Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring is Here!

Viburnum tinus about to open

Dear clients and friends,

Spring has finally arrived, and plants have begun growing with new vigor after a very wet, yet mild winter. When the sun and warmth breaks through the clouds and lures you outside, here are some tips on accomplishing some springtime gardening:

1. Give your legs and back a good stretch before you tackle any garden tasks, to prevent a strained muscle from spoiling your spring.

2. Plan to get weeds out of the ground before they flower and set seed.  The soil is soft right now but less saturated than in winter, which makes even deep-rooted weeds easier to dig out.

3.  As you complete weeding sections of your garden, make sure to add a layer of coarse mulch on top of the soil, to prevent new weed seeds from germinating.  I like to have a wheelbarrow full of wood chips next to me as I weed, so I can switch back and forth between weeding and mulching, which gives my 55-yr-old knees and back more "staying power" and less morning aches.

4. Are there open areas in your garden where you'd like to add plants? Make sure to dig in a 3-inch layer of compost approx. 9-inches deep throughout the area before planting, to give your new plants the best chance to thrive.  However, if digging in compost in a wide area would disturb nearby tree or shrub roots, spread a 1-2 inch layer on top of the soil and scratch it into the top few inches of soil with a cultivator or rake before planting.

5.  Is this your year to start composting your yard waste and/or kitchen scraps at home?  In my opinion, nothing beats being able to go to your own bin to get "black gold" for my garden.  Composting is easy, as long as you get started off right.  I was recently quoted extensively in a Patch.com article about composting at home, and everything I said applies to how to get started here in Seattle, even though the article was published on the east coast.

6. Spring is a great time to take a gardening class, whether you are starting a new garden project or phase, or looking for ideas and tips to improve your existing garden areas.   I will be teaching a lot of gardening classes and workshops all over the county again in 2013, many of which are free.  Below is a list to choose from, and links to their registration info- I hope to see you at one of them!


Wildlife-friendly Gardening:
Welcome songbirds, butterflies, and beneficial insects into your yard while conserving natural resources at the same time. Discover how urban wildlife can provide you with year-round natural pest and weed control and better pollination. Then, learn about design techniques and maintenance practices that can attract and nurture beneficial wildlife in your garden for years to come.
  • Thursday March 28th from 6pm-7:30pm:  "Wildlife-friendly Gardening for Beauty and Sustainability" for the Savvy Gardener Program. Location: Redmond Senior Center, 8703 160th Avenue NE, Redmond 98052. FREE, but pre-registration required, visit the Savvy Gardener webpage for more information.
  • Thursday April 4th, Saturday April 6th, and Thursday April 11th: "Designing and Creating a Wildlife-friendly Habitat Garden" 3-class series for the UW Botanic Gardens. $85 For more information or to register, visit this UWBG webpage
    Location: Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98105
Native Plants:
Learn about Pacific Northwest native plants that are beautiful, easy to care for, and thrive in our unique climate and soil conditions. We’ll focus on plant selections for a variety of growing conditions including challenges such as dry sun and shade, how to use natives as the foundation for a new landscape or incorporate them into an existing landscape, and maintenance practices that keep them healthy and growing strong. 
  • Tuesday April 23rd from 7pm-8:30pm: "Native Splendor in the Garden" for the Savvy Gardener Program. Location: Bellevue City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE, Bellevue 98009. FREE, but pre-registration required, visit the Savvy Gardener webpage for more information.
  • Saturday April 27th from 10am-11:30am: "Native Splendor in the Garden" for the Savvy Gardener Program. Location: Magnuson Community Center, 7110 62nd Ave NE, Seattle 98115. FREE, but pre-registration required, visit the Savvy Gardener webpage for more information.
  • Saturday, May 18 from 10am-11:30am: "Native Splendor in the Garden" for the Savvy Gardener Program. Location: Tukwila Community Center, 12424 42nd Ave. S, Tukwila.  FREE, but pre-registration required, visit the Savvy Gardener webpage for more information.

Children's Gardening:
  • Sunday April 14th from 1pm-2pm: "Creating a Snacking Garden" a FREE class for the whole family at Molbak's Garden + Home, during their Edible Gardening Weekend celebration! 13625 NE 175th St., Woodinville 98072.  No registration needed.
  • Thursday April 18th, Saturday April 20th, and Thursday April 25th: "Creating a Child-friendly Garden" 3-class series for the UW Botanic Gardens. $85.00  Location:  Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98105. 

    For more information or to register, visit this UWBG webpage 




Edible Gardening: 
Growing your own organic food is a fun and delicious way to garden in the Pacific Northwest. Vegetables, berries, and fruit trees need special care to thrive, but your time and energy will pay off with great tasting, nutritious home-grown food.  Best of all, food crops can be incorporated into your existing landscape, large or small! This class will teach you how to make your yard produce great food for you and your family.

  • Wednesday, April 3rd from 6pm – 7:30pm:  “Sustainable Veggie Gardening” for the Savvy Gardener Program. Location: Kirkland City Hall/Peter Kirk Room, 123 5th Avenue, Kirkland 98033. FREE, but pre-registration required, visit the Savvy Gardener webpage for more information.
  • Sunday April 7th from 1-2:30pm: “Sustainable Veggie Gardening” for the Savvy Gardener Program. Location: McLendon's Hardware in Renton, 440 Rainier Ave. S, Renton. FREE, and
    no pre-registration required.  Seating is first-come, first-served.  
  • Tuesday April 16th from 6pm-7:30pm: "Sustainable Veggie Gardening" for the Savvy Gardener Program. Location: Bellevue City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE, Bellevue 98009. FREE, but pre-registration required, visit the Savvy Gardener webpage for more information.
  • Tuesday April 30th from 6pm-7:30pm: "Sustainable Veggie Gardening" for the Savvy Gardener Program. Location: Skyway Water & Sewer District Office, 6723 S 124th St., Seattle 98178. FREE, but pre-registration required, visit the Savvy Gardener webpage for more information.
  • Thursday May 2nd from 7pm-8pm: “Edible Gardening” for the City of Auburn's Natural Yard Care Program.  Location: TBA
  • Wednesday May 15th from 7pm-8pm: “Edible Gardening” for the City of Bothell's Natural Yard Care Program.  Location: Northshore Senior Center at 10201 E Riverside Dr Bothell, WA 98011.  

Seattle Public Utilities Natural Yard Care Neighborhood Series: These class are for residents of the specific neighborhoods within the Delridge and Rainier Beach "RainWise Program" rebate areas.  Visit their website for more info.
  • Wednesday April 10th from 7pm-9pm: "Choosing the Right Plants" and "Natural Pest, Weed, and Disease Control. Location: Chief Sealth High School, 2600 SW Thistle St  Seattle, WA 98126.  
  • Monday April 29th from 7pm-9pm: "Choosing the Right Plants" and "Natural Pest, Weed, and Disease Control.  Location: South Shore School, 4800 S. Henderson, Seattle, WA 98118


For the list of all the 2013 classes and topics offered by the Savvy Gardener Program, visit http://savingwater.org/savvygardener/default.htm

For the list of all the classes and topics offered by the UWBG, visit http://depts.washington.edu/uwbg/education/classes.php