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

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gallery of Givers - Spring 2013

Thank God for the children!
So much to be thankful for! The abundance just keeps multiplying. Here is a gallery showing many of the ways that support for the Sharing Gardens continues to grow.
Our Spring Plant Giveaway and Fun-d Raiser has been very successful, bringing in close to $200 so far. We still have some plants left so come on down on Saturday morning for lettuce, cabbage and kale. We've got about 500 heirloom tomato plants started (mostly from our own seed) and many peppers and flowers. They'll be ready for pick-up in early June so get your garden plots ready!
We're grateful to our neighbor Rick Fielder who's been keeping us supplied with grass clippings, and David Crosby, the Dillards and George and Irene for massive leaf donations.As readers know, we mow the leaves and grass together and use the combination to increase fertility in the gardens. LINK
Mark Frystak heard our impassioned plea for straw and spoiled hay and used his networking skills (and massive dump truck) to bring us over three tons! That's Chris pulling flakes off an 800 lb. bale!
Lynne and Mike Miller and Lynne's  mom Pat Gray brought us three truckloads of straw mixed with sheep manure...
...and several boxes of seed potatoes ready for planting. We have extra now, so come on by if you need some.
Here are just some of the leaves donated by David Crosby.
Chris tilled the leaves into the ground using David C's tractor.
Here's about 2/3 of the new 80' x 100' garden space. The leaves were tilled in in late February. In two months time, they've had time to compost into the soil and grass has grown back to make comfortable walking paths.
For the second year in a row we've received a generous cash donation from the OSU Folk Thrift Shop in Corvallis. Please stop by and patronize them when you're in town. Their store (originally run by the wives of faculty at OSU) raises thousands of dollars for local service-projects such as ours. LINK to their history and website.

We were blessed to have four OSU students come for four hours on April 20th for a service-learning project. They were great helpers and moved the project forward in several areas:

Brianna and Whitney mulching the potatoes just planted.
Brianna, Whitney and Llyn transplanting Red Iceberg lettuce. The straw makes it so pleasant to be on our knees!

Amanda and Chris loading straw.
Chris and Amanda forming a mulch caravan! Donated leaves in the foreground and compost bins made of pallets in the background.

Justin spreads the mulch in our tomato patch. "Justin time!"

Whitney and Brianna tying tomato cages to baling twine so they don't fall over.

Brianna and Whitney tying up bamboo for a pole-bean trellis.

We've had steady help from our core volunteers (now called "share-givers"!) in the new season. We've just now begun to have regular hours in the garden each week. If you'd like to come join us, CLICK HERE.
Christine is one of the first people we met when we moved to the area in 2008. She's become a close friend and walking buddy of Llyn's and we always look forward to having her in the garden.
It's been great watching Kaitlynn grow. She's always such a cheerful, willing spirit! This is her third year in the gardens.
Shelby (on the right) brought her friend Melissa to help mulch the garlic. Melissa's sweet girl Lily supervises.

Shelby's partner Kurtis loves to work up a sweat! We appreciate his gentle, serving nature.
Boys love to dig in the dirt! Here David is showing Austin (one of our newest friends) how to prepare the soil for tomatoes by digging in rabbit manure.
Jim and Cindy Kitchen mulching the NE garden beds. These guys drive an hour round-trip each week, from Corvallis, just to be in the garden. They did a picture-perfect job on the mulching and 20 minutes later we watched a giant dust devil come and blow a wide swath of the straw out of the paths and over 100 feet in the air. Very dramatic!
Jennifer and Doreen met for the first time and shared stories as they transplanted "maters and pepps"! (tomatoes and peppers) Doreen was one of our very first volunteers (along with her husband Rann). They stopped in on their bicycles to get a drink of water at the Alpine garden just as we were breaking ground and became our steadiest support the following summer once they'd moved to nearby Harrisburg.
Here are a few special thank yous to supporters of the gardens far and near:
David Heath has been sending us emails from Turkey (where he's living on a sailboat he helped build with his wife Janet). He's been sending us links for some informative and entertaining videos (which we'll pass along the links to soon) and made some astute comments on some of our earlier posts: Keep 'em coming, Dave!
Dave Roux - shows up every Saturday with his award-winning smile, eager to serve in whatever ways he's needed. This year he's begun collecting video-footage for a Sharing Gardens documentary!
This dear woman made it possible for us to move from an 8' x 40' travel trailer to a five-bedroom farmhouse, just a short walk from the garden. We love our Cathy Rose!

Our sweet new home!
Well, time to get back to the garden!
A bouquet from our new home. Each week something new and beautiful comes into bloom!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Carport-Frame Greenhouse Design

Quite a handsome little greenhouse, don't you think!

One of the guiding principles of the Sharing Gardens is to Re-use and Re-purpose as many materials as we can - to keep them out of burn-piles, and the dump. This carport greenhouse was made with 100% salvaged and donated materials (we didn't spend a penny!) Such a beautiful demonstration of what the Sharing Gardens are all about!

Here is a greenhouse we made using a metal carport frame, pressure-treated lumber and plywood. (Finished size - 10' x 20') We had a door and aluminum windows to use as well, though we've made vents and doors in other greenhouses by framing them with 2 x 4 lumber and covering in plywood, or plastic. We've assembled it entirely with screws, which makes it possible to disassemble and move. Someone donated the aluminum track (Spring Lock) to attach the plastic but it can be expensive to buy it new. On other greenhouses we've built, we've used long strips of lathe to screw down the plastic.

Finished carport greenhouse - side view.

North end. Note unpainted vent-door at peak. Greenhouse is cooled by convection; cool air comes in lower windows at south end and exits through upper vent and door. Window on left is also operable.
North end from inside. Plywood construction means you can hang shelves/tool rack.
South end is all glass (two sliding windows) and greenhouse plastic for maximum light.
Here are some close-ups for construction details:

Begin by setting up frame on level ground with the ends facing north and south.

Use 2 x 4's to frame side-walls. Upright metal posts are on bricks or blocks of wood to keep structure level and prevent it from sinking into the ground. Any wood that touches the ground should be pressure-treated.
Splicing 2 x 4's. The inner board makes a nice support for a shelf or tables.
The next step is to install a pressure-treated 6 x 6 across the bottom of the end walls. In our case, we spliced two shorter pieces together with a full-length 2 x 6. Keep making the structure level and square. This will make the rest of your framing much easier.
We use metal plumber's tape to secure sides to poles. Note painted cedar 1 x 4 "sill" and metal track (Spring Lock) to attach plastic.
Detail of inner walls. If you don't have corrugated fiber-glass, you can simply use more greenhouse plastic, or plywood.
Detail - outer corner. Note - we used 2 - 8" lag bolts to fasten lower corner to 6 x 6.
Detail - inner corner.

South wall, ready for framing and windows.
Next stage is to frame the end-walls:
This shows one of many possible variations for framing end wall. You need framing for windows or vents and to be able to attach plastic all the way around.

North wall framed for door and vent above door.

Framing details: 

Upper corner detail. 2 x 4's cut with a reciprocating saw (Sawzall).

More end wall:
Aluminum-framed, sliding windows for ventilation.

South wall framing.

Inside north wall (still needs vent above door).

Attaching plastic:
This is what the Spring Lock track looks like. The plastic is laid in the track and locked into place with the "wiggle wire".

Detail of corner showing plastic wrapped around and attached on end-wall, and along 1 x 4 sill on side with Spring Lock and wiggle-wire.

Plastic attached along sill. The nice thing about Spring Lock is that you can go back and stretch plastic to be taught and even (which we did after this picture was taken).

Skid-free ramp.
Greenhouse in use:

Jen and Doreen transplanting peppers.

Our new friend Austin, getting a transplanting lesson from Llyn.
If you have questions or suggestions for improvements, please comment below.

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