Sunday, March 14, 2010

Planted This Week - Ending March 14, 2010

  • Carrots - St. Valery. From the huge lot of heirloom seeds we ordered from Baker Creek, as are the items below unless otherwise noted.
  • Potatoes - Purple Fingerlings, from the West Seattle Farmer's Market. We had a good chat with the potato vendor, two guys who really seemed to like talk growing spuds. We have hopes of building a potato box to get lots of taties in a small space (see picture below, and read the article)
  • Oregano - Vulgare. These seeds are so very fine that I couldn't really tell, but I think I planted some.
  • Strawberries - Variety Unknown. These seedlings were from a potlach at the Mercer Island recycling center, which is now closed. RIP old friend! You served the community so well that the community demanded even more recycling; now there's curbside pickup of recycling so in a sense, you succeeded. But now what community gathering place will replace you?
  • Sunflower - Mongolian Giant. I figured I might as well get one started in a cup so as to get a headstart. The seeds are more than an inch long!

wheelbarrow holding waterA Word on Water

So far, all our plantings have been supported by water reused from dishwashing or captured from the sky in various ad hoc containers. I was turned on to this possibility by the accident of leaving a cooler outside with the lid up; one rainshower later and I had over a gallon of rainwater, utterly free.

I set out a few more containers and discovered that this can serve multiple purposes. First, Puget Sound Country is anticipating water difficulties later in the year because our snow pack is so low; a gallon saved today is a gallon we might want later. Second, runoff goes into our Puget Sound and in intense storms, it can overload the system, allowing untreated water into the wild, negatively impacting our fish and so on. Finally, I like to save money; water is cheap but if I can get it for free, why not?

I have not had time to get fancy with collecting rainwater yet, but anyone can see that our buildings' roofs act as natural rain collectors. I therefore positioned a few containers under the edges of unguttered eaves and, as common sense would tell you, collected far more than in more randomly positioned items. In the long run, I'll want to work out a guttering solution but let's take advantage of what we can.

This can't go on forever; when the mosquito season starts, that'll be an end to open containers. I hope that by that time, we will have moved into the Hummingbird House where improvements will be permanent, so I can experiment with attaching flexible bladders to downspouts, the reuse of clothing wash water, and so forth.

Thanks to my bloggy friend Small Footprints for suggesting writing about water conservation for the current Change the World Wednesday!

Potato Box

From the "TipNut" article "Grow 100 lbs. Of Potatoes In 4 Square Feet: How To" comes a great diagram that really needs no explanation (but read the article anyway!).potato box
I love how this item can be built from found materials; you just start small and expand as needed, which is often a good design philosophy!

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