Soil Health and Compost Program
The Soil Health Education Center (SHEC) is a community education project that will provide Picardo gardeners, neighbors, and fellow p-patch folks city-wide with helpful information regarding soil health, composting water conservation, and organic gardening practices. We’ll create a space whereas to host frequent workshops and demonstrative opportunities in an environment that welcomes people of all identities, backgrounds, and means of participation.
Picardo gardeners can earn 1 hr of volunteer service toward their annual hours by participating in a workshop. Workshops are more educational than labor intensive! We welcome people of all ages and abilities to learn about how each individual can contribute to soil health in our garden and beyond.
The SHEC will be among the Giving Garden beds in the south edge of the garden. This is an area where the public walks through, where our greater community can learn about what we do in Picardo and specifically about best practices for creating healthy soil. There will be a peg board for posting info, a pamphlet rack where people can collect info, and a whiteboard for visual aid during workshops. We’ll have a table/chopping block with storage beneath for tools and log books. There’s also a demonstration compost bin where workshop participants will get hands-on experience and we’ll do experimentation with hot compost. With time we’ll build a worm bin/bench and we’ll create a trellis to cover the roof seasonally.
Another priority of the SHEC is maintaining resources in the garden. We can recycle plant material on site in order to save time, effort, fuel and to maintain our soil.
In the past we have hauled bags of debris from the garden in our vehicles to our yard waste bins, where big trucks use more fuel to haul it to Marysville to be composted, where it gets mixed in with a bunch of stuff that should either be in the recycling stream or a landfill (lots of plastic) and then we buy it back packaged in plastic bags.
We can make a much more efficient and hyperlocal system that would keep our natural resources in place, decrease our dependence on fuel, and minimize the presence of plastic at Picardo. The SHEC will be the place to learn about alternative systems and create useful compost for our gardens.
As the original P-Patch, we have a unique opportunity to maintain and build healthy soil, keep local resources in place, and foster a community of earth-conscious humans in an urban environment. We can create awesome biological diversity with little effort. The people, the environment, the resources are in place! Let's cultivate more diversity and the best soil and produce possible!
The Soil Health Education Center will be a positive influence on our community’s culture by promoting the best practices of organic urban gardening. Because our soil was once a hillside of glacial till because it was a swamp because it was a farm because it is still connected to the Thornton Creek Watershed and now that it’s a site of urban agriculture, we should be loyal to our soil!
If you’d like to be involved in the building of the SHEC, if you have a skill you’d like to teach, or if you have follow-up questions about the project, please contact Alex Soleil DeLong at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sketch of future SHEC 2019 located in the SW area near the Giving Garden