Gardening? Try planting only edibles.

1431552893885 Two years ago I read an article that stated if your kids help you plant seeds, watch a vegetable grow then they’ll eat the vegetables. Issue #1 when we planted the carrot seeds – nothing appeared. Issue #2 I had no idea how, what and where to plant things. Issue #3 when something did grow, it was infested with bugs. At that point I brought in the professionals – Seattle Urban Farm Company

WP_20150514_16_33_07_ProThey built a 2’x14′ planter out the front with a cold frame for winter planting, changed the soil in the back vegetable patch, planted seedlings, fertilized and maintained the vegetable gardens. At the same time they educated me in urban gardening. I learned what to plant, how to plant and when to harvest. For example, how to thin out carrots, where to place your tomatoes so you don’t shadow your other vegetable plants, top your snap peas, and how to deal with the bugs and crows! I can’t say enough great  things about this company. Throughout this past winter – I never needed to buy broccoli or kale because I could harvest it from December until March. I’m also growing garlic and it will be harvested in July  (I’ll have enough until Christmas)! As soon as Spring arrived here in Seattle – the urban farmer was out – planting snap peas, bok choy, new broccoli, kale, carrots, beets, potatoes, spinach, lettuce and cabbage. Recently the tomatoes went in. The company has a variety of maintenance and assistance programs. If you’re in the Seattle area I highly recommend you call for an estimate. If you’re out of the area – they have written a fabulous book Food Grown Right in Your Backyard
It’s very informative and easy to digest. After reading it, I was able to decrease the maintenance plan and harvest the vegetables timely and correctly to encourage new growth to have a second and third harvest of that plant.

Last spring, I tried planting only edible plants, since my girls eat us out of fruit within a day of buying it. It was a success! I was able to use all of my herbs throughout the year and my blueberries and strawberries all came back. I had my first strawberry harvest today. If you’re in the USA,  Dutch Gardens has a fabulous online catalog and offers unique fruit planting. I have strawberries that are designed for hanging baskets and blueberries for pots. They do have a variety of other perennials which you won’t find at your local nursery. A secret with Basil – put it indoors in a glass of water and it will grow throughout the year. You can have fresh basil all year round.

Another little secret is copper Slug and Snail Tape.
You can also use copper pennies (Canadians can use the old penny) throughout your pots, but the tape is great if you have a large box.

The slug tape stuck to the vegetable box.

The slug tape stuck to the vegetable box.

Happy gardening.

Great Date Night Restaurant – RioneXIII

rionexiiiDate nights are always logistical when you have kids, work, and other extraneous factors such as exhaustion that have a tendency to get in your way of having an excellent date night. It’s hard to find gems – great food, excellent service and yummy cocktails. Rione XIII located in Capital Hill, Seattle will not disappoint. I’ve eaten at this restaurant probably 10 times in the last 9 months. Be sure to make a reservation at least a week in advance if you want a table otherwise enjoy dining at the bar. When I was last there – 2 weeks ago the asparagus salad (using fresh ingredients) was mouth-watering. I’ve had the Carciofi alla Giudia (see their dinner menu) which is fried artichoke is a hit and miss. Two out of three times I’ve had it was amazing and I don’t even like artichokes. Unfortunately the last time it was a bit chalky. Normally I order a special, which usually is a fish dish. My first time at Rione XIII I had grilled Branzino – European Sea Bass which was delicious. Rione XIII is known for their pasta and I have only eaten four of them on the pasta menu. Did I tell you that I love food. I search out the best of everything. Also for those of you that are like me and order way too much food, their food does carry out well and reheats for leftovers the next day.

Parking can be tricky but I always find parking on side streets, behind the restaurant. Rione XIII is also a great place to go and meet up with a friend too.