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Jumpstart Your Garden This Spring

March 24, 2017 6:52am

Photo by Erica Grivas

The first week of spring often feels like the weather missed the calendar’s memo. It’s rainy and cold again, and the ground – which ideally would look like fluffy chocolate cake, looks more like the batter. Fortunately, although the forecast may not fit our spring dreams, this time of year offers great gardening opportunities for those ready to brave some muck and chill.

As Dustin Guy’s post on frost pointed out, Seattle benefits from several conditions that add up to give us a precious early start on the growing season compared to much of the country.

That’s because, believe it or not, some plants actually love it on the cooler side. If you still need a jacket, it’s a great time to plant these veggies and flowers as seeds or starts.

Edibles: Greens and more

First think traditional “winter veggies,” which include greens like kale, spinach, chard, collards and lettuces, as well as great soup stars like cauliflower, carrots, brussel sprouts, onions, and leeks. Beets can actually work both categories – if you’re not a fan of the root flavor, the greens add a tasty nutrition boost to stir-fries, smoothies, or salads. Some of these, like lettuce and spinach, can bolt in hot weather, so grab your chance to grow some before summer hits.

‘Kosmic Kale’: superfood gorgeousness from Territorial Seed.

For a literal taste of spring, look to any pea or bean. Whether pole or bush beans, or shelling or snap peas, they all adore this weather.

Peas just need a trellis and some water to get climbing. Territorial Seed.

Just the flowers

More interested in bouquets than bushels of produce? Sweet peas (yup, they’re related) offer armfuls of spicily fragrant blossoms in almost any color but true red. Nasturtium flowers, like the hardworking beets, do double duty – they can be enjoyed in a vase or in your salad. They hang on the hotter side of the color wheel in oranges and reds, and sport an arugula-like, peppery flavor.

Sweet peas offer fragrance and blowsy beauty. Territorial Seed.

Although you may be wooed by displays like these at a local supermarket this week, don’t be tempted to add heat-lovers like tomato, sunflowers or basil to your beds just yet.

These”Sweet 100″ tomato starts are likely to sulk until temps reach 50 degrees at night. Photo by Erica Grivas.

They need it to be closer to 50-55 degrees at night to grow, and that sweet spot usually saunters in approximately late April/early May. I’m hoping the kale, spinach, collards and cauliflower I planted this week will be done just in time to make room for tomatoes.

While your new plants are growing, you can flex your gardening muscles by dressing your beds with compost, cutting back warm-season grasses and cleaning up dried perennials.  You’ll be harvesting in no time.

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Has Green Lake Had Its Last Freeze Of The Season?

March 23, 2017 1:12pm

Narcissus ‘Geranium’, Muscari ‘Valerie Finnis’ and a species tulip. Image: Erica Grivas

Editor’s note: With spring upon us, we asked our expert contributors Dustin Guy, a meteorologist, and Erica Grivas, our garden writer, to weigh in on kicking off the Green Lake garden season. Today is the first of the two part series about when to start planting your garden. More specifically, has Green Lake had the last freeze for this season? (Please, let it be so!) The last frost is a time that often signals its safe to start planting. Stay tuned tomorrow for Erica’s post about what to plant. Happy gardening Greenlakers! 

Last winter was more than a bit of an aberration from the typical growing season in Seattle. In 2016, the last freeze was recorded on January 9th and it didn’t freeze again until December 6th. That’s an incredible freeze-free period of 331 days and a major departure from the long term average of 251 days. As you can probably guess, we’ve been brought back closer to reality given the snow events and extended periods of hard freezes we had this past winter. The good news, at least if you are an avid gardener in the city of Seattle, is that we have passed the date of what is typically the last freeze … March 12th. Thanks to the “urban heat island effect” of the city, our proximity to water, and, yes, a changing climate, Green Lake and much of Seattle have a longer frost-free season that outlying communities in nearly every direction on the compass.

Here are some stats on the first and last freezes in Seattle from records dating back to the 1890s. The earliest first freeze of the fall/winter season occured on October 16, 1946. The latest first freeze of the fall/winter season was January 10, 1935. The earliest last freeze of the fall/winter season was January 2, 1946. And the latest last freeze of the season was May (!) 1 of 1951 and 1954. The first half of the 1950s must have been a brutal period for gardeners in Seattle. From 1950 to 1956, the last freeze never occurred before mid April. And that should make this spring feel comparatively balmy!

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Beginning Fly Casting Class at Green Lake Starts April 4

March 22, 2017 6:07am

The Northwest Fly Anglers is sponsoring a beginners fly casting class on Green Lake, staring April 4th. If you are just beginning in the sport or just want a tune up, this is the class for you.
The class runs for six consecutive Tuesdays at 6:30 pm and meets at the Green Lake Casting Pier. (Located on the north side of the lake near Duck Island and the tennis courts.)
Price: $60
18 spaces available
For more information, and to register go to the Northwest Fly Anglers site for more information.

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Passover Celebrations Near Green Lake

March 21, 2017 9:12am

Passover is around the corner. Here’s two local events hosted by Chabad of NW Seattle to celebrate the Jewish holiday.

The Model Matzah Bakery is the ultimate hands-on, Passover educational experience.
According to the event organizers “The exhibit recreates a functional model of the hand-made Matzah factories used by Jews for thousands of years. The participants “relive” the exodus from Egypt as they pound out their very own Matzah. Beginning with a sheave of wheat, they experience the hustle and bustle as they hurry to beat the timer to ensure that crunchy finished product is completed within 18 minutes. The delightful presentation creates an exciting interactive environment where the everyone has a great time learning about their heritage and the tradition of Matzah.”
The all ages event is free.
Sun, March 26, 2017
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM PDT
8420 Dayton Avenue North Seattle, WA 98103
For more information and to register, go to the event’s Facebook page.

A community Passover Seder
Chabad of NW Seattle hosts the annual community Passover Seder, featuring a delicious traditional Seder dinner including gefiltte fish, roasted chicken, potatoe Kugel, salads and tasty deserts. Unlimited Shmurah Matzah and plenty of wine for the four cups.
The Seder will be led by Rabbi Yoni Levitin.
Cost: $54 Adult, $20 child ( 3-12)
Early Bird (until March 26th ) Adult – $45
Reservation required by Tuesday April 4th.
If you have any questions please contact Rabbi Yoni @ 206 851 9831
Go here to register.
Location to be announced shortly.

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‘Staying Connected’ Month Long Event For People Living With Alzheimers

March 21, 2017 6:46am

The Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter is offering a four-week program beginning in April where participants and care partners can learn:

– How to cope and live with early stage memory loss
– Strategies to stay involved in enjoyable activities
– How to talk about memory loss with friends and family

Care partners (can be a partner, friend or relative) attend each session, which meets every Monday afternoon (2:00 pm) at The Hearthstone (6720 E Green Lake Wy N, Seattle, WA 98103) from April 3- April 24, 2017.

Pre-registration is required.

Go here for more information or contact Jackie Aviles at 206-529-3870 or javiles@alz.org.

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What You Need To Know About Last Week’s Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool Meeting

March 19, 2017 9:42pm

Have you heard about the potential changes to the Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool? (Boy have we written a lot about it!)

If this is your first time hearing about it, here’s the short story: the Community Center is the oldest in the Seattle Parks Department and the Department says it needs to be totally re-done. They say the price tag is $25 million. The Parks Department is proposing to tear down both the pool and the Center and go into a public/private partnership to help pay for it and the ongoing operations of the building.  Neighbors and residents are asking why – specifically why was this not included in the Parks District, which was a voter approved measure that raised taxes to pay for the parks. A few million dollars were set aside by the Parks District for renovations to the aging structures, but it is unclear where that money is now going.

So, back to the latest about the future of the Community Center and Evans Pool…

A new group called Save Evans Pool and Green Lake Community Center invited the Superintendent of Parks, Jesus Aguirre, to speak to the community as part of the Green Lake Community Council meeting last week. The meeting, which normally attracts about 10 residents had nearly 100. This was the first formal meeting with Aguirre and considered the first public comment period with more anticipated in the future.

Here’s the four things I learned from the meeting:

The public/private partnership is not a sure thing. 

The price tag of the estimated $25 million to create a new Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool are outside of the Parks Department’s budget. The public/private partnership was one proposal to help with that shortfall. During the meeting Aguirre said the money could come from fundraising or bonds as well.

And more public comment and research is needed in order to move forward with any direction.

During the meeting Aguirre mentioned that Seattle Parks is involved in multiple public/private partnerships, such as:

  • Woodland Park Zoo
  • Seattle Aquarium
  • Tennis Center at Sand Point
  • Pratt Fine Arts
  • Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands
  • Arena Sports
  • Mountaineers
  • Center for Wooden Boats
  • Seward Park Audubon Center
  • Green Lake Pitch and Putt
  • Spectrum Dance Theater

Documentation to prove that Green Lake Community Center needs to be torn down has people confused/angry. 

Many residents, the local group Save Evans Pool and Green Lake Community Center and the Green Lake Advisory Council have asked the Parks District for the engineering documentation that says that both facilities are “at the end of their useful life.” While the Parks Department has provided a draft report from 2015, little to no documentation from a engineering firm has been presented to the public. The Parks Department claims they do not have a final version of that report.

The Green Lake Advisory Council has asked that a new study be made to determine the real costs of a new Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool.

A new swimming pool and Community center is going to take a long, long time to build. 

During the meeting Aguirre mentioned that even if the Parks Department had the funds to build this right now it would take 3 years to build.

What happened to the money that was set aside from the Parks District originally allocated for Green Lake? 

Several renovations that were supposed to be funded, including the boilers for the pool and a leaky roof over the gym have remained unfunded. When asked at the meeting Aguirre couldn’t provide an answer for this but said a plan needed to be made.

Residents at the meeting were visibly frustrated that the pool has had to close several times already this year and buckets clutter the floors of the gym on rainy days.

So what is the next step for the community to get involved?

According to Rachel Schulkin, Parks and Recreation Communications Manager:

“Community involvement regarding a department-wide planning process will begin later this year. The programmatic assessment will look at the needs city-wide in all areas of parks and recreation. The programmatic assessment will lead to a facilities plan. We are collecting contact information from all who have expressed interest in Green Lake CC and Evans Pool and will let them know when we initiate public outreach for the programmatic plan. There is nothing specific to the Green Lake facilities underway now, nor will there be for the remainder of 2017.”

There are several groups that are actively involved in finding the answers to these questions. Here’s a few ways to get involved:

Follow Save Evans Pool and Green Lake Community Center Facebook page. This group publishes their conversations with the City, the Parks Department and you can see all of their documents here.

Write or call our City Council member, Mike O’Brien206-684-8800, Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov

Write or call the Seattle Parks Department: (206) 684-4075 PKS_Info@seattle.gov

This issue is just starting, so make sure your voice is heard!

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Want To Be Featured In A Home Remodeling TV Show?

March 16, 2017 10:06am

Calling all pet lovers who love home remodeling shows. A national casting studio called Punch Drunk Pictures based out of Los Angeles is looking for a few Seattleites to feature in a new home remodel show for families with pets. Participants would be featured in the show and receive a consultation with an award winning designer for a home remodel based around their family and pets. Punch Drunk Pictures produces shows for many major networks including Animal Planet, Discover and National Geographic. (No word on which network this show would air on, but it may be one of those.)

The crew from Punch Drunk Pictures will be in town starting mid April and looking to film through July.
The show’s designer (which will remain a secret until the show is revealed) is a Seattle native and strong advocate for the pet community.

Want to apply? Contact Gabriella Pezzelli via email with the following information: family member names, number of pets, type of pets, email and phone number, information about your family, your home and pet and your target remodel budget.

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The Latest On The Green Lake Community Center

March 13, 2017 6:32am

In case you missed it, the Green Lake Community Center future is up in the air.

The short story is the Community Center is the oldest in the Seattle Parks Department and the Department says it needs to be totally re-done. The price tag is $25 million.

Remember that voter-aproved Parks District that passed a few years ago? It included a line item for a remodel of the Community Center but it did not include the full $25 million. Why not? That’s a good question and one that has us all a bit puzzled. We’ve talked to the Parks Department several times.

So what can you do?

Attend this meeting: The Green Lake Advisory Council is meeting Tuesday, March 14th at 7 p.m. at the Green Lake Community Center with Park & Recs Superintendent Jesus Aguirre. Tell him what you want to see for the future of the Community Center and Evans Pool.

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Kid Friendly Restaurants In And Near Green Lake

March 6, 2017 5:57am

Every Wednesday night our family eats out. The midweek break from cooking is something we look forward to. We try to stay close to home, mostly because our toddler has a very set-in-stone hunger meter that normally hits as soon as we get off work. Here’s a list of some great Green Lake restaurant spots that we love that are close to home.

Green Lake Bar and Grill 

You know its kid friendly when you are seated with a toddler and they arrive with a plastic cup with lid and straw! The restaurant features an expansive kid’s menu and entrees that are large enough to share with your kiddo too. The dining room has some great Green Lake art – old and new. And in the summer on a sunny day the outdoor seating area will make you have one of those “ah, this is why we live in Green Lake” moments.

Tip: Happy hour (3-6pm and 9pm-Close daily). And even better deals via their email newsletter. This is one of the few restaurant newsletters I would recommend subscribing to for the many promos.

7200 East Green Lake Dr N
(206) 729-6179

Rosita’s Mexican Grill

Does it get more family friendly than Rosita’s? This Green Lake landmark has been feeding kiddos for decades. On a recent trip the maître d’ walked us to our table and told us she used to come in when she was my toddler’s age. The kid-packed dining room is usually entertainment enough for our little lady allowing me and my husband to split the fajitas and get some margaritas and actually carry on a conversation. Our two-year-old can devour the rice and beans plate in a few minutes. Everyone is happy.

Tip: Handmade tortillas are free and available near the far section of the restaurant. They are tasty and a great distraction for kids as the food is being prepared. Families can sit near the bar on the far side of the restaurant and still get happy hour without actually sitting in the bar. Be sure to ask for the happy hour menu when you arrive. Happy Hour 4-6pm & 9pm-close.

7210 Woodlawn Ave. NE
206-523-3031

PCC Aurora and Green Lake Village

Not only do kid’s get free fruit, which will help to buy you some time when you are shopping, but you can also get takeout and bring it to the park or dine in at either of the PCC locations. The Green Lake Village location has a large salad bar, deli case, hot bar and pizza by the slice or full pies to go. Green Lake Aurora, although much smaller still has a hot bar with rotating soups.

Tip: The Aurora PCC has seating upstairs.

PCC Green Lake Aurora
7504 Aurora Ave. N.
206-525-3586

PCC Green Lake Village
450 N.E. 71st St.
206-729-5075

Mykonos Greek Grill

I still think this is the best gyro in Seattle, and I have tried many! This Greek restaurant is situated in-between the Green Lake Village PCC and the park. We often go straight for the gyros (and 50 napkins!) but there is a large menu. The food comes quickly and the prices are very reasonable.

Tip: Great for takeout too. It is often done in under 10 minutes.

310 NE 72nd St
206-523-8929

Via Tribunali (formerly Cornuto)
What opened a few years back as Cornuto, recently changed names to Via Tribunali. (Quick backstory: it’s always been owned by the Via Tribunali folks, but in January switched names to match the other pizzerias of the area. Don’t worry, the same great staff is there. But the happy hour is much improved. Read on!)

This Greenwood restaurant is kid friendly but also feels like a date night out. Great pizzas and salads. While there aren’t kid menus, it’s pizza (and really good at that) so you should be set. The large dining room is great for families but you may not know that there is a large back deck that is perfect on warm days.

Tip: Happy hour is a steal. $6 pizzas, deals on 1/2 carafes of wine as well as other drink and food specials. Just get there before 6 and you are set!

7404 Greenwood Ave N
(206) 812-0416

Green Lake Ale House
This is where my husband takes our kiddo whenever I am not home at dinner time. It’s easily walkable for us. A great place to drop in after a day at the wading pool and serves brunch on the weekends. Great kid menu.
Tip: They take reservations! Happy hour is good, but only in the bar – sorry kiddos.

7900 East Green Lake Dr N
(206) 294-5753

India Bistro 

It’s easy to miss India Bistro as you drive on Roosevelt Way, but with free parking and great food, you’ll be glad you stopped by. Young kids may enjoy watching the chefs cook (often with large flames) in their open kitchen easily visible from the dining room.

Tip: A buffet is offered for your hungry eaters many days throughout the week. Lunch buffet is offered everyday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – $8.95 and dinner buffet 5 – 9 p.m. on Sunday and Monday Only – $12.95

6417 Roosevelt Way NE #106 (206) 517-4444

Duke’s Chowder House
Duke’s is a year round favorite – in the summer we love the front patio and in the winter we try to get a table by the fire.
Fish and chips, check. Chowder, check. While we reserve Duke’s for a nicer night out because the food is a bit pricier it is always worth it.
Tip: If you sign up for their birthday club you can get a choice of a free dinner, 1/2 price wine or free dessert for your entire table. Parking can be tricky. If you can walk there, do!

7850 Green Lake Dr N
206-522-4908

Parents, what do you think? Did we miss any of your favorites?

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