Welcome to the SNOW Block Alley!

The alley – which we call the SNOW Block because we are Slightly North of Washington school – has undergone a complete transformation. What used to be home to primarily weeds and junk that we didn’t know what else to do with it, is now lined with trellises, raised beds, and rain barrels; espaliered fruit trees, berries, and tomatoes. A basketball hoop was installed and the sound of thump, thump, thump was followed by cheers or groans of shots made or missed. Patio furniture was dragged out into the alley accompanied by big bowls of buttery popcorn to be shared while movies were shown on the side of a garage on warm summer evenings. Fall brings pumpkin carving and a chili cook-off as a precursor to Halloween night. Little ghouls and goblins are redirected from front doors to a fully decorated alley to reap the benefits of multiple candy stations and burn barrels to take the chill off.

What was a vision for a garden had turned into something much bigger. Neighbors became friends and our block became a micro-community.

harvest party in the SNOW block alley

Thanks to Anna Webb, friend of the alley project and writer for the Idaho Statesman, the SNOW Block alley made it into the paper again. This time for a harvest/birthday party. It's something that I've dreamt of since the very beginning –  long tables with white...

national night out in the SNOW block

The creation of the SNOW Block has done wonders in helping our neighbors get to know each other. One thing I hear over and over from people visiting the project is how they wish they could do something similar in their neighborhood. Well, for one night a year, it's...

my radio debut – D&B garden show

Debbie Cook and I go way back to the days when I was in the Master Garden program. She's a talented gardener and arborist who contributes to the D&B Supply blog and also hosts an hour gardening radio show on local station KIDO each Saturday morning. I was thrilled...

building community is right up our alley

I was recently asked to write an article about the SNOW Block alley for the website Conversations from the Brink. Usually I write about the gardening aspects of the project but this piece talks more about the sociological impact it's had on our block. Enjoy! SNOW...

grow blueberries in idaho

I'd tried a couple times to grow blueberries and I'd failed an equal amount of times. Apparently my standard stick-it-in-the-ground-and-let-it-be approach wasn't going to work this time. Resolved to have blueberries as part of the SNOW Block Alley project, I signed up...

pruning fruit trees

Growing up we had fruit trees and I got all the benefits (read: eating) without any of the work. Now suddenly with the SNOW Block Alley project I find myself with five apple, three pear, a cherry and the most recent addition, a Cot-n-Candy apricot/plum mixture...

little free library

From the minute I envisioned the alley project, I knew there had to be a Little Free Library. There’s several tucked around our neighborhood and I love stopping to peer inside; to survey the contents. There’s something so refreshing about the trusting aspect of them....

the SNOW alley project in rocky mountain gardening

The day that Mary Ann Newcomber found about the SNOW Block Alley was indeed a lucky day for the project. Mary Ann has an enthusiasm that is contagious and let's just say, she knows people. I'm sure I owe the front page coverage on the Idaho Statesman to her, she's...

garden hose holiday wreath

Halloween in the alley – or as we called it, "Alleyween", set the bar high but that just means game on when it comes to Christmas! When brainstorming ideas for decor, the Hubs and I were thinking about what would be most appropriate for our alley garden. Let's see......

alleyween

It's unbelievable how far we've come. It was this time last year when we had our first event in the plaza – a chili cook-off and pumpkin carving. Neighbors timidly came out with their crock pots. Still mostly strangers, it took a little coaxing to get the pumpkin...

my husband is a genius

There seems to be two common questions by guests to the alley project. The first is almost always an inquiry on what we had to do to get our alley paved. A close second is where did we get the cool concrete posts for our raised beds. I have to give credit where credit...

the day KTBV channel 7 came to visit

It's been a few big weeks for the SNOW Block Alley project. First we had this awesome story in the Idaho Statesman. The week after, the Dirt Diva mentioned us on her weekly radio show on 94.9 the River. Then on Labor Day, as we were driving back from a wedding in...

nena FINE grant at work

The North End Neighborhood Association (NENA) – was the first place I started when looking for support for the SNOW Block Alley project. Not only did receiving one of their FINE (Funds to Improve the North End) Grants help me financially but it also gave me the...

north end alley now a cool place to hang out

When the Idaho Statesman called me for an interview about the SNOW Block alley project, I was excited. And then on the morning of August 18, my phone started blowing up at 6:00 a.m. Not only was there a great article in the paper, it was on the front page! A huge...

how our garden grows

Seems like these days I'm always way behind on the posts about the alley but it's hard to have much time to write about it when I'm still working on it! At the root of it all (pun intended) – we could't have done our alley project without the help of our sponsors,...

free standing garden trellis

When I was dreaming of the alley project and an alley lined by edible vertical gardens, fruit trees were an integral part of that vision. I'd always thought espaliered trees were very cool but had been a bit intimidated. Sometimes you just have to jump in with both...

now that’s a rain barrel!

Here in the high dessert of Idaho, it doesn't rain a lot so when it does, I want to make sure and capture as much of it as possible. Especially when the two barrels we are installing as part of the alley project will be for the use of anyone in the block to water the...

the day the alley got paved

I have clearly underestimated the excitement of fresh asphalt as the day the alley got paved, I actually took the day off of work. It's not that I necessarily planned it that way but it was a long road in coming and I didn't want to miss a minute. Paving an Alley in...