on unhealthy or undesirable plants remove or replace them instead.

I’m sure there are more water-saving tips. Please feel free to share them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Gardening Tricks for the Rest of Us

One of the reasons we all like gardening is the affordable produce we get from our plots.  Fresh, organic produce gets really expensive when you shop at local grocery stores and farmers' markets.  Growing your own organic fruits and vegetables is a way to save on your grocery bill.  But, if you aren't careful, gardening can get expensive too.  

Here are a couple garden hacks that HH P-Patch gardeners may find helpful:  

1.  Use cattle fencing for vining produce.

You can buy a 2-foot by 6-foot piece of cattle fencing – a raw steel wire grid – for about $20. You can turn it into an arch, or clip the piece in half and zip-tie the top to create a narrow V. Either option is great for trying tomatoes, beans, melons and other vining produce. The fence is sturdier than traditional tomato cages, and it lets you use your garden space more efficiently.
2.  Make your own compost bin.
Many of us struggle with the dirt we were dealt in our gardens.  Compost is one of the best ways to boost your garden’s fertility. But it typically requires a lot of it to change the composition of your dirt -- which can get expensive if you buy it.  Compost is easy to make and you don’t even need a fancy compost bin. For smaller space, you can make a simple trash can compost bin.
3.  Try companion planting.
Companion planting is an excellent way to increase the overall health of your garden – for free. Just take your plants and position them so they benefits from their neighbors. For instance, marigolds repel pests, so plant them next to your tomatoes. 

These ideas were taken from 10 Garden Hacks for Under $20.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

You Won't Want to Miss the Edible Plant Sale - May 2nd - 3rd

This weekend is the Edible Plant Sale!  It's the largest selection of organically, sustainably and locally grown vegetable plants.  

When:  Sat. and Sun., May 2 and 3, 9 a.m.-3 p.m 
Where:  Meridian Park (4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle 98103) 
Cost:  FREE 

The Early Bird Sale begins Friday, May 1, 5-7 p.m.

For more information and tickets, visit Seattle Tilth