Small and recycled

As we research a possible relocation and downsizing our abode, I have considered a bit of a compound of little buildings clustered together. Here, they take the concept further having bundled shipping containers into colorful, purposeful, pleasant (?) dwellings.

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It is raining outside. Probably not enough, so I continue to water my crops with re-purposed or twice used ‘gray’ water that is not so gray. Combined with amending soil, planting appropriate to the season, my swapped out flow reducing devices on all appliances and letting grass die, I figure ‘new’ tap water usage to be only 20%. More to go on that front. Now, if we can just get the golf courses to brown up their act…

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Another roadside attraction?

Re-purposing our parking strip. Up until this year, our parking strip has been a dandelion infested plot of compacted grass. This spring my husband and I removed some of the sod. My sod piles have since then become master potato planting islands. At least their leaves look impressive, the word is still out whether or not there any Pontiac Red potatoes growing underneath. However, now we get to the ‘fun’ part. I finally decided how to deal with the conflicting needs for the space we left behind.

Law, necessity and greed were in conflict. People need to get out of their cars to the sidewalk. Streams need to be kept clean and the amount of runoff managed. I wanted every square foot to be edible. If I built raised beds (hardscapes), there are setbacks required. If I didn’t build raised beds, how to define the area so folks (pets) don’t trample my fruits and veggies? In the end, this is my solution. Folk can walk around the traffic circle planter, the rectangles on the sides are slightly raised, but not ‘hardscaped’. The first year I will put in vining plants that require 2′ cages and get some low growing herbs started around the edges. Once the herbs are established, I will continue to plant vertical veggies in the rectangular sidebars and maybe a perennial small shrub in the center. The herbs should help with the runoff as will my cover crops or winter plantings of kales.

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Just gonna take a photo…

…and of course the potato plants had grown SO much I decided I needed to hill and straw them again. Which lead to weeding and mulching elsewhere in the veggie patch. Then to reconfiguring some of my planter wall blocks. Realizing I still had two tomatoes to be planted and oh by the way the fava beans were being crowded out by my suckering raspberries (yank, yank). Four hours later (still need to go out and get that photo) the front yard has been transformed, at least in my eyes. I thought it was going to rain so I didn’t have to water those beach strawberry-less strawberry plants I transplanted…(oh Rain God?). The beach strawberries make excellent drought tolerant ground cover here and soak up more run off than my almost-former-sod did. Learned that from volunteering on Rain Garden Building for Pierce Conservation.

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Planting begins

peas 060310Last week cleared out some winter wash outs (leafy greens) and planted my first plot of peas. Peas, glorious peas, I did not get enough of these last year. Thus I am starting earlier, with seed and planting 4x what I did last year! Snap peas like last year plus a couple rows of Cascadia, which is expected to do well in the Puget Sound area. I may plant some leaf lettuce in between. We shall see.

What’s coming up? The fava beans are about 8 inches high. I have heard fresh off the plant fava beans are to die for, we shall see. Garlic bed continues to grow well. Am considering no-till planting of parking strip with potatoes…Beans are going where the squash was last year (I followed it in the fall with a bunch onion crop). An elderly friend of mine saved me some scarlet runners or maybe I will plant Chinese long beans?

I must order my seed potatoes. Territorial seed! (Note: The photo is an update from June 3rd. A bare box looks so lonely.)

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New category: Recipes (in season)

Last year, given a periodic abundance of crops, I started collecting recipes. However, I have not sorted them according to season. So, a goal for 2010 is to post at least one blog per month listing a few recipes which include what is growing in my garden. What’s ready in my the garden today? Kale, chives, thyme, a few spring onions, garden sorrel, parsley, arugula and a wee bit of spinach. I need to buy pea seed and put in my order for seed potatoes…

Fettuccine with Sausage and Kale

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Correction: Kale recovered

kale leavesAs Fruits of Our Neighbors commented on my last post, the Kale survived out cold snap just fine! I’ve been lazy posting (again). Too busy harvesting my Kale all winter!! Some of the leaves died on the younger plants, the ones in my raised bed box that were planted this last fall. They are a white Siberian Kale (recovered). But the red Russian Kale I planted last spring (!) only ‘wilted’ a bit initially and are still going strong. I have been putting a couple handfuls into our weekly stew/soups. The plants also add visual texture and height to our front yard garden winter display.

Other survivors include: garlic, fava beans and spring onions. The garlic and beans were planted last fall to overwinter. Someday I will get these optimum growing seasons figured out….

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