Sustainable NE Seattle

Connecting for a sustainable community

Keith Mastenbrook's Blog (15)

Berry Picking Season has begun!

Happy First Day of Summer!

It's been an unusual weather season this year, hasn't it?  So much wonderful rain and early season warmth.  Kind of unusual to have so many record breaking heat days in Spring.  Although it looks like we're heading into La Nina and saying adios to El Nino, it's shaping up to be a great gardening season.  Berries are coming in with gusto, and I've been picking them all over the garden.  

I just heard from an old friend some of you may also know, Gil…

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Added by Keith Mastenbrook on June 20, 2016 at 10:17am — No Comments

Permaculture Design: 50+ Plants for Seattle Gardens

Last month Jesse Bloom and David Boehnlein made a presentation to Sustainable NE Seattle in support of their new book: PRACTICAL PERMACULTURE for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth.  It is an awesome book and I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to improve their home, community and the whole earth.  So many good ideas, it forms a solid foundation from which you can begin to expand your understanding of permaculture and how to best apply permaculture…

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Added by Keith Mastenbrook on May 14, 2015 at 4:20pm — 2 Comments

Future of Seattle Farm Co-op

The Seattle Farm Co-op recently closed its' retail sales location on S. Jackson Street due to the loss of their lease.  The search for a new location has been elusive, as affordable warehouse locations are at a premium in our face growing city.  The membership will be holding a very important meeting soon to decide what to do about this dilemma, and the options on the table seem to be far reaching.  Clearly the support and growth of the membership plays a significant role and this is where…

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Added by Keith Mastenbrook on October 8, 2014 at 7:00am — 1 Comment

BEEKEEPERS Support Group Forming, Join Us

"Hi, my name is Keith, and I am a beekeeper."  

Does this sound familiar?  Sometimes that's the way it feels, like I have to admit that I am hooked on keeping bees and I need help.

Are there others, keeping bees in Northeast Seattle, that think they could benefit from working together rather than alone, with their bees?  Regular monitoring of the bees and doing what's right to keep them happy goes a long way towards achieving a successful harvest of honey.  And I would like to…

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Added by Keith Mastenbrook on April 22, 2013 at 3:47pm — 2 Comments

Permaculture Nursery Expotition

The Sno-Isle Permaculture Network has developed a regular project oriented work party and potluck schedule, a model for what we are doing in SusNE.  It's not just a lot of talk, but a chance to help your friends or host a project yourself.  The next one in March 20th and I'm attending.  If anyone is interested in going along, I'll be driving and would welcome the company.

Added by Keith Mastenbrook on March 14, 2013 at 12:02pm — No Comments

Rescheduled DAY of SERVICE @ Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center

President's Day Holiday, February 20th, from 10am til 4pm,

We shall overcome the snow and conduct a…

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Added by Keith Mastenbrook on January 26, 2012 at 5:21pm — No Comments

Sodbusters Sheet Mulching

There’s a running debate on how to best transition an old lawn into a productive, sustainable patch of earth.  Regardless of the method, there are many good reasons to make the change and a good variety of landscape planting designs that would contribute to an improved planet by sequestering carbon and lowering carbon emissions, feeding the animals and people while providing beauty and a sense of purpose.  Whether the purpose is… Continue

Added by Keith Mastenbrook on November 2, 2011 at 3:46pm — No Comments

Creating a Forest Garden

Earlier this year the Meadowbrook Community Gardens and Orchards Guild held a study circle of Martin Crawford's excellent new book, Creating a Forest Garden.  The book is comprehensive, practical and accessible by even beginning gardeners.  I would liken it to Sunset's Western Garden Book for the environmentally aware. 

One of the key practices we can pursue towards the goal of reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere is to convert our gardens to no-dig, low-irrigation,…

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Added by Keith Mastenbrook on September 16, 2011 at 2:14pm — No Comments

Sustainable Community Living

Over the years many members of our community have walked through the garden that my family has built here in Northeast Seattle, and we weren't the first. Before us, the Guth Family initially built the houses and garden. My parents bought their house in 1955, and for the past eleven years Joyce and I have enjoyed living next-door to my mother. But all that is about to change. After 55 years here and at age 81, there needs to be a change. And the opportunity has presented itself for my mom to… Continue

Added by Keith Mastenbrook on November 27, 2010 at 10:34am — 2 Comments

Tree Fruit Cultivar Recommendations

Raintree Nursery All-Day Classes & Workshops Field Trip



13 March 2010



A group of five Sustneans carpooled to Onalaska, southeast of Chehalis, where Raintree held its all-day classes and workshops at the Onalaska Middle School. It was very well attended, and even for a long-time gardener like myself, there…

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Added by Keith Mastenbrook on March 15, 2010 at 11:18am — No Comments

Sodbusting Saturdays

Sodbusting Saturdays is one way to quickly convert an unwanted patch of lawn into a productive garden. What you grow as an alternative to lawn is your choice; anything would be an improvement over grass. You might be considering this as a way to add more native plantings or start a vegetable garden. Either planting option will be a great improvement for the environment.

While it is true that you don't have to cut and remove the sod to successfully convert lawn to planting beds, there are a… Continue

Added by Keith Mastenbrook on November 6, 2009 at 2:25pm — No Comments

Strategic Planning Dinner Notes

Several members of SustNE met on August 9th to discuss in broad terms the development of a strategic plan to grow our organization and movement promoting sustainable living. While defining sustainability was not under discussion, other key considerations were. These included topics as central to the group as the defining boundaries of “northeast” Seattle, and critical as outreaching to a broader demographic, by appealing to the younger generation for example. We discussed briefly the Transition… Continue

Added by Keith Mastenbrook on September 1, 2009 at 12:49pm — No Comments

City Light Comes to Sustainable NE Seattle

Sustainable Northeast Seattle, as a Transition Initiative, accepts responsibility for our community’s role in Climate Change, Peak Oil, and Economic Instability. These are the key functions that we wish to address as we transition towards a sustainable future lifestyle. Central to this discussion is Energy: what we use, how much we use, where it comes from, and at what cost, are all critical questions that we are asking. As citizens of the City of Seattle, we have been blessed by the foresight… Continue

Added by Keith Mastenbrook on June 2, 2009 at 10:29am — 2 Comments

Sodbuster Success

A small group of dedicated Sodbusters gathered to remove lawns, with the hope and promise of gardens to come. Jessie & Jason, Harry & Jane, Deb, and Lee & Steve all worked together to cut sod off four garden areas, and we managed to return the tool within the half-day minimum. With a cost to each of only $20, we paid for the rental and gas, and saved many hours of hard work. It should also be mentioned that topsoil was saved, because the sodcutter skims off just a fraction of soil… Continue

Added by Keith Mastenbrook on April 13, 2009 at 9:57am — 1 Comment

Scallops Summit Review

Not only did the weather clear allowing Spring to truely arrive, the recent Scallops Summit lifted the clouds that enshrouded our organization and put some bounce in our steps. Due largely to excellent preparations by the planning group and skillful handling of the facilitators responsibilities, progress was acheived. Volunteers came forward to work on mission statements, values statements, federal tax-exempt status, and perhaps most importantly connections were made between individuals… Continue

Added by Keith Mastenbrook on April 6, 2009 at 8:55am — No Comments

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