Tag Archives: watering

New Watering System Is On Tap

October 1, 2017

It’s fascinating how one mulberry or one thornless blackberry can sustain me while I work in the sm-persimmon-wp_20171001_002orchard. Just that brief sweet juicy explosion can satisfy, nourish and make me smile. These two fruits are new to the orchard and they have proved their worth.

It will be several weeks before we know whether the new persimmons will mature or not but otherwise, we are nearly finished with the harvest.

We have donated an estimated 244 pounds to the food bank. Now, however, the sun weakens and plant production is slowing.

sm-reseeded-lettuce-wp_20170928_001The transition to fall plants such as radish, lettuce, cilantro, mustards, arugula and various cover crops has begun. Check out that germination rate of lettuce that Sue let go to seed! It looks like carpet. Thinning could be a challenge.

We ended up with tasty samples of all apple and pear varieties, even though the winter moth larvae took out many of the blossoms last spring. The good ole Liberty was the best performer and we have enough Liberty to reward the Cider Fest volunteers this coming Saturday.

The dry summer taxed every plant. Our aim is to water just enough to keep the fruit and nut trees in good health. I believe that they got enough water but next year’s crop will tell the tale. We do think the berries and grapes were under watered.

Sat, Oct 7, 2-5, Cider Fest!
Apple contributions are welcome! We have science exhibits for the kids. Cider and pie slices.
Sun, Oct 15, 2-4, Work Party

Sun, Nov 19, 2-4, Work Party
Sun, Dec 17, 2-4, Work Party

In the interest of saving water, saving time watering, and allowing watering to be physically easy, we have applied for another Seattle Dept of Neighborhood matching grant. It’s a small grant, about $10,000, but should be enough to buy a manual pump, ollas, some vertical perforated pipe and low-pressure, gravity fed drip irrigation materials. We also are beneficiaries of a used 1,000-gallon cistern, which could be enough assistance to free us from using city water.

We are in need of a mechanical or civil engineer to help us with choice of pump to carry water from shows-hose-in-and-hose-out-treadle-pump-1the cisterns out to the beds. Choosing the right pump will be critical to the efficacy of the whole irrigation system to the food bank beds. Contact us if that engineer is you or your friend!

Please join us for our annual celebration next Saturday between 2-5pm, rain or shine.


The Next Generation of Gardeners

August 12, 2014

Once a week, about 22 kids march down NE 60th to help out at the orchard. They are second and third-graders from Kids Co. at McDonald Elementary.

Vanessa is one of five adults accompanying them and these counselors control the swarm with impressive skills.

“Clap once if you can hear me!” Vanessa bellows out to command attention. They all clap in unison. making a path DSCN0873 croppedHer voice is perfect for her leadership role: loud, clear and with a positive tone.

The kids are helping with watering, spreading wood chips, and making paths. They look for beneficial bugs and pollinators, measure how fast the sunflowers grow, and eat whatever berries are ripe.

The first time they watered, I could not keep up. One was watering the rocks under the water barrel and another gave a big drink to a dandelion out in the grass. To them it must have seemed that everything needed a drink, and rightly so! I change the watering method each week. I am learning. However, there are a few who can’t resist watering the trunk.

“We don’t need to water the trunk. The tree drinks water from the feeder roots, well away from the trunk.” I repeat this each week.

I tried marking the drip line with surveying tape but the water still ended up next to the trunk. Then I asked them to water the bamboo stakes that circle the trees near the drip line. That worked better. Then I dug a little trench in the chips around the drip line and near the bamboo. Bingo! Nine-year-olds learn fast … as long as their instructor can figure out how to explain things.

Sun, Aug 17, 12:30-1:30pm, Qi Gong
No experience necessary. Free.
Sun, Aug 17, 2-4pm, Work Party
Veggies and project planning. No hard work.
Sun, Aug 24, 3-4pm, Qi Gong

The next week, I showed them how to lay newspaper under cardboard for sheet mulching. I came reading 140731 DSCN0884back later to see several sitting down reading the funnies! That was unexpected. Vanessa was close by and I asked her if she always had to be prepared for the unexpected. She smiled. “Yes, of course.”

I leaned over, put my hands on my knees and confessed to one of the older girls, “I usually don’t get the comics.” Her response was compassionate. “Sometimes I don’t understand them either.”

Later, one boy showed me a plant covered with insects. “Aphids,” he announced. I was impressed and thought I might add to his education. I asked, “Do you know what eats aphids?”

“Sure”, he replied, “ladybugs! We were just watching a bunch of ants carrying a ladybug!”. Well, that shut me up.

We have a good generation of gardeners coming our way. Be optimistic!


140803 big williams pride cropped WP_20140803_001

Our 12 oz Wm’s Pride!

P.S. We will need apples for the October 18 Cider Fest. If you, or your neighbor, have a tree that still has apples on it the first of October, we would be happy to harvest them!