Free organic gardening classes teach easy-to-use techniques

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Chuck Talburt was involved with organic gardening back when it wasn’t in fashion.

As a public health microbiologist, he began experimenting with soils and saw that organic materials produced higher yields.

He also noted that the veggies he grew tasted so much better than those he could buy in the store. And what’s more, they were higher in nutrients and easier on his digestive system.

His enthusiasm for organic gardening and his desire to share his knowledge with others led him to offer free classes about the subject to his fellow congregants at the Bear Creek Community Church in Woodinville.

“I began teaching classes three years ago in the hopes of encouraging some of our members and their friends to take up vegetable gardening the organic way,” explains Talburt. “My other motivation for doing this was to be able to donate any of the extras to the Woodinville Storehouse food bank located at the Woodinville United Community Methodist Church.

“I am one of the board members there and it has been our intention to provide, during the growing season, good nutritious, fresh, organically grown vegetables to our clients, most of who live in the Woodinville area.”

This year, the local man is opening his classes to anyone in the community. He plans to cover a range of topics including soil health, garden design, water-saving mulching, composting, plant propagation and home canning methods.

Weekly sessions will be highly interactive and hands-on, and students are welcome to share their gardening tips and advice, as well as any problems they are having with their own gardens.

“I also have a seed exchange program, where students bring in little bags of extra seeds they may have and exchange them for other seeds,” comments Talburt. “It’s a great way to help defray costs and get a variety of different seeds to plant.”

After the course is finished, Talburt continues to be available for consultation.

He volunteers to visit students’ gardens, help them with design plans and be available to assist in diagnosing and treating problems.

All of the people he has taught over the past three years are now successful organic gardeners.

“They just needed a bit of encouragement and some techniques to use,” says Talburt. “I tell everyone that if they take my class and do what I say, they will get wonderful produce.”

Organic gardening often scares off people and Talburt notes that the reasons for this fear often revolve around myths.

“People think that you’ll have a big problem with pest control, but this is not the case, provided you prepare your soil correctly,” he explains. “People also think plants won’t be healthy if you don’t use some sort of chemical fertilizer. This isn’t true. There are a number of other options and ways to build your soil without chemicals. And it’s actually easier and cheaper to garden organically.”

The main benefit of gardening organically, however, is not about saving money, according to Talburt. “It’s really about the quality of the produce,” he explains. “It’s just so much better tasting and better for you. You know what you’re growing and you know it’s safe for you. You can eat your vegetables fresh from the garden because you know what’s in them.” Talburt also likes to emphasize one of the side benefits of this pursuit, namely the ability to share the bounty with others, whether it’s friends, neighbors, colleagues or your community food bank. He adds, “Everyone appreciates getting fresh, nutritious, organically grown vegetables.”

Off leash park opens Jan. 28

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

The public is invited to join the mayor of Kirkland, Kirkland City Council members and other Kirkland city officials, and members of Kirkland Off Leash Dog Group (KDOG) for the inaugural ribbon cutting on Saturday, January 28,  at noon to celebrate the opening of Jasper’s Dog Park, Kirkland’s first fenced off-leash dog park (11225 NE 120th St. at the corner of NE 120th Street and 113 Avenue NE). Street parking is available on NE 120th Street (no parking in parking lots adjacent to Jasper’s Dog Park).

KDOG will be collecting donations of pet food for Hopelink at the Grand Opening.

The park is a direct result of grassroots organizing, volunteer efforts and the generosity of local businesses and individual donors.

The park was built by members of KDOG, with the help of local volunteer groups and the City of Kirkland Department of Parks and Recreation.   Park maintenance and improvements will continue to be supported entirely by donations from businesses and individuals.

For more information about making a donation or for further information about the park, visit

Northshore Council PTSA announces scholarship opportunity

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Northshore Council PTSA, in its commitment to improving the lives of children and young people, is offering a scholarship opportunity to graduating Northshore high school seniors.

The goal of this scholarship is to assist graduating seniors who demonstrate the ability to balance and excel in both academic performance and school/community service.

AMOUNT: Four $1,000 scholarships will be given, maximum of one per high school.

ELIGIBILITY:  Applicants must be a graduating senior from Bothell High, Inglemoor High, Woodinville High, or Secondary Academy for Success/Northshore Networks.

The scholarship must be used at an accredited two or four year university, college or vocational school within the academic year following graduation.

Copies of the application form are available in each high school counseling office, on the council website or by contacting Sue Freeman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Completed application packages, postmarked no later than Friday, March 23, 2012, should be returned to:

Northshore Council PTSA,

Attn: Scholarship Committee,

P. O. Box 1001,


WA 98041-1001

Little Bit’s Dunmire Stables opens for business

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center started down the road of doubling their capacity with a capital campaign over 6 years ago.  In 2005, with a strong economy and a community that needed them, they embarked on an $11 million capital campaign to build a new facility that would allow them to double the number of children and adults with disabilities that they served.

When the economy slowed down, so did their campaign, but their spirits have been moving at top speed.  Though they have not quite completed the fundraising, the construction has begun. In late 2010, they began phase one of the construction; completing the site work and preparing the land for building.  Once that was completed, they built their welcome center and with help from a matching grant for the Murdock Foundation they completed fundraising for their second covered arena, completing phase two.

With just over $2.5 million to raise and phase three to come, Little Bit is proud to announce that they began serving riders at their new facility on January 10, 2012. John and Kelly Olerud helped send the first riders off at Little Bit’s First Strides event, celebrating the first lesson to take place at Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center at Dunmire Stables.

Are You Prepared for Winter Driving?

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

AAA  recommends making sure you pack these 10 essential items in your winter driving kit in case you encounter snow and ice:

1. Cell phone and charger for making emergency calls.

2. Warning devices (flares, triangles or other visual alerts).

3. First aid kit.

4. Flashlight with new batteries.

5. Non-perishable food and water.

6. Blankets and warm clothing including hat and gloves.

7. Jumper cables.

8. Abrasive material (sand or cat litter) or traction mats and a small shovel.

9. Ice/snow scraper for clearing car and windows.

10. Tire chains.

For more information on winter driving pick up a “How To Go On Ice and Snow” brochure at your local AAA office or go to and click on “Traffic Safety” to download a copy.