The PNW growing season is still in full swing. Our team members seize this season, growing fruit and vegetables in backyard gardens, enjoying barbecues and parties, and tackling at-home DIYs. Here, we peek into a few Coughlin Porter Lundeen yards and projects. Plus, our green-thumbed team members share some top tips and advice for gardens and growing!
Rebecca Hix Collins, Senior Structural Project Manager, P.E., S.E., LEED AP®
Rebecca’s yard has a vegetable garden, an herb garden, and fruit bushes and trees. Plants are grouped by water needs, so plants requiring additional summer water are located near the vegetable garden (and the rain barrels!). The front yard is planted with (mostly) drought tolerant plants requiring minimal watering in summer.
By growing plants that flower year round, the yard attracts lots of different wildlife and pollinators. The bees love her yard! And hummingbirds visit throughout the year. The herbs in particular are loved by insects.
Their most recent project: A DIY cage over the strawberry beds to keep out squirrels and raccoons. They used heat to bend PVC pipe, painted it black (for UV protection), and connected scrap chicken wire over it to keep the critters out. It is lightweight enough Rebecca’s two kids can move it anytime they want to pick strawberries.
Top Tip: Enjoy the moment! Our vegetables rarely grow the way we want them to (we would make lousy farmers), but we love planting, picking, and eating what does grow. And by observing our plants, and letting them grow the way they want, instead of how we want them to, we can make minor adjustments and spend more time enjoying the green.
Kate Rosengren, Sr. Marketing / Graphics Coordinator
To most, a rabbit in the garden is an unwelcome scavenger and a nuisance, but Kate is the happy exception. Meet Crumpet, her adorable bunny buddy!
Keeping bunnies at bay is a challenge for most gardeners. And while Crumpet is an invited guest, minimizing his damage takes work. Especially since he’s a giant breed – it doesn’t take long for him to trample and devour an impressive amount. To accommodate him, Kate opted out of terra cotta pots this year and invested in raised planters and fencing. The extra effort is worth it though – how can you not love that face and big ears!?
Top Tip: Save your dandelion greens and beet and carrot tops! They’re a delicacy to Crumpet and his friends!
William Stone, Structural Project Manager, CPEng, P.E.
William’s yard includes a vegetable garden, fruit trees, lavender, chickens, and a compost pile.
Raised beds are home to vegetables, which are watered from rain barrels (until they run out). Food scraps are composted with aeration provided by the chickens. The cycle continues as compost is then used on the garden.
They even have a worm farm to generate “worm tea” – which is great for plant growth.
Top Tip: Plan ahead! Spatial planning in advance is key. Consider crop rotation (which can provide a better yield). And, if your tomato plants are still producing, pick green tomatoes at the end of September before it gets too cold. Pick them vines and all, then let them ripen inside through the fall.
Amber Salahdin, Civil Engineer
Summer is Amber’s favorite season! And though her backyard is small, but she’s made the most of it. Over the past two summers she’s built three raised garden beds and grows potted tomatoes and peppers, blueberries, strawberries, carrots, beans, and flowers. She loves herbs too: you’ll find mint, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, and chives all growing in her yard!
Her favorite haul? Fresh garden carrots! And tomatoes and peppers! When they arrive in abundance, she smokes them for salsa. Perfect for summertime barbecues! Yum!
Top Tip: Be flexible! Not all projects work out exactly the way you intend and sometimes you just have to go with it.
Jackie Sempel, Civil Associate, P.E.
Jackie and her family have been working in their yard a lot this summer! New raised beds hold strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, and carrots. They removed the small lawn from the front yard and built a walking path with pavers. They even finished it all off with solar lights along the fence.
Top Tip: Get the kids involved! Our kids helped lay the pavers and dig holes for the new trees and landscaping. And don’t forget gloves and sunscreen for all!
Reed Harvey, Senior Structural Technician
Reed’s backyard is bountiful with tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, bush and pole beans, peas, cucumbers, carrots and squash in raised beds. There are also three large raspberry rows, a blueberry patch, a raised strawberry patch, plum trees, and varieties of flowers growing.
Reed is notorious for preserving his bounty. And sharing it with lucky coworkers! He cans jams, jellies, and pickles (cucumber, beans, zucchini).
His latest project: Deer and rabbit-proofing the garden. He’s seen a loss in veggie and berry production due to the many critters that live in the yard and neighborhood.
Top Tip: Observe the sun pattern through the seasons before planting.
From all of us at Coughlin Porter Lundeen, we wish hearty harvests, happy gardens, and a wonderful start to Fall!