First it was totally free – from the workshops to lunch to the vegetable starts we were given at the end of the day. We were welcomed by our mayor, Marilyn Strickland, who told us that the number of community gardens (sometimes called pea patches) per capita in Tacoma has now surpassed those in Seattle.
We had a vast array of workshops to choose from during the day, such as composting, edible flowers, vermiculture, trellising, planting a food bank garden and much more. I chose to attend square foot gardening, container gardening and polycultures and perennial plantings.
The information on polycultures that Kelda Miller of Sustainable Tacoma Pierce gave out sounded really good to me, so I’m going to try it in my raised bed. Basically what polycultures means is that you grow plants together that complement each other in growth habit, nutrient uptake and water harvesting so that they actually care for each other. I’m going to try the four-season polyculture.
We actually planted a garden like this at the event so I got hands-on experience. Other vegetables and flowers can be used, but this is what I’ve chosen to plant. First you broadcast radish seeds in your bed, then daisy seeds which become beneficial insect attractors, next comes bush bean seeds for a nitrogen fix and last is carrot seeds for the carrot roots. Then you cover the whole mix of seeds with soil.
The idea is that all the seeds germinate at different times and grow at different rates, so you have constant crops through the fall. I’ll let you know how it works. It sounds quite easy, but I’m a very novice gardener.
Tip: I just heard about a new web site today that is a luxury lifestyle magazine for Seattle. The publication is Seattleite. You might enjoy it – I know I did.