This month, we’d like to introduce you to Nancy!
For the past five years, Nancy has been lovingly tending to Plot #13 at the Chuckanut Center and
now sits on the Board of Directors. Gardening has been very therapeutic for Nancy, and she
would “like to see everybody have opportunities to see and participate in gardening.” Us too!
Keep reading to learn more about Nancy!
- Any background information or bio that you’d like to share?
Born number six of eight, we moved from Edison to Stanwood when I was three. Family
outdoor activities I enjoyed included camping, swimming, canoeing and bike riding. Mom
read to us often, which got me started on books. Along with library books, for years I would
read our home copy of the Little House series back-to-back and then start over.
My first job was picking strawberries at age 12. I’ve worked at a cannery, in banking, in
childcare, at a grocery store, on an urban farm, and as administrative assistant for a
community college program director while I worked on my business administration degree.
These days I work part time helping people with their gardens and doing light landscaping.
- How long have you been gardening?
After countless very diverse mud pies, the first time I officially gardened was when I was 7.
Being offered a chance to grow a row of whatever I liked in our home garden, I chose
carrots! One way or another I’ve been a gardener ever since, using pots if I’m between plots.
Gardening has been a real lifesaver for me. Starting a garden again after some years away
was very therapeutic for me when recovering from poor health and low spirits, providing
fresh nutritious produce, along with fresh air, exercise, meditative work, and visible progress
toward goals. I’d like to see everybody have opportunities to see and participate in gardening!
- What have been some of your biggest challenges in the garden?
Slugs & other plant munchers take their toll. As much as I enjoyed and benefitted from my
times as solo gardener, I missed the company of fellow gardeners. Sometimes forgetting to
mark what I plant where adds a touch of chaos, along with the plant volunteers, the odd
cutting or sprout I found and tucked in, like ginger which sprouted and avocado pits that start
growing in the compost pile. This year I’m growing a single rescued lentil in a pot with some
chives. I found it sprouting under the strainer at home in my second sink, one that got away
when I’d rinsed lentils for soup. I gave it a chance to live and it’s doing OK, making lentil
A lot of times I don’t know what exactly is going on, and I’ve come to accept that. I’m
observing, absorbing, experimenting, learning and growing, and I’m having a pretty good
time. I appreciate the plants who provide my food, and in return I want to do what I can to
provide a good life for them. Whenever possible, I make room for at least some of them to
complete their life cycle, producing flowers and mature fruits with seeds that can sprout new
life. It’s so interesting and beautiful to experience up close.
- What do you find most rewarding about your involvement with the Chuckanut Center?
After being alone so much of my gardening life, it has been especially nice to get to know
garden neighbors and have garden buddies during the five years that I’ve had a plot in the
Community Garden. Taking part in Chuckanut Center activities and garden work parties is
fun and with teamwork we get a lot done! Also, I appreciate the resources available, and the
sun exposure is fantastic!
- What is one piece of advice you would give someone who has very little experience growing
their own food?
To new gardeners, my best tips are to start small and work to improve soil health. My
favorite soil enhancer is compost. I occasionally use fish emulsion, worm castings, Dr Earth
natural fertilizer. I use a lotta mulch.
- Any favorite resources?
I watch and learn from gardening videos on Youtube. One of my fave garden experts is Huw
Richards. He has many great videos on Youtube, as well as a website, classes and books.
- Lastly, what is your favorite thing to plant in August?
Thanks for sharing Nancy, and all of your hard work!