Poison-hemlock met its match last month in the volunteers of the Goat Hill Giving Garden in downtown Seattle. On May 5, volunteers met with noxious weed specialist Mary Fee to learn how to identify and remove poison-hemlock plants that had popped up near the garden. Noxious weed garbage bags were soon filled with poison-hemlock, protecting the garden beds from being infested with this highly poisonous plant. Because it stays toxic even when dry, this plant was headed for the garbage, not the compost bin.
Goat Hill Giving Garden is a community garden located in Seattle at 5th and Jefferson that is maintained by local volunteers, including several King County employees who work nearby. The group meets during their lunch hour and on occasional weekends. All produce is donated to the Pike Market Senior Center. Volunteers are always welcome and classes are also held regularly at the garden. Visit the Goat Hill Giving Garden website for more information, to volunteer or to sign up for their newsletter.
At the poison-hemlock education and control event, garden volunteers learned to distinguish poison-hemlock from other plants in the area, and found out about several other noxious weeds also present on the hill, including Canada thistle, creeping buttercup and herb-Robert. Then they got busy and pulled up all the poison-hemlock they could find near the garden.
To help alert garden visitors, the group posted a laminated multi-lingual poster from King County Noxious Weeds alerting people not to eat poison-hemlock and to report it if found. The group also talked to people in a homeless encampment nearby to make sure they knew to avoid the poisonous plant.