The Ballard Sprouts Greenhouse project is part of the Seattle Giving Garden Network. In January 2018 the project linked up with Sustainable Ballard as a way of letting the community know what is going on and how people can contribute. The project is winding down for the year and will commence again in January 2019. Volunteer opportunities will be available at that time.
In the greenhouse we start the plants from seed and donate the seedlings to the Seattle Giving Gardeners who grow, tend, and harvest the food then donate it to the Food Banks.
This year we started seed planting in mid-February. By mid-March we were transplanting the seedlings, five per pot. Then we fertilize and harden off the plants. By early April we had Pac Choi, kale, collards, chard and lettuce ready. Between April 6th and 8th the Giving Gardeners came by and picked up a total of 9000 plants.
We made a 2nd distribution of over 4500 of these greens in early May. Meanwhile we planted, transplanted and cared for over 1500 tomato plants. As the weather warmed up the tomatoes were hardened off and ready for pickup starting May 18. Over 900 plants were picked up with another 450 distributed directly to giving gardens or Food Banks.
Here is a comment from one of our volunteers who delivered plants, including some feedback she received:
“I took the giving garden their tomato starts yesterday afternoon — 108 plants for their very large beds — of the rainbow blends, cherry tomatoes, and San Marzano Romas: they were SO excited, and planting them into the beds tomorrow after work! I took a couple more carloads of the San Marzanos, bush beefsteak, cherry tomatoes, and pots of eggplant, and spicy peppers (as I have always done) to South Park Regina House food bank — where we gave away the first of them today. The little old ladies were already discussing how they planned to get their 2 pots ready to transplant and Saturday clients had dropped by to ask when and if there would be sprouts this year. One little old woman (a refugee from the cold war communist Russia regime) will not talk with others in line: but sidles over to me when the others have left to look over the remaining plants and to pick out a few. The children are curious and excited; their school teachers often have done a module on growing plants so they’re feeling confident about the adventure. And one of the gentlemen informed me that he saved his seeds from the tomatoes that grew from the heirloom starts we gave him LAST year and has sprouts that he is sharing with his neighbors. This story touches my heart in part because it is so important to each of us as members of the community to be able to give something back! (He decided to take pepper plants this year, which are also heirlooms ….. )
We also donated eleven flats of the greens and three flats of the San Marzano Roma tomatoes directly to the Ballard Food Bank. Everyone has commented on how absolutely lovely the starts are.”