Manette Edible Gardens Tour 2014

The Manette Edible Gardens Tour is one of my favorite garden tours of the year, mostly because of its local, homegrown feel. Manette community members come together to organize this annual event, opening their gardens and landscapes for the public to experience first-hand. For a donation of $5, one has access to the most welcoming gardeners who freely share the knowledge they’ve accumulated over the years.

Last August, I took my niece and nephew with me so they could see food being grown and available in one’s own back yard. By the time we left Manette, they had handfuls of garden booty! (Turns out, gardeners are incredibly generous people.) The tour is a great experience for children, and this year’s tour included activities such as face painting and a scavenger hunt.

Colby accompanied me this year. While we didn’t see all of the twelve gardens on offer, we received a wealth of great composting tips at Nano Farm.

compost

compost at Nano Farm

Coffee grinds layered on top of your pile will hide smells, hopefully keeping animals away. Don’t add receipts to your compost; something in them kills the worms. Also, place a bucket of water next to your bin to wet your carbon before putting it in the pile. This is a great way to keep things moist.

We were very impressed by Nano Farm which belongs to homeowners Eugene and Deborah. Upon walking up to their home, we were greeted by a spread of their garden bounty, which included canned and pickled items.

Nano Farm

Nano Farm features sustainable watering systems, a chicken coop, fruit trees, bees and more.

Managing this garden is more than a part-time job and Eugene, a great steward of his land, is up to the task in every way. He was, after all, part of a grassroots coalition that helped to “legalize chickens” in Bremerton. Using simple yet incredibly effective technology, he captures water from his garage to water his garden. Being retired, he also has the time to keep bees.

beekeeping

Beekeeping at Nano Farm

It was a great afternoon. We appreciate seeing folks doing what they love and doing it well. Cheers to the good people of Manette and everyone involved with the Manette Edible Gardens Tour!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.

Summer Pruning of Shrubs & Trees

In July we had the opportunity to attend a summer pruning workshop in Seattle coordinated by the UW Botanic Gardens as part of their professional horticulture education series.  Two of our maintenance leads, Phillip and Ray, were in attendance.

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Phillip and Ray listen as an arborist discusses what factors to consider when selecting a tree’s leader.

This outdoor demonstration class was taught by professional horticulturists and arborists on staff for the Washington Park Arboretum along with Bess Bronstein, an instructor for the Edmonds Community College horticulture program since 1989. If you love learning about plants and are interested in taking a horticulture class, Bess Bronstein is a fantastic instructor to learn from. She delivers information with wit and humor and knows how to keep a class engaged.

landscape maintenance

We learned how they train the wisteria vines on site and how to achieve more flowering.

So what exactly should you prune?

  • Remove the 3-D’s: dead, damaged and diseased branches.
  • Remove undesirable growth (the 4th D- deranged!): rootstock suckers, water sprouts, plants prone to suckering regrowth, etc.
  • Prune bleeders. Some genera tend to bleed sap during dormancy, so summer pruning is neater. Bleeders include: maples, dogwoods, birches and beechers.
  • Prune plants prone to fungal diseases: Prunus species of trees (flowering plums and cherries), maples and dogwoods are prone to fungal disease spread if pruned during wet winters.
  • Fine prune thin small branches/leaves of Japanese maples to enhance branch view.
  • Hedge broadleaved evergreens to allow some regrowth prior to low temperatures returning.

And why prune in the summer? Pruning during the summer months is somewhat of a no-brainer considering the long stretches of dry weather we experience. Besides keeping dry, listed below are other benefits of summer pruning.

  • You can see where it’s dark and where a plant won’t flower, allowing you to make informed decisions about how to allow more light to filter in.
  • By mid-July top growth is essentially finished.  The bulk of growth has been done, but plants haven’t started storing food yet. The optimal time to prune is between mid-July and mid-August.
  • If you prune after mid-August, you risk stimulating new growth at the same time plants are trying to store food, and this can be stressful for the plant.
  • Summer pruning results in a “stunting” or “dwarfing” growth response – great for size management.
  • It’s an opportune time to manage temporary branches and emerging competing leaders.
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Ray looks at the effects of Cherry bark tortix, a moth whose larvae can kill cherry trees and infest woody trees and shrubs.

Continuing education is incredibly important to us.  It allows our employees to grow their knowledge about their field, and this knowledge is then directly applied to our maintenance clients’ sites.

To learn more about the UW Botanic Gardens continuing education horticulture workshops, click here.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.