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

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Light is Returning!

Hi folks - Happy New Year! So much has been happening at the Sharing Gardens but we wanted to take a few minutes to give you an update and share some photos of our progress. With the purchase of the Sharing Gardens property, and moving onto the land, we're excited at our increased potential to provide delicious, nutritious options for local food-aid recipients in our area. The food at the Sharing Gardens will continue to be grown with volunteer help and given away freely. The only thing that will change is that now we'll have even more food to share!

Here are highlights of some of our current projects and progress: 

Farmhouse renovations: Since early October, most of our time has been dedicated to renovating the 1875 farmhouse at the Sharing Gardens site. Because it has stood empty for over seven years, we've had a lot of vandalism to repair, and because of how old the building is, we've had to mend the ravages of time. So far we have
    • Installed new floors throughout the house, repairing holes and making them level in the process.
    • Installed rigid-foam insulation on the insides of all exterior walls and added paneling.
    • We had the roof re-attached - replacing every single nail with screws. The metal roof will probably outlast us!
    • Had all new, double-paned windows and doors installed (every single one had been broken by vandals).
      Picking Banana Peppers in September
  • Still to come...
    • We've hired an electrician to completely re-wire the house - best to be safe and know that everything is up to code.
    •  Finish putting trim around windows, doors and paneling seams. 
    •  Painting - both inside and out.
    • Install all bathroom and kitchen fixtures and connect up the plumbing.
    • Enclose porches for our outdoor canning kitchen and mud-room.
    • Build our wood shed. 
  • Expanding existing gardens: in 2014, the actual square footage of land dedicated to growing vegetables will likely be about the same as in 2013 but we do hope to dedicate some space to some perennial beds for artichokes and asparagus. As these take time to establish and become productive, it's good to get them started ASAP.
    Adri- our youngest helper.
  • Orchards: We've already had 37 apple, pear and plum trees donated by the Eugene Wholesale Nursery - lovely people - a father/son team that have been growing trees on that site for many decades. Fall Creek Nursery donated three dozen blueberry bushes and our friend Courtney Childs has added another seven plants that he doesn't have room for in his garden. We should have a trickle of fruit to share as early as summer of 2015. Won't that be a treat for Food Pantry recipients! We hope to also add some hazelnut trees as well as these are some of our favorites and they do so well in this climate. (Thank you again to our friend David Crosby for arranging for the orchard donations, the use of your tractor and all the other ways you support this project. You're a gem!)
  • Along with the orchard comes the fencing project and installing water lines to the trees and bushes. Thank goodness for Oregon State University's "service learning projects". Each quarter, a huge proportion of their students must perform four hours of community service. That adds up to a lot of help in the community! We've put in a request for a team of six to join us later this month to give us a hand.
    Mulching garlic with straw.
  • And more...! Greenhouse repairs. building pump house, renovating workshop space in one of the existing sheds, starting and transplanting seeds in greenhouses...Also, we've been given notice that the house we're currently living in (which has been in foreclosure) will be put up for auction in February. We don't know exactly when we'll be required to make the move but that will be another transition to coordinate along with everything else. Thank goodness for healthy food, naps and coffee!
    Won't be long till we're starting seeds in the greenhouses for the 2014 season!
  • How you can help: Share our message of generosity with those you know: forward our posts and the link to our latest video (LINK). Find ways to be generous in your own community - being of service is the best way we know of staying happy and healthy. If you're local and would like to get involved, here's a link to our volunteer page. There are lots of ways you can participate, either with building projects, or in the garden. 
Here is a gallery with many of our best pictures from 2013.  For those of who you who were with us this season, but don't see your picture, it might be because we still have 100+ that we haven't edited yet.
A great year for cauliflower.
Spring beauty.
Spring 2013 - Chris tills in leaves and grass clippings.
The Briggs family. Betty (in pink) leads a team of gleaners in nearby Harrisburg. Every summer they harvest tons, and tons of produce right from the fields -- food that otherwise would just go to waste.
Spring 2013 - preparing our expanded garden space with David Crosby's tractor.
David and Austin prepare holes for tomatoes.
Gail, Doreen and Llyn harvest lettuce and cabbage for the Food Pantry next door.
David Hall with donated leaves (for mulch).
Lynn and Pat brought several loads of sheep manure mixed with bedding straw and also helped us connect with local mint farmers for deliveries of mint straw for mulch,
Drying Fava beans and Rye grass seed in greenhouse
Doreen sifts rotted horse manure.
The garden in late July.
Gail and Miles bring their smiles.
David Roux plants a fall crop of Kale.
A weeding party.
Christine in the greenhouse.

Jim and Cindy Kitchen spreading mulch. They did such a beautiful job and minutes after they were done a dust-devil touched down and scattered a bunch of it around. So much for orderly rows!

Jim Kitchen with a donated apple tree.

Chris shows off our winter squash.
Jozlyn filling buckets with compost.
Kaitlyn and Chris spreading straw.
Kurtis spreading sheep manure and straw for corn.
Llyn and Gini plant onions.

Ismael "My" and Chris

Spring 2013 - Our new garden site - preparing tomato patch.
Anell and Chris nibbling on weeds in the corn patch.

OSU students helping out for their "service learning project".

OSU student and Chris.

Llyn and OSU students transplant lettuce.

The Apple Clan - So good to see these kids reaching for an apple rather than a candy bar.
Cathy Rose transplanting baby plants.
Anell spreads mulch.

Chervena Chuska sweet peppers

Potatoes ready for planting

Janeece and David spread 'remay' cloth to protect the newly planted corn seeds
Ricardo and Anell - future farmers!

This was our best year yet for seed saving.

 Shelby mulching garlic

We are grateful for all the straw donations of 2013

Chris pruning tomatoes.

Tomato plants! If all goes well we'll grow a surplus again to share in 2014.

Vickie gathering sunflower blossoms.
This sunflower volunteered from seed spread by the birds.
We're excited about the 2014 season. Hope many of you will join us in the garden.