Starting Off Strong in 2021!
Here at Stone Soup Gardens, we’ve had a busy and very exciting start to this new year. With many new residential and community projects on the horizon, our team has dove into educational opportunities to better serve our community.
Leading the Year with Learning RainWise
Although Jake got to facilitate the inaugural Rainwise Academy last year, 2020 was dry for rain gardens at Stone Soup. So we were grateful to kick off 2021 with an edible rain garden installation! We had a wonderful opportunity for the whole team to share knowledge on the installation of rain gardens on a residential site. Guided by RainWise contractor resources, we went over the why and the how of rain garden construction including plumbing material standards, how to plan a rain garden’s depth and size, how to choose plants, and how to create the best drainage and overflow systems. It was a fun collaborative session co-facilitated by our three experienced installers. This impromptu training has ensured that every single one of our team members has intricate knowledge of the design and installation process for RainWise rain gardens.
Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop
We love getting to care for trees, and we love to further our knowledge of how to do so. As part of our team’s monthly education, we had the awesome opportunity to chat with Barb Burrill, an active orchardist involved in the Tilth Alliance, the Seattle Tree Fruit Society, and other groups that look after our city’s plentiful fruit trees. We had an extensive conversation about specific care regimens for all different kinds of fruits, what time of year is best for different kinds of maintenance, and how best to talk to owners of fruit trees about taking care of them. Some of our team has continued to engage and collaborate with Barb and the Tilth Alliance through consistent pruning sessions.
Water Brings Life
We are excited to share our ongoing collaboration with Highline United Methodist Church in Burien. In 2018, we began work with Highline UMC to design the Hazel Valley Community Garden, which aims to improve stormwater mitigation, increase food access, bring neighbors together, and build healthy soil. In 2019, we returned to collaborate with the Nature Stewards to design and install two edible roadside rain gardens, with Tilth Alliance Soil and Water Stewards to build 30 raised vegetable beds in the community garden, and with King Conservation District to fill those raised beds with Hugelkultur fill. You can learn about our involvement at Hazel Valley Community Farm on our portfolio, as well as in KCD’s blog.
This year, we are returning to this site to dive into the next phase of their community installation, a rain-harvesting irrigation system! We will be installing a 6,000 gallon system that will help irrigate the community farm and the growing food forest.
See below for photos of our past installation work at this site, or see our portfolio for more.
ALLEYCAT ACRES CELEBRATES COMMUNITY FARM AT FALL FESTIVAL
by Carolyn Bick
October 18, 20218
Link to article
Beneath a tent along the little lane at the back of South Estelle Street, children painted freshly picked pumpkins, as others eagerly fed and petted chickens in a mobile coop a few feet away. Though neither the coop nor the tent were permanent, greenery surrounding the was: the lane is the site of Wetmore Community Farm, and Saturday saw the farm’s official grand opening.
Run by Alleycat Acres, the free community farm has been open since 2015, but, as Farm Coordinator and Program Director Kyla Rudnick explained, this year marked the end of any major projects on or clearing of the land.
The City of Seattle grant-funded farm originally opened, because a family who lived next door was tired of seeing the derelict land and got in contact with the organization.
“We started holding community meetings in the neighborhood to see if people were interested in a community garden, and what they wanted to do with the space and went from there,” Rudnick said. “We’ve been holding events here for about three years. … Now, we just have some more planting to do, and start maintaining the site.”
The farm is run in partnership with the Rainier Valley Food Bank, Senior Housing Assistance Group, the Downtown Emergency Service Center, and Stone Soup Gardens. In the years to come, Rudnick said they hope to get more of the community itself involved. Having the space serve as a community garden is important, she said, because there isn’t any green space like it in the immediate area. While that isn’t necessarily a problem for younger people, it can be a problem for seniors.
“We have a lot of senior citizens who live in the neighborhood, so having that green space where they can walk is really important,” Rudnick said. “Of course, all the food that we grow here is going directly to neighbors. … There are grocery stores around here, but having free, fresh produce is, of course, a boon to any neighborhood, and especially here, where we have such a dense neighborhood.”
Garden neighbor Plekeo Douangdara said she and her husband enjoy gardening, and that she walks around the community garden “all the time.” She’s been gardening for 30 years, she said, and is excited to contribute seeds and plants to the space.
“I have a lot of seeds, like Asian corn, Asian pumpkin, eggplants,” Douangdara said. “She said, ‘Okay, you can plant!’ … Very cool. Before, nobody wanted to go in here … but this year and last year is better.”
Food Brings a Sense of Community
The Nature Conservancy recently did a piece on our design work at Paradise Parking Plots at Kent Hillside Church in Kent, WA. We couldn't be happier! It is such an amazing project, and so many amazing people are involved in making it happen.
"The day to day uncertainty of being a refugee and immigrant can feel more manageable through the visceral feeling of smelling and tasting familiar food. By creating this community garden, Hillside Church and World Relief Seattle are giving refugees and immigrants a renewed sense of belonging."
Read all about it here:
To find out more about Paradise Parking Plots, follow their Facebook Page:
Our own Stone Soup Crew went to help with the depave project - check out our recap of the events of the day here: www.stonesoupgardens.com/blog/depave-party
Let's go on a Hugel Hunt!
KCD has prepared a self-guided tour map of Hügelkultur sites across King County, and one of our Stone Soup client gardens is on the map! Now the Hugel-curious can see different forms of Hugelkultur (from urban to rural, from in-ground to raised containers). Visit 6 of the 10 sites and receive a Hugelkultur t-shirt (while supplies last).
Click here for the map!
The Seattle Tilth Chicken Coop Tour is one of our favorite events of the year. It is an excellent time to let our little ladies shine in their awesome coop, meet lots of new friends, neighbors, and just to have a great time talking about all of the wonderful changes happening at Stone Soup Gardens. Are you coming?
Seattle Tilth Chicken Coop and Urban Farm Tour
Saturday, July 16th, 10 am - 4 pm
Several neighborhoods across Seattle
Check out our awesome video from last year's coop tour!
To give a bit shade to the front porch, we added a cute little arbor and put in some evergreen huckleberry, ceanothus, and a daphne to create a layered color palette that will compliment the home. Stay tuned to watch how this little garden grows!
We are embracing the digital age here at Stone Soup Gardens with our mighty new Instagram Account. Come on over and follow us and see what we are up to. Photos from life, love, landscaping, hardscaping, permaculture, events, and more!
Hey! Jake Harris of Stone Soup Gardens was featured on the Seattle Channel! Watch the video to find out more about what the Tilth Edible Plant Sales have to offer, including classes, native plants, organic vegetable starts, and camaraderie with your gardening community! Learn how easy it is to grow your own garden, and how effective it can be in creating a collective impact on our lovely Puget Sound. One raingarden, one vegetable garden, and one cistern at a time!
The next Tilth Plant Sale is in May, you can find out more on our Education Page, or by visiting the Seattle Tilth Website.
CHEW ON THIS: Growing Food in a Growing Region
Join us in Pioneer Square for a conversation with a family farmer, an agrihood manager and an edible yard landscaper about growing food, preserving land in small spaces and building community in our fast growing region.
Friday, March 18, 5 --7 PM, at Gridiron
510 Occidental Ave South, First Floor, Seattle (map)
5 PM--Hors d'oeuvres & refreshments served
5:30 PM--Program begins
Maria Anderson, Farm Manager Elk Run Farm in Maple Valley. Elk Run Farm is situated in the middle of a development, this agrihood grows produce for the food banks of South King County.
Branden Born, Associate Professor in Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington. Born studies how policy decisions and land use effect food systems in our region.
Jake Harris, Founder and President of Stone Soup Gardens in Seattle. Stone Soup Garden is an edible landscaping company specializing in beautiful sustainable gardens, connecting folks to their environment and their food.
Tristan Klesick, Founder and President of Klesick Family Farm in Stanwood. Klesick Family Farm is committed to growing and delivering good food to the families they serve, providing good value to the farmers they support, and sharing good news about the benefits of organic farming with the community.
Moderated by Lindsay Fromme Hanna, Forterra’s Policy Program Manager.
Before and After
Sometimes it is nice to look back through the year and see how our projects have progressed, not to mention reflecting on all of the positive changes we've made for people in our community, as well as for our regional environment. Several of these projects include raingardens, which help alleviate the water flowing into the sewer, and filter the water before it flows to the sound. They also include permeable surfaces which allow for filtration and provide a comfortable surface to live on during our wet winters.
This is how Stone Soup Gardens rolls - check out our blog for current, upcoming, and past projects, events, and other super cool stuff worth mentioning.