Axios Seattle

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Hello, Wednesday.

Today's weather: ☁️ Mostly cloudy, with a chance of rain. High near 57.

Situational awareness: After a gentle scolding for our inclusion of astrological wisdom in Tuesday's newsletter, we now highlight Astronomy on Tap Seattle.

1 big thing: Seattle’s other sports teams

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

You know the Storm, the Mariners, the Sounders, the Reign, the Kraken and the Seahawks, but what about the city's lesser-known (but no less interesting) sports teams?

Why it matters: While our major league soccer, baseball and women's basketball teams may get the glory, Seattle is home to several under-the-radar sports teams that are just as fun to watch — and often much more affordable.

Zoom out: Your next favorite Seattle team could connect with your current one. If you love the Mariners or the Kraken, consider a low-key alternative in a minor, college league or junior team.

  • Check out the Everett AquaSox at Funko Field or the Tacoma Rainiers at Cheney Stadium. Both are minor league teams affiliated with your Seattle Mariners, but with tickets as cheap as $7.
  • The DubSea Fish Sticks, a summer league team for college athletes, plays from June to early August at Steve Cox Memorial Park's Mel Olson Stadium. Go on a Thursday for $3 beer, soda and fish sticks.
  • Kraken fan? Check out the Thunderbirds, a junior ice hockey team that's been playing for Seattle since 1977. The team currently plays at Kent's ShoWare Center, with tickets from $20.

Flashback: Seattle's roller derby community is an institution, with three teams that emerged in the early 2000s as part of a national revival that brought a cheeky, feminist spin to the sport.

  • Rat City Roller Derby, formerly Rat City Roller Girls, is Seattle's oldest roller derby league. The league's season championship on May 4 at Magnuson Park will feature three games (including a Seattle-Portland faceoff) plus food trucks and a beer garden for $30.

Worthy of your time: Seattle is home to two professional ultimate disc (FKA ultimate frisbee) teams: The Tempest and Cascades play at Memorial Stadium with tickets typically ranging from $5 for youth to $16 for adults.

Fun fact: Seattle also has a semi-professional women's indoor football team.

A few more teams

2. When to tomato

Tomato sprouts grow in planting trays in a greenhouse. Photo: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Seattle area's last frost is in the rearview mirror, but gardening experts say it's safer to wait until next month to plant tomatoes and other tender staples.

Why it matters: Putting off some planting, digging and tidying not only gives many plants their best chance to thrive, it also boosts survival odds for bees and other beneficial insects, gardening journalist Erica Browne Grivas told Axios.

The big picture: Warming temperatures are changing where and when different plant varieties can grow successfully, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which was updated last year.

Zoom in: Usually it's safe to plant tomatoes in mid-May in the Seattle area, but every year and each location is unique, said Grivas.

  • Wait until the soil warms above 50° to tidy up and until nights are reliably above 50° to plant tomatoes, she said. Planting too soon can stall growth and encourage blossom-end rot.
  • Seattle itself may be a little warmer than outlying areas due to the urban heat island effect.

Here are a few tips from Grivas to help tomatoes flourish this year:

  • Select varieties with a days-to-maturity of 65–80 days for the most reliable harvest. 
  • Keep starts inside and and replant in a bigger pot, burying the stem so only two sets of leaves remain.
  • If planting outside, plant in full sun in a hole twice as deep and wide as the existing pot. If doing so now, put the plants under frost cloth.

Tell a friend

3. Morning Buzz: E-book overload

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

📚 The Seattle Public Library is reducing the number of digital holds readers can make from 25 to 10 after enormous demand for e-books saddled the library system with licensing costs much higher than the expense of buying physical copies. (KUOW)

🔌 Starting this summer, the state will give out electric vehicle rebates of up to $9,000 to offset the costs of buying or leasing them. (Seattle Times)

  • The program will be available to people making less annually than $45,180 (individuals) or $93,600 (a family of four).

Students at Seattle Public Schools walked out of class yesterday to protest the Israel-Hamas war. (KING 5)

🏀 The Storm's Epiphanny Prince is retiring after 14 seasons with the WNBA. Prince was in the Storm's lineup when the team took home the 2020 WNBA title. (AP)

4. New penguin just dropped

A one-month-old Humboldt penguin chick is weighed at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo

A warm welcome to Woodland Park Zoo's adorable new baby — a one-month-old Humboldt penguin fledgling.

Why it matters: Woodland Park Zoo has one of the most successful breeding programs in North America for Humboldt penguins, a threatened species native to the rugged coasts of Chile and Peru, according to the zoo.

  • There are approximately 30,000 Humboldt penguins left on the planet, per the zoo.

Driving the news: The as-yet-unnamed female hatched March 24 and is the fourth chick born to mom Mini and dad Gomez, per the zoo.

  • The zoo's colony now has 48 penguins and successfully hatched 91 chicks between the zoo's first breeding season in 2010 and 2023.

Fun fact: Most penguins mate for life and share duties during the 39- to 41-day incubation period, per the zoo.

💭 Megan's thought bubble: Gender equality in the wild? We love to see it!

Humboldt penguins at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle swim in their exhibit.
Penguins at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo

What's next: The chick remains out of public sight in a nesting burrow for now, but will join the colony's outdoor habitat in early summer.

🐧 Clarridge can't stop looking at that baby penguin.

⚾️ Megan is adding a DubSea Fish Sticks game to her list of summer activities.

This newsletter was edited by Rachel La Corte and copy edited by Egan Millard.