News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

Eleven things about urban bees and your garden

August 9th, 2014 by Mike

By Caroline Young Ullmann

Maple Leaf Community Garden Plot No. 4

The Urban Pollination Project gave a workshop on bees this week at the Maple Leaf Community Garden.

In the photo, Susan Waters is showing a group of nine pea patch gardeners how to identify bees, wasps and flies. (See below.)

Waters, a co-founder of the pollination project, holds a PhD from the University of Washington.

Here’s some of what the class learned:

1) Generally speaking, wasps are shiny and smooth and bees are fuzzy.

2) Bee hairs are branched to collect pollen.

3) Male wasps and bees don’t sting.

4) Wasps don’t pollinate but they’re good in the garden because they eat insects like aphids off our plants.

5) Bumble bees in North America are rapidly declining and that’s bad because they pollinate a lot of crops.

6) Nearly all tomato plants in Seattle are pollinated by bumble bees because they are hefty enough to vibrate the flowers.

7) About 15-20 years ago, our most common bumble was the Western bumble bee (the one with the white butt) but it has virtually disappeared and no one knows why. Now the yellow-faced bumble bee is super-common.

8)  Honey bees can range 5 miles or so to forage; there isn’t data on urban bumble bees but the suspicion is they travel only one-quarter of a mile.

9) If honey bees decide they don’t like their queen, they’ll surround her and vibrate so rapidly they fry her to death.

10) We have a weird territorial bee (an invasive called the European wool carder) that will decide it “owns” a flowering plant and body slam other bees that come too close.

11) Tips to attract bees to your garden: Don’t use pesticides; leave piles of twigs on the ground for bumbles to nest beneath; plant a sequence of flowers throughout the growing season.

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Announcing Best Maple Leaf Garden contest winner

August 14th, 2013 by master

At the Maple Leaf Summer Ice Cream Social, we attracted plenty of attention with our Best Maple Leaf Garden contest, although we started out with just one entry from Gayle Holm at 8241 15th Ave. N.E., which won hands-down by you, our voters:

However, the Fairy Garden on Northeast 97th Street came in at a close second after it was submitted at the start of the Summer Social, which took place July 31 at Olympic View Elementary:

We also received a number of even later entries in the form of addresses posted to our contest board:

We’ve since taken photos of those late entries and included them below: [Read more →]

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Maple Leaf Summer Social is tomorrow

July 30th, 2013 by master

Update: 9 p.m.Wednesday, July 31

The transplanted Summer Social was a smash success, despite the temporary location at Olympic View Elementary School, the thunder and raindrops right up to opening hour, and the automatic sprinkler system that came on just after opening. See photo of sprinkler head(s) covered with chairs, and, later, pickle buckets from Maple Leaf Ace Hardware.

More photos tomorrow from Dane Doerflinger Photography.

Update Wednesday July 31: Summer Social in 4 1/2 hours!

Original post :


Photo from 2012 Summer Social by Dane Doerflinger, a photographer and Maple Leaf resident.

Maple Leaf’s annual celebration of community and ice cream is coming up tomorrow at a new venue as we await the grand opening of the new Maple Leaf Reservoir Park later this fall. Join the neighborhood from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, for the Maple Leaf Summer Ice Cream Social at Olympic View Elementary School, 504 N.E. 95th St., for free ice cream, live entertainment, fun for kids, and informational booths from neighborhood businesses and city agencies.

Be sure to stop by the Maple Leaf Life booth and say hi! We put out requests for photos from our proud gardeners, but so far have only one submission. We’ll post that and hope to receive more photos for our Best Garden contest that we’re letting you, our readers, stop by and vote for.

We’ll post the winning photos here and on our Facebook page. See you tomorrow night at the Summer Social!

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Seattle Urban Farm School launches in Maple Leaf

April 24th, 2013 by master

Maple Leaf’s own Seattle Seedling blogger Stacy Brewer is taking her classes to the next level. This month, the organic gardener launched the Seattle Urban Farm School, where she will be “Helping gardeners grow, one lesson at a time.”

Upcoming classes include:

In the future, expect classes such as Lantern Love; Fall and Winter Gardening 101; and Crazy for Canning: Pickling 101. And if you’ve got ideas for future classes, Brewer is taking your suggestions.

For more information, go to Brewer’s Seattle Urban Farm School blog, where you can sign up for classes or for the e-newsletter.

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Olympic View Plant Sale is April 26-27!

April 10th, 2013 by master

Your annual opportunity to upgrade your yard and support one of your local Maple Leaf schools is coming up April 26-27.

For the 12th year in a row, the Olympic View Elementary School PTA is bringing you the Olympic View Plant Sale from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 26-27 at the school at 504 N.E. 95th St. Vegetable and fruit starts, herbs, flowering annuals, premium perennials, pottery, garden art and more will be available this year.

Bring the kids on Saturday for kid’s crafts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and an appearance by Peaks Frozen Custard from noon to 5 p.m.

And remember, you can buy these things for your own garden without feeling any guilt, because all proceeds directly benefit the students of Olympic View Elementary.

By the way, they’re doing a promotion on their Facebook page to help get the word out. If you “like” the page and share the promotion post, you’ll be entered for a $20 gift certificate for the plant sale.

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Get your hands dirty at Seattle Seedling's Spring Fling

March 2nd, 2013 by master

Maple Leaf resident Stacy Brewer is offering neighbors the chance to learn how her garden grows through Seattle Seedling’s Spring Fling, which will include a class on “Seeds and Seedlings,” followed by a lunch prepared by Brewer.


Photo from Seattle Seedling by Lori Eanes.

She writes on her blog that at the spring quarter class:

You will learn techniques for growing vegetables from seed, an economical and rewarding way to get your garden started. We’ll cover square foot gardening, seed sowing and strategies for thinning and transplanting new seedlings. This class will be hands-on and an awesome confidence booster for beginning gardeners! You’ll get the skills you need to get your own garden growing, whether you have a large garden or just a few containers on the balcony.

In addition to leaving with a full belly, you’ll also get a “garden nerd goody bag” filled with help from Brewer’s friends and Seattle Seed Co.

The first class March 30 is already full, but she’s got a few spots left in the April 7 class, which is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $50 and you can RSVP by emailing Brewer at seattleseedling@gmail.com.

UPDATE: The April 7 class is also now full, so Brewer has added two more classes May 4 and 11, also from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. She notes that participants will be working on her Giving Garden during the hands-on portion of each class, and that children 10 and older may participate.

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Mosaic class, eggs for sale from Stacy Brewer

August 6th, 2012 by master

Once again, the Maple Leaf stop on this year’s Chicken Coop & Urban Farm Tour was at the home of Seattle Seedling author Stacy Brewer. But in addition to her chicken coop, her mosaic also was a big hit among visitors.

So much so that Grace Seidel, organizer of the Maple Leaf Summer Ice Cream Social, convinced Brewer to teach a mosaic class starting at about 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, to the first eight people who reserve their spot with her at piecedtogether@gmail.com. She tells us:

We’ll have a two-hour session to make flower stones – the little tile mosaic flowers I put on large river rock. That will give everyone an opportunity to work with ceramic and thinset adhesive and I’ll be able to demo a few other things that should give you the tools you need to do any project. It’s $50 per person and I told Grace, I could host 8 people max (assuming everyone understands that we’ll be cozy and will be working in my dining room/kitchen).

You can see samples of her mosaics for sale on her Etsy page. And while you’re there, maybe you can pick up a few of her eggs, too! As Brewer wrote on her Seattle Seedling blog, she’s selling the egss her famous chickens lay for $2/half-dozen.

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Maple Leaf's Seattle Seedling blog offers tips to make your garden grow

August 1st, 2011 by master

If you’re looking for expert gardening tips but have no idea where to start, look no further than the Seattle Seedling blog from Maple Leaf neighbor Stacy Brewer.

Photo of Maple Leaf resident Stacy Brewer in her 4,000-square-foot garden courtesy Jenn Ireland Photography.

Brewer, who has lived in her Maple Leaf home for nine years, is an organic gardener who not only grows berries and myriad vegetables on her 4,000-square-foot lot, but also has a chicken coop that starred in this year’s Chicken Coop & Urban Farm Tour, landing her a writeup in The Seattle Weekly’s “6 Coolest Chicken Coops” article.

“I’m trying to use whatever space I can to add more every year,” Brewer tells us.

She considers her blog similar to a journal where she shares her successes as well as her lessons, with much of it culminating in the recent post “Ask a Gardener: Sure-fire Vegetables for Beginners,” which offers tips to help the Western Washington vegetable gardener plant a plot that actually will thrive in our environment. She writes:

I want you to be successful because I know from experience, the more things grow and the more fresh vegetables you taste from your own garden, the more excited you will be about growing your own food.

Brewer recommends greens such as lettuce and kale, peas, radishes and zucchini, as opposed to the tomatoes that are so popular among Northwest gardeners despite the fact they’re “one of the most challenging vegetables you can grow this side of the Cascades,” she says. And she knows all of this because she’s actually a relative newbie to gardening herself.

Brewer started the blog just two-and-a-half years ago after reading the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” by Barbara Kingsolver, to share her own own journey from just dabbling in gardening into learning how to live sustainably in Maple Leaf. “That book changed my life,” Brewer says. [Read more →]

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Chicken Coop & Urban Farm Tour this Saturday

July 5th, 2011 by Mike

Notice all those chickens around the neighborhood lately? You could meet a few this Saturday at Seattle Tilth’s annual tour of backyard chickens and urban farms.

Seattle Tilth has been organizing this community event for over a decade, originally to encourage people to raise chickens in the city. Since then, the event has expanded in both topic and turf to include urban and suburban sites, as well as a wide variety of animals and agricultural practices. Tour participants get face time with ducks, mini dairy goats, honey bees, geese and a couple sheep with (hopefully) new born lambs, even a cow and horse.

This year there are more than 50 sites (the map here only shows the ones in north Seattle). The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets are $12 each. A group or family up to seven can pay $35. There are discounts for Seattle Tilth members.

They can be purchased online here, or at City People’s Mercantile in Sand Point, 5440 Sand Point Way N.E.; City People’s Garden Store in Madrona, 2939 E. Madison St.; Portage Bay Grange in the U-District; 4110 Roosevelt Ave. N.E.; or Walt’s Organic Fertilizer in Ballard, 1528 N.W. Leary Way.

Or buy yours at the Seattle Tilth offices at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford, Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; 4649 Sunnyside Ave N. #100.

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Chicken Coop & Urban Farm Tour this Saturday

July 5th, 2011 by Mike

Notice all those chickens around the neighborhood lately? You could meet a few this Saturday at Seattle Tilth’s annual tour of backyard chickens and urban farms.

Seattle Tilth has been organizing this community event for over a decade, originally to encourage people to raise chickens in the city. Since then, the event has expanded in both topic and turf to include urban and suburban sites, as well as a wide variety of animals and agricultural practices. Tour participants get face time with ducks, mini dairy goats, honey bees, geese and a couple sheep with (hopefully) new born lambs, even a cow and horse.

This year there are more than 50 sites (the map here only shows the ones in north Seattle). The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets are $12 each. A group or family up to seven can pay $35. There are discounts for Seattle Tilth members.

They can be purchased online here, or at City People’s Mercantile in Sand Point, 5440 Sand Point Way N.E.; City People’s Garden Store in Madrona, 2939 E. Madison St.; Portage Bay Grange in the U-District; 4110 Roosevelt Ave. N.E.; or Walt’s Organic Fertilizer in Ballard, 1528 N.W. Leary Way.

Or buy yours at the Seattle Tilth offices at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford, Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; 4649 Sunnyside Ave N. #100.

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