Garden On, Vashon

Gardening, cooking, building, designing, dreaming…

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Like my blog? Here comes my book (hope you’ll help)

May 23rd, 2013 at Thu, 23rd, 2013 at 1:30 pm by Karen Dale


I’m bringing out a book!  Yep, during the last three years of writing this blog, I’ve also been working on a book about gardening on this island. I’ve always thought there was TONS of material out there about gardening … farming … plant businesses … history … and STORIES … that could become a book tailored to the Island and fascinating to Islanders. Well, folks—it’s nearly ready, and it’s called—

“Garden On, Vashon!  (and Maury Island, too)”

Clocking so far at over 250 pages of a standard trade paperback, this book will hopefully be out by next Christmas’ buying season. It’s part Island history, part gardening how-to, part Let’s Go Island-Adventuring with Karen (and let her make the dumb mistakes). I’ve organized it in a Around-the-Year format, with five major Seasons (and yes, I think we have five seasons here):  Late Winter, Early Spring, Is It Summer Yet? High Summer/Harvest, and Winter. Here’s what’s in the book, chapter by chapter:

Prologue: Vashon’s Geology, and the story of the Vashon Glacier
A Soil for Strawberries:  about Island soils and the old strawberry farms
Hillside Gardening: making a stone wall, landslides, and a tour of a hillside garden
Starting Seeds: when to start what, and how farmers do it so well
A history of Island Apple Trees and how to restore an old Orchard
Bees and beekeeping, honeybees & masons
Plant sales: the farmers’ market, plus spring transplants raised by several groups
Our Flower businesses—including a history of Beall Greenhouses from alumni
VAA’s Garden Tour: a complete history, including all hosts and coordinators
Hoeing the Row Together: gardening for others and WITH others
Growing an Island Tomato: tips from farmers & hobbyists
Heritage Berries: strawberries, logans, and the Olympic Berry
Pruning Fruit Trees with the Fruit Club
Starting a Fall-winter vegie garden
Island Water: how our water works, and keeping it clean for salmon and all of us
Saving your Harvest: recipes, how-tos, and GOOD green tomato recipes
Plant Propagation with Colleen James
Island Wine: A history of Island Wine-grapes and wine-making
All the Ways We Compost: a compost fest
Autumn Trees & Leaf Lust:  historic Island trees and making leaf-mold
Cider & Sauce: using all those apples, Wax Orchard, and a Fall Fruit Show
Planting an Orchard with a new cidery, Dragon’s Head Cider

This book has over 200 Islanders in it, from the merest mention to repeating characters. It has over 250 pages, and I’m still working on the indexing and final copy-edits. It’s already in page layout, and after I get the finessing done, it’s off to the printer late this summer—IF!—

I need to raise the money for a press run of paperbacks

This blog doesn’t pay anything—nor does my now-nonexistent job. So I’m coming to you, my community, for a KickStart to get this book printed as a trade paperback.

Here’s its URL: :

Last week I opened a KickStarter crowd-funding campaign to raise the $3500 needed for a press run of 500. A KickStart is like a pledge-drive: I make a pitch on a KickStarter web page, which includes my video and a series of offered rewards for your pledges at various price points. If you decide you want to support the project, you chose a pledge, and the website takes you to Amazon Payments, which will eventually process your donation. I saw EVENTUALLY because your money is NOT COLLECTED until the pledge-drive ends—on July 5th at 5pm—and ONLY if the target goal of $3500 is reached.

If you’ve ever bought something from Amazon, it’s even EASIER to make a KickStarter pledge—a short 2-3 step process of Choose, Confirm Your Credit Card Info, OK. I never see your financials, nor does KickStarter—though after the drive is over, they’ll send me your contact info so I can deliver your reward.

Pledges are mostly the book itself (autographed and with your name on the Thank-you page at the right level). But I also have thrown in a tea + double garden tour of my place and the Skillman/Zolno garden featured on the front cover and Chapter 3, a personal blog on your garden, a pleine air painting of your garden, or a dinner party for eight catered by Chef Bob Dale and Yours Truly. 

So if you’d like to support the publication of a book about Gardening on Vashon, then please visit my KickStarter campaign at this link:


Coming up in coming days: Preview Blogs on this year’s Vashon Allied Arts Garden Tour.






gardens on the south end of Vashon Island, on a sandy hilltop overlooking Quartermaster Harbor. "Garden On, Vashon" shares what the Island has to teach us about gardening HERE—from making soils to sowing seeds to raising plants to harvest, cooking, preserving, and designing new ways to cultivate your little chunk of Vashon Island. To contact me, email, or leave a comment.

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