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Ballard Sprouts – 2021 Season Updates

Tomatoes & Basil Distribution

In late April the Ballard Sprouts volunteers transplanted 1000 tomatoes and put them in two hoop houses. For the last month we have tended them by opening & closing the hoop houses depending on the weather. This year we put netting around the hoop house to protect the tomatoes from rabbits.
The plants have been watered frequently, fertilized twice and are now ready for distribution. Meanwhile, the Basil was growing the greenhouse.

On May 27th, during the blustery afternoon weather, the Sprouts volunteers moved the tomato plants and set them up on the parking strip. Seattle Giving Gardeners will be coming by all weekend to pick up the plants. These gardeners will grow the tomatoes in their p-patches and donate the harvest to the food banks in late summer. See Seattle Giving Garden Network website: SGGN.org.

This concludes the Sprouts Project for 2021. We will begin again in February 2022.

Transplanting & Tending Tomatoes

In late April our Ballard Sprouts volunteers transplanted tomatoes and put them in the hoop houses. We have over 1,000 plants, 4 varieties. These will be ready to distribute to Giving Gardeners in late May. Meanwhile we are tending them daily: opening & closing the hoop houses as the weather requires; fertilizing & watering.

About 100 pots of Basil are in the 2nd greenhouse and will be ready to distribute with the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, gardeners from all over Seattle, who grow food for the food banks, came by and picked up all the plants that we started in February. In addition, this year, Food Bank representatives collected plants to donate directly to their clientele. Everything was gone by April 28th!

Beautiful Weekend and the plants are ready!

The Sprouts project has been very busy. At the end of March we completed all the transplanting, over 25,000 plants. It was a tremendous team effort. During the first week of April we planted tomato and basil seeds. We distributed the first crop of plants that were ready (Broccoli, Collards, Cabbage, Mustard Greens and two kinds of Kale) starting on April 9th. The weather was cold and windy that weekend and we were still covering the plants every night until about April 12th.


Then on April 15th the weather warmed and we put out our 2nd distribution of plants (Pac Choy, Asian Greens, two kinds of lettuce and onions). Giving Gardeners from all over Seattle will come by and pick up the plants. These gardeners are mostly p-patch volunteers who grow the food and donate it to the local food bank programs.

In April we will transplant the tomatoes and grow them for distribution at the end of May.

In full swing – March Updates

The Ballard Sprouts Project is in the middle of our busiest time. Volunteers are transplanting seedlings into 4″ pots, 5 seedlings per pot. This is a tremendous task as we are aiming at 20,000 plants or 4,000 pots. These plants will be distributed in early April, for free, to Seattle gardeners who will grow them to maturity then harvest and donate the food to the Food Banks.

The success of this project depends heavily on two things. First, the commitments of the volunteers who come and do all the planting and transplanting. Second, on a resident ‘farmer’. Our ‘farmer’ keeps his eye on the weather and on the health of the plants. The transplanted pots are set outside on 2×4’s on top of saw horses. They are covered at night until the temperatures are warmer and they are covered during the day if cold temperatures persist, or if heavy rain or hail is predicted. Watching the weather and caring for the plants is the ‘art’ of the farmer.

Started on February 17th – after the snow melted!

The Ballard Sprouts project started by planting 20 trays of seeds on Feb 17th. Five days later we had sprouts. Two weeks later, on March 3rd, the seedlings were big enough to transplant.

We will be planting more seeds, transplanting, and tending these plants until they are ready to go into the ground. They will be picked up to Seattle Giving Gardeners (gardeners who are growing food for the Food Banks) in early April & May to be planted in the, now warm, PNW soil. Our goal is 20,000 plants.

See Seattle Giving Gardners Network website: SGGN.org