I have a green thumb.  I have for as long as I can remember.  We always had a big vegetable garden growing up in Utah, and when we moved to Michigan, I was allowed to clear a spot of land in the forest and make a little garden of my own.  I’ve had patio gardens and container gardens almost everywhere I’ve lived.  When I was renting a house in Utah, I even ripped up part of the house’s lawn and created a garden there.

So, living in apartment has always been difficult for me around this time of year.  I’ve always wanted to plant a huge garden.  I’ve had container gardens every year since I moved into this apartment complex, but the big issue there is that I get so little sun on my patio, what with it being covered and behind a large tree.

This year, however, I’ve decided it’s time to go big.  And go big I shall.

In Redmond, there is a massive park called Marymoor Park, which has among other things, a large community garden.  (It’s also the park that contains the 90-acre off-leash dog park with swimming holes).  I have opted to rent one of the plots in the community garden this year.  For $65 a YEAR, I get a 10’X40’ plot of land, with access to city-provided water and lots and lots of sunlight.  (No trees!)

The theme for this year’s garden (and pretty much all of my big gardens) is Growing Things You Can’t Easily Find at the Grocery Store, and with only a few minor items (Corn, Zucchini) I have managed to procure a quite astonishing selection of produce for this year’s project.  Most of my plants are heirloom varieties that aren’t commercially available, and those few that aren’t heirloom varieties are unusual enough in their own right.

Here’s the crop selection for this year:

Peaches and Cream Sweet Corn
Italian Striped Zucchini
Stars and Moon Watermelon
Spaghetti Squash
French Breakfast Radish
Horto Semi-Bush Beans
Purple Vienna Kohlrabi
Royal Burgundy Bush Bean
Cherokee Purple Tomato
Dr Wychee’s Yellow Tomato
Striped German Tomato
Brandywine Tomato
Black Prince Tomato
Roma Tomato
Orange Bell Pepper
Golden California Wonder Bell Pepper
Jalapeno Golaith
Anaheim Pepper
Ancho Tiburon Pepper
Rosa Bianca Eggplant
Snowy Eggplant
Imperial Black Beauty Eggplant
Genovese Basil
Sugar Sprint Peas

I have to say, the world of the Garden Center has changed a whole bunch over the last couple of years.  It used to be that when you went to your local big box store garden center, you could only get two or three varieties of tomatoes or peppers.  Now there are dozens.  I got every single thing on this list at my local Fred Meyer, and all of the tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, beans, and melons are heirloom varieties.  It’s quite impressive.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Yes, this is a LOT of stuff to fit into a 400 sq. ft. garden.  Yes, this is a LOT of produce for a single person.  You are correct.  However, since I have a full 400 sq ft, I have every intention of using it to its fullest.  I will give away produce to friends who would like it, and if I have any excess, the community gardens have a plan by which I can donate my extra produce to the Hopelink Food Bank.

So, I am SUPER excited about the garden this year.  I won’t be spending as much time (or money) at the Farmer’s market, and will be spending more time, and hopefully less money, at the farm.

  • Megan

    Now I wish I lived in Seattle, so I could eat out of your garden. Have fun, and be sure to post pictures when it starts growing!

  • Connie J

    So, this is going to sound jaded and pessimistic, but how do you keep people from stealing the very delicious produce you produce? Because you can’t be there all the time — do they have guards? ;)

  • In all reality, I can’t. There are, in fact, park personnel who check on the park occasionally through the night (there are several stadiums, rock climbing walls, etc, within the park), but I can’t be sure. However, there are hundreds of garden plots, and mine will be much further back, away from the road since I’m so late in getting one. That, and this park is so large, and so far away from and and all civilization that getting to it is not super-easy without a car. Plus, let’s be honest, Redmond doesn’t have much of a homeless population, because it’s so stikin’ wealthy what with all the Microsoft money floating around.

    I’m not too worried about it. I’m far more worried with how I’m going to keep the bugs and critters off of my stuff, since it’s an organic garden, and I can’t use pesticides or insecticides.