Garden Nurtures Studio Participants

A participant plants lettuce.

The group talks about clover and its effects on soils.The gardeners donned their gloves, picked up a trowel and were ready to dig into the dirt. One gardener handed out the starter lettuce pots, others gently separated the plants, and the rest dug holes and planted the crop.

Twice a week through the summer, participants of Full Life Care’s Wellness Studio at Solstice Behavioral Health in Seattle will use some studio time to tend the crops and, before long, the group will benefit from the efforts. The crops planted in the half-dozen planter boxes around the building are harvested and used for lunches they enjoy together.

Garden Hotline Program Manager Laura Matter said her organization stops by the Wellness Studio about once a month as part of their effort to teach people about organic gardening.

During April’s planting day, Laura talked to Wellness Studio participants about rotating crops and adding nitrogen to the soils with winter plants. They even had the opportunity to discuss bird damage.

A small group went to check out the four boxes near the parking lot, to see results from the overwinter plants set out late last fall. Two boxes held bright, colorful flowers. Another held swaying rye. The last held patchy weeds and several strands of grass.

“What do you think happened to this one?” Laura asked the group.


“That’s right. For some reason, the crows loved the oats we planted, but they didn’t touch anything else.”

As they examined the plants, participants found a few ladybugs and worms, and discussed how these creatures helped the crops. They took pictures and talked about other bugs they’ve seen.

Gardening is a great therapeutic activity for everyone, said Full Life Care clinician Connor Hartley.

“It’s more than the fresh air and exercise,” he said. “Gardening is an activity that requires mindful engagement, to be present and pay attention to what you’re doing.”

After some discussion about the crimson clover box—and reminiscing about the various bands who have recorded a similarly named song—it was time to head in and get ready for lunch.