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  • Why Scoop Dog Poop

    November 07, 2014

    Why spend an entire blog post discussing ‘why scoop dog poop?’

    While there are many kinds of animal poop that may augment  your garden, dog poop isn’t even close to being one of them. In fact, dog waste houses some nasty, toxic, sickening stuff. Even if it doesn’t manage you make you sick, it can leach into storm collection systems and streams, leading to their contamination. So, if you’re planning to add a pooch to your garden, be prepared to be a vigilant pooper scooper, please!

    Scoop Dog Poop for Playful Pups

    Giving dogs a sanitary yard to play in is one reason to scoop your poop!

    Recently, I was quizzed by a new homeowner about ground covers. Turns out, he was asking because he wanted to install said ground cover in a small, tucked away area of his yard where he would train his dogs to do their business.

    Okay, that’s a great idea. Ground cover instead of lawn for dogs. Installed in a tucked away area. Investing time in training the dogs to use the area.

    Except his plan didn’t end there. The next part of his reasoning made me little ill. Besides tucking his doggie toilet away so he wouldn’t step in the dog’s nasty business, his ultimate goal was to “let the rain and elements wash away the waste.”

    Not a good idea.

    In fact, here in Seattle, his plan is actually illegal. Even on your own property. At a minimum, you could be looking a fine of around $100 for not picking up your dog’s waste every 24 hours. And, in some situations, you might be in for bigger issues and fines (see section 9.25.081) if it is determined that your poop accumulation poses an unsanitary living condition for your dog.

    Chocolate lab & golden lab

    Giving your dogs a healthy outdoor space will help them live happily into old age.

    So, how would the city find out and give you said ticket?

    Despite the amount of rain Seattle’s famous for, it isn’t likely all that poop would just wash away (into storm systems, which it would likely contaminate). Rather, much would languish in place — especially during winter when the poop would freeze and rats would eat it. Yes, rats will happily munch on dog waste, which might reduce the size of your canine poop pile. But, it would also mean helping increase the population of disease-spreading rodents, too. And, then in summer, when our natural drought period hits, and it’s hot, and your neighbors are outside trying to enjoy their garden – what then? Why that mountain of crap would stink to high heaven, which might just get you reported by the disgusted people living near your craptacular garden of doody.

    Small old guard dog

    Even little dogs and puppies produce problematic waste.
    Tiny turds aren’t an excuse to leave it in place!

    So, scoop your poop. Bag it. Trash it. Be a good neighbor and a good pet parent. And don’t grow a garden of poo.

    Never put it in your yard waste pick up. Don’t try to recycle it in your worm bin or compost heap. And, never, ever put it in your food garden.

    Learn more about pest waste disease issues, management and regulations here.

  • Halloween Garden Gore + Mummy’s Dinner

    October 31, 2014

    By the time tiny princesses and superheros are passing through our Halloween garden to demand their holiday handouts, much of the garden is looking gory. And, it isn’t just rotten flora that’ll make your hair stand on end. What really freaks us out at the end of October is some truly frightful fauna — living and dead.

    Spider in moonlight

    Giant spiders weaving by the light of the moon. In our book, this big gal is a-okay.
    She’s eating up annoying gnats & she lives outside in the garden where she belongs!

    Warning! What you’re about to see might make your stomach turn, but be brave until the very end where your treat awaits –our Halloween recipe for Mummy’s Dinner. Mummy loves it because it’s so simple to make and kids will gladly munch down this fun meal without complaint — no matter how anxious they are to start ringing doorbells for sweet treats. (more…)

  • Plant Profile: Mahonia

    October 24, 2014

    Setting out to profile something as big as the Mahonia genus in a single blog post is pretty much impossible. But, by focusing on its virtues rather than bemoaning its various prickly traits, we can probably convince you to fall in love with this often despised plant.

    Oh, and yes, there is at least one Mahonia that won’t poke you, but we’ll get to that a little later…

    Mahonia Charity & Arthur Menzies

    Mahonia ‘Charity’ and ‘Arthur Menzies’ grow quite tall, which is great for hummingbirds seeking their tasty yellow blooms in December & January. This beauty pops even more against the red trunk of a conifer in the Washington Park Arboretum Winter Garden.

    To begin, a bit about the genus’ greatness: (more…)

  • Basil Rosemary Pesto Recipe

    October 17, 2014
    Before the last of your basil goes kaput under autumn’s chill and waning light, harvest the last of your crop to make a preservable batch of our favorite dairy-free basil rosemary pesto.

    Basil Rosemary Pesto Ingredients

    All you need to whip up a tasty batch of dairy-free basil-rosemary pesto

    This rich, herbal paste is simple to whip up — and a little goes a long way to add flavor to roasted chicken or vegetables like cauliflower and tomatoes. If you love traditional basil-only pesto, try this one for the added depth of flavor — almost a smoky richness — that the rosemary imparts. It’s rich and creamy – no cheese required!

    Dairy-free Basil Rosemary PestoPrint Print

    Makes about 2, 1 cup servings

    Basil-Rosemary Pesto

    Finished Basil Rosemary Pesto – Let’s eat!


    3 cups packed, washed fresh basil leaves, stems removed

    2 T. washed rosemary leaves, stems removed

    3 large garlic cloves, peeled & ends trimmed

    1 cup toasted pine nuts, cooled to room temperature (warm nuts may turn basil — and your pesto — black, so let’m cool!)

    1/2-3/4 cup olive oil

    1/2 teaspoon sea salt

    few grinds fresh pepper

    Add garlic, rosemary, basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cooled pine nuts to food processor. Pulse until everything is finely chopped. More chopping = a finer, creamier pesto

    Basil Rosemary Pesto Ingredients in Food Processor

    Freshly harvested basil rosemary pesto ingredients in food processor bowl ready to pulverize.

    With processor running, add oil in a steady stream, stopping processor & scraping down sides as needed. Add only enough oil to create your preferred consistency — less oil for a thicker paste, more oil for a runnier sauce. Taste occasionally before adding more oil, which can dilute the herbal-garlicky flavor.

    Add a few grinds of fresh, black pepper. Stir. Adjust salt to taste.

    Your tasty pesto is ready to use immediately in recipes like the rich, delicious vegan pasta dish shown here. Believe it or not, that’s a completely grain-free pasta noodle. You know you want it….

    Vegan Grain-free Pesto Pasta

    Want the recipe for making this rich, vegan, grain-free pasta dinner?
    Let us know in the comments below!

    Want the recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll work on sharing it with you soon.  Or, try our tips for storing your pesto to use later. (more…)

  • Easily Preserve Cherry Tomatoes

    October 10, 2014

    It’s beyond easy to preserve cherry tomatoes. In fact, these may be the easiest edibles we put by to enjoy in wintery meals. No excuses for not doing this one!

    Preserve Sungold Cherry Tomatoes like these

    Preserve cherry tomatoes like these Sungolds right after you pick them off the vine.

    These little bites of summer are the first tomatoes to begin ripening in early summer and the last to stop bearing fruit in fall the Pacific Northwest. And, when a generous variety  — like these sugary-sweet Sungold — starts bearing, it’s easy to find yourself harvesting a pint or more from one plant each day from July until frost. So, even if you’re cutting tomatoes into every dish you make in late summer and early autumn, odds are you’re still finding your counters overrun with a glut of tomatoes.

    When slicers are juicy and ripe, the cherries just don’t seem as exciting anymore, so we preserve them right off the vine every day from about August through, well, October (this year). That might sound like a lot of work, but it requires just a few moments to complete these simple steps: (more…)

  • Asian Longhorn Beetle, or Not

    October 03, 2014

    During a recent camping trip, I saw my first Asian Longhorn Beetle. Or at least I thought I did.

    We had driven through Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest on Highway 12, and along the way we passed stand after stand of dying conifers, swaths of past forest fires, and miles of smolder floating over the river and through otherwise green forest.

    Dying trees & Smolder in Clearwater Forest

    Smolder rising from a swath of dying, damaged Clearwater National Forest

    The cycle of beetle-then-burn is well known among forest lovers. The beetles infest and damage the trees, leaving stands of tinder-ready snags ripe for ignition in the heat of summer when lightening strikes or irresponsible humans introduce burning materials. Or, it goes the other way ’round: fire happens, followed by insects. It’s a vicious cycle, and one beetle that gets much of media spotlight for decimating trees: the Non-native Asian Longhorn Beetle. (more…)

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