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We’re Hiring!

It is that time of the year again looking forward to the upcoming season and realizing we need some more help!  Currently we are looking for people to join both our landscape maintenance and construction crew as well as some one to take over as office and nursery assistance.  If either of those positions sound appealing to you please send your resume, professional references and a few reasons why you think you’d be a good candidate to work with us.

Landscape Technician (Full Time)

Looking for a candidate able to work with landscape construction and maintenance teams who work on a variety of interesting projects. Prefer at least 1 year of landscaping experience with knowledge of various materials and tools. Must be reliable, possess the ability to take initiative, work alone or as a team. Must be able to lift 60 lbs and be able to work in all weather conditions. Horticultural (and organics or permaculture) education or knowledge preferred, but not required. Must have a valid WSDL and clean driving record. And most importantly must have an excellent attitude! 

Office / Nursery Assistant (Part Time)

NW Bloom Ecological Landscapes is looking for someone to join our team as an office and nursery assistant.    Ideal candidate would have 2+ years of office experience and have a horticulture background, nursery experience a plus.  Must be proficient with all MS office applications, social media, have excellent communication and organizational skills. Must be a self-starter with the ability to work independently and handle multiple priorities within a fast paced team atmosphere.  Most importantly, must have a great attitude and a passion for horticulture and ecological sustainability.

Pay: DOE and qualifications. We offer health insurance, Simple IRA, paid holidays, bonuses, training/educational opportunities and more.

The Gift of Garden Help

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Do you have avid gardeners in your family?  Or those who want to be but they need that extra helping hand?  

Winter may not seem like gardening time, but it is the best time for planning, preparing, and catching up on maintenance so that you can get the most out of your garden during the productive growing months.  Landscapes should be a source of joy, not stress, and we have some great options to give to people who might need an extra hand, some more color in their life, or some inspiration to help create the yard they want.

A Design Consultation: a gift that will give back for a lifetime!   We specialize in unique designs to fit whatever needs one might have and creates them in a way that is perennial, ecologically sustainable, and low maintenance.  A consultation is designed to help with whatever needs a client hour knowledgeable team can help with a vast variety of landscape  to-dos.  We can work with you to create a gift certificate specific to your loved ones and their gardening needs.  Here are a few of our ideas, and areas of expertise, and we are also more than willing to work with you to create a unique gift as well.

Consultation topics can include:

  • Landscape design, planning and coaching
  • Rainwise advice and guidance
  • Edible gardening
  • Outdoor living and entertainment space ideas
  • Farm planning and animal / forage integration
  • Problem area solutions
  • Much, much more!

Maintenance: let us do the heavy lifting!

  • Pruning, weeding, seasonal cleanup
  • mulching
  • compost tea
  • whatever is needed!

Containers: Add color where ever you are.

  • Your pots or new
  • Perennial and annual
  • Totally unique

If this sounds like something you’d like to do you can contact us at nwbloomoffice@gmail.com  or (425) 486-6902 and we can get a gift certificate sent to you in time for the holidays. 

Grateful for our Harvest

As we winterize our gardens and prepare our kitchens for the holidays, a lot of us have been investigating how we can locally source our feast’s ingredients.  Here at the farm we have been preserving and processing our fruits and vegetables for storage through the winter.  There is a massive bounty to say the least.  Whether you grow it yourself or do your best to buy local, it all makes a difference, and let’s face it, it’s much more fulfilling and inspiring to cook your own, or  locally bought food, rather than using a can that came from… somewhere?

turkey-collage1

We grow many things. Including turkeys. This is not the first time that NW Bloom has raised turkeys -learn more about raising your own, use the links on this site and visiting the Mother Earth News website.

Here on the farm, from the moment the seeds go into the soil and the baby ducks and turkeys show up, everything receives the best care that we can offer.  The turkey that will be on the table here and those in a few of our friends’ homes were raised from chicks that got to bond with the other farm animals, occasionally believed themselves to be ducks, and had pretty much free range of the farm.  When feeding times came they would follow like a gaggle of children behind their teacher at school, waddling as quickly as they could behind us to keep up.  They knew they were loved and they lived fantastic turkey lives.

Not only will these turkeys provide us with  nourishment, but they have been an educational tool for all those involved.  Someone new to the process was out here at the farm for each harvest.  They got be present and help, as well as learned how to pluck and clean a large bird.  On Thanksgiving, when everyone sits down to enjoy the feast, the bird that is the center piece will give everyone that much more to be thankful for and will taste so much better because the experience has been so much further reaching than buying one frozen from the grocery store.

 

The many uses of Lemon Balm

Lemon balm, Melissa officianalis, of the mint family, Lamiaceae, tends to be in the “love or loath” category for many gardeners.  Around here we love our weedy plants if they are edible and utilitarian, making themselves worthwhile around the farm and kitchen.  A few of the uses of lemon balm that we enjoy:

  • Edible – sun tea, hot tea, fish seasoning, pesto, salad dressings, jam, a different twist on a mojito, or anything that you’d enjoy lemon flavor with.
  • Medicinal – as an essential oil or tea to treat insomnia, anxiety, cold sores and indigestion
  • Attracts pollinators – Melissa means honey bee in Greek
  • Pest repellant – we use it dried for our chicken, duck and turkey bedding (it also makes them smell sweet)

Lemon balm is native to the Mediterranean as is apparent in its many flavorful uses.   It grows to about 24 inches and enjoys sun to part shade as well as moist well drained soil.  To keep it looking its best its best cut back mid-summer or when it begins to look drought and heat stressed.  A vigilant plant, it will pop its head right back up to supply you with another bountiful autumn harvest and greenery late into the season.  Lemon Balm spreads by seed, so if you’d like to maintain only the plant you have we recommend that you cut it back soon after flowering, otherwise, let it go and you’ll have plenty to share!

Lemon balm is an incredibly versatile herb, have fun and enjoy all that it has to offer!

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pictures: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon_balm

Homebrew workshop Oct 26th

We are excited to announce the first of many workshops we will be hosting:  HOMEBREWING

Taught by Nick Strauss (AKA The Homebrew Husband) of NW Edible Life!

Hops growing on a fence in Kirkland, WA

Hops for beer growing on a fence in Kirkland, WA

Over the next few months we will be focusing on building a calendar of skill building workshops – everything from what to do with all the plants  in your garden – from canning to making herbal concoctions,  then, building raingardens and natural building projects – we are hoping to teach a wide variety of skills here at the NW Bloom farm.  Please stay tuned for more classes and let us know if you are interested in any particular topics.

OCTOBER 26th – Saturday 10:30-12:30 plus tasting <$25> Registration is required/Space is limited

Homebrewing is one of America’s fastest growing hobbies, combing the popularity of craft beer and rediscovery of the do-it-yourself home. What was once an obscure (and, indeed, illegal) hobby now boasts dozens of how-to books, iPad apps, online equipment retailers, and specialty gear ranging from one-gallon mini-fermenters to complete garage breweries with five figure price tags.

But brewing is more than gear and recipes, it is about making and tasting great beer and having fun while you are doing it. It is an art and a science, a creative outlet and a source of community, a sense of satisfaction and an opportunity to learn. Disentangle the surfeit of approaches and learn the fundamentals as veteran homebrewer and professional educator Nick Strauss takes you on a quick tour of the craft – and a tasting of the kind of products that can result:

· Survey global beer styles and how they influence the homebrew community
· Sample beer ingredients to experience how a homebrewer can create distinctive brews
· Learn brewing process and the variations available to homebrewers
· Slice through the confusion of equipment and techniques so you can start brewing in a way that fits your budget and your interests
· Explore several homebrewed (and commercially brewed, depending on what’s available) beers

Nick Strauss has been homebrewing for over ten years, creating his own recipes, experimenting with different techniques, and occasionally writing on the topic at the popular gardening, cooking, and homekeeping blog, Northwest Edible Life. He homebrews to get a creative break from his day job in business intelligence and to be a part of his family’s productive home.

Audience: Prospective and novice homebrewers or anyone interested in learning more about beer and how to make it!
Duration: Approximately two hours. A complimentary one-hour tasting and discussion will follow the event.

N.W. Bloom Nursery Fall Plant Sale – Deals for up to 50% off!

Mark your calendars! We are having a fall plant sale on Friday & Saturday October 25th & 26th, 9am – 3pm

After a great season of propagating, growing, potting, and re-potting plants, our nursery has an abundance of plants to offer. You’ll find a great selection of your favorite fruit trees, fruiting shrubs, other edible perennials and many useful plants everyone should have in their gardens – all at fabulous prices.

  • Fruit trees 20% off
  • Nut trees 25% off
  • Herbs 20% off
  • All other plants (excluding some specialty/rarer plants) will be 20% off
  • Orphanage plants will go home with any good offer!!
  • Anything in the clearance section is %50 off!

We have a lot of great additions we think you should come take a look at for your fall planting:

  • Plan for a row of Fall Gold Raspberries
  • Your garden is missing your very own Pine Nut Tree
  • Columnar Apples grow very well in pots and your patio could use a couple
  • There is nothing better than bees buzzing on Comfrey flowers
  • Now is the time to plan for fall crops

Fall is the best time for planting in the Pacific Northwest, so don’t miss this sale!

Columnar Apples: Compact tree with regular sized apples

Want edibles but only have a small patio?  Live on a house boat?  Have very limited space? Who says you can’t have apples? Columnar Apples are the answer.

columnar apple starkbros_comThese wonders will do surprisingly well in a large pot and produce 50+ lbs of fruit on one 8 ft column or trunk. Wait, what? Seriously, 50 pounds of apples from one teeny 8ft trunk with no branches. For real?

Most apple trees can grow 20 ft in height and width but Columnar Apples just grow straight up and sprout fruit from short spurs on the trunk!? Tell me more about Columnar Apples you say?

Well okay! Here are the bits you’ll need to know to make them grow:

  • They like full sun and moist well drained soil
  • It is hardy to minus 30° F or USDA zone 4
  • The flowers bloom in April
  • You will need another apple of any variety blooming at the same time to cross pollinate
  • The fruit will be ripe to eat in September

And like we said above, will produce up to 50 pounds on 1 tree!

They will have a very small branches with the length maxing out at less than a foot. The Northpole (similar to the McIntosh), Golden Sentinel (similar to the Golden Delicious) & Scarlet Sentinel (similar to the Golden Delicious but will be yellow-green with red blushes) are all good varieties to eat freshly picked or for baking and cider making.

Here’s another idea. Need a screen in your garden? Make it a screen of Columnar Apples each planted 2 ft apart to ensure good cross pollination and good neighboring! In conclusion, anywhere there is full sun and water there shall be Apples!

New Raingarden Resources

We have been building raingardens for years and they are nearly always included in every one our projects, along with other Low Impact Development techniques.  We have a collection of our work on our portfolio here and here, as well as a collection of pictures for inspiration for clients on a Pinterest board.  Jessi has recently been contracted by the Department of Ecology to teach seminars to the landscape industry about upcoming regulations on the subject and has been teaching seminars on Rain Wise Gardening to the public for years due to a steadily growing interest.  Ever since the Seattle Rainwise Program launched, we have seen more and more demand for raingardens and the various ways to manage stormwater, which is fantastic!

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This picture was taken during the construction of the first Seattle RainWise rebate project in Ballard WA.

We are happy to see this field growing and evolving, which comes along with new studies and new resources.  Just released is a brand new and beautifully done “Raingarden Handbook for Western Washington” that homeowners and industry professionals alike can really benefit from. Links:

2013 Raingarden Handbook for Western Washington

2012 Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington for professionals

We are looking forward to seeing these LID techniques implemented in all construction projects and are excited to be at the forefront of these changes. It is great to have so much support from local jurisdictions who are making it all happen, and supplying us with these great resources!

Growing Horseradish: A Ruben aficionado’s must have

Transplanting some healthy Horseradish.

Transplanting some healthy Horseradish.

Horseradish: an interesting herbaceous plant, with a pungent, mustard like root usually enjoyed as a condiment for a nice piece of steak or a hot Ruben sandwich. Some Ruben aficionados would even consider it a necessity to have a proper sandwich. Which can be quite troubling when there is none in the house. But this is not a problem for someone with a supply of bushy green horseradish growing in the garden. In fact even the young leafs are edible, making a spicy addition to a green salad or blanched as spinach substitute.

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This troubled apple tree is getting some help from our Variegated Comfrey and now some Horseradish.

But growing these plants in the garden can have additional benefits beyond getting a kick of flavor on the dinner plate. Horseradish is known to be an aromatic confuser, or member of a group of plants whose strong smells disorient harmful bugs. Having one horseradish plant at each corner of a potato bed is enough to deter a number of potentially harmful bugs. Horseradish also produces essential oils that are known to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Indeed it was used in 1500s England only for its medicinal qualities. It can help prevent fungal infection in fruit trees like brown rot on apples and potato diseases. By planting a nice full ring around a fruit tree will have these effects in addition to excluding weeds from the area.

Horseradish is a quite a hardy plant and requires little maintenance other than harvesting the roots. It can survive poor conditions including low nutrient soils and enjoys wetter soils where other plants won’t grow. It does grow best in full sun but can grow in dappled sunlight provided by an open forest canopy.

Growing horseradish in your garden can be a fun and provide benefits to your garden plants while providing some good flavors for your meals.

Hippophaë rhamnoides: The Sea Berry or Sea Buckthorn

Hippophaë-rhamnoides

Hippophaë rhamnoides. Picture from wikipedia

Here at the Nursery we have a ton of interesting berry shrubs but one of the useful berries in stock is the Sea Berry or Sea Buckthorn. Our favorite of the Sea Berry is the Titan. It bears abundant crops of very large, bright orange berries that have a sweet and sour pineapple taste, are an excellent source of vitamins A, E and have 7 times more vitamin C than lemons. Like most berry shrubs the Sea Berry needs cross pollination so a male plant is required but 1 male can pollinate up to 8 females and is a good looker with its light blue-gray soft foliage.

This wonder can grow in most inhospitable soil situations including sandy beach conditions and is likely where it got it’s name. It is so adaptable to poor soils because it will ‘fix’ the soil you put it in by adding the nitrogen all plants need to thrive. So, not only does the newest growth become inundated with fruit in early summer, and thorns to protect said berries, it is hardy to minus 40° F or USDA zone 3, can yield up to 30 lbs from a full grown 8ft tall shrub and it will fix the soil and everything around it will benefit.

The best way to harvest the branches covered in fruit, and thorns, is to cut off the whole branch with the fruit on it and freeze them. Once they are frozen you can shake the fruit right off the branches. The thorns don’t have a chance to do any damage this way and it truly is the quickest way to harvest. The fruit is commonly used in preserves, candy, liqueurs and in juices it is absolutely delicious when sweetened. After thawing press the berries, strain off the juice, diluted to about 1/3 juice, 2/3 water and add sugar or honey to taste. Yummy!