Each February, community volunteers with the Ballard Sprouts refresh their seed-sowing skills and begin planting lettuces, kales, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetable varieties that grow well in Seattle. As successions of seeds are sown in the greenhouses, winter blankets of burlap and leaves are removed from Giving Gardens in the city’s P-Patches all around the city. When the weather is warm enough, the first greenhouse vegetable seedlings are distributed. Starts continue to leave the greenhouse through late May, and are distributed to waiting Giving Gardens across Seattle. The seedlings help extend the growing season and increase harvests, allowing more produce to be donated to food banks, shelters, and meal programs. Vegetable varieties are tailored to food bank requests and ensure that different cultural communities receive familiar and favorite foods. In 2021 the Ballard Sprouts volunteers grew 22,000 early vegetable starts. Another dedicated group grew more starts for late-fall planting; these will be the first of the vegetables to be harvested in early spring.
We are always looking for volunteers and welcome volunteers at all levels – from workers in the greenhouses to planners to distribution experts ! To volunteer, please go to the CONTACT US page of this website and let us know of your interest, or contact us through the City of Seattle’s list-serve.