The beautification of 14th Avenue Northwest using city-donated planters, which were installed last spring, is continuing to build steam with an upcoming cleanup events and recent commitments from nearby schools.

Older students from St. Alphonsus School are adopting the intersection of Northwest 58th Street and 14th Avenue Northwest. Younger students from the school will be installing their artwork in the planters using fixtures donated from the RE Store. And, St. Alphonsus fourth graders, who started a school garden last year, will be growing starts for the planters.

In addition, India Carlson, the horticulture teacher at Ballard High School, has committed her students to growing replacement and enhancement plants for the project and to adopt a number of the planters.

Update on 14th Ave. Planter Project
Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Volunteers install planters along 14th Avenue Northwest in April. The project is continuing with an upcoming cleanup event and involvement from Ballard High School and St. Alphonsus.

The Woodland Park Zoo is gearing up for its Fall Fecal Fest, the time of year when local gardeners and Zoo Doo loyalists scramble to purchase the coveted Zoo Doo or Bedspread.

According to the zoo, Zoo Doo is the most exotic and highly prized compost in the Pacific Northwest, composed of exotic species feces contributed by the its nonprimate herbivores. Zoo Doo is perfect for vegetables and annuals, according to a Woodland Park Zoo press release.

Bedspread, the zoo’s premium composted mulch, is like Zoo Doo but with higher amounts of wood chips and sawdust. It’s the perfect mulch for perennial beds and woody landscapes such as native gardens, rose beds, shrubs, tree rings or pathways, according to the press release.

Gardeners looking for a chance to purchase Zoo Doo or Bedspread can send in a postcard from Sept. 1 through Sept. 19.

Applicants can enter both the Zoo Doo and Bedspread drawings, but separate postcards are required. Postcards for Zoo Doo should be marked “Zoo Doo” and Bedspread postcards should be marked “B.S.”

Entry cards will be selected randomly for as many entrants possible. Only the winners will be contacted.

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Photo credit: 
Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Applications for Zoo Doo and Bedspread from the Woodland Park Zoo's Fall Fecal Fest will be accepted from Sept. 1 through Sept. 19.

For neighborhood residents ready for a break from the crowded, noisy summer street festival scene, the Ballard Art in the Garden Festival is here to help.

The annual festival at the Ballard P-Patch returns for its 10th year Aug. 21. Event Chair Kelly Ryan said he credits Art in the Garden's longevity to the venue.

"The whole concept of music and food and art in a garden is so relaxing," Ryan said. "There's something pretty special about walking around and smelling that food and hearing that music."

The nature of gardening itself has also helped keep the festival going for a decade, he said.

"Gardening is a thing that once you get it in your system, it doesn't go away," Ryan said. "It's a lifestyle."

Ryan, who is also a gardener at the Ballard P-Patch, said the festival is a way for gardeners to showoff and give the community a taste of what can be done with the soil.

Now is a fitting time to do that, with long waiting lists for P-patches and parents starting to teach their children to garden again, he said.

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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Attendees enjoy art, music and food at the Ballard P-Patch during Art in the Garden 2009. The festival returns for its 10th year Aug. 21.

The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ P-Patch Community Gardening Program is welcoming suggestions from the community for possible future P-Patch sites in the Ballard area.

Residents are encouraged to submit potential sites that they feel might be a good fit here.

The Department of Neighborhoods considers a good site one that is:

  • Publicly owned (or easily leasable at low or no cost)
  • Mostly flat and sunny
  • At least 5,000 square feet

Recently, Seattle voters passed the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, which includes $2 million for new P-Patch community gardens.

The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods wants to use this money in order to serve areas that are getting denser, have relatively high percentages of under-represented populations and are currently underserved by the P-Patch Community Gardening Program, as well as areas that are specifically called for in the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, according to the a Department of Neighborhoods press release.

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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

The Ballard P-Patch on Northwest 85th Street is one of the oldest in Seattle. The city is currently taking location suggestions for a new neighborhood P-Patch.

The children of the North Seattle Boys & Girls Club got their hands dirty early June 12 planting vegetable sprouts and shoveling mulch.

The community garden they were building is part of the three-year Positive Sprouts project with the retail company Amway Global. Seven U.S. cities, including Seattle, were chosen to pilot the program intended to educate children about sustainability and healthy living.

“It’s phenomenal when kids grow their own foods," said Jessica Drench, program manager of the Green Eductation Foundation. "You might not believe it, but you see kids sprint to ripe tomato plants, to sugar snap peas, to pick off the vine. Kids are smart, they know it tastes better.”

North Seattle Boys & Girls Club Director Neil Aguiling said he hopes the hands-on learning will teach children how to grow organically and to later develop those homegrown products into healthy meals.

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Photo credit: 
Celina Kareiva

Members of the North Seattle Boys & Girls Club dig into a pile of mulch while building a vegetable garden for the club June 12. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE PHOTOS.

The goat first showed signs that she was going into labor at 10:30 p.m. She expelled a certain kind of discharge, similar to when a woman’s water breaks. She nickered during contractions. And of the estimated 145 to 155 days of a goat’s gestation period, this was day 148.

All of this meant one thing to Ingela Wanerstrand: She wasn’t sleeping inside that night.

Wanerstrand dragged a sleeping bag into her Ballard backyard, where pregnant Noni lives in a custom-built barn. She curled onto a pad on top of the hay, shutting the door between the barn and the milking shed to allow Noni some privacy.

“She’s kind of a shy goat,” Wanerstrand said. “I thought, ‘I’ll just let her do it herself, and if she needs me, I’m nearby.’”

A yelp woke Wanerstrand from her makeshift bed at 3:30 a.m. Anxious, she checked on her pet. Noni had just given birth to two females.

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Photo credit: 
Photo by Rachel Solomon.

One of Ingela Wanerstrand's baby goats explores the surroundings inside its barn in Wanerstrand's Ballard backyard. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE PHOTOS.

Garden trellises, 1-2-3 Veggies, & Garden Helpers still open

Get gardening in West Seattle with one of these engaging classes taught by garden educators from Seattle Tilth in conjunction with Community Harvest of SW Seattle.

Vertical Gardening (St. James Annex) May 16, 10-noon. Learn to build cool garden trellises is this fun class.

1-2-3 Grow a Garden (St. James Annex) May 16, 1-2 p.m. Get a one-hour introduction to growing veggies in your garden.

Garden Helpers (St. James Annex) May 20-Jun 13. A dynamic training program for people who want to help others in their community grow gardens.

See the full list of upcoming classes in West Seattle and in other neighborhoods:


Don't miss your chance to learn more about having a beautiful trellis this year or the optimum way to get veggies going in your garden or how to help others manage their garden this year at Seattle Tilth classes.

Seattle Tilth is a nationally recognized non-profit educational organization dedicated to inspiring and educating people to garden organically and conserve natural resources. They have announced a series of classes to be offered beginning in April.

Permaculture Design Course with Toby Hemenway
One weekend each month for six months: May 8-9, June 12-13, July 10-11, August 7-8, September 11-12, and October 9-10; 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. each day
South Seattle Community College, West Seattle Campus, 6000 16th Ave. SW., Seattle, WA 98106


Crews of neighborhood volunteers braved the rain April 17 to install six of the eventual 27 city-donated planters in the median ends at the intersection of 14th Avenue Northwest and Northwest 60th Street as part of the East Ballard Community Association's Adopt-A-Street Cleanup.

The planters, three on each median end, were set in new gravel and filled with soil donated by Cedar Grove and various plants. The RE-Store installed metal mounts in the pots that can be used to hang banners and other artwork.

"It's making it feel like it's all worth it," said Dawn Hemminger of the East Ballard Community Association. "It's a lot more work than we all thought."

She said it's a great feeling to see her neighbors come out and work together, which is what projects like this are all about.

Volunteers working on the planters said they will beautify 14th Avenue, which has always been a bit of an eyesore. The planters will help with safety by preventing cars from parking too close to the median ends, improving visibility for traffic and pedestrians, volunteers said.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Neighborhood volunteers work April 17 on three of the 27 planters that will be installed on the median ends along 14th Avenue Northwest.

The East Ballard Community Association is starting to install large planters on the medians along 14th Avenue Northwest this week. But, Ballard resident Vivian Brady has been doing her part to beautify the street for the better part of the past eight years.

Brady started tending a small garden on the median end outside her apartment near the intersection of 14th Avenue and Northwest 62nd Street shortly after moving there because she didn't have a yard and it was open space.

"I'm a farmer from Montana," she said. "I have to dig in the dirt someplace."

Brady is modest about her small garden, and her daughter Lucy Brady jokes that it won't win any gardening awards because they can't tell the difference between the flowers and the weeds.

But, like the much larger East Ballard planter project, the point isn't necessarily the garden itself, it's the community it builds and improves.

Vivian said there are often car accidents on 14th Avenue, and she thought people might be more careful if they saw someone out there working.

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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Vivian Brady, with her daughter Lucy, has been tending a modest garden in the median of 14th Avenue Northwest to improve her street in a small way.

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