Seminar Spotlight – Get the Dirt on Seeds, Greenhouses – and Dirt!

Seminar Spotlight – Get the Dirt on Seeds, Greenhouses – and Dirt!

Whether you're a budding gardener or a veteran of many seasons, our seminar programs have the best experts sharing their wit and wisdom on the topics you need for your best garden ever!

Good gardening means not only keeping plants, it’s keeping soil. And knowing how to evaluate your soil and how to amend it is an important first step in developing a beautiful, healthy garden.

Then there are the plants themselves. Many people want to start their plants off from seed. But how do you go about that? What equipment do you need, when do you start, when do you plant, and how do you prevent complications?

Finally, many gardeners (myself included) lust after greenhouses. Not only can a greenhouse add a certain cache to your garden, but in our climate they are downright critical if you want that “tropicalissimo” look. I know many friends who took off in December for a luxurious vacation to a warm climate – only to read about the Arctic mass of freezing air that descended on Puget Sound while they were away. They got “caught with their plants down” and lost plants to the deep freeze when their plants were unprotected.

Well the best way to learn all the practical tips you need to get started on all of these is to attend some of our many seminars. We’ve got all the dirt on seed starting, greenhouses – and dirt.


Meghan Fuller, Landscape Designer, Rock Solid Landscapes
Meghan Fuller is a landscape designer and maintenance manager with Rock Solid Landscapes in Seattle. She received her BFA from the School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and her ATA in Landscape Design from Edmonds Community College. She also teaches seminars on a variety of topics at Swansons nursery. Website:

The Dirt on Dirt
How to Improve Your Soil & Garden’s Health
Sunday, February 27 at 5:00 pm on the DIY Stage
Healthy, beautiful, long-lived plants are the result of healthy soil. Learn about what soil is made of, what lives in the soil, how to improve and protect your soil, soil tests, and strange and interesting facts about soil to impress your family and friends.


Good soil is critical for healty garden plants. Get the dirt on dirt with seminars by Linda Chalker-Scott and Meghan Fuller.

Linda Chalker-Scott – Author, The Informed Gardener & WSU Horticulture instructor
Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. In 2009, she and three other academic colleagues launched “The Garden Professors” blog, through which they educate and entertain an international audience. Her first book, The Informed Gardener (UW Press, 2008), is an award-winning examination of some common horticultural myths. The sequel – The Informed Gardener Blooms Again – was released by UW Press in 2010 and continues horticultural myth-busting. She also recently published Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: good science – practical application (GFG Publishing, 2009). Follow her blogs at and website at

Meet Your Garden Soil
Discover the Easy Steps for Basic Soil Testing
Thursday, February 24 at 5:45 pm on the DIY Stage
So you think you have a clay soil? Before you decide to go into the pottery business, find out for sure using the “finger test.” This presentation will demonstrate an easy way to determine your soil’s texture class.  Find out if you have silty clay, a sandy loam, or one of several other classifications. Handouts will be provided to allow you to do this test at home.

The Informed Gardener Blooms Again
Busting Common Myths about Gardening Practices
Sunday, February 27 at 9:30 am in the Hood Room
This seminar provides a partial overview of information contained in the author’s most recent book The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (University of Washington Press, 2010), which continues to challenge many dearly loved assumptions about urban gardens and landscapes. The book includes sections on evidence-based gardening, understanding how plants work, how/what/when/where to plant, soil additives, mulches, and miracles in a bag/bottle/box.  The beginning of this seminar will focus on some common myths regarding the management of urban soils and the handling of roots during transplanting. Later, the audience will be invited to ask questions and participate in discussion of other myths addressed in the book.  The text of the seminar will be provided on handouts, and signings of this new book and the award-winning The Informed Gardener will be available after the seminar.


Ed Hume – Host, ‘Gardening in America’ & ‘Ask the Expert’
Ed Hume is a beloved figure in the gardening world both here and across America. For over 45 years he has been the host of “Gardening in America,” American’s longest running TV gardening show. He is in the Garden Writers Association Hall of Fame and the winner of the ‘Silver Circle’ award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. His books include Gardening with Ed Hume (Sasquatch, 2008), Northwest Gardening Made Easy (Sasquatch, 2003), and How to Plant a Bunch of Stuff (Serendipity Press, 1976). He is also the Director of the Hume’s Education Garden, located in Puyallup, which includes 15 whimsical and educational garden areas.  Website –

Seed Starting is Great Fun!
Tips and Tricks for Seed Starting Success
Sunday, February 27 at 11:15 am on the DIY Stage
Ed Hume’s name is synonymous with seeds, and he has some practical tips on easy ways to start seeds of annuals, perennials and vegetables. Plus he’ll be sharing the secrets to his success on when to start seeds, and how to start plants from cuttings.


Ed Hume and Rose Marie McGee help you get your seeds off to a good start. It's fun, easy and economical!

Rose Marie McGee – Author, The Bountiful Container & owner, Nichols Garden Nursery
Rose Marie McGee is President/Owner of Nichols Garden Nursery, a 60-year-old family founded and owned seed company and herb nursery.  She is co-author of The Bountiful Container (Workman Publishing, 2002), considered the “bible” on growing vegetables, herbs, fruits and edible flowers in containers.  She writes the extensive annual Nichols catalog and is a Fellow of the Garden Writers Association. Website –

Easy Seed Starting and Propagation
The Best Tips & Techniques for Economical Seed Starting
Friday, February 25 at 5:15 pm on the DIY Stage
With these tips you’ll be on the way to growing your own garden goodies this season. What are the most common pitfalls in growing from seed? With this information and demonstration both novice and experienced gardeners will be better equipped to growing a bountiful garden with the economy of using seeds, cuttings and divisions. There are instances when purchasing plant starts serves any gardener, but this talk focuses on getting a healthy start for all your plantings with a minimum of time, mistakes, and expense.


A greenhouse can help you overwinter plants safely. Charley Yaw and Leilani Wood give you their tips on good greenhouse management.

Charley Yaw – Owner, Charley’s Greenhouse
Charley Yaw is the founder and owner of Charley’s Greenhouse and Garden in Mount Vernon, Washington. An avid greenhouse gardener himself, he has been designing, building and equipping home greenhouses for over 37 years. Over the last 30 years he has written ongoing articles for the Hobby Greenhouse magazine, acted as a consultant to numerous syndicated national garden writer’s newsprint and online columns, acted as a consultant for the books Greenhouses (Sunset Books, 2001) and Ortho’s All About Greenhouses (Meredith Corp., 2001). He has been interviewed for The New York Times, Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Sunset, Gardening How-To, The American Gardener and Better Homes & Gardens. Visit the Charley’s Greenhouse exhibit at booth # 202. Website:

Hobby Greenhouse 101
Tips for Building & Using a Greenhouse
Saturday, February 26 at 12:00 pm on the DIY Stage
Here’s your chance to learn all of Charley Yaw’s best tips to get you started on your own greenhouse. Charley will review the use of ready-made kits vs. DIY building, the best home greenhouse designs, the newest materials, choosing a good location, and achieving more success with climate controls. He will also cover plants you can grow at different greenhouse temperatures cool, moderate or warm.


Leilani Wood – Owner, SunBaked Greenhouse
Leilani Wood is the owner of SunBaked Greenhouse, a business specializing in hobby greenhouse sales and consultation. She has been a greenhouse grower and active in the horticulture industry for over 35 years, originally working in greenhouses in Alaska, then at Molbak’s in Seattle and then owning her own company for the past ten years. She also works as an estate gardener for large gardens that require year-round maintenance. She holds a degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Washington State University. She resides near Sequim with a menagerie of animals, including cows, horses, cats, dogs, chickens and pigs.

Backyard Greenhouses
Keys to Success with Today’s Greenhouses
Wednesday, February 23 at 2:00 pm on the DIY Stage
If you are planning on adding a greenhouse to your garden soon, or if you just want to learn the basics of good greenhouse management, don’t miss this seminar. Leilani will share her tips for the correct building materials, and how air, light, water, soil and fertilizer should be incorporated in relationship to the greenhouse. Success in a greenhouse is about informed expectations so you can enjoy life with your greenhouse!


Of course, you can always peruse the entire seminar schedule here:

If you’re thinking about tickets, they make a wonderful gift for all your garden loving friends! Have an adventure together going to the garden show together. Tickets are now available in area gardening centers, or online at – Janet

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