Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blooms in the Garden and the Lake

We all like blooms in the garden and know that soon after comes wonderful fresh vegetables. But what about blooms in a lake? And what if that lake is your water supply? After weeks of record setting heat, a severe algae bloom developed in Lake Whatcom and the water filtration system became so clogged at the Water Treatment Plant making it impossible to produce enough water for our community. First voluntary water restrictions were imposed and then manditory.
Consequently, even though we're back to voluntary water restrictions, maintaining two gardens has become rather challenging. The little Cordata raised-bed garden is fried, toasted. The garden spots there are small, like raised flower beds and a new garden to the community this year. Initially the beds were filled with too many layers of cardboard and then several inches of a poor quality soil. In spite of all the hard work the neighborhood has put in, as with all new gardening efforts, it will take several more growing seasons for these gardens to become established enough to produce a healthy vegetable crop.
Some of the gardeners put in plant starts from local nurseries or those that they had started at home earlier in the season, and others started their gardens with seeds. Regardless of how their plants were started, most of the little gardens at the Cordata Gardens have grown extremely slow with many plants suffering some sort of strange dwarfism. Built with treated lumber, the soil in the beds may even have trace amounts of wood-preserving chemicals leaching into the soil as well.
The plants there, already stressed from just the general conditions at the garden, hardly had a chance once the weather turned so extremely hot. Add the extreme algae bloom in the lake with first a voluntary and then a manditory water restriction imposed, it's really no surprise that the Cordata garden is pretty much finished for the season - already! Other gardeners there have expressed that they have experienced similar results, and for many of us, it really has been a rather disappointing experience.
Yet at the Happy Valley Gardens, in spite of extreme hot temperatures and water rationing, all gardens seem to thrive. Even by watering my garden spot there only one time each week during this period of extremely hot summer heat and imposed water restrictions, my garden remains healthy. Planted one month after I planted the Cordata garden, my Happy Valley garden continues to grow fast and produces more and more vegetables for my table each day. This garden is a success!
The pea vines are absolutely loaded, and soon I will have way more peas than one girl can possibly eat!
Full of blooms and baby cucumbers, I should have an abundance of garden fresh English cucumbers to share before long as well.
More pics from the Happy Valley garden today.

What's my plan to help my Happy Valley garden continue to thrive if there is another algae bloom at the lake and we have another mandatory water rationing? I cleaned out that recycled olive barrel that's been sitting there in my garden spot and filled it full today.
What's being done to protect Lake Whatcom? Contact People for Lake Whatcom to find out.


  1. HI Rose. Thanks for discussing the impacts of the Lake Whatcom water situation and for the shout-out to People For Lake Whatcom.


  2. Good job, Wendy, with the People for Lake Whatcom. I like how our paths cross when it comes to water-quality issues. Please keep me informed about what's going on with People for Lake Whatcom and how I might help.


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