Growing your own vegetables is both fun and rewarding. It might seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but once you get started, you’ll discover that it isn’t very hard. Gardening is a learning experience, though. You’ll find that some things work better than others, and every planting season gives you another opportunity to make some tweaks and try again.
The first thing you need to decide is where to plant. For most veggies, this should be the sunniest spot you have. And of course the second big question is what to plant. Go for the things you love to eat, as well as plants that will thrive in the amount of sun you have.
Our climate in the Pacific Northwest requires some crops to be started indoors in the winter and transplanted outside in the spring. But it’s not too late to get started. There are lots of plants that you can sow directly into the garden in early spring. This graphic shows a few:
There are also many crops that can be planted in the summer for a fall harvest. Click here for a complete timeline of planting vegetables in the Seattle area.
With their bright pops of color tucked into our green forests or scattered across our central scablands, wildflowers herald a warmer, sunnier hiking season. From marshy yellow skunk cabbage to unlikely glacier lilies, you can find early spring wildflowers all over the state this time of year.
In Washington, we have a wildflower season that lasts from March through August. With so many unique ecosystems right in our backyard, many incredible flowers have found their niche.
The rich variety of flora could have you hiking for decades and still finding new wonders on the forest floor. Early spring is the perfect time to stride out on trail to see big, showy balsamroot, delicate calypso orchids or bright salmonberry bushes in bloom.
Tips for wildflower hiking:
- Take tick prevention measures, and know how to remove them safely.
- Learn how to watch for and avoid rattlesnakes drier eastern trails.
- Be careful not to trample the delicate plant-life.
- It’s bad form to pick wildflowers along public trails.
Location: Puget Sound & Islands – Bellingham area
Length: 2.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 890 ft.
The network of trails on the Anacortes Community Forest Lands is extensive enough that you can spend all day hiking and exploring here. Keep your eyes peeled for camas and delicate avalanche lilies dotting the hillsides. Don’t forget to look up from your wildflower hunt every now and then to take in the views of the sound, too!
FIDALGO HEAD LOOP TRAIL
Location: Puget Sound & Islands – Bellingham area
Length: 4.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 300 ft.
All the benefits of an island hike, without the ferry ride (unless you’re starting on the islands, of course). While this trail is known more for it’s wildlife-watching opportunities, the hillside meadows and trees come into bloom in early spring. On a sunny day, this is a terrific spot for a short hike and a picnic. When it the spring clouds roll in, you’ll still have great views and a little more solitude.
FOURTH OF JULY CREEK TO ICICLE RIDGE
Location: Central Cascades – Leavenworth
Length: 12 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4370 ft.
While there is often still snow on the upper reaches of this trail in spring, this popular destination outside of Leavenworth offers a riot of wildflower offerings. You’ll have a good chance at balsamroot or lupine, but keep your eyes peeled for the rarer delights as well: flowers like Tweedy’s Lewisa or Chocolate Lilies. Come back in a month or two for less snow and summer flowers.
CHELAN LAKESHORE TRAIL
Location: Central Cascades — Entiat Mountains/Lake Chelan
Length: 17 miles, one-way
Elevation Gain: 4030 ft.
This early-season trail features craggy, snow-capped peaks, a sapphire-blue lake, wildflowers, as well as regular maintenance by WTA volunteers. The 17-mile thru-hike on the Chelan Lakeshore Trail will take you to the delightful and secluded town of Stehekin where you can take a quick tour of the valley via bus or bike or visit the Stehekin Pastry Company—two miles from the ferry dock.
KLICKITAT RAIL TRAIL – KLICKITAT RIVER
Location: Southwest – Columbia River Gorge
Length: 10.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 200 ft.
Hop aboard for an early-season wildflower bloom amid open terrain and open air. At a healthy clip or a slow meander, this rail trail is fun at any speed! The Klickitat Trail runs 31 miles, with multiple access points placed in unique areas, from grass plains and the rugged Swale Canyon along the Wild and Scenic Klickitat River, to oak-filled valleys dropping down to Lyle and the Klickitat’s mouth at the Columbia River.
COLUMBIA HILLS STATE PARK
Location: Southwest – Columbia River Gorge
Length: 12.4 miles (Horsethief Butte)
Elevation Gain: 1870 ft.
Climb gentle hills exploding with lupine, paintbrush, balsamroot and other wildflowers. Make it multi-day adventure by camping in the state park and hiking Crawford Oaks and The Dalles Mountain. Go prepared for ticks.
WHISKEY DICK WILDLIFE AREA
Location: Central Washington, near Yakima
Length: 8.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1750 ft.
Wander among a wide variety of wildflowers—including a rare species of cactus, Simpson’s hedgehog, with its hot pink blossoms—chunks of petrified wood, and panoramic views of the Columbia Basin, under usually sunny, blue skies. Bring your camera and your field guide. For those hikers who prefer vistas or bird-watching to finding flora, there’s plenty of that to go around, too.
SNOW MOUNTAIN RANCH
Location: Central Washington, near Yakima
Length: 9.2 miles (with shorter options)
Head towards Yakima for some of the best wildflower shows in the state. Spend the day roaming on this former ranch, which in spring is cloaked in wildflowers! Keep your eyes peeled for the delightfully bright hedgehog cacti, bitterroot and more. If you want to make
Location: Central Washington — Potholes Region
Length: 3.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 235 ft.
Sitting inside the 30,000 acre Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Frog Lake, and the nearby Crab Creek and Marsh Loop trails provide hours of trail exploration. With basalt views, sagebrush-steppe, rocky cliffs and budding wildflowers you won’t run out of beautiful views to take in—just watch out for ticks!
Location: Eastern Washington – Blue Mountains
Distance: 4.4 miles, roundtrip
Tucked into the southeast corner of the state, this little trail in Field Spring State Park rewards with big views and solitude. The time to visit for wildflowers is now, when snow melt is feeding the first flush of wildflowers (and before things begin to heat up).
Length: 2.7 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 10 ft.
While many wildflowers have roots here, but these mysterious hills are best enjoyed when Washington’s native camas blooms blanket the rolling open landscape. This destination is a good one for families looking to just spend the day outside, and has paved trails for strollers or wheelchairs.
MILLER PENINSULA-THOMPSON SPIT
Location: Olympic Peninsula — Northern Coast
Length: 5.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 360 ft.
This wooded walk enters a lush ravine lined with remnant old-growth and gives way to an isolated beach with views of Protection Island. There are many miles of trails here — whether you do a meandering route around the area or the more direct 4 miles to the water and back. Additionally, it’s possible to create all sorts of loops as well. If you look closely, you may be able to spot a few wildflowers along the edges of the trail.
Whether you hire an outside professional for help, or tackle the project yourself, now is a great time to get a jump on spring cleaning. Many people wait for warmer temps to start cleaning, but I think most everyone can agree that those weekends would be better spent outdoors, soaking up that sun. So, take some inspiration from the list below to get you started now on freshening up your home for spring.
It will only take a few hours to check everything off this list, and you’ll feel so much better enjoying the last few weeks of winter, knowing that when the warmer weather finally comes, you can get outside and really enjoy it!
Rotate your mattress. Most mattresses need to be rotated regularly in order to even out the overall wear and prolong the lifespan of your bed. However, keep in mind that Sleep Number and Tempur-Pedic mattresses typically should not be rotated. Always check with your manufacturer for their recommendations on your specific mattress. If you own an older mattress with no pillowtop, it should probably be flipped as well as rotated.
Clean your mattress. Strip the mattress of all linens and covers. Start by vacuuming the mattress with the upholstery attachment, paying close attention to crevices and seams. Next, sprinkle baking soda (up to a one-pound box) all over the surface of your mattress. Let this sit for at least an hour, but 24 hours is best. Then go back over your mattress with your vacuum’s upholstery attachment again. If you have a steam cleaner, break it out and go over your whole mattress. The steam will reach further into the mattress than your vacuum is able to, and kills dust mites. *It is generally not recommended to clean memory foam with a steam cleaner.
Organize & clean the laundry room. Clean the outside of your washer and dryer; scrape any dried detergent from crevices. Next, clean the inside of the washing machine. Most newer models have a self-cleaning cycle. If you have an older machine that does not have a self-cleaning cycle, run a cycle with hot water and a quart of white vinegar. After it is finished, clean the detergent dispensers, using a vinegar and water solution and a scrubber. If you have a front-loader, be sure to clean the rubber seal on the door. This area is prone to mold growth, so use an all-purpose cleaner or maybe even bleach to get under and around the seal.
Next, organize a bit. Throw away products you never use, replace damaged sorting bins, and don’t forget to clean out the dryer vent to prevent a fire.
Deep clean the fridge. Twice a year (or more), you should give your fridge a front-to-back, top-down scrubbing. Start by taking everything out and throw away anything that has expired. Next, remove all the shelves and drawers. Put them to soak in a solution of two tablespoons baking soda and one-quart hot water. While they are soaking, wipe down the interior of the fridge with the same solution. Then scrub, rinse and dry the shelves and drawers.
Next, dry the drip pan. Remove the base grill, and pull out the drip pan. If it’s full of water, mop it with paper towels and wash the pan with soapy water. If your drop pan is fixed in place, wrap a cloth around the head of a long-handled brush and use to clean the pan.
Don’t forget the coils. In order to keep your refrigerator running efficiently, unplug it, pull it away from the wall, and use a coil brush or your vacuum’s crevice attachment to clean the condenser coils. This should be done at least twice a year, unless you have pets in the home, and then you should do this three to four times a year.
Clean out spice cabinet. Throw away all expired spices and seasonings. Not only do these lose taste, they actually harbor mold and bacteria.
Clean out expired medications & vitamins If you have unused medications, please take them to your local pharmacy for proper disposal.
Vacuum, wash, or steam window curtains
Wash window blinds
Add color to your table. Treat yourself to fresh flowers while waiting for the spring blooms outside.
The FIRST Edmonds Art Walk of the new year is Thursday Jan. 17, 5-8pm!This great community event is the third Thursday of every month, all year long – rain or shine. Join galleries, merchants, neighbors and friends to celebrate the arts and cultivate local vitality. More details at- www.artwalkedmonds.com
The pressure to come up with resolutions and improvements always mounts near the end of the year, but everyone knows that statistically speaking, most of us won’t stick to our New Year’s resolutions much past February. So rather than give in to societal pressure, guilt, and feelings of hopelessness, I propose a shift in perspective this year.
Rather than viewing the New Year as catalyst for sweeping lifestyle and character changes, let’s instead take this opportunity to renew our sense of purpose and determination. Here are five ideas to make some positive changes in a different way this year.
- Express Gratitude
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” -William Arthur Ward. You will be amazed at the ways your life will begin to change simply by expressing gratitude regularly. It will help you maintain a fresh perspective day in and day out, and will help to keep stress at bay. Make a list of all the things you are thankful for in your life, big and small. Take some time to really lean in to this list and reflect on each one. Especially focus on why you are thankful for each of those things.
- Create a list of things to look forward to
This goes hand-in-hand with gratitude. What are you looking forward to this year? A vacation, a family member getting married, a new restaurant opening, a new novel or a new season of your favorite show. By focusing on the good things coming your way, it will be easier to keep a positive and hope-filled attitude.
- Pick a word for the year
Before the year starts, take some time to look at the big picture of the coming year. Find the theme of what you would like to accomplish or focus on, and chose a theme word to guide you. This will give you clarity and focus. Maybe your word for the year is Intentional. Simplify. Peace. Discipline. Fun. When you have your theme word for the year, share it on oneword365.com
- Schedule a quarterly retreat
Life happens, and trying to balance work, family, social life, friends, and other commitments often results in very little time for you. Take some time before the new year starts and schedule yourself a quarterly one-day (or weekend!) retreat to focus on YOU. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else.
- Try a 30-day challenge
A 30-day challenge consists of setting a small goal that can be achieved in 30 days, as well as a small, specific action that you will take each day to achieve that goal. For example:
Declutter: every day for 30 days, choose 3 items to donate, sell, give away or throw away.
Random acts of kindness: every day for 30 days, perform a random act of kindness such as: leaving change in a vending machine; buying the coffee of the person behind you at Starbucks; send a thank you email to a coworker who deserves more recognition. Spreading kindness will always come back to you.
New Year’s Eve 2018 is almost upon us, and if you are still looking for something to do, read on! There are lots of options in the greater Seattle area, whether you are looking for the biggest blow-out bash or an earlier, family-friendly event.
There are actually two parties that will converge at midnight for the iconic Seattle fireworks show.
The Armory Stage will host rock band SWAY from 8pm until midnight. And at the International Fountain, you can dance the night away with live electronic music and video projection show (starts at 10pm). Tickets are required for both parties, however the big fireworks show is free to enjoy.
The Pacific Science Center transforms on NYE with fire sculptures, drinks and live music. There will be special entertainment throughout the night, as well as the standard Science Center exhibits. At midnight, head outside for the Space Needle fireworks. Purchase tickets in advance.
Watch the Seattle Center fireworks from under the glass of Chihuly Gardens. The evening includes appetizers, desserts, live music and a midnight toast. Purchase tickets in advance.
Another Seattle Center option, the Museum of Popular Culture offers four 21+ parties in one. With live music on three performance stages, comedians, party favors, special VIP areas, more than 20 bars, and a special singles-only cocktail hour, this is one of the largest parties of the year. Museum access is included in the price of the party, purchase tickets in advance.
- Tacoma’s First Night
First Night is an all-ages, family-friendly celebration in Downtown Tacoma’s Theater District. The affordable admission price includes museums, music, art, drama, dance, and a whole day and night of activities. The cost of entry increases as the festival gets closer, so buy early to save!
The perfect NYE celebration if you have older kids, this pajama party features comedians, balloon makers, pizza, snacks, and educational, hands-on activities throughout the night. The fun culminates at 9pm with a ball drop.
- New Year’s Eve with Ivar’s Salmon House
Ivar’s on Northlake will host live music, tasty food and view of the fireworks without the crowds. Advanced reservations are required, and will range in price depending on your selections.
Ring in the new year with the latest in R&B, Old School, Jazz and Hip Hop music. This is a 21+, semi-formal event, and hotel packages are available with your ticket purchase.
- Resolution New Year’s Eve Party at WAMU Theater
A Seattle tradition for almost a decade, this 18+ party always brings a mixed crowd together for a night of dancing. This is one of the biggest EDM parties of the year.
Celebrate the coming new year all day at KidsQuest! There are activities every hour from 10am to 4pm, including Bubble Wrap Stomp, New Year’s Hats, Storytime, glittery tattoos, and more. Admission is free with membership or museum admission.
♦ Buttonwood Farm
14500 NE 116th St, Redmond
100% organic you-cut or white-glove delivery service, saws provided, hot chocolate and cookies
♦ Carnation Tree Farm
31523 NE 40th St, Carnation
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, wreaths, garlands, mistletoe, Santa visits, Christmas decorations, trees baled, saws provided, hay rides
♦ Cedar Falls Tree Farm
15200 Cedar Falls Rd SE, North Bend
You-cut trees, wreaths, trees bagged & tied, saws provided, free hot cider, picnic area, porta-potties
♦ Christmas Creek Tree Farm
15515 468th Ave SE, North Bend
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, trees baled, refreshments, hay rides, Santa on weekends, picnic areas
♦ Coates Christmas Trees
17225 SE Green Valley Road, Auburn
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, wreaths, boughs, garlands, mistleto, Santa, trees bagged and tied
♦ Country Tree Farm
18225 116th Ave SE, Renton
You-cut trees, wreaths, holly, refreshments, Santa
♦ Crown Tree Farm
13005 424th Ave SE, North Bend
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, wreaths and boughs, decorations, saws provided, trees bagged, free tree trimmings
♦ Crystal Creek Tree Farm
23604 SE 192nd St, Maple Valley
You-cut trees, saws provided, trees baled, cider, porta-potties
♦ Enchanted Winds Tree Farm
8021 Issaquah-Hobart Rd, Issaquah
You-cut trees, wreaths, swags, boughs, holly, gifts, decorations, crafts, trees baled, tree stands, hay wagon, trailer rides, fire pit, hot beverages
♦ Hunter Farms Fresh Cut Trees
7744 35th Ave NE, Seattle
Precut trees, mistletoe, holly, wreaths, flocking, restrooms, trees baled, fire retarding
♦ Keith and Scott Tree Farm
42999 SE 120th St, North Bend
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, wreaths, boughs, trees tied, baled and trimmed, saws provided, bonfires, refreshments, restrooms
♦ McMurtrey’s Red-wood Christmas Tree Farm
13925 Redmond-Woodinville Rd, Redmond
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, saws provided, wreaths, beverages, restrooms, wagon rides, tree stands
♦ Serres Farm
20306 NE 50th St, Redmond
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, saws provided, wreaths, free hot chocolate, restrooms
♦ Snow Valley Christmas Tree Farm
17651 W Snoqualmie River Rd NE, Duvall
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, wreaths, Santa appearances, decorations, free hot beverages, gift shop, porta-potties
♦ Wintergreen Tree Farm
13606 S Machias Rd, Snohomish
Precut trees, you choose and you cut trees, wreaths, boughs, garlands, decorations, Christmas festival, bonfires, free hot cider, gift shop, restrooms
Remember to always call the farm before you go to confirm their supply, hours, if they are allowing choose-and-cut or just pre-cut trees, and which attractions or winter activities are available. All of these things can change quickly during the short Christmas season due to weather, demand, and the farmers business conditions!