Seattle Central culinary student launches gardening program in the middle of Pike/Pine

IMG_0951Trey Philpot is wearing overalls. He is also merging the gap between biology and culinary students and inviting anybody else who wants to learn about urban gardening to join him at the Seattle Central’s Plant Sciences Lab on Boylston Ave.

Philpot, who grew up gardening in his hometown of Greenville, Alabama, began culinary school at Seattle Central in January. Shortly after starting, he launched Green Thumbs Up as a way to bridge the gap between growing food and cooking it.

“I found out that a lot of culinary students have no gardening experience at all,” Philpot said. “They’re from the city, from a place where that wasn’t something that they did.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Council wants to help Green Your Space

A Seattle Seed Company workshop (Image: Seattle Seed Company)

A Seattle Seed Company workshop (Image: Seattle Seed Company)

One of the ongoing missions of the Capitol Hill Community Council is helping the area foster and manage its growth in the best possible way for the people who live and love the neighborhood.

In March, the council’s monthly gathering will be dedicated to another type of growth — flowers, plants, and gardens for your space “whether your home on 22nd or your studio apartment on Pine.”

Green Your Space will be held at the Capitol Hill Tool Library on Crawford Place the morning of Saturday, March 18th. You can RSVP here.

The event will bloom forth with help from the Seattle Seed Company. CHS wrote here about Sander Kallshian’s shop dedicated to gardening at a smaller, more micro level that moved onto 12th Ave below, yes, microapartments earlier this year.

Capitol Hill Community Council: Green Your Space

Seattle Seed Company finds new space to grow on 12th Ave

Sander Kallshian became interested in gardening and the environment as a kid.

His family had a garden, and he started an environmentalist club with a neighborhood friend. With some humidifiers and forest wallpaper, he transformed his room into a rainforest.

“I was kind of the environmentalist of the family,” Kallshian told CHS.

That interest has now grown into an online and in store wholesale and retail seed and garden business that recently relocated to the retail space below a new microhousing development at 12th and Yesler. Continue reading

City People’s has plan to stay in Madison Valley through 2017

(Image: City People's)

(Image: City People’s)

For Central Seattleites who buy their season’s greetings greenery at Madison Valley’s City People’s, a visit for the holidays won’t be quite as bittersweet with news the garden store is working on a lease that will keep the much loved retailer in its longtime home for another year.

Here’s the announcement made to customers this weekend:

We wanted to let you know that future City People’s Garden Store owners, Alison Greene and Jose Gonzales, are in negotiations for an 11-month lease to remain at our current location through 2017. The redevelopment project at the site has been delayed, providing this opportunity. The agreement is in the works with the property owners and developers, and they are hopeful this will go through. Their goal is for the store to reopen in February, with many of its current employees, business as usual — as they continue their effort in finding a more permanent site. We will keep you posted and appreciate your continued love and support! Stay tuned!

The store’s management says the plan would be for City People’s to finish up the holiday season, close for January, and then reopen in the new year for another 11 months in Madison Valley.

City People’s had been heading into what was expected to be its final holiday in Madison Valley doing the kinds of things it has done to help connect Seattle to its dirt since its 1979 founding on Capitol Hill at 19th and Republican. In late October, plans for the four-story PCC-centered, mixed-use development lined up for the property got kicked back in the design review process helping to give the retailer a longer lease on life along E Madison.

In March, CHS broke the news on the plans for the City People’s ownership to sell the land to developer The Velmeir Companies, a Michigan-based “full service commercial retail development company.” This fall, Dianne Casper, one of the longtime owners of City People’s and its unusually large tract of E Madison land, said the company held out for the right partner despite interest from developers of luxury condos and pharmacy chains. “This time we are leaving a legacy to be proud of,” she said.

CHS Pics | Turning apples into cider, City People’s enjoying one last fall in Madison Valley

As neighbors await the next round of design review for the four-story PCC mixed-use development destined to replace it, City People’s is heading into its final fall season in Madison Valley doing the kinds of things it has done to help connect Seattle to its dirt since its 1979 founding on Capitol Hill at 19th and Republican.

Sunday, CHS stopped by an old-fashioned cider pressing with a new-timey twist — the apples being squeezed were provided by City Fruit, the urban fruit gleaning community dedicated to putting the bounty of Seattle’s edible forests to good use. Visitors to City People’s got to help with the press and walked away with $5 growlers of fresh city apple cider. Continue reading

With small space, Niche Outside will share garden inspiration inside Pike/Pine’s Chophouse Row

Hanging planters like these could be among the offerings when Niche Outside opens this fall (Image: Niche Outside via Instagram)

Hanging planters like these could be among the offerings when Niche Outside opens this fall (Image: Niche Outside via Instagram)

The food and shopping component of Chophouse Row, the Melrose Market cousin  taking shape on 11th Ave just off E Pike, will be known for its small parts combing together for a greater whole. One shopping experience planned to be niched into the Row’s retail plaza and pedestrian alley connecting through the block between 11th and 12th is already beginning to bloom.

“It’s going to be a garden inspired little boutique,” Nisha Kelen tells CHS. “It’s not a nursery.”

nicheNiche Outside is the first non-food and drink tenant to be announced for Liz Dunn’s Chophouse Row project, a mixed-use development that will preserve and transform the old auto row garage where Chophouse Studio once lived into part of a new dining and shopping complex beneath new office space above. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Volunteers build community garden for Capitol Hill seniors

IMG_8044IMG_8075The Just Garden project has excellent timing. On a gorgeous day sandwiched between a few weeks of rain and another bout of gray approaching, the Seattle Tilth-powered group set about work Thursday outside Capitol Hill’s Reunion House, a low-income senior housing community on 10th Ave E just off Broadway.

Volunteers created a set of garden boxes and started the process of setting the planting cycle in motion.

Organizers say the Reunion House garden will yield $250 of fresh produce for the senior residents to enjoy on a weekly basis.

Seattle Tilth also reminds the rest of us that it’s time to get to work in whatever patch of land we might have access to — Compost Days should help make your garden a productive one:

To support these community gardens and thank residents for diverting 350,000 tons of food scraps, yard debris and food soiled paper by composting at curbside, Seattle Public Utilities, King County, Cedar Grove and Waste Management are teaming on Compost Days. Starting on March 15 – April 15, residents can get deep discounts on compost. And this year, Compost Days will host an inaugural Big Garden Give, a community compost drive to provide FREE compost to more than 150 gardens that feed the hungry.

You can learn more at

CHS Pics | E Madison performance a start to community garden outside Capitol Hill 7-11?

IMG_7131Before Friday’s snowy morning, there was another peculiar sight along E Madison.

Thursday night, a group — who tells CHS they plan to turn the parking strip adjacent the E Madison 7-11 into a community garden — gathered with a jury-rigged speaker and lighting set-up to dance and turn the soil in one of the more unique performances set to Chopin’s Nocturnes you might ever witness.

CHS stopped by to see the show. We’ll be checking in on the garden project as it progresses and look forward to Chopin up some freshly grown E Madison vegetables. Happy Solstice!

You’ll definitely dig what’s happening in that area shortly. CHS reported earlier this year on a project to dig up and swap out the massive fuel tanks under the 7-11 property. We’re told that project is slated to begin next month.




The future of rooftop agriculture above Capitol Hill?

Microsoft PowerPoint - ScottT.pptIf you’re a fan of urban agriculture, urban design, or just enjoy a bit of urban futurism, check out these decidedly fictitious plans for a roof top farm in Capitol Hill.

Architects at Weber Thompson dreamed up the commercial sized hydroponic farm as a submission to the Seattle Architecture Foundation’s 16th Annual Exhibit, WORLD CITY. The prototype farm is designed to sit on top of the future Pike Mortorworks building, also designed by Weber Thompson.

Here’s what Weber Thompson has to say about their design:

In our exploratory design models, the Pike Motorworks building, which contains retail and residential space, is given an unexpected twist in which the rooftop becomes a hydroponic commercial urban farm installation. Instead of consuming, the building actually ends up contributing, in the form of fresh produce for the occupants, the neighbors, and the city. As our urban centers grow, so too will our need for access to fresh food, which is why we believe that urban agriculture is a viable solution for creating vibrant, self-sustaining cities that fit within and support their global community.

Microsoft PowerPoint - ScottT.pptEven without an urban farm, Pike Motorworks is one of the most ambitious projects planned in Pike/Pine and just got a re-start after developers at the Wolff Company put the project on hold earlier this year. The massive seven-story, 260-unit mixed-use apartment project at Harvard and Pike will transform a former BMW dealership into housing, restaurants and shops.

A representative from Wolff confirmed the farm designs are not part of the actual building plans. However, the real plans do call for rooftop gardens. We’re thinking the more ambitious Weber Thompson plans might be worthy of consideration.

You can learn more about the prototype by attending the SAF’s annual exhibit on Sept. 19th.

National community gardening conference — including a Capitol Hill tour — comes to Seattle

Seattle Central rooftop flower - (SGS)

A hidden Capitol Hill garden on Seattle Central’s rooftop — not on the tour! (SGS)

The annual meeting of the American Community Gardening Association comes to Seattle this August and at least one component will be of interest to Capitol Hill residents with hardcore green thumbs.

Running from August 8 to 11, the conference hosted at the University of Washington will cover workshops from environmental justice to city livestock. A keynote speaker will open the event on Friday followed with a lunch, as well as workshops. This will run you $75, – a good chunk of gardening supplies – but all tours cost $40 if you’re looking to save some cash – also, include lunch and transportation. Most will be on Saturday.

The tours will take you from “Historic Farm and Innovative Spaces” to peddling along on a bicycle. One tour will take you on a scavenger hunt for plants winding through Capitol Hill to downtown:

Walking Scavenger Hunt

This interactive tour will lead participants on a journey through Seattle’s urban community gardens to the iconic Pike Place Market.

We will provide clues for a scavenger hunt that will help you to learn more about amazing community gardening connections to the larger social and physical landscape.

This tour will be conducted on foot and public transportation, so please keep that in mind when signing up.

Tour limited to 20 people.

Bus from University of Washington to Capitol Hill neighborhood
Thomas Street Gardens (1010 E Thomas)
Broadway Hill Townships Federal Ave. E & E Republican
Howell Collective (1514 E Howell St)
Unpaving Paradise (200 Summit Ave. E)
Cascade (310 Minor Ave. N)
Belltown and Growing Vine (Elliott Ave. and Vine St.)
Pike Place Market (1st Ave. & Pike St.)
Bus back to University District

Registration can be completed online for attendees. Part of a City of Seattle release outlines the three day conference of plant lovers:

• Friday – Keynote speaker, lunch, and workshops from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. for $75
• Friday night – Gala Dinner and Silent Auction for $85
• Saturday – Workshops from 8 a.m. to 12 noon for $40
• Saturday and Sunday – Workshops, tours, and closing panel from 8 a.m. – 12 noon for $80.
Workshops are conducted by experts in urban agriculture, community gardening, and associated topics. Topic sessions include:
• Horticulture, permaculture, and city livestock
• Garden/farm to table to compost to garden/farm
• Health, prevention and therapy
• Cultural, social, and environmental justice
To learn more about each day’s activities, view the conference schedule and register here for the a la carte sessions. The conference will be held at University of Washington’s Gould Hall (3949 15th Ave NE).
The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch Community Gardening Program is a host of the ACGA Conference. For more information on the workshops and tours, contact Sandy Pernitz at