Seattle gardens

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

What do you do when you’ve got a bumper crop of zucchini or lettuce? Or flower bulbs that have multiplied like rabbits? Many people give their extras away. And in the down economy, more and more hobby gardeners are trading their bounty at swap meets. 

A new website from a team in Seattle and Tacoma makes those transactions easier.

When we think about improving urban food systems, we tend think about growing more vegetables — densely planted backyard plots and community gardens, with tiny tomatoes ripening in the sun. But according to some experts, we should start thinking smaller — way smaller — as in bugs.

Photo by Nicole Kistler / courtesy Kistler | Higbee Cahoot

It’s a first-of-its-kind in Seattle and perhaps even the country. Over the weekend, the city celebrated the opening of its first-ever rooftop community garden.  

Its design is garnering interest from around the region, as urban planners look for ways to integrate more open space and urban agriculture into increasingly dense neighborhoods.

normanack / Flickr

Food and yard waste make up more than a third of Seattle’s waste stream. Much of that used to go into the trash, but now it’s being composted.

Since 2009, the city has been providing weekly pick up of organic waste. Last year it dramatically increased the kinds of things allowed in municipal compost bins, to include meats and dairy products. Seattle residents composted 125,000 tons of food and yard waste last year. That represents a big shift over the past decade or so.

It’s been sunny and fair lately…but what do you do when the dark and cloudy skies of late winter get you down?
 
For many people in the Pacific Northwest, the answer is gardening.
 
Their passion is on display this week at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.
 
KPLU environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp went to check it out. (Click on the "Listen" button up top to hear some highlights from the preview tour.)
 

Courtesy of The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.

At Ethel L. Dupar’s Fragrant Garden a collection of plants is growing for visitors to experience through smell and touch, senses that usually come second to our primarily visual take on plants. The garden is a part of Lighthouse for the Blind, a non-profit serving Seattle’s blind community.