Just got back from an amazing time at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show at the Seattle Convention Center. It was my first time ever at this storied show, and with only a day to spend, it was quite an extravaganza of overstimulation as I tried to pack in a thorough combing of the floor displays while catching a full complement of presentations. As a seasoned vegetable gardener going to one of these things, I don’t expect to be bowled over with new discoveries. What I’m after are the one percenters, a term that Elliot Coleman uses to describe the incremental -yet-oh-so-valuable additions one picks up to one’s gardening/farming system. Sometimes when you tour someone’s else’s farm or garden you get a couple one percenters, and any given garden book may yield up one or two as well. I’d have to say the show was worth at least five, just due to the variety and diversity of vendors and presenters proffering their experience.
It was a high point to meet Colin McCrate and Brad Halm, the farmers from the Seattle Urban Farm Company that run the rooftop garden at Bastille, the French bistro/restaurant in Ballard…good to talk shop with some other guys working at the same level (yes, that’s a pun – go ahead and chuckle). I got some new ideas about container gardening, such as why a flat, horizontal container dries out less rapidly than a tall, narrow one (has to do with the column of water – the additional height of the tall column creates pressure which pushes more water out of the container), and some new thoughts on aerating a self-watering container with an air chamber in the center of the pot (inspired by the UrBin Grower: http://www.naturesfootprintinc.com/).
OK, about the bathroom scene. One of the presentations I attended suggested using ideas from interior spaces for garden design. While my garden career has focused almost exclusively on functionality, I am now beginning to wonder why aesthetics can’t play a larger role, even in the vegetable garden. So right after this presentation I walked into one of the CC’s men’s rooms and was stunned by the great design work in there. I grabbed my camera (making sure no one was looking at me taking photos of the bathroom) and shot a picture. Now the bigger question: Is there any way of taking advantage of this design on the rooftop or in any of the other gardens that I tend? I suppose time alone will tell, but I’m happy to have the challenge and the inspiration.