by Robin McKillop
Registration is now open for the 2013 Marin-Friendly Garden Tour, scheduled for Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It only takes a minute to sign up using our online registration system, and there’s no charge to attend! We hope you can join us.
The 2013 tour features nine inspiring gardens that showcase a variety of environmentally friendly practices, ranging from conserving water to creating wildlife habitat. Here’s a sneak preview of one of the gardens on this year’s tour.
At this productive property, located in Mill Valley, it’s all about edibles—from fresh eggs to organic mixed salad greens and savory shiitake mushrooms. The backyard has a full-size chicken coop, built entirely of salvaged fencing material, which is home to a family of docile Chinese silkie chickens. Also in the backyard, you’ll find a homemade koi fish aquaponic system for growing mixed salad greens and watercress, as well as several shiitake mushroom logs, a mini-green house, a diversity of ornamentals and lots of eye-catching glass art.
Five deep raised beds are used to eliminate wet root problems associated with the site—formerly a salt marsh with poorly drained clay soils. These beds are used for growing a variety of perennial and annual cool season vegetables including artichoke, asparagus, saffron crocus, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and many kinds of berries and root crops that flourish in Mill Valley’s cool summers. Blackberries, raspberries and black raspberries are grown in 25-gallon pots to control their spread. Warmer season tropical plants are grown in the greenhouse. The soil is continually composted to add nutrients and improve drainage, and fava and red clover cover crops are grown to enrich the soil.