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

Thank you for attending and supporting another wonderful seed swap in late January. Your donations will ensure that we can hold this event in 2016. I was thinking of all the many, many people that I wanted to thank in this newsletter for making this event so successful. But then I realized that I would have missed a few names of people that played a really big part and then I would have felt pretty bad. All I can say is Thank You to all of you who supported this event on in any way that you did.

But spring, I’ve been told, is arriving about three weeks ahead of schedule. Peas are usually the first things to go in the ground, so here’s an interesting link I gleaned from the Whatcom County Gardeners page on Facebook. (Thanks Millard S.)

“…you can plant Pea seeds outside when soil temps are 40 degrees. Germination can take a month or more at 40. Most texts recommend planting them when soil temps hit 50 because germination is only 10 to 14 days at 50 (9 days at 60, but it takes forever for our soils to get to 60). Plant them in well drained soil or they rot. Peas can take a medium frost in spring. Or, start them indoors 10 to 14 days before the last spring frost and then transplant them. Here is a nice document on growing peas in Washington..”

And Roving Gardens Parties are right around the corner too! Jean Kroll will be organizing these again this year (thanks Jean!). If you’ve never hosted a Roving Garden Party before, please contact me and I can pas your information on to Jean. We ask that we only work with edibles too: raised beds, planting fruit trees, veggies and tubers, etc. We are expected to begin Tuesday, April 1st., maybe sooner. Stay tuned, and please come and lend a hand this year or consider hosting one.

We will come and garden for ninety minutes at your place, and then you feed us. The crowd is usually 10-20 people, depending upon the weather, location, and a thousand other factors. It is a great way to meet wonderful people in the gardening community.

Here are some other upcoming events listed on the Sustainable Bellingham calendar…
(click here to list your event)

Fourth Corner Exchange New Member Meeting
Sunday January 25th, 4-5pm, Food Coop Connections 1220 N Forest St, B’ham

Take this opportunity to find out how our members use Life Dollars to exchange goods and services with one another within a cooperative economy. You will learn how our cooperative economy works and have the opportunity to have your questions answered. Come and join others in creating the New Cooperative Economy in the Pacific Northwest (including Canada).

AIA NW Washington 2015 Design Awards
Friday, February 20th 7-9:30pm, B’ham Cruise Terminal, 355 
Harris Ave. B’ham

The 2015 Northwest Washington AIA Design Awards celebrates the best architectural designs available from Architects in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan and Island Counties. These projects represent the finest standards in sustainability, innovation, building performance and overall integration with the client and surrounding community.

Spring 2015 Work Party Schedule
Come join NSEA and help restore streamside habitat for salmon. We’ll bring the tools and gloves – just wear sturdy shoes, long pants and weather appropriate clothing. Check in at the blue NSEA tent. All ages are welcome, children under 18 will need an adult to sign registration form at check-in. Volunteers do not need to sign up with NSEA before a work party. We’ll see you at the creek!

3//7 – Deer Creek

3/14 – Smith Creek

3/28 – Squaw Creek

4/4 – Padden Creek

4/11 – Lower Landingstrip Creek

4/28 – Whatcom Creek

5/1 – NSEA Nursery

5/30 – Little Squalicum

And some other community events going on this in the near future…

15th Annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival
Thursday, February 19
th through Saturday, February 28th, Various Locations throughout B’ham

Opens February 19, presenting quality films on local and global issues,including climate change, farmworkers’ rights, and small scale agriculture.

Workshop: Pruning Fruit Trees

Sunday Feb 22nd, 12-2pm, The Caretaker’s House, 107 Chuckanut Drive. Fairhaven

Demonstrated by Shawn from Cloud Mountain Farm Center. Come learn the basics of fruit tree pruning on fruit trees in our 3 year old orchard in Fairhaven! Rain or shine. Donations are welcomed.
 Located on the north end of the site – The Old Fairhaven Rose Garden. Info: Lynn Loveland 927-1398.

San Juan Islands Agricultural Summit 2015

Friday, February 27th and Saturday, February 28th
Keynote Speakers: food writer Gary Nabhan, and Thor Hanson, award-winning author of The Triumph of Seeds Food-lovers, farmers, regional experts, chefs and local food and farm advocates will gather for two days of education, inspiration, and camaraderie. Questions? Call 370-7664, 370-7666 or email summit@sjcarc.org

And some other interesting tidbits of information …

To Do This Month in the Garden
In late February, you can begin sowing for spring and summer. By trapping the heat of the sun, cloche’, hoop house or cold frame gardening effectively moves the inside growing space about 1.5 hardiness zones further south, allowing you to plant cold-tolerant crops, such as spinach and broccoli, a month or so earlier in the spring. (Or, you can wait to get lovely starts from local producers like Joe’s Garden and the Master Gardeners’ Plant Sale in May.)

* Direct seed hardy annuals such as alyssum, Johnny Jump Ups, Larkspur, Toad Flax, Love in a Mist, Forget-Me-Nots, Shirley Poppies

* Plant cloves, bulbs, sets: garlic, onion, shallots

* Plant peas, fava beans, and radishes

* Under cloche, plant: cilantro, spinach, mustard, oriental greens, and lettuces

* Plant indoors, starts to be planted out in April, May or June:

tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, broccoli, asparagus, leeks, onions, chives, parsley

* Prune Fruit Trees and Berries

* Plant Bareroot Fruit Trees

Fields of Gold: GMO-Free Crops Prove Lucrative for Farmers
From the Wall Street Journal, off all places…
Last spring, for the first time in 20 years, Indiana farmer Jim Benham planted his fields entirely with soybean seeds that hadn’t been genetically modified to withstand herbicides. It wasn’t because the 63-year-old suddenly had embraced the anti-GMO movement. Instead, he was drawn to a nearly 14% per-bushel premium for non-GMO soybeans offered by a local grain terminal, which sells them to Asian feed processors.

Running on Renewable Energy, Burlington, Vermont Powers Green Movement Forward
Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city, recently became the first in the country to use 100 percent renewable energy for its residents’ electricity needs. In a state known for socially conscious policies, the feat represents a milestone in the growing green energy movement. NewsHour’s William Brangham reports on the implications for the country’s green movement.

10 Easy DIY Free Greenhouse Plans
A DIY greenhouse can be the perfect solution, both in terms of costs and complexity. We found a nice collection of plans as well as tutorials on how to make your very own DIY greenhouse. Just follow the steps of your preferred design (there are plenty of designs, for any personality and setting) and you will be taking care after your plants in mid-November without any worries.

Sunday Vegetarian Strata
Original recipe makes 12 servings Change Servings

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– 1/2 pound ground vegetarian breakfast sausage

– 2 cups chopped onion

– 2 cloves garlic, mince
– 1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper

– 6 cups cubed whole-wheat country bread
– 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
– 1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese

– 12 large eggs
– 2 cups 1% milk
– 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
– freshly ground black pepper to taste


–   Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the vegetarian sausage. Cook and stir until the sausage is crumbly, and evenly browned. Stir in the onion, garlic, and bell pepper; cook and stir until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

–   Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange bread in an even layer in the prepared baking dish. Scatter the sausage mixture on top. Brush with the Dijon mustard, and sprinkle with cheese. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, and pour over the cheese. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

–   Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove strata from the refrigerator, and unwrap.
–   Bake in the preheated oven until puffed, lightly browned, and the center is set, 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving..