1soilThis Tuesday’s Roving Garden Party, June 11th, 6pm – East Laurel Road, off Hannegan
This week’s RGP will take us out into the county again. Only three more left. Please come and help out. Next week’s will be at the Caretaker’s House (the Center for Local Self Reliance) – an easy bike ride from town in Fairhaven.

** Where: 1092 E Laurel Rd. Directions: If coming from Bellingham take either the Hannegan Rd or Guide Meridian north to the Laurel Rd, about 5 miles out of town. It comes after the Smith (stoplight) and Axton Rds. Take a right and go about half a mile from the Hannegan. It’s on the left, the mailbox you see will be 1087. There is a small old white house with many trees in front. Pull all the way into the back yard and park on the lawn, or when that’s full, the driveway. MAP ** Carpool: Will leave from the Public Market around 5:30.
** When: Tuesday, June 11th, 6:00-9:00pm.
** Requested Items to Bring: Pruners, pruning saws, gloves, shovels, clippers.
** Tasks: Removing alders and 2 elderberries, planting seedling trees and bushes, mulch new trees, burn orchard prunings. and create a new fire pit (we’ll test it out, too!).
** Food: Black bean soup, gluten free cornbread, salad, and s’mores cooked over the campfire for dessert. Bring beverages, water provided.
** Host: Leslie Grace
** Questions: email rgp@sustainablebellingham.org


Where: 1260 Paradise Way, Ferndale WA 98248. Take I-5 to Ex. 262 Ferndale. Turn L. on Main St. – Take the 1st Left onto Barrett Rd. – Take 1st R. onto Paradise Rd. – Turn R. onto Paradise Way (first house on the right).
When: Tuesday May 14th 6pm to 9pm. (working for 90 min, eating for 90 min).
What to Bring: Wheel barrows, pitch forks, shovels and any small hand held weeding tools
Tasks: We will likely be weeding, moving mulch and maybe gravel
Food: Vegetarian and meat lazania, large green salad. There will also be some small snacks for vegans and gluten free peeps. No alcohol or special beverages available unless you bring it. There will likely be some small desert.  🙂
We will carpool from the Public Market around 5:30pm. Look for a white pickup truck (Ford Ranger). We;ll be closer to the south side of the lot near the bank.


E-mail rgp@sustainablebellingham.org if you have any questions. There are seven more remaining through the end of June.




(Compiled by Shannon Maris/Garden E-News and Jeffrey Westcott)

Okay, so the Roving Garden Parties (RGPs) officially begin Tuesday, April 2nd. However, the York Neighborhood Farm is kicking into high gear and needs some help. So please come by Saturday morning and lend a hand. York has some good things going on, so it’s also a good model for other neighborhoods around town. More info is below, or click here to view or add items to or calendar.

York Neighborhood Farm – 2013 Sustainable Bellingham Roving Garden Party Kickoff
Saturday, March 23, 9am-1pm, 1400 Block of James Street, York Neighborhood
Tasks: installing raised beds; filling raised beds with soil; planting raised beds; planting fruit trees; creating pathways; erecting deer proof fence; and then, a potluck celebration! Bring a little something to share. Bring gloves and a shovel and if you have a weed whacker and can bring it, please do! And if you have an instrument you like to play, bring it too!

Here are some other events this week:

Bicycle Travel Slide Show: Western Canada
Wednesday, March 20th, 7pm, Whatcom Middle School, 810 Halleck Street
Local cycle travel legend, Jim Legalley, will share his photos and stories of a several-week solo self-contained bicycle  trip from Williston, ND through the mountain/prairie provinces of Canada in July/August of 2012.  See photos of crossing Saskatchewan and Alberta taking in large cities such as Regina, Saskatoon and Edmonton in addition to Jasper/Banff/Kootenay National Parks.

Global Warming Is “Good” for You! How Propaganda Controls the Public Mind
Thursday, March 21st, 5:30pm, Pickford Theatre, Bay Street
Author and environmental activist John Stauber reveals how this propaganda-for-hire industry manages our beliefs, perceptions and actions on behalf of the world’s most powerful industries and politicians.

But getting back to Saturday, since it’s supposed to be warm with little chance of rain, you might as well plan to get out side for some other events going on around town:

Whatcom Conservation District’s 20th Annual Plant Sale & Expo
Saturday, March 23rd, 9am-2pm, WCC at the Roe Studio, 237 W Kellogg Rd

Purchase low cost native plants, check out local nursery offerings, or enjoy the educational entertainment and food. Pre-orders accepted now through Friday, March 22nd.

Growing Apples and Pears
Saturday, March 23rd, 10:30am-Noon, Cloud Mountain Farm, 6906 Goodwin Rd, Everson
We will discuss planting, growing techniques, and pruning of apples & pears. Techniques will be covered for pruning newly planted dwarfs to renovating older trees you’ve inherited. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside. Donations accepted.

Community Backyard Poultry Workshop
Saturday, March 23rd, 1-3pm, Caretaker’s House in Fairhaven Park, 107 Chuckanut Drive
Join the Bellingham Flying Chickens 4H Club as they lead you through everything you need to know about raising poultry in your own backyard. They will cover poultry care basics, brood boxes, coop requirements, breeds, and local animal regulations.  There will be plenty of chickens there, too, for petting, holding, and admiring. So bring the whole family!
This is an outside event, with separate covered tents/stations for each subject. Rain or Shine! Orders will be taken for fostering chicks and there will be a coop for sale also. Admission if $5/individual or family. Please pre-register at bhamflyingchickens4h@hotmail.com or 820-3323. Please send a note or leave a message with your name and how many people you are bringing to help us with our planning. **Parking is at Fairhaven Middle School or Fairhaven Park parking lot

Growing Stone Fruits; Cherries, Peaches, & Plums
Saturday, March 23rd, 1:30-3:30pm, Cloud Mountain Farm, 6906 Goodwin Rd, Everson
Growing cherries, plums, peaches and apricots can be rewarding and challenging in our maritime climate. We will discuss planting, growing techniques, and pruning of stone fruits. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside. Donations accepted.

WSU Whatcom County Extension First Detector Training
Monday March 25th, 12:30-3:30pm, WSU Whatcom County Extension, 1000 N. Forest St.
Open to all gardeners, nursery owners and growers who have a desire to improve skills in identifying pests in our community. Trainer Karen Ward, WSU Plant Pest Diagnostician, will explain the national “First Detector Training Program,” which is a network that connects the people on the ground, the professionals in the labs, and the regulators at the state and federal level. This program focuses on invasive high-risk plant disease, weed, and insect species that are not yet introduced, or introduced but not widespread and therefore still controllable or eradicable. Registration DEADLINE is March 20, 2013. Workshop fee is $15, cash or check accepted.

And some other tidbits of interest…

Right now is the time to start peas indoors. If you’re a bit late (like me), then why not consider sprouting them to give them better chance once in the ground?

Whatcom County, WA – Five new farms have joined Sustainable Connections’ Food To Bank On project. A beginning farmer business training project, Food to Bank On supports sustainable farmers in their first one to five years of business with business training resources, peer-to-peer and experienced farmer mentorship, marketing support, and payments for food deliveries to local food banks and shelters. 

There Is a Garden in the Mind: A Memoir of Alan Chadwick and the Organic Movement in California
There Is a Garden in the Mind presents an engaging look at the work and life of pioneering organic gardener Alan Chadwick and his profound influence on the organic farming movement. In this wide-ranging and philosophical memoir, author Paul Lee recounts his first serendipitous meeting with Chadwick in Santa Cruz, California, in 1967, and their subsequent founding of the Chadwick Garden at UC Santa Cruz, the first organic and biointensive garden at a U.S. university.

State lawmakers are considering at least eight bills on genetically modified food labeling, fish and crops. Several bills would require foods produced with genetically engineered materials to be labeled. Others bills would prohibit importing or cultivating genetically engineered fish.

How cooperatives are leading the way to empowered workers and healthy communities.

From the kitchen of Organic Gardening guest chef Edward Lee.
* 5 cups chopped Bibb or romaine lettuce
* 1/2 cup grated daikon or red salad radishes
* 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
* 1/2 –1 tablespoon Korean red chile pepper flakes
* 1 tablespoon fish sauce
* 2 teaspoons sugar
* 2 teaspoons white or cider vinegar
* 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
* ½ teaspoon finely grated garlic, about 2 cloves
* ½ teaspoon sesame oil
* ½ tablespoon sesame seeds

1. Roughly chop the larger leaves of lettuce, leaving the smaller leaves whole. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce with the grated radishes and cilantro.
2. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, except the sesame seeds. (For a less spicy kimchi, use only 1/2w tablespoon of chile pepper flakes.) Whisk thoroughly to dissolve the sugar.
3. Pour the chile pepper mixture over the lettuce. Using tongs or wearing gloves, toss and coat the leaves evenly. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds and mix some more. Leave the kimchi to sit for 5 minutes and serve immediately.

 Serves 4 as a side dish

(Compiled byShannon Maris/Garden E-News and Jeffrey Westcott)

Sustainable Bellingham’s Roving Garden Parties will begin another season on Tuesday nights from April through June. This is a sure sign that spring is in full swing…maybe host one at your place this year?

Here’s how it works: You agree to host an RGP at your place. Anywhere from 5-20 people will show up to help with any projects you have related to edible gardening (sorry, we don’t do dahlias, daisies, etc). This might include building raised beds, planting fruit trees or sheet mulching. We work for ninety minutes and then break for a meal that you provide. So ninety minutes of work followed by ninety minutes of sharing a meal with new and old friends. It’s a great way to build community and learn about gardening. The party goes until nine o’clock, although some have gone longer when bonfires, good beer or music is involved.

E-mail me or seeds@sustainablebellingham.org and we will get you set up on the schedule or answer any questions that you might have. We do ask that you return the favor and attend at least two other RGPs over the course of the spring. They will run every Tuesday from April through June.

But to to kick the season off, let’s celebrate with a work party in the York neighborhood on Saturday, March 23rd, 9am,-1pm. Stay tuned for more details, but food, music and libations are planned. If you want to see what can be done in an urban setting on small city lots, look no further than York. And following this event is a Community Backyard Poultry Workshop, at the Caretaker’s House in Fairhaven Park on Chuckanut Dr. ore information will be in next week’s newsletter.

Or click here to check out our calendar.

Another event next Saturday:

Growing Small Fruits
Saturday, February 16
th, 10:30am-noon, Cloud Mountain Farm
Northwest gardeners can grow an incredible variety of fruits. This workshop focuses on smaller fruiting plants like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and kiwis.

On other tidbits of interest…

Here is a pretty cool site I found that tracks Orca migration patterns Okay, so I realize that invasive tagging of our beloved Orcas may contain some risk,, but according to the site (regarding the tagging), “in no instance have we observed any anomalous behaviors or change in overall health status of the animals.” A cool site nonetheless.

I have about 2,000sq ft of arable land in which to grow food. Since I grow a lot of potatoes, a friend recently mentioned the method in Number Seven (the wire cylinder). More efficiency in less space?

Like many other intrinsically boring foods – say, tofu or grits – lentils shine because they get out of the way. They provide a vehicle and a backdrop for other flavors – whether it’s good olive oil and gently gilded onions, or ground spices and lemony pesto. (There are three recipes at end of the article!)

Despite the cold and snow, some signs of spring are starting to break through in Colorado. The public library in the small town of Basalt is trying an experiment: In addition to borrowing books, residents can now check out seeds.

Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA

As we inch closer to spring, it’s time to think about the nitrogen in your soil that is so critical for plant growth. Planting cover crops, amending the soil with compost, and practicing crop rotation are all good for business, sure, but if you’ve grown corn, tomatoes, cabbage, or other such heavy “feeders,” you may need to replenish the nitrogen to ensure healthy crops this growing season. This article, “Nitrogen: The Elusive Nutrient,” by Beth Hanson, explains in detail why nitrogen is so important and gives the pros and cons to many nitrogen-rich soil amendments.

Lessons learned about starting a school garden from our Organic Gardening WaterWorks projects.

– What is a Young Agrarian?
A new entrant into agriculture. Someone from the city or country, and anywhere in between, who values food, farmers, nature and community.
Who are the Young Agrarians?
Inspired by The Greenhorns to build a network Canada-side to celebrate, connect and recruit young farmers, the Young Agrarians are promoters of the new agrarian movement. They are young agriculturalists, farmers, urban farmers, market gardeners and allies using the power of media and the internet to build community and grow ‘good, clean, and fair’ food. Young Agrarians are the trumpet blowers, promoters, marketeers and designers who want to ecologically rebuild, promote and inspire the agriculture of our country.

(Compiled by Jeffrey Westcott)

Tonight at the Fairhaven Auditorium…

Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives
Friday, March 1st, 7pm, Fairhaven College Auditorium (Room 300), WWU
The environmental footprint of war (2008/USA/68 min.) A compelling documentary exploring the noticeably under-reported issue of the environmental impacts of war and its often decades long lingering effects upon civilian populations. It confronts broad ecological ramifications ranging from technological development and natural resource exhaustion to weapons testing and modern warfare itself. Facilitators: Michael Jacobsen and Bill Distler, Veterans For Peace.Check out the trailer at: http://vimeo.com/21574312

And tomorrow and beyond…

Winter Field Day / Open House
Saturday, March 2nd, 8am, WSU, NW WA Research and Extension Center16650 State Route 536, Mount Vernon
A complete day of workshops, lectures, learning and panel discussion. Click on link above for complete schedule.

Workplace CSA Member Lunch
Thursday, March 7th, 11:45am-1pm, Sustainable Connections office, 1701 Ellis Ave
Workplace CSAs are a great opportunity for farmers and businesses to work together to promote employee wellness and a healthy diet, offers the convenience of fresh, affordable, nutritious local produce delivered right to work, and supports local agriculture, sustainable farming practices and the local economy. We’ll have folks in the room to talk about their success in setting up a Workplace CSA program as well as some of the farmers offering Workplace CSAs this year.

Growing Fruit: Espalier
Saturday, March 9th, 10:30am,Cloud Mountain Farm Center, Everson, WA
This workshop is for those considering creating a Belgian fence or training cherries to a fan. Class covers construction, training, and selection of plants.

Growing Grapes
Saturday, March 9th, 12noon,Cloud Mountain Farm Center, Everson, WA
Learn about growing grapes in cool climates for wine and for eating. Discussion includes cultural practices such as soil requirements, pruning techniques, pest management, and harvesting. Workshop takes place in the vineyard.




On other tidbits of interest…


Forests can be meditative, therapeutic, rejuvenating and healthy for body and soul. Japan’s scientists are in the vanguard of knowing how green spaces soothe the body and brain; psychological research in recent decades suggests that spending time in nature improves cognition, relieves anxiety and depression, and even boosts empathy. Of course, we Bellinghamsters know this fact already.



Reducing our consumption – what’s not to like about it? Living with less has increased my quality of life significantly: less stress, lower carbon footprint, less demanding income requirements to satiate my need for ‘stuff’, more simplicity. Less paradoxically leads to a more fulfilling live. That’s been my experience, at least. Here’s an interesting blog post that talks about this nation’s desire to consume less.


Nitrogen is critical for plant growth, though. It is a fundamental part of chlorophyll, and when leaves contain sufficient nitrogen, photosynthesis occurs at high rates.


San Juan County has banned the use of GMO seeds. Will Washington’s Initiative 522 move the rest of the state in the same direction?

I’ve seen this New York Times Magazine story floating around Facebook and other places on the web. It’s an interesting (albeit lengthy) assessment on the junk-food industry, how it’s gotten to this point, and the subsequent health repercussions on our society.

And for those of you that have kale growing everywhere, here is a recipe for an…
* 1 small frozen banana, sliced
* 3/4 cup kale, lightly packed, stems removed
* 3/4 cup almond milk
* 3/4 tbsp almond butter
* 1/8 tsp cinnamon
* 1/8 tsp nutmeg
* 1/8 tsp ground ginger

Trick it out even more: Add 1/2 cup iced coffee for an extra dose of antioxidants.

Blend 1 small frozen banana, sliced; 3/4 cup kale, lightly packed, stems removed; 3/4 cup almond milk; 3/4 Tbsp almond butter; and 1/8 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger.

Nutritional Facts per serving
* Calories: 235.9
* Fat: 9.7 g
* Saturated fat: 0.9 g
* Cholesterol: 0 m
* Sodium: 185.3 mg
* Carbohydrates: 36.9 g
* Total sugars: 17.8 g
* Dietary fiber: 4.7 g
* Protein: 5.4 g

Courtesy of the Rodale Healthy Recipe Finder.