Monday, March 18, 2013

Springtime, Invasive Weeds & Lovely Dirt

I am working very hard right now to remember that winter isn't forever. I know that winter in Seattle is incredibly easy going and relatively quick to get through. I know that back home they're dealing with highs of 28 degrees and feet of snow still on the ground. I know. I do. It's just that I'd be happy with four weeks of winter a year, with the rest of the seasons happily taking up the other 11 months. That's all.

I bought my house back in December, and up until the past few weeks had done a remarkably great job of ignoring the state of my back yard. I knew that I had huge garden beds and four fruit trees. I also knew that I had ivy, blackberry, mud pits, and an overflow of trash from my neighbors property. I had automatically assumed the worst and was nearly ready to admit defeat on having a garden this year. Yes, before I had even put my hands in the dirt. It seemed like such an overwhelming amount of work, and I had assumed it would take me countless hours and yards of new soil just to get my beds into usable shape.

I was so wrong. Well, at least half wrong. I have spent close to 9 hours just pulling ivy, blackberry, and tiny fruit trees out of my garden beds. I am less than halfway done. I have pulled out roots longer than my body. I have fallen on my ass, gotten dirt clumps in my eyes, tweaked my back, strained my hands, been stabbed by blackberry thorns more times than I can count, and am now fairly certain that my entire neighborhood is built on a giant foundation of ivy roots. 

But! But! My soil! My soil is magnificent! My soil is rich and healthy. It smells beautiful and earthy and dark. It had gone years without being cared for, but because of that it had been filled with rotting fruit and leaves and is full of worms and bugs and magic.

I went from thinking that I'd be growing a few herbs in pots this year, to now plotting the largest garden  I've ever had. I haven't planted anything yet, but am dreaming of root veggies and peas and tomatoes. I may even attempt watermelons and rhubarb now that I have the space. 

What's going in your garden this year? Any favorites or suggestions for someone who has never grown more than a handful of tomatoes and peppers?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Come Join Me! Nettle Foraging Workshop with Slow Food Seattle- March 30th

Come join me & other Slow Food Seattle members & friends - I'll be leading a nettle foraging workshop on March 30th, from 12 PM - 2 PM at Discovery Park in Seattle! Tickets are $10 per person, and you'll go home with a bag full of nettles, as well as plenty of ideas on how to use them! Tickets are available here!

"Join Slow Food members & friends on Saturday, March 30th at Discovery Park for an afternoon spent identifying, harvesting, and sharing recipes & uses for stinging nettles.

Experienced nettle foragers & Slow Food Board Members Renai Mielke & Julia Wayne will be leading this two hour class. We'll go over how to identify stinging nettles, safe & ethical harvesting practices, as well as our favorite ways to use & store them once home.

Please meet us in the grassy area at the end of the North parking lot, promptly at 12 PM. We'll spend a few short minutes talking before heading out into the park to hunt, and will not be easy to locate once we begin. We will be doing some easy paced hiking, likely no more than 2 miles.

We ask that you bring a pair of gloves to wear while harvesting (rubber gardening gloves, or dish gloves are best), and a plastic or cloth produce bag to collect nettles. We highly recommend wearing both long sleeves as well as long pants, and avoiding open toed shoes. Please dress for Seattle weather.

Each attendee will leave the class with their own harvest of nettles and an information sheet to use as a resource once home.

We will have some nettle filled treats to share at the end of the event. Please feel free to bring a light snack to share once we are done harvesting."
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