Pickering Barn garden gets $19,000 grant for upgrade

February 14, 2012

The city has received a $19,000 grant from the King Conservation District to improve the Pickering Barn Demonstration Garden — a showcase for organic gardening and a source for the local food bank.

In addition to garden upgrades, officials intend to use grant dollars to improve the site and add more educational components. Seattle Tilth, a regional leader in sustainable organic gardening and public education in natural yard care practices, oversees the garden’s education component.

Plans call for the expanded education component to operate alongside the Issaquah School District and the municipal Parks & Recreation Department. The school district program aims to provide in-classroom teaching, teacher training and transportation for schoolchildren from campuses to the garden. The program through the parks department calls for classes in the garden for after-school community programs. The grant is meant to help transport children to the garden for the program.

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King County’s Food Day mission focuses on affordability, sustainability

October 21, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Oct. 21, 2011

In King County, Food Day is about bringing together parents, teachers, students, health professionals, chefs, school lunch providers and others to advocate for affordable and sustainable foods.

Food Day is Oct. 24, and King County health officials plan a series of events to highlight local foods, access to healthy foods and childhood-obesity prevention.

“Local organizations, schools, leaders and residents are mobilizing for Food Day to expand access to healthy food and curb access to junk food,” Dr. David Fleming, Public Health – Seattle & King County director and health officer, and a Food Day national advisory board member, said in a statement. “We are aiming for long-term improvements so all of our residents have access to healthy options and ultimately good health.”

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Pickering Barn volunteer garden showcases drip watering system

August 23, 2011

“We’re not just growing food, we’re trying to educate,” said Faalah Jones, of Seattle Tilth.

Water resources manager for the Cascade Water Alliance, Michael Brent, agreed.

“We’re just trying to show the potential of a few things,” he said.

Manager of the Issaquah Resource Conservation Office, David Fujimoto said much the same.

“It’s kind of a learning garden,” he said.

All three were referring to a large public garden alongside Pickering Barn on 10th Avenue Northwest in Issaquah.

While it is maintained almost exclusively by volunteers, the nonprofit organization Seattle Tilth oversees the garden. The latest project in the garden is a new drip irrigation system being installed by the city and the water alliance, Brent said.

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Off the Press

July 12, 2011

Slugs ooze to finish at slimy sprint

Laura Geggel Press reporter

I found the slug underneath a garden pot housing a lemon-scented geranium. The slimy hermaphrodite didn’t stand a chance. I scooped it up in a Tupperware container filled with damp leaves and dirt, and left it outside on my porch where it would stay cool during the night.

The next day, I brought it to Issaquah’s annual Down Home Fourth of July slug race. Jenna Powell, an 11-year-old from Tennessee who was visiting her Sammamish cousin, crowded around the racetrack with the other children, trying to get a better view of the slugs.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” she said. “I’ve seen duck, frog and turtle races, but not a slug race.”

Before the competition, children presented their gastropod mollusks for the traditional beauty pageant — several slugs wore paper crowns and conical princess hats (all were winners, Salmon Days Festival organizer and slug race referee Robin Kelley said).

It was a hot day to race, let alone to be a slug, but all eight of them revved up their slime machines the moment they were placed on the circular racetrack.

The first slug to reach the outer circle of the target sign won, and that honor fell on Slimy, a leopard slug uncovered by Clark Elementary School student Hannah Prouty, who went slug hunting by her playhouse.

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Mark Issaquah drains Saturday — and help Puget Sound

May 12, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 12, 2011

Help improve Puget Sound — in Issaquah.

More than 8,000 storm drains flow directly into area creeks and Lake Sammamish. Then, local waterways drain into Puget Sound.

Help install the “Puget Sound Starts Here” markers Saturday. Volunteers meet at the Pickering Barn Learning Garden, 1730 10th Ave. N.W., at 10 a.m. Email Laura Matter at Seattle Tilth to learn more.

The event includes a discussion about how to protect the watershed. Then, participants head out to mark drains at 11 a.m. and return to the garden at 2 p.m.

The city Resource Conservation Office has received grant funding to purchase markers for every storm drain in Issaquah.

Officials estimate about 75 percent of all pollution in Puget Sound comes from storm water runoff.

The runoff comes from the water passing over roads, sidewalks, driveways and yards — picking up oil, grease, metals, soaps and yard chemicals along the way.

People in the Puget Sound watershed can change a few things around their homes to help prevent pollution from reaching Puget Sound. Puget Sound Start Here offers some simple tips for residents.

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Issaquah Farmers Market closes for the season Saturday

October 8, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 8, 2010

Celebrate the last Issaquah Farmers Market of the season Saturday.

The market has planned several events to mark the occasion, including a Tacoma Glass blown-glass pumpkin patch and a garden renovation class presented by Seattle Tilth.

The market runs from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Pickering Barn, 1730 10th Ave. N.W. Besides the fall attraction and the gardening class, browse homegrown wares flowers, handmade crafts and food vendors.

King County farmers markets provide sales opportunities for more than 250 family farms across the Evergreen State, including more than 100 farmers from King County.

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Can, freeze and donate bounty from your summer gardens

August 10, 2010

A garden bed at the city’s Pickering Barn demonstration garden displays cauliflower, celery, beets, carrots, green onions, herbs, beans, cucumbers, turnips and radishes. By Greg Farrar

Summer gardens are a treasure trove of tasty treats. Ripe strawberries abound, string beans spring up faster than you can pick them, and the raspberries and blackberries multiply exponentially.

While it’s nice to bite into a succulent ripe apple that fell to the ground, the apple tree you inherited from your home’s previous owners can sometimes produce more fruit than you can possibly find time to store. You’d bake another pie for the neighbor, but she threatened you with bodily harm should you bring another and derail her triathlon training.

So, what do you do with your garden’s bounty when there’s just too much?

Share it.

It’s the most logical thing to do with an abundance of food. After all, people clean out pantries and donate canned food to community meal programs. But donating your fresh produce to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank can be even better. Read more

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City folk give urban farming a try

April 13, 2010

Where did your breakfast this morning come from?

If you dig into the rising trend of urban farming, it could come from your own backyard.

Urban farming has become increasingly popular in recent years, and people are pushing its boundaries beyond a few tomato plants. Year-round vegetable, fruit and herb gardens, and chickens, goats and even bees are now being raised in people’s yards.

“The last couple years, we’ve seen a huge upsurge in people’s interest in growing food in the city,” said Liza Burke, communications director of Seattle Tilth, a nonprofit education group with classes in Seattle and Issaquah.

Such people come from all walks of life.

The demand for chickens has “become insane” at The Grange Supply in Issaquah, said Susan Saadati, who orders things including baby chicks for the company.

“Most of our customers are new to chickens,” she said.

Many people might be intimidated at the idea of raising livestock or even just lima beans in their backyard, but anyone can be an urban farmer, experts said. Read more

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City gets conservation grants

March 23, 2010

City Council members accepted a pair of King Conservation District grants to improve Pickering Garden and mark storm drains. Read more

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City officials pocket dollars for conservation

March 6, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. March 6, 2010

City Council members accepted a pair of King Conservation District grants Monday to improve Pickering Garden and mark storm drains.

The council accepted more than $60,000 in grant dollars during a brief meeting.

The garden grant — $41,358 spread through 2011 — will be at the Pickering Garden to implement education efforts and improvement the site. The project includes a series of classes on landscaping, gardening without pesticides and herbicides, and natural yard-care techniques conducted by Seattle Tilth.

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