Ready for a giving garden? Free plants await via Heron’s Nest Sprouts

If you enjoy growing vegetables – and helping others – here’s a way to do both this spring. It’s a new effort called Heron’s Nest Sprouts, and it’s offering free plant starts later this month for would-be giving gardeners. Here’s how organizers explain what’s planned – and what’s been happening to prepare for it:

Feeding hungry people in Seattle involves a complex patchwork of programs and funding, but part of the work is simply growing vegetables! Seattle is dotted with “Giving Gardens,” many situated at our community P-Patch Gardens–including Delridge, High Point, Solstice, and others in West Seattle–and they are an important piece of this puzzle, growing fresh produce for those in need. Gardens in the Seattle Giving Gardens Network pledge their harvest for donation to community food programs. Last year, the growers generated 44,400 pounds of produce.

For 15 years, Ballard Sprouts volunteers have supported these gardeners, growing over 20,000 vegetable starts each spring and donating them to the Giving Gardeners. This year, a new sister project has emerged to supplement their efforts: Heron’s Nest Sprouts.

On Saturday, April 15 from 10 am to 4 pm, about a thousand plants will be available to pick up for the first time at Heron’s Nest, where 12 enthusiastic volunteers have been quietly growing seeds in the greenhouse since February. Pots of lettuce, chard, pac choy, mustard greens and kale will be available. Any gardeners interested in growing to donate to their community can come to get as many free starts as you need. Seattle Giving Garden Network will happily get you started in growing to give.

An added bonus to this happy occasion is the first Art Market of the year at Heron’s Nest that same day, giving space to Indigenous and other artists to display and sell their work. The public is invited to come visit Heron’s Nest, browse the art, and learn more about the Giving Garden program.

Heron’s Nest Sprouts hopes to continue next year and expand its production, because after next season, the Sprouts program will lose their Ballard location. The goal is to develop several new sites similar to Heron’s Nest Sprouts to continue the work going forward. Anyone with an interest in starting a Giving Garden, volunteering with Heron’s Nest, or who knows of an available greenhouse location elsewhere in the city should email the Seattle Giving Garden Network at

Heron’s Nest is located at 4818 15th SW [map]. Turn west onto Puget Way from West Marginal Way, south of the Duwamish Longhouse, and follow a short winding road to the entrance. The property is being restored by a passionate group of volunteers with the mission of community outdoor education. Besides the greenhouse, there are raised beds, a chicken run, the forested Duwamish Greenbelt, and space for community events such as the art market, outdoor movies, skill workshops, a tool library, and sustainable and traditional indigenous farming practices. The Heron’s Nest site is available by reservation for workshop space, classes, all-ages activities, cultural education, gatherings, meetings, music, art, and more. Check the Heron’s Nest events page for their updated calendar.

Heron’s Nest is accepting online donations to further their efforts, and volunteer help is appreciated as work continues at the site. Email if you would like to volunteer or rent the space.

2 Replies to "Ready for a giving garden? Free plants await via Heron's Nest Sprouts"

  • Gema April 10, 2023 (1:45 am)

    Thank you WSB for featuring this program. 

  • Theresa Porterfield April 10, 2023 (7:37 pm)

    What a wonderful program. Fun and creative. And you get edibles!

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