Nearly a dozen staff members of Seattle Tilth have pushed their weathered founders forward to pose before them in Tilth's garden at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.

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Starting in the “now,” nearly a dozen staff members of Seattle Tilth have pushed their weathered founders forward to pose before them in Tilth’s garden at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford. It is a teaching garden, so most of the plants are also identified.

Steven Ruden, left and holding Seattle Tilth’s original planning document, and Carl Woestwin, center-left and smiling, are two of the three founders who met 30 years ago in the Good Shepherd Center’s warm boiler room to make plans for growing this garden. They created an organization committed to organic gardening, soil fertility, water conservation and whatever in good conscience can joyfully produce high-quality food at low cost.

The third founder, Regina Hugo, is at the center of the “then” photo leaning toward the photographer, Carl Woestwin. With her are, left to right, Larry, Lael (their last names are now forgotten or misplaced), and Lael’s boy holding the hose. Carl describes the scene as “volunteers planting Seattle Tilth’s first demonstration garden of winter vegetables in July, 1979.”

To understand and admire the influences Seattle Tilth has had in its first 30 years on the region’s gardens and gardening, readers have two excellent chances. First, visit the Web page www.seattletilth.org. Then attend this year’s Edible Plant Sale May 3 and 4 at the center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. Pick up Minnesota Midget cantaloupes, the rare watermelon Small Shining Light or Prosperosa Eggplant (an Italian heirloom). Explore the greatest array of tomato plants you are likely to find this side of Modesto and much else.

“Washington Then and Now,”by Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard, can be purchased through www.washingtonthenandnow.com ($45) or through Tartu Publications at P.O. Box 85208, Seattle, WA 98145.