A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Growing Gratitude

Have you ever noticed how plants grow exponentially? At first you plant the seed and it seems like nothing is happening for the longest time; then, the first simple leaves appear and you can hardly perceive their daily growth. Given the right conditions: a larger pot, enriched soil, water, warmth and light and suddenly the leaves are lengthening and multiplying almost visibly! The "Sharing Garden" project of Alpine and Monroe, OR seems to be coming into that super-growth phase. So much to be grateful for!
Volunteers at the Crowson/Monroe garden - 2010
Big thanks to Chester Crowson for giving us permission to garden on his property in Monroe for another year. The Monroe gardens are ideally located behind the Methodist Church at 648 Orchard Rd. which houses the Food Bank (the greatest recipient of our produce). The garden is huge (110' x 170') and we were only able to cultivate about half of it last year. There's a garden shed we use and Chester pays our water bill. His daughter, Lisa Richter has been a big help as liaison between the project and her Dad.

We continue to have very positive response to the articles that the The Tribune News is publishing about us. Thanks to the editor, Gini Bramlett and her support staff. The paper reaches a different audience than the posts we write for our web-site and many new "locals" are becoming involved as result. One of these is Barbara Standley who donated several stacks of home-built nursery flats and the 6-packs to go with them. She and her husband Waldo started "Victory Gardens" on River Rd in Santa Clara back in 1968. Waldo was single-minded with the nursery and would have grown only tomatoes if his friends hadn't said, "You've got to branch out and grow other things!". Eventually they added flowers and vegetable-starts to their repertoire. Their nursery was active until 1996 and lay dormant till recently when the Standley's daughter and son-in-law began to revive the business - renaming it the "Grateful Gardener".

Barbara Standley and Llyn load her donation in the truck
We've had a nice response to our request for help to create re-usable leaf-bags. Two local seamstresses have stepped forth and are poised to make the bags once we get more drapes and other heavy fabrics donated. Our vision is to distribute these reusable leaf bags, for people to fill themselves and drop off at the garden sites or, for those who are unable to do their own raking to circulate a team of volunteers for leaf collection through-out the Fall. We use the leaves to mulch the garden beds and feed the worms and bacteria in the soil. John Noreena and Jenny Grey donated four HUGE, heavy-duty bags that were originally used to deliver sand to a job-site but that he has used for leaf-collection on his own property.

Germaine and Larry join us in the greenhouse. So much fun!
People have started to step forth and volunteer their time in the greenhouse. We've begun a partnership with Albany's YMCA (more about this in a future post) and they've been coming to the greenhouse to learn the art of nursery work as they grow out the "starts" they'll use in their own food-give-away garden. Kyle Rd. residents Larry and Germaine Hammon were a great help in transplanting sunflowers into bigger pots. Bruce Hayler - host to "The Ark" and the Oak St. "Sharing Gardens" also keeps coming over to get his hands in the soil.
Bruce Hayler and Chris planting lettuce in donated "plug trays"
We want people to know that our thanks goes out to all the people behind the scenes and those we've fail to specifically mention, whose support makes this project possible. The anonymous donors who drop things off at the garden sites, the well-wishers who think warm thoughts and send notes of appreciation and those who help to spread the word by forwarding our posts/articles. You are the light, the water and soil that makes it possible for the "Sharing Gardens" to blossom.

Current Wish List: Heavy fabric (drapes, shower curtains, canvas), at least 3' x 5' - to sew leaf bags out of. T-posts (slightly bent, OK). Nursery pots and flats (six-packs and large 4" sizes). Mud boots - various sizes for people to use when they come to the gardens.

We have available: Thornless ever-bearing raspberries: the canes are coming up and already getting leaves so the window is closing to transplant to your garden beds. They like full sun and well-drained soil. Let us know you're interested and we'll tell you where to dig them up.

Chris and Llyn can be contacted from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 to 8:00 pm - (541) 847-8797

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