Viretta Food Forest
Viretta Food Forest
Details
Commenced:
01/03/2015
Submitted:
23/02/2015
Last updated:
07/10/2015
Location:
1723 31st Ave, Seattle, Washington, US
Phone:
4252311043
Climate zone:
Cool Temperate





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Viretta Food Forest

Project Type

Urban, Residential, Balcony Garden

Project Summary

To change a blank slate, new construction space into an urban food forest. Backyard and side yards are going contain native plants beneficial to bugs, annual and perennial veggies, a fence of native berries, small orchard, and play spaces.

Project Description

Stage one:

soil preparation

The backyard and side yard both suffer from compaction and have little to no organic material as they are backfill from the new construction that put the house in.

To compensate, I've been using straw bale gardening and tilling in the straw once the bales disintegrate.

composting on site

The area is prone to downy mildew and very damp conditions, even with the unseasonably warm weather. This had discouraged me from doing our own composting (as the city takes it and sells it back as Cedar Grove compost later) but are going to use the heavily shaded, non-food producing side yard to hold composting bins and rain barrels in addition to the shade tolerant native insectuary plants. Recently, a nearby tree came down in a windstorm, so I plan on using a larger piece as a nurse log, potentially for mushrooms.

rainbarrels for irrigation

It's Seattle, even with the warmer that usual weather the past two years, we still get enough rain and I feel sick using water from the faucet to water plants in the summer. We plan to purchase and install several narrow tall rain barrels to use for irrigation for the backyard. My boyfriend is in charge of providing an appropriately zoned drip irrigation system for the larger trees first year establishment and the veggies. Eventually, we hope to use this in conjunction with a graywater system but the city has been slow to adopt financially feasible policies.

hardscape

The backyard needs to be terraced to be useable. Currently, more than half of the narrow lot is unsuable and the soil that is there is eroding quickly. We intend to create 2 terraces, not disturbing the 3man stone retaining wall in place and working around the water catchment/gravel pit. The new terraces will be edged in corten steel to match the siding on the house, or rock. The initial lines of the hardscape will be clean and modern, like the house and we'll use the forest/plants to soften the impact and provide visual interest. The intent is also to make the house look like it's always been there.

orchard and insect habitat

Though the vegtable planting spaces are easy to move each year, as I plant entirely in straw until the soil is usable, the fruit trees (pruned to dwarf) and beneficial insect habitat need a more permanent home sooner than later. We plan to create 3 different insect habitats: a beneficial shade border (shaded side yard), a round beetle berm (native clumping grasses, Mason bee/art installation in center), and some wedges of play maze. The orchard will spill down two tiers and take up 3 or more of the play maze wedges. 

Stage two: 

As things begin to fill in, many of the sun-loving vegtables will have to move up to our 2nd story deck, roof deck, and (maybe) extensive green roof.

More about this to come.

Updates

Pictures of the space from 2014

Just some quick pictures of the space from 2014

Posted almost 5 years ago (0 comments)
Courses Taught Here!
Project Badges
Urban Residential Balcony
Administrators
Alyssa Hays - Admin
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