The Gallucci Learning Garden, the swath of bright veggies, annuals and neat straw mulch perched on the slope at South 14th and G streets in downtown Tacoma, is offering a free, public series of gardening how-to workshops on Wednesday evenings beginning today. Ranging from gardening basics to urban chickens, the workshops are aimed at hands-on learning and community building.
Supported by both the nonprofit Guadalupe Land Trust, which manages several Hilltop community gardens, and the Pierce Conservation District, the Gallucci garden was begun in late 2010, and has since transformed an empty lot into a fruitful oasis with the help of many community volunteers. With winding paths, straw mulch and edibles tucked into every corner (including the parking strips), the garden serves both as a community space and as a model of how anyone can grow their own food.
After a trial run of workshops last year, the garden is hosting a nine-week series of gardening workshops, free and open to the public, beginning tonight. Every Wednesday from 5-7 p.m., experts will explain topics such as garden planning and soil nutrition, urban chickens, bees, rain gardens, organic gardening and nonedible annuals in a practical, hands-on way.
“We’re hoping to give the Pierce County community the opportunity to learn about gardening in a hands-on environment,” says Micaela Cooley, a program director at Pierce Conservation District. “We also want to support the neighborhood – the G Street community has done wonderful things for the garden.”
The garden also aims at connecting the kids living in the next-door Mercy Housing apartments with growing healthful food and having fun outside. Beginning in April the garden will offer one-hour after-school classes in gardening for kids.
“We want to educate, but also give them ownership of the space,” says Cooley. “They’ll learn how to cook and eat healthy food, and just have fun in the dirt.”
Volunteers and stewards are currently being sought for the after-school program. For volunteers, no garden experience is required, just a willingness to learn and an enthusiasm for working with kids on Monday and Friday afternoons. Stewards will work with the general public at scheduled work parties and assist in the design and creation of the space as a demonstration garden.
Interested volunteers can attend a free orientation session today at 5 p.m. at the garden.Rosemary Ponnekanti: 253-597-8568