Logo primary
Logo secondary
Viretta Food Forest
Viretta Food Forest
Last updated:
1723 31st Ave, Seattle, Washington, US
Climate zone:
Cool Temperate

View Updates

Viretta Food Forest

Project Type

Urban, Residential, Balcony Garden

Project Summary

To change a blank slate, new construction space into an urban food forest. Backyard and side yards are going contain native plants beneficial to bugs, annual and perennial veggies, a fence of native berries, small orchard, and play spaces.

Project Description

Stage one:

soil preparation

The backyard and side yard both suffer from compaction and have little to no organic material as they are backfill from the new construction that put the house in.

To compensate, I've been using straw bale gardening and tilling in the straw once the bales disintegrate.

composting on site

The area is prone to downy mildew and very damp conditions, even with the unseasonably warm weather. This had discouraged me from doing our own composting (as the city takes it and sells it back as Cedar Grove compost later) but are going to use the heavily shaded, non-food producing side yard to hold composting bins and rain barrels in addition to the shade tolerant native insectuary plants. Recently, a nearby tree came down in a windstorm, so I plan on using a larger piece as a nurse log, potentially for mushrooms.

rainbarrels for irrigation

It's Seattle, even with the warmer that usual weather the past two years, we still get enough rain and I feel sick using water from the faucet to water plants in the summer. We plan to purchase and install several narrow tall rain barrels to use for irrigation for the backyard. My boyfriend is in charge of providing an appropriately zoned drip irrigation system for the larger trees first year establishment and the veggies. Eventually, we hope to use this in conjunction with a graywater system but the city has been slow to adopt financially feasible policies.


The backyard needs to be terraced to be useable. Currently, more than half of the narrow lot is unsuable and the soil that is there is eroding quickly. We intend to create 2 terraces, not disturbing the 3man stone retaining wall in place and working around the water catchment/gravel pit. The new terraces will be edged in corten steel to match the siding on the house, or rock. The initial lines of the hardscape will be clean and modern, like the house and we'll use the forest/plants to soften the impact and provide visual interest. The intent is also to make the house look like it's always been there.

orchard and insect habitat

Though the vegtable planting spaces are easy to move each year, as I plant entirely in straw until the soil is usable, the fruit trees (pruned to dwarf) and beneficial insect habitat need a more permanent home sooner than later. We plan to create 3 different insect habitats: a beneficial shade border (shaded side yard), a round beetle berm (native clumping grasses, Mason bee/art installation in center), and some wedges of play maze. The orchard will spill down two tiers and take up 3 or more of the play maze wedges. 

Stage two: 

As things begin to fill in, many of the sun-loving vegtables will have to move up to our 2nd story deck, roof deck, and (maybe) extensive green roof.

More about this to come.


Pictures of the space from 2014

Just some quick pictures of the space from 2014

Posted over 7 years ago (0 comments)
Courses Taught Here!
Project Badges
Urban Residential Balcony
Alyssa Hays - Admin
Team Members

Report Viretta Food Forest


or cancel

Hide Viretta Food Forest


or cancel

Legend of Badges

Note: The various badges displayed in people profiles are largely honesty-based self-proclamations by the individuals themselves. There are reporting functions users can use if they know of blatant misrepresentation (for both people and projects). Legitimacy, competency and reputation for all people and projects can be evidenced and/or developed through their providing regular updates on permaculture work they’re involved in, before/after photographs, etc. A spirit of objective nurturing of both people and projects through knowledge/encouragement/inspiration/resource sharing is the aim of the Worldwide Permaculture Network.



A member is a permaculturist who has never taken a PDC course. These cannot become PDC teachers. Members may be novice or highly experienced permaculturists or anywhere in between. Watch their updates for evaluation.

Male memberFemale member

Permaculture Matchmaker

One of these badges will show if you select your gender and the "I'm single, looking for a permaculture partner" option in your profile.



People who claim to have taken a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course somewhere in the world.


PDC Verified

People who have entered an email address for the teacher of their PDC course, and have had their PDC status verified by that teacher. Watch their updates for evaluation.



People who’ve taken a Permaculture Research Institute PDC somewhere in the world.


PDC Teacher

People who claim to teach some version of PDC somewhere in the world.


PRI Teacher

With the exception of the ‘Member’ who has never taken a PDC, all of the above can apply to become a PRI PDC Teacher. PRI PDC Teachers are those who the PRI recognise, through a vetting board, as determined and competent to teach the full 72-hour course as developed by Permaculture founder Bill Mollison – covering all the topics of The Designers’ Manual as well as possible (i.e. not cherry picking only aspects the teacher feels most interested or competent in). Such teachers also commit to focussing on the design science, and not including subjective spiritual/metaphysical elements. The reason these items are not included in the PDC curriculum is because they are “belief” based. Permaculture Design education concerns itself with teaching good design based on strategies and techniques which are scientifically provable.

PRI PDC Teachers may be given teaching and/or consultancy offerings as they become available as the network grows.


Aid Worker

The individual with this badge is indicating they are, have, or would like to be involved in permaculture aid work. As such, the individual may or may not have permaculture aid worker experience. Watch their updates for evaluation.



The individual with this badge is indicating they are, have, or would like to do paid permaculture design consultancy work. As such, the individual may or may not have permaculture consultancy experience. Watch their updates for evaluation.


Community Project

Community projects are projects that help develop sustainable community interaction and increase localised resiliency.