Monthly Archives: July 2013

Mounds of Kiwis

July 26, 2013

After tossing around ideas about a variety of perma-agriculture methods for several weeks, on the actual mound_MG_392516th of July Ruth and Aaron strategically built a hugelkultur mound under the arbor to host some incoming kiwi plants from Kiwi Bob.

Hugelkultur (German – lit. Mound Culture) is a method of soil amendment that removes the need for tilling, amending and even watering for up to 20 years. For perennials like the kiwi this means a stable site in which to form deep roots and thrive.

Work party – Sunday July 28, 2-4 pm.

NIGHT OUT – Tuesday August 6, 6-8:30pm.

Public Design Event – Sunday August 18, 2-4pm. All are invited.  Let us know if you can help!

A mound is created by first piling up large log rounds from downed trees; in our case we used some camellia and rose rounds left by a renegade arborist and the old rotting rounds of unknown origin that once marked the perimeter of the Orchard. Next you take some sod, we had just pulled it up from the ‘pitcher’s mound’, and pile it, roots up, over the rounds until they are hidden from sight. Finally, the already large mound is covered with a layer of dirt in which to plant. This type of mound is a boon to growing in several ways. In the winter and spring in plays two roles; it soaks up the abundant water, like a sponge, to release to the plants over our mostly dry summers and through the composting of the logs provides a few extra degrees to help the roots grow strong over the winter. The spaces between the rounds, sealed in by the upturned sod, provide a host environment for worms, beetles and other beneficial critters that transport nutrients and moisture up to the plants year-round.
mound drawing med
Hopefully we’ll be able to add more mounds, both raised and interred, around the Orchard to reduce the need for watering in our space and help our trees thrive. Check it out the next time you visit!


Day of Dragonflies

July 7, 2013

Today, I was thigh deep in Green Lake, helping Friends of Green Lake (FOGL) haul Eurasian Watermilfoil out of the water. (Eurasian milfoil is an invasive non-native plant.)

Dragonflies were everywhere and some were quite large, though not as big as this one pictured Dragonflieshere from Butchart Gardens. (Possible sound wall art?) The dragonflies were landing on the mat of milfoil, downed tree branches and blue-green algae. I was removing some of their perch. Speaking of perch, I freed one fish that was tangled in both milfoil and knotted fish line – yet another reason for milfoil removal.

Watermilfoil is excellent compost ( so Nancy took five bike trailer loads to the orchard. The material will work well under the cardboard, especially since leaves are scarce at this time of year. I spoke with several people who were walking the lake and one man said that milfoil washes up to the upper east corner of Lake Washington, near where he lives. He said he has hauled milfoil to his garden and he noted that it took about a year to break down.

Save The Dates
1st Public design meeting Aug 18. 2nd meeting Sep 28 – Both at the Orchard.

Today at the lake, I also heard a loud commanding boot camp instructor. Hmm… I said to myself, I know a good boot camp class that is free: our next sheet mulch party, Sunday, July 14, 2-4 pm! (All are welcome and only one job requires brute strength.)

Other important news: Thanks to the hiring committee of Justin, Nancy and Pam, we hired Barker & Associates as our Landscape Architects (LA) for the upcoming Orchard community design process. Jackie Cramer will be on the team as the permaculture expert.

We can sure use more helpers, especially for Nancy, who is in charge of hosting the three public meetings at which the community design process will unfold. Please give us a call or send an email. Also, keep your eye on the calendar page of this website.

Thank you to Aaron for designing our brochure and 062113 Aaron's Heart smadopting Alex’s three tree circles (photo at right). Thank you to Melany for providing professional signs for the trees! Thank you to Justin, Nancy, Joan, Jennifer & Marcus, Max and Dana for their excellent sheet mulching Sunday, June 30.

063013 work party crew sm JH

Finally, there is interest in hosting Seattle Night Out (Against Crime), at the Orchard, Tuesday evening August 6. We love the idea but many of us are busy with the Neighborhood Matching Grant responsibilities. Please speak up if you are willing to help coordinate. A volunteer who will organize entertainment has already stepped forward.