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Marni’s beautiful garden design was an early step in making the garden of my dreams. Ongoing garden coaching helps me to refine and develop my knowledge, skills, and space. I LOVE Marni’s completed design and our new edible landscaping! - Beth

Above photos: Scroll through to see Beth's front yard before and after.

Marni walked me through each step of the design process. I had been feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure how to start. She asked thoughtful questions about how I wanted to use my space, listened to my thoughts and questions, bounced ideas back and forth, and ultimately came up with a beautiful plan that is better than anything I could have imagined.

Beth in her backyard garden with her giant tomato plants

My favorite part about the design process was the imaginative piece. I initially struggled to conceive of how my yard could look, after years of arid grass with some flowers around the edge. Marni helped me to visualize curves, pathways, seating, and rock accents. The result is a natural-appearing food forest and a completely transformed space.

I LOVE Marni’s completed design and our new edible landscaping! I cannot believe how much change we were able to accomplish already. The new landscaping is beautiful, sustaining, and healthy. It brings me joy every day. We now grow a significant amount of our produce ourselves! My family is excited about the fresh, flavorful food. I was surprised that we even got to know more of our neighbors, as they came over to investigate our gardening efforts!

Garden coaching has been incredibly helpful. There are so many things to consider when planting. I have learned so much about what makes each individual plant grow successfully. I love learning from my own successes and challenges in the garden, too. Marni helps me to observe what is working and what is not working in real time, so that I can adjust my approach. I appreciate the customized teaching, professional observations, and shared decision making that flow naturally as we walk through my space. Garden coaching is high yield and a great value.

The written summary after garden coaching visits is exceptionally high yield. I appreciate that I can be fully engaged during our coaching sessions, knowing that Marni is scribing. I use her written summaries to later make to do lists, research suggestions, make decisions, and order garden items.

My garden and I continue to evolve and grow. Our monthly touchpoints help me to learn and support my garden throughout the changing seasons, as well as to define and accomplish new goals as they arise. Marni’s beautiful garden design was an early step in making the garden of my dreams. Ongoing garden coaching helps me to refine and develop my knowledge, skills, and space.

Above: Beth harvesting tomatillos, alpine strawberries and Roman chamomile groundcover, harvesting potatoes

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Updated: Aug 8

It's finally summer in the PNW and your gardens are most likely in full growing mode and you're enjoying the fruits of your labor, literally! If you've planted succession crops you may be harvesting things like spring planted brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, broccoli), carrots, and garlic and you now have some open growing space. It's time to plant your fall and overwintering crops!

Prepare your garden beds:

  • Get a soil test! (check with your local conservation district - see resources below). Fall or Spring is a great time to test your soil to see what nutrients your crops need. Read more here

Why test your soil? If you are unsure what nutrients your soil needs - prior to adding nutrients that could run off and contaminate ground water and local streams

  • Cut plants out at soil level, leaving roots. Larger brassica plants can be pulled up and cut so that only the smallest roots remain in the soil.

  • Add 1/2" to 1" of fresh compost to surface

  • Direct seed fall crops or, if transplanting, let soil rest for a week to allow time for soil organisms to break down roots of the last crop

person taking a soil sample
Soil Testing is easy and helps you determine what your soil needs
First Frost Date: Check your average first frost date and be sure these crops will have time to mature or get established before your first freeze.

What to in plant for Fall harvest:
  • Peas - snap & snow varieties*

  • Brassicas (short season)

Brassicas include: Kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi. Check "days to harvest" to make sure that these crops will be fall harvest (short season) or overwintering.

  • Onions - bunching and green onions

  • Carrots*

  • Lettuces* (summer or bolt resistant varieties)

  • Radicchio*

  • Beets*

  • Celery

  • Swiss chard

What to plant in mid to late August/September for over-wintering:
  • Brassicas: long season ~120 days (the cabbage in the photo above was harvesting in early spring)

  • Onions - overwintering types like Walla Walla

  • Carrots* (germination is best when soil temps are over 50 degrees)

  • Parsnip* (germination temps same as carrots)

What to plant in September:
  • Radish*

  • Turnip*

  • Lettuce*

  • Spinach*

  • Bok choi, Asian greens*

  • Cilantro*

  • Cover crops*

  • Garlic (in October)

*Direct seed only – typical of root crops that don’t like their roots disturbed. Sowing seeds directly into the garden into prepared soil is called direct seeding. Some crops do best when seeded directly into the garden, versus getting transplanted, including all root crops.

Succession Planting: Staggering the timing of seeding a crop by at least a couple of weeks will allow for prolonged harvests of your favorite crops!

Crops that work well for succession plantings:

  • Lettuce (choose different varieties and colors)

  • Spinach

  • Bok choi

  • Radish

  • Cilantro (bolts quickly)

  • Carrots (at least two successions) - they hold in the soil during the colder months so not as important for over wintered crops


Planting fall crops after your summer crops requires that you add some nutrients back into the soil. Compost has most of the nutrients your plants need, so top dressing with fresh compost (as mentioned above) between crops is an important step.

Remember: Test your soil (see resources) to be sure you know what nutrients your soil needs before you add anything. I recommend testing soil the first year and then again the next year and every few years after that. That way you will learn what your soil needs or doesn't need.

bag of garden fertilizer
Example of an organic, granular fertilizer brand

Here's what I use for fertilizing:

  • Organic all-purpose vegetable fertilizer such as Dr. Earth or EB Stone - add a handful in the planting hole for brassicas

  • Quick crops like lettuce, spinach, etc. are good with just the new compost

  • Water in transplants with Alaska Fish Fertilizer (liquid) - use as directed

Crop Rotation:

Another consideration when it comes to soil fertility is to rotate your crops. Plant families tend to need the same soil nutrients and have the same pests. For example, not seeding carrots or another root crop where you just harvested your carrots from. A simple way to think about what to plant next is to remember:

  1. Leaf (brassicas, lettuce, spinach)

  2. Fruit (tomatoes, cucumbers, squash)

  3. Root (carrot, beets, parsnips)

  4. Shoot/Flower (peas, beans, onions)

If you just harvested a root crop then you can plant "shoot/flower" crop or any of the other types of crops (fruit, shoot, leaf) besides a root crop. Crops in the same family or in the same group (root crops) use the same nutrients, so your soil will be depleted of root crop nutrients. Planting peas or beans after root crops gives the soil a chance to recover those nutrient levels while peas and beans (legumes) use different nutrients and actually partner with soil organisms to make their own nitrogen!

Season Extension: Use row cover fabric (link in resources below) to cover fall crops and protect from light frosts.
Helpful Resources

Garden Starts:

I grow a wide variety of garden starts and edible plants using all organic and local seeds and soil. Check out the Growing Roots Together online store to order. Free delivery to Lynnwood area or pick up in Lynnwood.


Buy organic seed from local growers to ensure the plant varieties grow well here. Some of my favorites are: Territorial Seed Co, Adaptive Seeds, Uprising Seeds, and Strictly Medicinal.

Soil Testing:

Learn more about soil testing and find helpful resources here.


Cedar Grove Organics (also available as bagged and bulk at Sky Nursery, Shoreline)

Row Cover Fabric:

Local nursery or online - can be loosely placed directly over plants and soil, hold down with rocks or soil at edges

Plant Enough to Share

Remember to always plant enough to share. Plan for some losses (twenty-five percent or so) due to pests, plant health, etc. and also plan to plant some to share with your neighbors or local food bank.

Please contact Marni with any questions or for more information about garden consulting or coaching.

Happy fall and winter gardening!

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If you planted garlic last fall, the long wait is over and it's finally time to harvest your garlic! Here are a few tips on how and when to harvest your garlic and cure it for use all year long.

Harvesting Garlic:

Garlic is good at any stage and can even be eaten as "green garlic" or at the immature stage. At that stage it looks like a green onion, but still has fresh garlic flavor. I usually have a few smaller heads that accidentally get left in the ground so the next year I have a small bunch of garlic greens to harvest early.

However, most garlic is harvested around July, but is completely dependent on the variety and growing conditions. Here's the general rule of thumb for when to harvest your garlic:

  • In May/June: Cut back garlic scapes (flowering tops, first photo above) from hardneck varieties, this will allow the plant to focus it's energy into the bulb.

  • Garlic is ready when at least three or four of the bottom leaves have turned brown.

  • Harvest one to check and see if the garlic head is large and has completely formed. If it's too early the head will look more round, like a little onion as it has not formed the papers that separate the cloves.

  • Do not wash your garlic after harvesting

Curing Garlic:

Once you have harvested your garlic, move it to a cool, dry location to cure: like a garage. As noted above, do not wash the dirt off the garlic bulbs at this time, just gently shake the soil loose. You can hang your garlic, but it's also fine to store it on an open shelf that has airflow all around it. Just be sure to check it and turn it over every few days.

Curing can take a week or two, depending on moisture levels. You will know it's ready when all of the leaves are brown and crispy!

Cleaned garlic, ready to store and EAT!

Cleaning Garlic:

After your garlic is cured you can now cut off the stems, about a 1/2" above the bulb, and cut the roots off. To clean the garlic, I use rubber garden gloves and gently remove the soil and top most paper layer.

Pre-Order Your Garlic Seed

It's important to purchase your garlic seed from a local seller. This insures that the garlic variety will do well in our rainy and wet climate. Preordering usually begins in July or August for shipping in the fall. Here are a few of my favorite places to get garlic seed:

Some of my favorite varieties include:

  • Susanville

  • Music

  • Chesnok Red

Check back in Fall for a post on when and how to plant your seed garlic!

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