Saturday, July 1st, was the 2017 Edible Garden Tour, organized by Sustainable Ballard and we jumped at the chance to peek into our neighbor's gardens and see what creative and interesting things they are doing!
This year's tour was focused on properties between 85th and 67th Avenues NW (with a few outliers) and was easily accessible by walking or bicycle. So, we set off on foot to discover the charms of the edible garden. Here are some of the highlights!
A P-Patch for the Community
We started at Kirke Park P-Patch, a community garden and city park, built on the former site of a religious sect! The P-Patch features about 30 different plots filled with vegetables and fruit. Two of the plots are designated for the Ballard Food Bank and there is also a small orchard. We were welcomed into the park by the lovely sounds of the Whiskey Cove Players; the perfect way to start the tour.
It's All About Being Neighborly
One of the stops on the tour were two adjacent homes. These neighbors knew how to make the most of their spaces and outfitted their shared driveway with a greenhouse and edibles planted in containers. A 100-year-old pear tree was the centerpiece of one garden, while the other had an 110-year-old apple tree guarding the premises.! The gardens also included chickens and bee hives that increase pollination for a three-mile radius.
Experimentation is the Key
We have to admit, we're biased about this one since the gardener is one of team Swansons'. But the garden truly was a spectacular mix of ornamentals and edibles, with lots of rare and unusual plants (we wouldn't expect any less!). There were even plant lists, so we knew what we were looking at!
Building a Wildlife Habitat
One garden incorporated a meadow alongside her raised vegetable beds, and planted flowers and shrubs throughout to offer food and habitat for birds and insects. She even offered us some seeds to plant in our own gardens!
Cider, Butterflies, and more!
All of the gardens were beautiful in their own unique way. One gardener was a hard cider maker (with samples!), while another offered us a list of plants to attract beneficial insects. We even saw a beautiful butterfly in a garden with dazzling sunny spaces and equally beautiful shade areas (with over 110 hostas!).
A Home and a Garden For Homeless Youth
Our last stop was an incredible way to finish the tour. Four years ago, The Labateyah Youth Home's lawn transformed into a 5,000 sq. ft. vegetable garden. The bounty from the garden is used in the kitchen and hundreds of pounds of excess go to Ballard Food Bank. While we revere the utilitarian use of a lawn-turned-garden to supply organic produce, we love that it also lends lessons of care and appreciation for edible gardening.
We couldn't help but indulge in our love for different takes on edible gardening, but we got more than just an eyeful when we toured Ballard's edible gardens. We were welcomed, educated, and inspired by kind neighbors. This is perfect for the curious or aspiring gardener. We'll see you next year at the 10th annual Sustainable Ballard Edible Garden Tour!