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Planting ideas for restorative gardens

Post by Kathleen Merryman / The News Tribune on Oct. 19, 2009 at 3:03 pm with 2 Comments »
October 19, 2009 3:03 pm

South Tacoma gardeners have spent the summer doing the practically impossible. In half a year, they planned, built and planted a garden to feed the community.

Now they are planning gardens that will feed the spirit of the community.

They have invited Daniel Winterbottom to talk about Restorative Community Gardens Saturday,  from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at  Manitou Community Center, 4806 S. 66th St., Tacoma.

Winterbottom is an associate professor with the University of Washington’s Department of Landscape Architecture. He’s designed urban gardens for immigrants in New York City and slum dwellers in Guatemala.

He’ll discuss the ways in which restorative gardens help people with  long-term illenesses or physical and mental disabilities and veterans with post traumatic stress disorder. Gardening, creating a lovely, useful spot, improves  attitudes, motor skills, reduces stress, boosts energy and inspires self-confidence.

Saturday’s meeting, which is free, will be a pot-luck, and all are welcome. Please RSVP to Marianne Seifert at (253)798-3823 or mseifert@tpchd.org.

While you’re there, ask to see the Impossible Garden behind the center.

Last winter, Rose Perrino of Safe Streets was all over South Tacoma, trying to find the space, the water, the materials and the volunteers for a community garden. Time after time, people told her there was no way she could do it. No one would provide land, and water would be a problem. Gardens aren’t cheap, and people disagree on the virtues of Tagro. Plus, volunteers flake away.

One expert said it takes two years to advance acommunity garden from plan to plant.

Rose and her team, including Andrew Mordhorst and Frank Blair, said thanks for the encouragement, went out and got MetroParks’ permission to plant behind the old Manitou Community Center. They fast-tracked a SPLASH grant from the city, scrounged materials, built raised gardens, ordered Tagro, turned the swing set into a trellis and planted tomaties, peas, beans, basil, greens and more

They invited kids and seniors, anyone at all, to tend the veggies, and take what they needed. They shared with the food banks and made special runs to people who did not  have enough food.

All in under nine months.

Now,  because they know it can be  done, they are taking their plans for community gardening to the next step.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. Sounds great. When did Tagro become recommended for vegetable gardens?

  2. Kathleen Merryman says:

    Hi, Qwerty,
    Here’s the link to the Tagro site.


    Many veggie gardeners have researched it and are comfortable using it. The lovely community garden behind Salishan was one of them.

    My husband and I use it in our raised bed gardens and are very comfortable with it. The Tagro guys are very good about taking time to talk it over with gardeners.

    Others, including the organic Mother Earth Farm, don’t use it.

    Kits Merryman

    The Tagro guys are al

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