Author Archives: Carol Tompkins

The “New Normal…

Today’s Seattle Times had an interesting article by Janet I. Tu, “‘New normal’ Food banks much busier, despite better economy” that talks about the increasing number of visits to local food banks. While a lot of people think the economy has mostly recovered during last few years, this article provides some alarming statistics including: “In the Seattle area, some food banks are getting more visits now than they did during the recession. At the 27 food pantries in the Seattle Food Committee coalition, the number of visits (including delivery of food to homes) went up from 928,656 in 2007 to 1.1 million in 2009 and to nearly 1.4 million last year.”

This article also highlighted the story of a local food bank client and interviewed Sam Osborne, executive director at the Rainier Valley Food Bank. At our recent Giving Gardeners’ Gathering, we were fortunate to have Sam talk to us about this growing need for donations to food bank and how much our efforts have been appreciated.

Read the the Seattle Time‘s article at ‘New normal’ Food banks much busier, despite better economy.

I imagine that there are many reasons our gardeners are motivated to grow produce for local food banks and it would be great to hear what inspires our gardeners.

El Nino and planting fall/winter crops

After this unusually warm summer, my gardening partners at our Giving Garden plot have been wondering how long the warm weather is going to last. While I usually plant a crop of lettuces, chard, kale and collards for the fall, I haven’t had much success growing year round. This year might be different though thanks to El Nino!

Cliff Mass, noted local meteorologist gives more information about the weather potentially coming up this fall and winter in a mynorthwest.com article: Experts predicting warmer fall, winter for Western Washington

If indeed we experience a warmer fall/winter, what are you planting as your late season crops? Do you have any suggestions for a successful winter growing season?

Planting quantity verse harvest quantity

Ever wonder how much produce your plot will produce when you plant seeds or seedlings? Diane Brooks from Delridge Giving Gardens sent us the results from their garden last year.

Here’s some numbers from Delridge P-Patch Giving Garden that might help new gardens understand what they can expect from their plantings.

The list is the plant, start or seed quantity  = pounds harvested. For example, for 16 tomato plants, they harvested 58 pounds of fruit

Plant # of plants or seeds quantity Pounds harvested
tomato 16 plants = 58 pounds
hot pepper 16 plants = 6 1/2 pounds
beets 60 plants = 8 pounds
zukes 3 plants 95 pounds
Patty Pan squash 1 plant 8 pounds
Kabocha squash 1 plant 2 1/2 pounds (1 squash only)
cilantro 150 plants 30 pounds (harvested w/roots)
bunching onion 1 seed pack 11 pounds
Komatsuna Japanese Spinach Mustard 174 plants 41 pounds (club root infestation)
Scarlet Runner beans 1 seed pack 60 pounds
basil 27 plants 10 1/2 pounds (seems high!??) – they grew fast after each cutting
Giant Snow peas 1 pound seeds 42 pounds (partial crop failure after germination)

Thanks Diane for this information. It should help us plan what we plant this year in our own giving gardens!