Tag Archives: cisterns

Get To The Root Of The Matter

February 4, 2019

Last week Sue helped us plan the vegetables for the year. We were thinking of what to plant near the far north olla and we got out our photos of plant root lengths from the summer.

The olla best serves a plant with a deeper root system. (See Water Conservation page on Ollas.) We decided peas would be a good choice.

The plants can teach us so much. We dig up some of the roots to assess for health and to measure length.

Sat, Feb 16, 1-3, Pruning Class
Sun Feb 17, 2-4, Work Party
Sun Mar 17, 2-4, Work Party
Fri Apr 12, 10-12, Fig Pruning

We got a surprise in October when we pulled out the cucumbers and peppers that were planted near an olla. Carefully, we used the hori hori and excavated around the base of the olla to see which plants took advantage of the water. A small fig tree, planted about 10 feet from the olla, had wrapped its roots tightly around the brown water vessel. And Nancy wondered why her little fig didn’t need any water during the dry months!

Now we know that root pruning is another task for the winter to-do list. Check your own garden bed sites to see if any plants may be robbing water from your edibles.

Here is a good chart on root depth per plant (page 1). Following that is an interesting chart on the water needed to provide certain nutrition parameters by crop.








Last week, three of us heard our State Climatologist Nick Bond speak. Nick is still delivering the same message; in general, western Washington is in for dryer summers and wetter winters. In addition to being water efficient, the more water we can collect during the winter the more we will have in the summer.

We are lucky to have our cisterns and, if we had one more, we could make it through the summer. Last year we used our 4,000 gallons from our cisterns plus 1,300 from the City water supply.

We will continue to explore ways to increase water efficiency. Check out the recent addition to the Perforated Pipe Page.


Too Busy To Blog

February 21, 2015

The shed remodel, designed and built by FECO volunteers, is 99 percent finished. This is the first of four infrastructure projects slated to be completed in 2105.

We will tell the shed story with a few photos. Suffice it to say, it took more hours than we expected. However, we learned a lot and it was a great success. We now have a roof that will catch about 3,000 gallons of water per year. (The water cisterns are on their way from Bellingham.) old roof coming down sm WP_20141221_016

First, the old roof came down. All wood has been recycled into the new walls and roof.recycle old roof sm WP_20141221_034

Then the shed was moved to accommodate trees and cisterns. Justin’s method for moving: steel part way thru move sm 16145485776_33ed270f31_kpipes, ropes and brute strength.

We are so grateful for the particular dedication of Ken Yu, who joined the 20-Hour Club in record time, a mere two months. Ken is on the board of the Northeast Tool Library and he took full responsibility for tools and helped with design.


Pushing the pre-made pony walls up was easier than we thought it would be.pushing up the new pony wall crop sm WP_20150207_018

Can we again thank Dunn Lumber for giving us a $600 discount for construction supplies!

Special thanks go to furniture maker Gale Backer who donated the use of a compressor and chop saw, with a free lesson included.

guy ken justin building sm WP_20150207_014We added the rafters and end walls and then polycarbonate roof panels and cedar siding.justin mark siding sm WP_20150215_021

The following volunteers worked multiple days: Justin H, Ken Y, Guy A, and Max M. Others taking part in this successful and educational rebuild project: Renee J, Fernando V, Leslie J, Pat C, Vido C, Louis, Joan D, Becky C, Jennifer K, Nora L, Ellen H, Michelle P, Nancy M, Tracy H, Craig P, Johnny S, Jim S, Kirt S, Byron G, Mark H, Dirk H, Brent C, John K, Dave M, Ryan P, Nancy H, Janet S, Maski S.

During the build, two neighbors stopped by. They had spotted FECO on Google Maps. They have nearly finished sm WP_20150217_011great ideas for activating another nearby  space next to the freeway. Volunteers! You are not just creating a vibrant neighborhood space, you are also inspiring and supporting other to do the same.