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

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Gallery of Givers

Highlights from 2013

Janeece and Kime, rinsing beets.

Carrots and beets ready for juicing!
With over 13" of snow piled up in our yard, and an icy rain falling, it seems like a good time to reflect back to last year's garden season and celebrate the many people and bounteous fruits and vegetables that helped make the Sharing Gardens possible.

Early in the season. That's a big patch of Fava beans in the foreground (light green) - We use them as a cover-crop; and the dark green row is Toscana Kale that wintered over. Yumm,,,spring greens!
 Beans and other legumes, through a symbiotic relationship with "nitrogen-fixing bacteria" can pull nitrogen (the building block of protein) right out of the air and make it available to the plant. This is why beans are relatively high in protein and why Fava's make a good "green manure" because when you till it in, all that nitrogen is now available for other crops to access.This is what the nodules look like on Fava beans (little pinkish-white clumps on the roots).

Dave Roux was a big help with fencing.
In 2013, we expanded the Sharing Gardens by adding a second greenhouse built out of a carport frame (LINK), and an additional garden area of about 80' x 100'.
Chris roto-tills in a cover-crop of rye-grass.
Llyn and Danielle mulching paths.

Spring time always involves spreading lots of mulch. Leaves, straw and grass clippings from the previous year have mostly been consumed by worms and other "micro-livestock" from below.

Dave Hall and Chris loading grass/hay into a wheelbarrow for distribution.
Jim Kitchen
The gardens are adjacent to a large field that grows waist-high with grass. When mowed and piled it begins to heat up from within beginning the decomposition process. This grass/hay is a great source of fertility for the gardens. That's Jim with an armload (right).

Cindy Kitchen with a big armload.
Another spring-time process to feed the soil is making "tea" from various kinds of manure soaked in water and poured at the roots of plants. We've used rabbit, llama and steer manure for this purpose.

Llyn, straining buckets of manure tea.
Chris and Gini-planting.
Each week, from June through October,we have three regular garden sessions. Our share-givers (volunteers) typically have a regularly scheduled day they come. Together we care for all the garden's needs: planting, weeding, mulching, fertilizing, pruning, harvesting. In turn, share-givers take home the food they can use, receive an education in organic gardening practices and have the satisfaction of contributing to a project that helps feeds many hungry people in our county.

Gail. Chris and Cindy, planting. Little Adri picks marigolds on the right.

Llyn's sister, Jennie (on rt.) helps mulch onions. Jesse, in pink helps too.
Llyn's Mom, Judy always makes an extended visit to the gardens each summer. Here she is picking pears from the trees in our yard.
Grandma Cindy, and Adri in the Swiss chard patch.

Adri's Grandpa Jim rinses beets.

Adri picks dandelion heads to make medicinal tea for their ageing cat. Adri's been coming since she had to be toted around in a back-pack.

  Chris and Anell taking a little time just to sit and visit.

Simple, summer pleasures! Our well-water is delicious. Many of our share-givers fill up jugs each week to take home for drinking water.
Another great year for celery (left). We put collars around it to "blanch" it, keeping it tender and juicy.
A garden cart (right) loaded with beets, cabbage, cucumbers and zucchini to take over to the South Benton Food Pantry. They feed 20 - 30 families a week and often, our produce is the only thing fresh for them to choose from.
Vicki, Gail Doreen and Llyn with harvest for the food pantry. Such abundance!

Onion planting is slow and meditative. That's the 1875 farmhouse we're renovating (back, rt.) and the carport greenhouse on the left.

There's a good reason they named this variety of sunflower Autumn Beauties!
What do you say, let's do it again in 2014!!

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