Remember the story of "Stone Soup"? A couple of strangers wander into a town of suspicious people and offer to make Stone Soup. No one believes it can be done, and everyone withholds contributing until a small child, who hasn't been tainted yet by the town's stingy spirit, brings forth a few onions stored in her family's root cellar. One by one the townspeople get caught up in the spirit of sharing and, by the end of the story they all sit down to delicious soup, made better by what each of them contributed.--Ralph Waldo Emerson
|Volunteers gather food for Farm to Farm Century Ride - 2012|
The Monroe Community Library has invited us to put up a tri-fold display
to showcase our project alongside a collection of kid's books about
community gardening. We donated dozens of flower and veggie 'starts'
last year for them to give to their patrons and will continue to do so
|Sunflowers and other plants we donated to the Monroe Community library in 2022. We've got lots more to share this year!|
|We have two, 20-gallon bins that Rook has managed to fill with coffee grounds this winter. Thank you, Rook!|
Thank you too, to the mystery people who have begun to bring us your bagged grass-clippings this season. Grass clippings are a major source of garden mulch and fertility. Here's Donn (left) spreading them in our Sunship greenhouse paths.
We have so much to be grateful for.
Cash donations from individuals:
- Peter Stoehl, Karen Josephson - $2,100 (from an I.R.A required distribution).
- Judy Peabody - $500
- Karen Salot: $100
- Lee Cornforth: $100
- Jim and Cindy Kitchen: $50
|Jim and Cindy Kitchen (with Chris in the middle) - enjoying watermelon.|
- Victor Stone - honey (when a huge maple tree split open in a storm this winter, it revealed a hive of wild bees who then abandoned their hive leaving us with two gallons of wild-honey). Four cords of maple-firewood (a $1,000+ value): Victor already had enough firewood stored up for his needs so he helped us chop up that maple tree (and two others that also came down in the storm) and load the "rounds" into our truck. He got the debris from the storm cleaned up and we got several winters' worth of firewood. Now that's mutual-generosity! Victor has many maple trees on his land and this year, once again, he's blown the leaves into huge piles and then loaded them into our trailer for garden-use. Nineteen trailer loads so far! - Enough to cover the entire garden. Much thanks.
- David Crosby - loaned us his log-splitter to split Victor's wood-donation. Who needs a gym-membership when you have to split and stack all the wood you'll need to heat your house for the winter? David is also a local with lots of big trees on his land. We received five trailer-loads this year that he and his helper collected and delivered! Wow!
- Neighborhood leaf donations: Our leaf drive has continued to be a big success. We estimate that we've had approximately 150 bags of leaves donated this season.
Llyn spreading donated leaves. Donations have been enough this year already to cover all outdoor garden-beds, our greenhouse paths and still have a surplus for next summer's growing season.
- S.A.G.E. Garden: S.A.G.E. Garden is a non-profit project run through the Corvallis Environmental Center. Like us, they grow a huge garden of organic vegetables to be donated to soup kitchens and food pantries. We donated over 100 cabbage and broccoli "starts" to them and they let us fill up a few dozen buckets of their surplus compost. Again, "mutual generosity"! LINK
- John and Donna Dillard - donated a chest freezer that was no-longer needed. The Dillards also donated a couple of trees-worth of firewood from trees taken down to make room for their new house. Also, cinder-blocks, large plastic and terra cotta planters, and salvaged lumber. Best neighbors ever!
- Larry M. - Fixed mower belt. Our trusty ride-on mower finally wore out the belt that drives the mower blade. Larry saved us the money it would have cost to have it repaired at the dealer, plus the hassle of transporting the mower.
- Craig Erken: Llyn's uncle Craig donated a Mother Earth
News-subscription - the
classic guide to homesteading. Also, after her help in cleaning out his
garage, Craig donated a dutch-oven we are using to cook with on our
wood-stove, a mini-shop-vac, a Champion juicer and a bunch of other
OSU Service-Learning students with kale-bouquets. Nov. 2019
- Peter Alford - driving our donations to Local Aid.
- Wanda Foster: a grocery bag full of fresh-picked Chanterelle mushrooms (it's been a great year for them but we've only managed to go out picking a handful of times ourselves).
- Cheryl Anson: wheelbarrow, salvaged redwood decking. Cheryl is the warehouse manager at Local Aid - one of the main recipients of our produce donations.
- Jim and Cindy Kitchen: gloves and pruners. The Kitchens also transported two of our CSA member's boxes each week on their way home from volunteering in the gardens.
- Catherine Henry: three and a half pounds of seed garlic (six varieties) which we've planted in our greenhouse.
- Mara Friddle - USDA/NRCS Plant Materials Center: Forty wire tomato cages made from fencing material.
- Our wonderful Share-givers: We couldn't do this without our core group of six wonderful volunteers. They came almost every week during the growing season for three hours, doing whatever needed to be done.
- Oregon State University "Service Learning" students: The SG has hosted six groups of 4-6 students-each to volunteer with us in 2019. The students receive hands-on experience in some of the many tasks needed to grow food for the community, an extensive Q&A session where we delve into their curiosity in living a more generous and sustainable lifestyle, and we receive an incredible boost of high-energy labor! A real Win-Win!
|Llyn, with some of summer bounty donated to the SB Food Pantry.|
- Benton Community Foundation - $2,400: This grant funded the Sharing Gardens to provide vegetables to the Total Health Improvement Program (THIP), a twelve-week free class designed to help participants address, prevent and heal from chronic health issues through adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet, and stress-reducing behaviors such as meditation and exercise. The class is a partnership between our local, Monroe Health Clinic, it's vegan doctor - Dr. Kyle Homertgen, the South Benton Food Pantry and the Sharing Gardens.
- South Benton Food Pantry: $1,800 - for general operating expenses. This is the second year in a row that SBFP (a main recipient of Sharing Garden's produce) has made this generous donation.
- OSU Folk Club Thrift Store granted us $772 for general garden expenses: tools, hoses, gloves and potting soil to fill up our raised beds.
|Thank you "berry" much! Bella, Adri and Jasmyn enjoy summer's blackberry abundance.|
Jessie is new to our garden "family". We met her when she was making a donation of diapers to the Food Pantry that her one-year old baby had outgrown. She brings a ray of sunshine wherever she goes!
|Jessie - such a beautifully generous spirit!|
Jessie had noticed that we'd had "gloves" on our wish-list all summer and decided to do "crowd-funding" at her partner's farm. She put an envelope up on the company bulletin board that she seeded with $20 from Sean ("cause he's a big softy, and I knew he'd contribute") and left town for a long weekend. When she got back, everyone else on the farm had added to the envelope for a total of $160.00! Thanks to Q, Dan-the Solar Man - Twan, Sean, Dom and Andrew. That will provide us with a great selection of gloves heading into next year's season (and more).
|Janeece and Dave Cook - generosity personified.|
They fostered two young girls for over a year and bought a swingset for them to enjoy. When the girls were able to return to live with their Mom, the Cooks donated the swing-set to the Sharing Gardens. We have it set up right next to our main garden-shed so that, when people bring their children to our volunteer-sessions, the kids have something to play on. Much thanks!
|Here's Bella - one of the foster children, helping us with the kale harvest.|
John Kinsey: "Kinsey" has been coming to the gardens since 2011; he lives just a few blocks away. He's been a great contributor over the years. Here's a list of some of his contributions:
- volunteering in the gardens
- donating Elephant garlic bulbs to get our patch started
- donating worm-castings and worm-castings-tea from his worm farm
- collecting lawn-clippings and leaves from his neighbors to build our compost piles
- building produce-display-boxes out of scrap lumber - both for us and for the South Benton Food Pantry
- volunteering at the Food Pantry
|John Kinsey with garlic 'seeds'. His contribution of garlic 'bulbs' has grown to our current patch with over 200 plants planted for the June 2019 harvest. One of his early nicknames was 'Garlic John'.|
|Our deep-mulch method of gardening uses tons of leaves and grass-clippings. John, who's now retired, gathers these materials wherever he can and donates them to the project. Here's a LINK to our post about using leaves and grass-clippings for soil fertility.|
|John, with a big load of squash-vines for the compost pile.|
|Coffee-grounds that John picked up from a local coffee-shop. Since coffee is not a local product and must be shipped in from thousands of miles away, it is not a sustainable resource. But since the grounds are currently considered a waste-product, we feel good knowing that we are keeping them out of the garbage. (LINK to coffee-grounds as fertilizer).|
|Sifting the coffee-grounds and removing trash that's mixed in is one of the favorite jobs of our OSU student-volunteers. The grounds sure make our greenhouses smell nice!|
|Chris and John - building a compost bin. He sure is a big help!|
Fay and Erik - donated plastic tubs that are great for weeding, and storing or displaying produce.
Becky Lynn - donated carpet, seed potatoes
Valerie P. - For the last two months, Valerie has been making a $10 donation to the project. We've never met Valerie but are grateful for her support. You too can make a donation through PayPal by clicking on this link:
|Cathy Rose delivers to Eugene. Cathy has been with the gardens since 2010 and been a huge supporter. We love you Cathy!|
|Here's Sabine shelling walnuts. She was our delivery-person to Philomath this summer.|
|...Adri and Cindy Kitchen deliver our Corvallis boxes after spending Wednesday mornings helping in the gardens.|
|Llyn with biggest sunflower yet!|
|Chris, early in the season.|
Here is a photo gallery of many of this summer's share-givers. Thanks so much, friends; we couldn't do it without you.
|Sabine and Cindy - our champion bean-pickers. We grew green beans on a trellis this year (instead of as bushes) and it worked great. High productivity and we only had to pick once per week.|
We had some great group-sessions; several weeks with ten or eleven adults. It's challenging to keep everyone busy but we sure get a lot done and have fun in the process!
|Thorin, Eliza and Adri harvesting cabbage. Adri's been coming to the gardens since she was born and is a great help!|
|Eliza, Rook and Thorin harvesting kidney beans which we dried in the greenhouse and shelled for winter-use.|
|Our blackberry patches were wonderfully productive this year. We picked enough berries to make several large cobblers, about a gallon of juice and sent baskets of them home in the CSA boxes too!|
|To extend our season we tried growing potatoes in our greenhouses with fair results. Here are Chris and Rook, mixing compost into a potato-patch early in the season.|
|Rook, planting potatoes with a bulb-planter.|
|Here's a group of potato-planters. That's Caleb and Tyrell (Caleb's Dad) at the cart.|
|...and here's the other end of the process - harvesting potatoes. Kids love to help with this as finding the potatoes is a bit like hunting for eggs on Easter!|
|Here's Chris with a Mammoth Russian sunflower. We dry and save the seeds to feed to the birds and grow sprouts for winter-greens. LINK|
|Rod, a man of many talents, "logging" the sunflower stalks after harvesting the heads|
|Here's Eliza, our new neighbor in Monroe, picking tomatoes. She's creating an organic orchard and veggie farm. Great to have people with similar values moving to our town.|
|Llyn's uncle Craig with little Jace, examining the pepper plants.|
|Here are Rook and Sabine separating the garlic bulbs for this year's planting.|
|For two sessions we had these wonderful Taiwanese young men come help. Wayne, Li Hung and Song Yu. Here they are planting garlic in September for next year's harvest.|
|Here she is with Kailyn bagging kale. Kailyn is another of Cindy's many grand-kids and jumps at the chance to be helpful. What a delight!|
"I've been enjoying delicious salads and soups made with these fresh ingredients! Everything is delightful! Made a brown rice cabbage casserole with our remaining cabbage a few days ago and it was such a big hit with the family ~yum! Thank you!" Diane
"Sending deep appreciation for this bounty, it has been most wonderful! Thanks Llyn and Chris, you are keeping us so healthy and nourished, love it!!!!" Cordy and Bodhi
" Everything looks lovely. Thanks so much to Llyn and Chris and all the workers." Karen and Peter
"What a nice variety of things we have gotten from our CSA boxes and we feel privileged to have helped you launch your first year. Thank you for all the communication about our boxes each week; that is a nice added feature we didn't have when we got CSA boxes a few years back." Marilyn and Don
"We have loved the weekly bounty, a variety of nutrients & colors. How nice to not have to shop for produce weekly! We love supporting our local veganic farmers who serve this community, who bring us hope! Dr. Kyle (LINK to his fantastic site)And lastly, we must bid a fond fare-the-well to dear Sabine. Sabine has been volunteering at the Sharing Gardens for three seasons but is moving back to Germany (her home) with her husband Tyrell and son, Caleb. (We'll also miss seeing her wonderful parents Yvonne and Manfred since they won't be coming to visit her but we know they are so happy to have her moving back close to home.) Sabine's soft, warm and generous nature will be missed but we wish her well. Maybe she'll start a new Sharing Garden in Kressbronn am Bodensee!
|We love you, Sabine!|
|...and your beautiful boy Caleb. (Thanks for the picture, Thorin!)|
June 25, 2018
|Unloading firewood donation.|
Their donation is a huge help to us. We heat exclusively with firewood and, cook most of our stove-top meals on our flat wood-stove through the coldest part of the winter. Then, since we don't burn any treated or painted woods, all the ashes are clean and pure enough to use as fertilizer in the gardens. Wood-ash contains most of what's needed for plant growth except nitrogen and sulfur so it's a great resource. LINK to article about Wood Ash Use for Lawn and Garden.
|Jimmy Templeton-a man of generosity!|
This post is about gratitude. This year feels like a real turning point. After having given away everything we grew for the first nine seasons, many members of the community who appreciate the services we provide have begun looking for ways to give back. The Sharing Gardens is beginning to fulfill its dream of becoming (as it says in our banner) "a common-ground gathering place dedicated to the cultivation of mutual generosity".
|Rainbow over the Sharing Gardens - June 2018|
|Share-givers enjoying homemade soup after a garden-session.|
|Cathy Rose - (left) helping us sort a huge donation of seeds. She is also being our delivery person for CSA members in Eugene. We love you Cathy!|
|We always share a snack with the OSU students. This provides a great time for conversations about organic gardening and sustainable-living.|
|We had an abundance of lettuce in March so OSU students helped us harvest it and...|
|...here they are displaying the lettuce we donated that week to Local Aid Food Pantry.|
Bob Nelson - refrigerator repair and re-wiring of an electrical outlet that kept 'shorting out'.
St Vincent de Paul - honored a warranty for a defective refrigerator we bought from them last Fall. The warranty had expired but, because of what we do, they let us come and pick out another refrigerator to replace the one that 'died'.
George and Irene (leaves and zucchini plants) - they've been donating leaves for many years.
Sally and Gary Smith - donated a miniature greenhouse, still new in its box that we will pass along to a family in-need.
Uncle Craig Erken - computer help.
Pete Alford - pick up for Local Aid. Pete drives several miles out of his way to come pick up our donations.
Chris' Dad, Pete Burns, for being a role model for community-service and teaching Chris so much about using tools.
|Pete Alford - picking up a vegetable donation to take to Local Aid.|
New for us this year is our membership-farming (CSA - Community Supported Agriculture). We have seven members/share-holders. Two in Corvallis, two in Eugene and the rest are more local. Special thanks to Dr Kyle Homertgen (our local, vegan doctor) for his strong encouragement to move forward with our idea and for being our first subscriber.
|Our first subscription food-box. April, 2018.|
Our largest donor by far is the South Benton Food Pantry-LINK. They invited us to make a presentation to their Board at the beginning of the year, outlining the Gardens' income and expenses.They granted us a very generous annual grant of $1800 with no strings attached so we can spend it on whatever the project needs to continue. They also continue to allow us to add the Garden's trash in with their weekly pick-up service. We don't generate a lot of garbage but this saves us from accumulating enough to warrant a trip to the dump.
|Chalk-sign, Llyn made for the Food Pantry in our town.|
Since January of 2018, we have received cash donations from several other individuals, ranging from $100 to $500 each, for a total of $1,100. Thank you so much!
John and Donna Dillard - our neighbors - who have also donated paint and fencing material to the project and tolerate our lackadaisical approach to weeding our common fence-line. Much thanks!
Rich Locus - a stranger we met at a restaurant who, after talking with us through breakfast, pulled out his check-book and wrote us a check, right on the spot!
Judith Peabody- Llyn's Mom who gives generously, each year.
Rob Wiseman - a local friend, former share-giver and repeated donor. We love you Rob!
LINK to Wish List
P.S. We sure love hearing your comments! Won't you please take a moment and leave them below so others can enjoy them too :-). Love, Llyn and Chris
We got a nice comment on this post from a friend of ours and guest-blogger to our site. She wrote:
Llyn & Chris --Well, this post just begs a big THANK YOU in return -- both for the work you do, and for faithfully reporting back on your progress. This project is social experiment that I SO enjoy watching unfold (better than anything on Netflix, let me tell you!)
Happy summer gardening!!
Here's the post she wrote about the SG back in 2012:
December 3, 2017
|Did you know that the average-sized deciduous tree can provide fertilizer for your garden worth about $50.00? This article outlines a few ways to utilize this mineral-rich resource, primarily through composting.|
Early in autumn, we were approached by the science teacher for 12-13 year-old students at the school that shares our back fence-line - Monroe Grade School. Marie-Louise has a classroom window that looks out on our gardens and had been curious for many years about a way to partner with the Sharing Gardens on a mutually-beneficial project. Her class was doing a unit on "Sustainability" and needed to find a way to perform "community service" (volunteering) that was related to living a sustainable lifestyle.
|It's challenging enough to keep a small group of college-age students focused and busy so we needed a project appropriate to a large group of 12-13 year-olds!|
|Llyn and Chris presenting info about mulching and compost.|
|We brought compost in various stages of decay...|
|Garden tour: "Wow, compost!"|
|Garden tour: Everybody loves shelling beans!|
|It's easier to fill bags if you work as a team.|
|We picked a day after the leaves had really begun to fall in quantity.|
|Someone had heard we were coming and piled up all her leaves so all we had to do was bag them.|
It takes a lot of leaves to mulch our entire garden, the orchards and greenhouses! So far, we've never had too many leaves but this year, we just might get close!
|Leaf-raking isn't all work; here's one girl jumping in the raked pile.|
First Alternative Food Co-op - $30 gift certificate to buy organic apple juice and popcorn for snacks
Monroe's United Methodist Church (our neighbor) - who provided bathrooms for the rakers to use before and after the project
The parents who chaperoned
The students who helped with the raking and especially to Marie-Louise for reaching out to us and for doing all the extra work of getting permission-slips signed, buying the snacks and all the other steps that made this a successful project. We look forward to continued collaborations in the future!
|Here is an article that we wrote about using grass-clippings and leaves as fertilizer.|
Feel free to pass this post along to the teachers in your life. Raking leaves can be a fun and meaningful way for students to be of service in your community. We'd be glad to share our experience and provide templates for permission-slips and fliers.
November 20, 2017
Here in the USA, it's time for the holiday of Thanksgiving. Typically this is a time for gathering with family and friends for a big feast and reflecting on all we have to be grateful for. We'd like to use this time to express our gratitude to the many supporters of the Sharing Gardens - human, and non-human alike!
|Chris and Adri washing carrots together for snack-time.|
First we'd like to extend our gratitude to all the staff at Oregon State University (OSU) who are developing a strong curriculum for sustainable living and for the myriad of students who come to the Sharing Gardens each year for 'service-learning' and give of their time to help the project move forward with the 'big strokes' -- tasks that would be prohibitively time-consuming for Chris and I and our core group of volunteers to do on our own. This includes things like planting trees, sifting manure, compost and coffee-grounds, dismantling garden-beds and mulching them for the fallow season. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
|OSU students offering the ancient greeting of all happy volunteers: "Give long and prosper!"|
|Sabine, shelling walnuts, has been coming for three years. We never know what sort of "organic" treats she's going to bring -- to share at snack-time, or leave in our pantry.|
|Jim and Cindy Kitchen flank Chris with a tray of home-grown watermelon; they too bring us gifts of food, clothing and housewares, garden-tools and building supplies and have begun to include us in their family gatherings as "uncle" and "auntie".|
|Rook Stillwater has become a regular addition to the 'sharegiver family'. His soft-spoken nature and willingness to learn and to serve are a real delight.|
|We are grateful for our neighbor, John Kinsey who shares with us hundreds of pounds of coffee-grounds he gathers from a local coffee shop, worm castings/compost he makes from kitchen scraps, leaves and lawn-clippings.|
|Tina and Swede Johnson donated five "rescue" blueberry bushes and about 8 gallons of un-shelled walnuts they gathered from their tree. Yummm!|
|We have several neighbors who donate leaves. Here's David Crosby with his helper Brandon. Victor Stone also contributes leaves from his 20+ maple trees. Stay tuned for our post about the Monroe Grade School's leaf drive.|
|Janaia (l) and her partner Robin (not pictured), on a visit last year, brought many hand tools, DVD's and books they thought we'd find useful that they'd culled from their storage unit in a thorough 'down-sizing' process. Here's the journal entry Janaia wrote following this dinner of almost entirely local foods: "Not food? No eat!".|
Much of what we need to run the gardens comes in the form of donations of time and materials but for those things that require money, we're very grateful for cash donations.
|Llyn's mom Judy, always comes for an extended visit to help in the gardens and makes a generous annual donation. Thanks, Mom!|
|Rob (pictured) and his wife Elisa made two significant cash donations this year. Rob also brought a huge load of high-quality potting soil we'll be using with next year's 'starts'.|
|The South Benton Food Pantry - who receives the majority of our garden-produce, donated $500 cash for the third year in a row. When we have extra garbage (the rare items that can't be recycled, re-purposed, composted or burned!) the SBFP lets us add it to their weekly pick-up service. This year they also paid for the Gardens to buy a used-refrigerator that we could set up in our garden shed for the massive amounts of surplus produce that need refrigeration until it can be distributed to charities. LINK|
|Sometimes, during times of peak-production, we have too much produce to fit in our refrigerators! That's what we call a "high-quality problem"!|
|Gratitude to the children who come to the Gardens and remind us to keep things fun!|
|Gratitude to the birds, the bees and other pollinators, worms, snakes and great Web of Life that makes this all possible.|
|A "praying" mantis, giving thanks!|
Last month we received three cash donations, totaling $145. Much of the project runs on donations of materials and labor but, as we all know, you can't fill your gas tank by trading a basket-full of tomatoes! Thanks to Rob and Elisa, Cecilia and Dave Gore and Cathy Rose.
Rob and Elisa are a married couple that have bought land near-by. This is their first experience at 'homesteading' and they are enthusiastic about growing food, harboring wildlife and moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle. We always enjoy their participation in the gardens, especially knowing that much of the knowledge and experience they gain, they're able to go home and put into practice.
|Chris and Rob planting Fava beans in the greenhouse. Since this pic was taken, we've had several days in a row that never got above freezing and the beans died. This is why Chris is always saying, "Plant for all contingencies"!|
|Elisa - harvesting raspberries.|
|That's Jen in the pink tie-dye shirt.|
Cecilia and Dave Gore (not pictured), besides making a cash donation, have become seed-distributors for the Sharing Gardens. We gave them a huge batch of seeds to share, some we'd saved ourselves and some commercial varieties that had been donated to the project. They have been taking the seeds to many gatherings in Corvallis and doing their best to find good homes for them! Grow seeds!
|Well-pipe makes good fence-posts.|
Long-time friend and participant, Jen Revais (above), donated about 200-feet of well-pipe. This heavy-duty metal pipe has many uses for us including fence-posts and trellises.
Thanks go to Dorene Wolfe, whose daughter Dina is the pastor at the church that shares a parking lot and property-line with the Sharing Gardens. Dorene is a can-do lady and took the initiative to rake leaves all around the church grounds and cart them over to our pile. We don't have a picture of Dorene but here's the view we have of the church from our front yard (below).
|Growing in partnership with our neighbor - the United Methodist Church. Love those leaves!|
|Pregnant preying mantis. We see egg-cases frequently on wood-piles and fence posts.|
|Baby "Racer" snake. We saw one that was easily four-feet long near one of our greenhouses.|
|We grow some pretty big earthworms too!|
|Flicker with tongue extended; they're in the woodpecker family and love eating ants. Photo credit: W.H. Sim LINK|
|Western Scrub Jay - though "bullies" at the feeder, they play an important role in planting nut trees. They probably plant the majority of walnuts and hazelnuts around our land in the leaves and straw we use as mulch. If they're planted in good spots, we nurture them along for future nut crops. Photo credit|
The gardens would have cost much more to operate if it weren't for the community support we have received in material donations; these include materials we could use directly in the garden: lawn clippings, leaves, a 55-pound bag of powdered kelp, and spoiled hay. Tools and equipment: thousands of pots and flats, canning jars, lawn and leaf bags, hand-tools, garden carts and wheel-barrows. Services offered (Sam Bowman - small engine repair) and countless volunteer hours - our core group of gardeners gave 3-5 hours weekly to help us grow food. We've noticed a definite increase in the amount of food being donated to the Food Bank from the surplus of other local gardeners. We are grateful too that many people have offered their grapes, apples and nuts for garden volunteers to glean and share. In addition to the numerous individual donations outlined above, there are several families and groups who stand out in terms of their generosity:
|Jen Rivais picks up 'starts' for her garden in cart donated by Bud Hardin|
John Sundquist gave us full access to his farm near Coburg where he grows dozens of varieties of bamboo--many acres of it. We were able to harvest all the poles we needed to build our greenhouse and set up various trellises and tipis in the garden to support our beans and peas.
Germaine and Larry Hammon very generously donated an 18-foot, 5th-wheel trailer that needed minor repairs and detailing before we sold it for a full $2,000.
The Frystaks of Monroe paid for 20, 10-foot T-posts (to expand our fence-line) and a new set of tires to be put on our old farm truck; they arranged for the donation of three trash-cans of coffee grounds and 55 bales of wheat straw which Mark then picked up and delivered himself.
|United Methodist Church - and South Benton Food bank, adjacent to the Gardens|
July 22, 2012
One of our recent posts indicated that volunteer participation was down this year. Well, in the last few weeks, the summer weather has arrived (it's been in the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties...just glorious!) and the good weather has brought with it an upsurge in the gardens growth AND some wonderful, large, group-sessions with the volunteers. What follows is what we like to call the "Giver's Gallery" If you're local and you want to come join the fun, here's a link to the scheduled times we meet at the garden.
|Amy, Cindy and little Adri sort the many donated pots and flats.|
|Cindy and Llyn gathering mulch from the field next to the garden.|
|Another mulch-gathering session.|
|Building a worm-bin.|
|David Roux, Mike Briggs and Chris Burns on a sunny day.|
|Doreen and Rann Millar in our new greenhouse.|
|Planting fall crops.|
|Jerry Crowson with Red Iceberg harvest.|
|Jesse Perez waters starts.|
|John Kinsey spreading fresh grass-clippings as mulch between plants.|
|Larry Winiarski tilling this year's squash patch.|
|Llyn and Jennifer Rivais putting collars on celery.|
|Mike Briggs with elephant garlic.|
|OSU students transplanting Spring crops.|
|Rann Millar running the "beast"!|
|Sierra and Mike painting the counter-top for garden sink.|
|David Roux with a large donation of grass-hay from his property.|
|Jennifer takes home a load of starts for her home garden. Llyn on the right.|
|John Kinsey and Llyn planting out peas - Spring crop.|
|Larry Winiarski sifting sheep manure for potting mix.|
|Llyn and Doreen transplanting marigolds.|
|Llyn and Ricardo planting onions.|
|Chris gives Ricardo a lesson in wheelbarrow repair.|
|Rob and Lucy planting scarlet runner beans.|
|Betty, Mike and Sierra Briggs transplanting fall crops of kale.|
June 12, 2012
"So, are you getting enough volunteer participation this season?" asked a visitor to the Sharing Gardens last week. The answer is, we're getting "enough" but not very much. Of the 4,000+ seedlings we started in our new greenhouse (mostly from seed we saved ourselves) and the hundreds of those transplanted into the ground, we've probably done 95% of them. But we're not feeling burdened by this and in fact, in some ways we're feeling more supported than ever this season. The donations we're receiving of cash and materials free us to spend less time earning a living and more time in the garden (anywhere from two to six hours a day) growing food to help those in need. Support is showing up in other important ways, outside the garden, that help us keep things moving forward.
|Sam and Becky Bowman, with Chris.|
|Volunteers plant tomatoes amidst straw -mulch paths.|
|Amy, Cindy and Adri sort donated pots and flats.|
April 10, 2012
Continued gratitude to Chester Crowson who continues to let us garden on his Monroe property for free, and pays the electricity to run the well-pump. The Sharing Gardens wouldn't be happening whithout you! Cathy Rose - generous cash donation. Bud Hardin - wheel-barrow, garden tools and two garden carts. Gini Bramlett and the Tribune News - for publishing our Wish List and articles about us. Mark Frystak - large donation of straw, camera and coffee grounds from Allann Bros. Coffee of Albany. Keith Hazelton - snow-day greenhouse rescue. Earnie Wilson and Eva and Jesse - for joining our seed-saving network. Craig Erken and Ray Kreth - for technical assistance in getting our camera working again. Rantu Press, and Rann and Doreen Millar - for offering us cameras. The Millars have also offered to share a subscription to the Tribune News. This will help us keep our scrapbook up to date. United Methodist Church of Monroe - paying for seven months of portable toilet rental. Best Pots - discount rate for toilet rental. David Mills and son, Tyler - truckloads of leaves (from Monroe Telephone - thanks John Dillard for suggesting they bring them to us) and two truckloads of sheep manure - great stuff! John Kinsey - starting peas and onions in his greenhouse, help with transplanting and mowing the lawn at the Monroe site (a Herculean task!) Linda and David Prowse - multiple truckloads of leaves. South Benton Nutrition Program - all your love and support - we feel appreciated by you!
|David Mills and son Tyler bring us a load of leaves.|
March 25, 2012
Gratitude: We have a big thank you to extend to Larry Winiarski. Not only did he hire us to help him set up his greenhouse for maximal functionality but he let us start a bunch of seeds while we speedily finished up our own new greenhouse in Monroe. If it weren't for Larry we wouldn't have been able to get broccoli, kale, cabbage, lettuce or spinach started in time. John Kinsey has also been a huge help. He's started peas and onions in his own greenhouse, donated a considerable amount of salvaged lumber for use in building the greenhouse, and also helped us spread donated leaves in the gardens for mulch. We'll be doing a whole post on John at some point. He's developed quite an amazing set-up for growing red-wiggler (composting) worms and he's provided the gardens with dozens of bags of their pure castings for us to amend our soil and grow starts in. John Sundquist generously opened up his River's Bend Farm and let us harvest all the bamboo we needed to build the greenhouse (and more!). We also wish to thank the others in the community who have hired us to do pruning and other yard-work jobs. The income from this work is what is allowing us to keep doing the gardens as we are financing the project primarily out of our own savings at this point. Thank you all.
October 25, 2011
Financial support continues to stream in. Jean Yates, of Alpine, stopped by the gardens a few weeks ago, helped with the harvest and then wrote us a check for $200! Jenn Hughes and her partner David Kuhns, the organizers of the "Farm to Farm Century Ride" - a benefit for the Sharing Gardens, tallied up receipts from the ride and blessed us with a very generous donation of $2,000. Thanks again to all the volunteers that made the ride so fun and successful. Renee Forrer continues to be a big help as liaison between the Sharing Gardens and the South Benton Nutrition Program - the twice-weekly lunch program for Seniors. Not only does she help us with the gardening but shows up weekly to receive the harvest and take it to the cooks for use in the lunches, and for the seniors to take home as well. We received a full load of hay from a barn, full of sheep manure from Mylrea Estell. That will really heat up our compost piles! Linda and Dave Prowse gleaned dozens of pounds of apples from their trees and brought them to be shared. Arleen Looney also gave us access to her fruit trees for gleaning.
October 12, 2011
Gallery of Givers: A selection of pictures from the 2011 season.
We always enjoyed it when kids came to play with us. We were careful never to call garden-time "work" and to let them know we enjoyed their visits whether they helped out or not. This way they didn't feel that we only saw them for what they had to give to us.
Each week brings new surprises in support and generosity and there are also on-going supporters who help make the garden's success possible.
Most recently we have some new, specific people to thank:
Bob and Cheryl Ballard brought us a dozen full bags of dried grass clippings - great for mulching the potatoes and putting under the burgeoning winter squash so they don't develop rotten spots.
Judy Todd has made a second cash donation.
We are grateful for our ongoing community of volunteers. People help out in the ways they are able; we find tasks to suit everyone's abilities. If you'd like to join in the fun of gardening without use of herbicides and pesticides, and share in the harvest, here is a link that shows our regular volunteer times, or send us an email and we can add you to the list to receive weekly reminders.
It's been awhile since we thanked our on-going supporters. These are people and organizations that help make the gardens possible:
Chester Crowson - owns the land where we have the Monroe site. He lets us use it for free as well as covering the cost of the electricity to run the pump in the well.
Bud Hardin - made a lump-sum donation to cover the cost of a portable toilet at the Monroe garden site for a whole year! The toilet is shared with the Monroe Food Bank volunteers as well. (And thanks to Guy Urbach for approaching Bud on our behalf - it wouldn't have happened without you!)
Best Pots - is the local portable toilet service that provides a unit at the Monroe garden. They have given us a generous discount on the rental fee.
Mylrea Estell and Ray Kreth - our landlords - continue to harbor us in a low-pressure and generous arrangement, making it possible for us to volunteer so much of our time to the gardens.
Alpine Community Center - has umbrellaed us under their insurance policy so the activities at both garden sites are covered.
Alpine Chapel Park - has provided us the site for our Alpine Garden free of charge, since 2009.
Alpine Pump - Dorothy and Gary give us permission to put the gardens' trash into their dumpster.
Jennifer Rivais - empties the garbage cans at Alpine's Chapel Park as an on-going service.
...and The Tribune News - our great, local, weekly paper has been very helpful in printing many of our posts and helping us circulate news of the gardens to a much larger audience than we can reach on-line.
If you've been itching to get involved in some way and would like to know how you can add your "onions" to the pot, check out our Wish List below, or come down on one of the volunteer days and share in the "stone soup" garden.
August 17, 2011
We've got a really wonderful core group of volunteers showing up once or twice a week now. One day we had three mother/daughter pairs. And another day we had four young people ages 7 to 11. My mom, Judy has been visiting for two weeks and sister, Sue and nephew, Miles, joined in for an afternoon, which was really fun. Here are a sampling of smiling faces, happy helpers and a view of the garden's progress.
|Kaitlyn helps Chris harvest garlic. That's celery in "sleeves" in the foreground.|
|Kaitlyn with garlic harvest|
|Larry and Germaine harvesting and weeding beets. Our tomatoes (in A-frame cages) are getting nice and bushy and starting to ripen steadily now.|
|Weeding and harvesting.|
|Danielle sifting compost. Rich with worm castings and eggs it makes a great top-dressing or tilled into the beds. This is the end product of our hay-bale compost piles.|
|Jan has been one of our steadiest volunteers this year. Here she is spreading straw in the garden paths.|
|Ken helps build tomato cages.|
|Jennifer, Llyn and Dawn transplant Shag Bark Hickory tree seedlings.|
|Larry helps Chris plant and mulch potatoes. Curtis, at the Food Bank gave us fifty pounds (!) of sprouting potatoes. I think we're going to have a fine harvest this year.|
|Fun at the gardens. John, Chris, Jennifer and Llyn (Sorry, Dawn, I cut off your face holding up the camera like I did.)|
|Herman and Liz brought us a full truck load of grass clippings from behind their church. "Mulch" thanks!|
|Our kale harvest has been abundant this year. We were having a hard time giving it all away each week till we added this sign at the Food Bank. "Tastes like broccoli...Cook it like spinach..." Sometimes people need help in trying unfamiliar foods.|
|Mike Hall adds onions to 'what's cookin' at a recent community dinner hosted by Monroe's Methodist Church...|
|...and Phyllis Derr helps with the dishes. She's been donating her grass clippings for garden-mulch all spring. Thanks!|
sold our dear little 1947 Farmall Cub to a young couple getting their
own organic farm started near Albany, Oregon. Glad to see the Cub's
going to a working home and won't just be a museum piece. These tractors
were designed for small-scale vegetable farming and 1947 was the first
year they were built. Their website is http://pitchforkandcrow.com/ |
|Ken, a happy helper! Job well done.|
Tina - ice cream buckets with lids
Renee and Johan Ferrer - T-post driver
Judy Todd - cash donation
Jo Ellen Watts - gardening boots and plant tags
Phyllis Derr - grass clippings
Chuck and Betty Conway - cash donation
Liz and Herman Koontz - grass clippings from Church of Christ mowings
The Tribune News who continue to publish our articles and wish-lists.
Tom Goracke - 30 bales of nicely rotting grass-straw, complete with pigeon poop "frosting" on the top bales. Keep 'em coming!
June 10, 2011
|Lettuce ready for planting - April 2011|
|Jan with lettuce for the Food Bank|
|Llyn with spring's bounty!|
|A-Frame - tomato cages with mulch on the paths|
|Seth and Ricardo take lettuce home to their families after helping us mulch the garden paths|
|Jan, spreading mulch|
|Jennifer and Llyn planting tomatoes|
|Larry (the lawnmower doctor) starting seeds at the Monroe garden|
The Alpine Park Clean-Up was fun for all who attended. There were many of the usual faces and quite a few new ones as well. The main focus was on mowing and raking the grass to be used as mulch in the Sharing Gardens. We are very grateful to Diamond Woods Golf Course on Territorial Rd for their generous loan of a ride-on lawnmower for the park's use, for a second summer in a row. Also in attendance at the clean-up (but not pictured) were Dorothy Brinckerhoff, Gary Weems, Ida May Foster and Elaine O'Brien.
Here are some pictures:
|Jack Jones on the lawn mower - on loan from "Diamond Woods" golf course|
|Peggy rakes grass|
|George loads it into the bins.|
|Celeste Jones, with a rake and a smile.|
|Her sister Cypress gathering grass-mulch|
|Stacy Ann, another sister, also helps out.|
|And brother, Shamus Jones, pulls weeds in the garden.|
|Celeste, Joanne and Cypress Jones in the park.|
|It's a challenge, "keeping up with the Joneses"!|
We've been so busy in the gardens that we haven't had time to post these other pictures of volunteers who have been helping with the Sharing Gardens this spring. Here's a sample of our happy helpers:
|Rann, Doreen and Eva, transplanting in the greenhouse - March 2010|
|Volunteer Danielle with plants for her garden.|
|Floy Alexander, 91, has lived outside of Alpine for close to 60 years. She happily receives some starts to plant in her garden.|
|Orvel and Rann trimming bamboo for the pole beans to grow on.|
|Timothy prepares beds with a spading fork.|
|Ismael helps Chris repair the water pipe in Monroe.|
|Steve Rose, at the Food Bank, giving away tomato plants from his greenhouse.|
We have so much to be grateful for. The Sharing Gardens community--near and far--have been showing their support for the project.
|Chris paints garden benches made from recycled materials, and refurbishes the donated trailer.|
Fabric for the Great Monroe Autumn Leaf Drive was donated by Danette Puhek of Alpine. She gave us a huge role of a canvas-type material that can be sewn up by volunteers to make leaf bags. Our intention is to distribute these around town once the leaves have begun to fall and come back later to gather them for garden-mulching. Leaves provide valuable organic matter to improve the quality of the garden-soil and feed our "micro-livestock", the worms, bugs and bacteria that add their valuable "manure" to our gardens. The colorful, reusable leaf bags will provide a visual demonstration of our whole town's participation in growing food to share. (More fabric is still needed - see our wish list).
John Dillard, owner and manager of Monroe Telephone Company read our wish-list published in the The Tribune News paper and has offered his company's services to laminate signs we can post around the Gardens for people's information. We'll print the signs from our computer and bring them over to them for laminating.
Greenhouse/nursery donations: The Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture at Oregon State University - nursery pots and flats (thanks Cody, for setting that up!). Barbara Standley of Santa Clara - pressure-treated lumber, saw-horses and nursery table tops. Eva Fife - straw bales for the muddy greenhouse paths, and help with transplanting. Knife River Corporation - almost $3,000 worth of gravel to expand the parking capacity where the greenhouse is located. Cindy Cantor for taking over the watering of all the starts.
Garden supplies and plant materials: Bodhi - about a dozen raspberry plants from his Eugene garden. Jason and Christine - sprouting potatoes. Laurie and Warren Halsey - ten gallons of gray house-paint. (We gave half of it to the Monroe Food Bank to spruce up their interior after they did renovations; we're using some to refurbish the trailer donated to the project earlier in the season by Dick and Jan Skirvin.) Gary Glore has brought us two plastic compost bins to process vegetable waste/kitchen scraps. We've put them at the Crowson/Monroe site.
Thanks to Mylrea Estell for the bicycle that Chris can use to travel to the gardens and back to our home, cutting down on the use of gas to drive our truck, and increasing our fitness as well.
Since we were denied grant-funding, we added a donation button on our website. We have had a strong initial response from supporters both near and far. We'd like to thank Dick and Helen Hewitt, Cathy Rose, Marian Spadone, Rann and Doreen Millar and Sue and Scott Peabody-Hewitt, Claudia McCue and Judy Peabody for their generosity.
April 20, 2011
|Dustin digging onions|
April 13, 2011
Linda Zielinski is an avid Mason Bee 'farmer' who lives in Philomath, Oregon. She generously provided the "Sharing Gardens" with a starter house of bees which we hope will multiply so we can spread them around the valley and help other gardeners get them established. Check back next February if you're interested in getting a starter house of Mason Bees for next spring. Thank you, Linda, for writing this article about the bees for us to post on our site.
March 24, 2011
|Volunteers at the Crowson/Monroe garden - 2010|
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|
|Germaine and Larry join us in the greenhouse. So much fun!|
|Bruce Hayler and Chris planting lettuce in donated "plug trays"|
March 10, 2011
The community support for the "Sharing Gardens" is growing. We send out thanks to Warren and Laurie Halsey for donating two, unopened 5-gallon buckets of house paint. We can spruce up the bathroom at the Alpine Garden--inside and out and use it for other garden projects as well.
A big thanks goes out to Bud Hardin of Monroe. He has donated the funds to cover the cost of renting a portable toilet for a full year! This has been placed between the Monroe Garden site and the Food Bank. Since the closest public bathroom to the site is several blocks away, there are many volunteers in both programs who will be very glad of this donation.
|Linda with a Mason Bee house.|
As we were sending off the final draft of our Wish List to our local weekly paper (Tri-County Tribune) for publication last week we added, almost as an after-thought, our need for a small utility trailer. Over the weekend we got a call from Dick and Jan Skirvin, life-long residents of the Tri-County area. They had a trailer they could donate! They had found it decades ago, when they first took over the family homestead. It was lost and buried amongst a wall of Oregon's famous blackberries. Dick and his son resurrected the trailer and it served their family for many years. They no longer have use for it and so now, with a stiff wire-brushing and a fresh coat of paint it will join the ranks of refurbished garden-equipment at the "Sharing Gardens" and along with the wheelbarrow just donated by Brigitte Goetze will serve for many more years to come.
|Dick and Jan Skirvin with their donated trailer.|
March 3, 2011
We have much to be grateful for!
|Karen and Chris unloading barrels|
|A sample of our seed bank.|
We are grateful to the Tri-County Tribune for offering to print our complete wish-list and an explanation of the "Sharing Garden's" purpose. The article has only been out two days and we've already received a donation of over 2000 "plug trays" from Frank Pitcher who grows cabbage-seed commercially. We haven't decided if we're going to cut them up with a razor knife - to be able to give away smaller amounts of starts (there are 128 holes per flat!), or if we'll plant multiple varieties of seeds on one flat to have "variety-packs" we can give away. We'll put the word out when we have seedlings available.
|Bruce and Chris planting seeds|
We've received a beautiful green-painted mailbox from Renee and Johan Forrer of Monroe. We'll put that up in Monroe once the season gets going and it will be a place for plastic bags and a harvest knife for people to pick produce. Save your clean, plastic bags for us to use during harvest season!
February 22, 2011
Gratitude goes out to:
* Steve Rose - for the beautiful job he did pruning the apple tree at the Alpine Park - the branches are available to anyone who wishes to process the wood.
* Judy Todd - thank you for your generous cash donation
* Betty and Jim Christensen - your cash donation is also a big help!
* Julia Sunkler of "My Pharm" - donated a load of rabbit manure
* George and Claudia gave us all the pellet-bags they saved from running their stove this past winter. They're made of heavy-duty plastic and so can be used over and over again.
|Chris in the door of "The Ark" greenhouse|
|Llyn and Cindy putting on hinges|
Mylrea Estell and Ray Kreth bought the "Gardens" a year's subscription to our local weekly paper, The Tri-County Tribune. This will be very helpful for us to stay tuned in with local "happenings" and, as Mylrea said, "You'll need it to save articles about the "Gardens" for your scrapbook!" We are also grateful for our little home on their property, with its beautiful views, nice walks and minimum expense, allowing us to continue doing this project on a small budget.
Free Geeks in Portland: Donated a re-furbished laptop, a digital camera, an ink jet printer and a router. This volunteer-based program receives donations of used electronic equipment (thereby keeping them out of the land-fills) and teaches volunteers how to clear them of old data, clean them up and install "open-source" software. After a certain number of hours, volunteers are given a computer of their own. Special thanks to volunteer Jeff Jenness - who shepherded us through the process and went out of his way to deliver equipment to us in Corvallis saving us the trip to Portland.
|Judy Peabody in the tomato patch|
Dan Crall, of Corvallis, OR donated salvaged lumber which we've been using in greenhouse construction.
Jeanie Goul and her husband Ken also donated salvage-lumber. We received enough plywood and paneling boards to make both end walls of the greenhouse.
George and Eric - at Monroe Auto Repair, have helped fix our farm truck numerous times--for free or at a discount rate because they believe in what the "Sharing Gardens" are all about. If you're local, we encourage you to give them your business; they're honest, efficient and professional. You'll be glad you did.
The Monroe Food Bank. When we put the gardens to rest in November, Curtis Bowman and his dedicated team of volunteers continued to serve local families in need, weekly, no matter the weather. Last time we talked to Curtis, he said the numbers of families and individuals coming to the Food Bank continues to creep higher each month.
|Bruce Hayler helps us salvage lumber|
Our greenhouse project would not be nearly so far along, and under budget if it weren't for the generosity of Nine Peaks Construction. They gave us access to their salvage yard so that Chris and I could practice our nail-pulling and lumber-ripping "meditations". Days that were too wet to be outside, we worked in our barn-shop assembling component pieces for the greenhouse (slatted nursery tables, a-frame tomato cages and the side-walls that run the full length of the greenhouse). After tallying the lumber we had salvaged and pricing it at our local lumber yard, we figured that we would have spent over $1,000 if we bought the lumber new. That's a lot of material that isn't going to end up in a big burn-pile or the local landfill either.
Karen and Tad of Queen Bee Honey are providing over a dozen 55 gallon drums for us to use in the greenhouse. The barrels will be placed down the middle of the greenhouse, spaced about a foot apart. In the spring they'll support our slatted nursery tables, in the summer we'll plant tomatoes or other crops between them and, as they'll be filled with water, they will provide a thermal mass which will moderate the greenhouse temperatures year-round. Karen also connected us with Glory Bee Foods in Eugene who has donated an additional twenty, food-grade metal drums.
We wish to continue to acknowledge the Alpine Community Center for their on-going support and specifically Dorothy Brinckerhoff for helping us manage the accounting and Evelyn Lee for forwarding our emails through the ACC list serve.
|Rob and Sally with some of their delicious hazelnut candies||.|
We've received new funding support ($400) from the Evening Garden Club -- longest-running garden club in Corvallis...since 1969. To generate its grant money, the club holds an Annual Plant Sale on the last Saturday in April. Please support their fund-raising efforts.
Corvallis Organic Tilth is another local garden club that has been very supportive ($700). COT sells soil amendments at the 1st Alternative Co-Op in south Corvallis, for its fund-raising efforts. Come visit with Chris and I on Saturday morning, March 12, 2011, from 9:00 to noon and purchase small or large quantities of animal, vegetable and mineral-based soil amendments for your own garden.
Once again, our deepest thanks to Trust Management Services for overseeing the $9,880 grant we received last year. We could not have fed so many people without your help.
We received beautiful endorsement letters from three local people/agencies that articulate in strong, clear terms, the importance of our project. These letters were written by: Patty Parsons, an Alpine resident, member of the Board for both the Alpine Community Center and South Benton Community Enhancement and employee of the Benton County Health Department. Jeffrey Gordon, Executive Director of the South Benton Food Bank (where most of our produce is distributed) and Pastor of the United Methodist Church of Monroe which houses the Food Bank. We thank Phyllis Derr for her assistance in putting us on the agenda for the Monroe City Council so that the letter we wrote was read, approved and signed by the Mayor. Verna Terry - County Clerk shepherded the letter through the process of getting it printed and signed - in the midst of Christmas Holidays. Much thanks. (We just might take you up on your offer to get the Mayor and City Council out there digging up weeds next summer!)
|Here's the greenhouse as of Friday, February 11, 2011!|
Thanks to Jo-Ellen for bringing us several loads of leaves for garden mulching and the annonomous donors at both sites - keep 'em coming!
Renee Duncan - we're finally using the cedar boards you donated last summer. There will be many happy bird families with new nesting boxes in the spring, thanks to you.
November 27, 2010
Some of my favorite memories from this summer will be those late August, Thursday mornings when we'd get started at 8:00 or 8:30 to beat the heat, and to get the harvest in by 10:00 when the Food Bank opened. The volunteers would start arriving shortly after Chris and I began and it was all we could do to ride the wave of their enthusiasm and focused harvesting. Chris would direct the team of 6 - 8 people in the field while I weighed and recorded the quantities of vegetables and then wheel-barrowed the towering loads to the Food Bank. People clustered in picking-teams in the beans, catching up on the week's news or soloed in the tomato patch filling bucket after bucket of heirloom tomatoes - presorting so the best quality went to the Food Bank and the split or bruised ones could be taken home for canning projects. The Monroe Gardens became a focal point for visitors as well. Ol' Howard, the neighbor, would ride up on his lawnmower and cheer us on from the side-lines. He just didn't want to go till he got his weekly hug and then you'd hear him whistling happily as he toodled off. Clusters of volunteers interested in such topics as electric cars, solar power and straw-bale construction would regale each other with stories of their exploits and experiments and new friendships were made while the fence was built and the lettuce got transplanted.
October 17, 2010
Our volunteer team has been wonderful this year. We truly could not have done it without them. Here are some faces of some of those who have been willing to get their hands dirty, showed up week after week - regardless of weather, and sometimes arriving as early as 8:30 in the morning to be sure the harvest was in, in time for the food-bank's opening. We are also so grateful to all the behind-the-scenes support we have received through grants, donations and kind words spurring us on.
|Rann and Doreen in the bean tipi|
|Steve N. watering the transplants|
|Llyn's mom, Judy, harvesting tomatoes|
|Jim and Norma harvesting beans|
|Rann and Bruce fertilizing the plants|
|Ryan and Cindy in the raspberry patch|
|Dustin, Lexi, Llyn and Dylan in the bean patch|
|The Mulch Brigade!|
|Harvest morning in Monroe|
The Sharing Gardens are producing over 200 pounds of fresh produce a week and our core group of volunteers is doing a fantastic job of helping us bring in the harvest in time for Food Bank hours in Monroe. This has truly been the year of the volunteers! We have been so gratified to see the steady, committed support from such a variety of people. Men, women, young, old-er (smile), Latino, Anglo, low-income, retired and full-time workers. Many of these people have come on a weekly basis. Though our youth program has yet to fully blossom, we have especially loved having My and his brother Ricardo help us. These two young men (13 and 8) are really focused helpers, seem to have a knack for gardening and their mom and dad have been extremely grateful to have these two learning gardening skills and to arrive home each week with bags or boxes of fresh, ripe produce to feed the family of six. I'm sure they'd rather be in the garden than back in class but we shall welcome them back with open arms once things get going again next spring.
Gallery of Givers:
|Larry and "My" transplant lettuce|
|Sharing Garden and Food Bank volunteers celebrate the bounty|
|Judy Peabody weighs the squash before we take it to the Food Bank|
|Chris shows Ricardo where to apply the manure tea|
|Bruce on a break|
|Cindy shows off some of our fantastic onion harvest|
|Doreen raking mulch|
|Justin and Stephanie harvest basil|
|Rann enjoys the pleasures of "just picked" beans|
|Llyn, transplanting the fall garden|
Tomatoes: 49 pounds
Cucumbers: 125 pounds
Zucchini/Summer Squash: 55 pounds
Basil: 4 pounds
Beets: 20 pounds
Cabbage: 15 pounds
Green peppers: 3 pounds
Green beans: 20 pounds
That's over 240 pounds of fresh produce in one week!
We are focused almost entirely on harvesting now. Our volunteer team (people who show up on a weekly, or bi-weekly basis) is nine-strong and we have another half-dozen folks who have helped us out on a more occasional basis. Our volunteers include "My" (13- short for "Ismael") and Ricardo (8), two Latino brothers who are helping feed their family with the food they bring home. We have people who found out about us because they have needed food from the Food Bank due to job-losses in their families. We have married couples and single people and several members of the team are in their 60's. Everyone shares a love for gardening and a desire to contribute to creating local food-self sufficiency.
|Monroe's squash and cuke harvest - August 26, 2010|
July 27, 2010
- Sheri who brings us grass clippings every few weeks to the Monroe site
- Renee Duncan who has adopted the perennial garden beds at Alpine and will be filling them with flowers from her own nursery
- Gary Weems and his heavy equipment for assistance in maintaining the Alpine Park and all the ways he helps fill in around the edges to keep the park looking great.
- Gene Boshart brought us seven tons of spoiled hay, helped us unload it and wouldn't even accept gas money
- Guy Urbach brings us home-picked cherries and other treats when we're working in the gardens and we're still grateful to him for covering the cost of the porta-potty at Alpine
- Gary Watts and Jack Jones (from Alpine Pump) for fixing the broken pipes at the Alpine bathroom (so we won't need the porta-potty anymore!) Also, Gary did another full-park mowing job this month.
- Steve Rose for pepper plants and onion starts
- Cathy Rose brought us onion starts
- Evelyn Lee for forwarding all these emails out to the local community through the list-serve
- Rae brought us a big load of primo oat-sraw to mulch the Alpine garden. It was truly the champagne of hays! Flaked evenly, fluffed up nice...mmm...mmm.
- Loren Bowman donated brand new hoses and three stands for rain-bird sprinklers
- Mylrea Estell and Ray Kreth for providing us with a safe, comfortable and affordable place to live that enables us to be able to do this project
- Well, we thought we'd had just about everything that we needed donated...and now we know its true because Larry and Germaine Hammon recently gave us (that's right folks) their kitchen sink! (We'll use it to wash produce etc at the Alpine site.)
|A team of volunteers at the Monroe site|
|George planting tomatoes that Steve Rose donated|
|David Urbach preparing tomato mounds|
|Steve Rose tilling the Monroe site|
|Chris and Phil-one of our main grass clippings donaters in Alpine|
|Steve N. - digging holes|
|Eva - transplanting raspberries|
|Jesse - transplanting sunflowers|
|Rae - thanks for the hay donation!|
|Cindy rolling up baling twine|
|Jennifer and Chris after unloading hay|
|Robin transplanting grape vines|
|Ishmael "Mi" gathering mulch|
|Seven tons of Hay donated!|
|Gene Boshart - unloading his donation|
|Evelyn and Danielle gathering grass-mulch|
|Jack fixing our mower|
|Danielle and Cathy Rose harvesting kale|
|Now doesn't Dorothy look like she's having entirely too much fun!|
Our gardens would not be possible without the sponsorship of the Alpine Community Center. Through them, we have applied for all our grants. They have included us under the umbrella of their insurance policy and they found funding to run the pump at the Alpine Gardens. You can see the other projects they support, and get involved at: www.alpinecommunity.net/"Thanks! It's a great thing the two of you have started here.
I look forward to the camaraderie and friendship that is developing amongst all of us at the same time that we are enjoying useful endeavors." Bruce Hayler - Monroe
July 23, 2010
A special thanks to Loren Bowman for his many years of selfless service in support of this local effort (South Benton Food Bank) to ease the lives of our neighbors in need.
|Volunteers enjoying a cookie break at the Monroe garden - above - Thanks Joanie!|
June 16, 2010
May 24, 2010
|Rann Millar and Chris putting in the floor.|
George, Chris and Gary Weems kept the garden-shed project moving forward. They dubbed themselves the "Team of Amateurs" but it sure is looking professional! Rann, Gary, Llyn and Chris put in some time earlier in the week. We now have the floor, two sides and the roof rafters finished.
Other projects that were accomplished on Saturday: Jack Jones and Gary Watts are in the process of repairing the bathroom at Alpine and installing a shut-off valve so we won't break pipes again in the winter: A BIG job! Thanks guys. Steve Rose made heroic in-roads on weeding the perennial bed. It still needs some more work. In fact, it could really use a person to take over the managing of it. If you're a flower gardener in need of a bed to take care of, let us know.
|David Urbach digging tomato holes|
|Evelyn Lee and Doreen Millar in the pea-patch|
|Llyn, Chris, Doreen and Danielle with raspberries|
Rann Millar tying up the bamboo trellis for pole-beans.
Evelyn Lee weeding the garlic patch.
Llyn Peabody and Doreen Millar gathering grass clippings for mulch.
|Doreen and Llyn clearing perennial bed.|
May 8, 2010
|Wood chips donated from Trees Inc.|
Chris and Steve spreading wood chips - Monroe Garden
Other big news! (which some of you haven't heard yet): An anonymous donor (an Oregon family), through the grant brokerage of Trust Management Services (TMS), has awarded our project $9,980, the full amount we asked for in a proposal we submitted in February. Much thanks to Evelyn Lee and Dorothy Brinckerhoff for their assistance in writing and submitting the grant and to Mary Lanthrum (TMS) for going to bat for us.
|Danielle sifting soil for raspberry transplants|
|Tibbi and Chris planting potatoes|
|Tibbi, Llyn and Danielle on our first official volunteer day - 2010|
|Our current lumber stash at Alpine Park|
|Chris and Jesse transplanting in the Alpine Garden.|
|A handful of potatoes ready for planting.|
|Steve Northway and Chris Burns planting fall crops|
|Eva harvesting beans inside the bean teepee.|
|"Solarizing" weeds (under plastic) to kill them|
|Llyn with first harvest - July, 2009|
|Digging grass out of the perennial bed.|
|Bob O'Brien and Gary Weems weed-wacking along the cemetery road.|
|Gary Weems drilling fence post holes|
|Here's Larry Hammon putting in fence posts.|
|Michelle pushing a wheel-barrow full of prunings.|
|Gary Weems drilling fence post hole|
|Donated metal T-posts|
|Potting up thornless raspberries from Evelyn Lee|
|We ended up with over 100 whips!|