Presenting “Growing Our Own”: A Curriculum for the 13 Moons Garden!

Ever tracked a plant from seed to sprout, step by step? Wondering when to gather nettles and what to do with them once you’ve got them? How about growing your own veggies – sounds great, but where do you start?

With the new 13 Moons Garden curriculum, we’d like to introduce you to the world of plants as food and medicine. This printed garden guide tells the story of the 13 Moons Garden, defines food sovereignty, explains the role of plants in wellness, offers tips for gardening here in western Washington, and walks you through 7 garden activities designed for the whole family.

Copies are available at the NWIC-Swinomish site, and will be used in workshops held throughout the year. Stop by to see the garden in all its summer glory. Please reach out to NWIC student garden intern Beth Willup ( and AmeriCorps VISTA Community Health Education Coordinator Grace Ward ( for more information!Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 12.06.32 PM

Spring Happenings 2016

We’ve had a busy spring here at the 13 Moons Garden!

What have we been up to?

Over the course of three work parties, we started seeds in the greenhouse, weeded and planted our medicine wheel garden, and got the raised beds going.

Our April work party was part of Swinomish Earth Day, a day of service and eco awareness. Dozens of volunteers helped out on projects across the reservation, cleaning up elders’ yards, recycling old appliances, weeding the 13 Moons medicine wheel, and more.

We celebrated Mother’s Day by transplanting veggie starts and giving away pansies at the Village Chevron station.

Away from home, the 13 Moons Garden team – NWIC BSNES student Donna Dan, faculty member Jessica Gigot, AmeriCorps VISTA Grace Ward, garden intern and BSNES student Beth Willup, and NWIC educational tech Linda Willup – shared project updates and insights with other members of the traditional food community at UW’s Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ symposium. We loved learning about some of the incredible food work happening in indigenous communities throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. It’s good to know that our little garden is part of powerful movement!

The Food Sovereignty class visited our Skagit Valley neighbors over at the WSU Mount Vernon Research Center for a tour of the Bread Lab, where we were inspired by ongoing work to explore ways of using regionally available grains to advance the craft of whole grain bread baking and other grain usage. We’re planning on bringing Bread Lab’s message of health through local whole grains back home by experimenting with fry bread recipes using local, whole wheat. Keep an eye out for updates!

Medicine Wheel Garden-Phase 1

We have completed the first phase of our Medicine Wheel garden. Many thanks to all of the people that have participated in this so far, especially Jacob and Lawrence! Our BSNES seminar class is helping to choose plants for the garden. We planted some this week that will most likely survive our northwest winter weather. More plants will be added in the springtime. Stay tuned for more details.


Flower Farm Tour

Today our soil science class visited Jello Mold Farm in Mount Vernon. We learned about their compost and soil management system and saw many flowers in bloom! It is a beautiful farm operated by wonderful people.

diane1diane2diane3diane4diane5I think all the students agree that our walk through the sweet pea high tunnel was quite amazing. Also, Diane took us below ground to see how their compost applications and mulching techniques have been building soil quality on the farm.  Many thanks for a wonderful tour!

Helping Hands

After a great Science Saturday and visit from local high school students our garden is back in action. Greg, our garden manager, has done a wonderful job of taking care of our plants and soil over the winter and early spring. However, this large group of students really helped us get the weeds out, the mulch moved and the garden beds ready for planting! Thank you all for your great work!

May 30 and June 6 will be our next garden work days. Join us!