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Plan Your Garden Features This Winter

Winter is a good time to design and plan for main features in your garden. Be ready for spring with a little garden remodeling!

Now is a good time to think about adding new features to your urban farm. Take a walk around your yard and think creatively.

Chickens anyone? Break out the books and see what coop design works best for you. Try building your own coop or increasing the size of your existing structure.  Strengthen your coop (those raccoons are relentless) and cover even small holes with ¼” hardware cloth to keep mice from finding a way inside. Instead of Yard Planning Mappurchasing a new cordless drill or saw, you might be able to check one out at a tool library in your area. Use recycled wood, as long as it is not painted or treated. Find out more about keeping chickens.

Consider raising honey bees -- most urban gardens can easily support a beehive or two. Order your honey bees in January; there are several local options. Encourage mason bees (great pollinators for fruit trees and early blooming plants) by adding ready made mason bee houses. You can also purchase them in their cocoons and hatch them out in early spring. Plant perennials and shrubs, especially those in the daisy or mint family, and leave an area “wild and weedy” to support your new foragers!

Plan for more food production by adding some raised garden beds.  Make sure that the beds are narrow enough for easy access.  A 4’x6’ bed that is 12-18” deep are good dimensions to start with. Beds can be made from cedar, recycled concrete, stone or mounded soil. Or use large pots grouped together near your door for extra growing area, or to make use of a concrete area or compacted ground. Ever heard of gabions? Wire structures filled with rock or even construction debris can edge your raised bed or become the base of a bench. Visit our Rainier Beach Learning Garden for an example of a gabion bench or any of our gardens and farms for ideas and inspiration for techniques to try at home.

For ideas to inspire your urban farm, get yourself a copy of Seattle Tilth's ”Your Farm in the City” or "Maritime NW Garden Guide." See our list of classes. Contact the Garden Hotline at (206) 633-0224 for help in deciding what new garden features might work for you and for information on bee sources, garden resources and local tool libraries.

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