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

"It Takes a Village..!" - Gratitude Journal

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. 
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
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.

Volunteers gather food for Farm to Farm Century Ride - 2012

The Sharing Gardens are a lot like Stone Soup. Everything that goes into making it a success comes from the generosity of people near and far. Some people give time, some give money and some bring us surplus materials they don't have need of, or even things like grass clippings, old cedar boards or other things bound for the dump or burn-pile. The gardens become a focal point for giving and receiving -- with each person who donates being blessed with the good feeling that they are making the world a better place through their contributions. And, for those local enough to partake, they're sharing in the bounty of the garden's beautiful harvest as well.
April 2023:

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 this year.

Sunflowers and other plants we donated to the Monroe Community library in 2022. We've got lots more to share this year!

Our friend Rook (left), who's been participating in the gardens as a share-giver since 2016 and who works at  Safeway's deli in nearby Junction City has made it a point to collect clean, food-grade 5-gallon buckets for us. These are great for collecting rain-water as we can be sure there are no harmful residues in the buckets. Rook has also been collecting used coffee-grounds from the coffee-shop at his work and completely filled both our 30-gallon bins this winter. We use the coffee-grounds as a soil amendment (Coffee Grounds and Wood Ash for Soil Fertility).

We have two, 20-gallon bins that Rook has managed to fill with coffee grounds this winter. Thank you, Rook!

Thank you to our neighbors, the Dillards for having their yard work guy - Chuey - bring us their surplus grass-clippings. And thank you Chuey for bringing those, and from your other local clients as well. This is a real win-win because in our small rural town, there is no yard-waste pick-up service. Many people have no way of disposing of grass-clippings on their own land and so without our drop-off site it ends up in landfills, burn piles or must be driven 30-miles to the nearest urban large-scale composting site and "donated" for a fee.  

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.

December 2019
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.
Other donations:
  • 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 useful miscellany.
    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.
Foundation grants:
  • 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.
September 30, 2018

Hi friends - Last week we featured our many share-givers (volunteers) in our gratitude post. This post is about expressing gratitude to the folks who support the Sharing Gardens in a variety of other ways.

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!
Over the summer she has volunteered at the gardens many times on the weekends, and helped with planting and weeding tasks. A few weeks ago, she came bounding into the gardens with her big smile and a bigger envelope with these words on it:

New Glove Fund-Raiser from Pegasus Farms

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.
Janeece wears many hats in our small town of Monroe, Oregon. She is the director of the South Benton Food Pantry (LINK) that is located directly next-door to the Sharing Gardens; she serves on several boards, works for Strengthening Rural Families and seems to go to every meeting in town that relates to community-issues! She is also cooking vegan recipes for the free, weekly class on Healthy Life-style Choices offered by the Monroe Health Clinic and Dr. Kyle Homertgen - our local, vegan doctor (LINK). Dave is an amazing support for all that Janeece does and also helps a lot with our local Gleaners group, picking up donated baked goods and other groceries when the Gleaners need help.

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!
There are a few donors we don't have pictures of:

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:

Drivers: Though some of our CSA members pick up their own boxes, we have members in Eugene and Corvallis who rely on the services of our delivery-people.

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.

Jim Kitchen...

...Adri and Cindy Kitchen deliver our Corvallis boxes after spending Wednesday mornings helping in the gardens.

 September 25, 2018

Llyn with biggest sunflower yet!
Hello dear people, It's been another summer of bounty at the Sharing Gardens and we hope this finds you thriving as well. Though things are still going strong, the first autumn rains and cooler nights have begun and it's clear that we're past the peak of garden production. This has been a wonderful season with our Share-givers (volunteers), many who are multi-year participants with some beautiful new faces as well. Often, after a morning session with our garden "family", Chris and I just lay on our bed feeling full of smiles and gratitude for the richness of community that has developed around the project.

Chris, early in the season.
This year has been our first year offering CSA/memberships as a fund-raiser. We've had seven "share-holders" who each receive a weekly box of produce. Though at times we've felt a bit stressed to keep up with planting, weeding and harvesting, the excellent support of our share-givers has made it - mostly- a real pleasure. Our help has been so good that, for two seasons in a row (summer and autumn) we've declined receiving volunteer students from OSU's service-learning programs. We just don't have enough to do to keep six students busy for four hours. Now that's what we call a "high-quality problem"!

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!
A great year for potatoes! We keep experimenting with different methods. We have heavy, clay soil which is hard for potatoes to grow in.
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.
As the soil warmed, we began planting potatoes outside. We planted the potatoes about 6" in the ground with a bulb-planting tool and then covered with soil, compost, grass-clippings and straw (whatever mulch we had a lot of).  This method worked very well!

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.
Garlic provides many opportunities for group efforts.

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.
Llyn spent much of the time on share-giver days in the garden-shed bagging produce and filling boxes.

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!
Aside from catalyzing Chris and me to a new level of focus and productivity with the farm, an added bonus of having the CSA has been the loving feedback and support we receive from our members. Though we know that our donations to the Food Pantries are very much appreciated (and we continue to supply Local Aid and the South Benton Food Pantry with our surplus), the comments from our members are nice to hear because we know they especially value the high quality of the food we're growing and want to be supportive of the project's charitable work. Here are a few samples:
"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!)
And to you, our fine readers, we also bid a fond farewell. Give Long and Prosper!

June 25, 2018

Hi folks - The coolest thing happened the other day! We were playing in the gardens on Food Pantry day when our friend Dave Cook (who's wife, Janeece runs the Monroe Food Pantry) drove up with a trailer-load full of firewood to donate. No sooner did we get finished unloading and stacking it when another guy, Jimmy Templeton - who runs the Monroe Food and Firewood Gleaners - pulled up with another load to donate. He and his crew then brought another trailer and truck-load to us the following morning and have promised us one more load before the summer's through. That's five cords of firewood; probably enough to get us through two and a half winters, if they're not too harsh.

Unloading firewood donation.
The Gleaners is an organization that "gleans" a community's surplus - whether from farmer's fields, grocery stores, restaurants or, in this case, trees for firewood - and provides them to members of the community who are in need and can't afford it for themselves. Though we're not officially members of the Gleaners, the Sharing Gardens has been supportive of their organization. In the peak of summer, when we have more vegetables than the two Food Pantries we serve can handle, the surplus has often gone to the Gleaners. We have also let them use our flat-bed trailer for over a year to pick up large donations on a bi-weekly basis and donated a large chain saw that the firewood gleaners have used for several years. I guess they felt that they wanted to give back to us in some way.

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!
Note: Just as I was writing this post, who should drive up but Jimmy - head of the gleaners, with a donation of surplus organic vegetables gleaned from the local Farmer's Market. He receives more donations than he can distribute through his networks so, by bringing them to us, he knows we'll get them into the hands of people who will appreciate them.

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
Our first expression of gratitude goes to our sharegivers - the volunteers who come on a weekly basis during the growing season and join in the myriad of tasks involved in keeping the gardens thriving.
Cathy, Cindy, Jim, Sabine, Rook, Kat, and Jessie.

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 also continue to feel gratitude to Oregon State University for its dedication to "service-learning" (students receive college-credit for volunteering in the community). We have been hosting 4-8 groups of students per year since 2012. We estimate that's about 180 students who have spent three - four hours each at the Sharing Gardens learning about sustainable living and how to grow food. Here are some highlights from the four groups we've hosted so far in 2018.

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.
We have a number of "neighbors" who support the project by bringing us leaves and grass-clippings on a regular basis or make other donations of time and materials to keep the project thriving. John Kinsey, Victor Stone and David Crosby bring us many trailer-loads each, full of compostable materials each year. Keep 'em coming, guys!

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.

Papa Burns - Chris' Dad - chief of his town's volunteer fire department for many years; he built their brick station-house by hand. Chris' Mom, Rene drove the ambulance and taught first aid classes through the Red Cross for decades. True community-servants.

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.
And last, but not least, we wish to extend gratitude to all those who have made cash donations. Though we do our best to live simply and keep costs of the project low, there are just some things that only money will get you (just try trading a case of ripe tomatoes for a tankful of gas...).

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:

Conscious Cultivation: A community food solution flourishes in rural Oregon

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.
Greetings friends, here in our part of the world, we're headed into winter; the Gardens have (mostly) been put to sleep and we have time to reflect on this past season and share with you in a deeper way. Here's a post about  our new "budding" relationship with our local Grade School, and their help in gathering leaves for the Sharing Gardens.
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!
We knew, from our experience coordinating "community service" projects with Oregon State University that it can be a challenge to focus the attention of even a small group of college-age students for an extended period of time so we had some concerns about bringing much larger groups of 7th-graders to help us directly in the gardens. After brainstorming for a few minutes, Chris had a great idea when he suggested we coordinate a leaf-raking project in our small town of Monroe, Oregon.
Llyn and Chris presenting info about mulching and compost.
In order to provide a context for the leaf-raking, Chris and I visited Marie-Louise's classroom with some samples of leaves and grass-clippings in various stages of decay to show the students how the leaves turn into soil-fertilizer. We explained that, at the Sharing Gardens, we no longer buy fertilizer from stores but create soil-fertility primarily by feeding the worms and micro-organisms in our soil. (We also use wood-ash from heating our house). The fertile soil then grows the nutrient-packed vegetables that we share in the community with those in need. (If you want to know more about how the Sharing Gardens work, click this LINK.)

We brought compost in various stages of decay...
A week later, the two classes of 16-18 students each, took a short, walking 'field-trip' to the Sharing Gardens. We toured the grounds in two smaller groups so they could continue to make the connection between raking leaves, and growing food, and living more sustainably. We were happy to see some of the young people show a real interest in what we do and how we live. One girl asked, "What's it like to be a vegetarian?". Another asked sincerely, "How do you cook anything without a microwave oven?". One young man found a moth that had landed on a plant and wondered if it would be alright if he picked it up. "Sure," I said, "as long as you're gentle. The insects are our friends in the garden." I watched him gingerly pick up the moth and shepherd it around for the rest of the tour, placing it gently on another plant as he left.
Garden tour: "Wow, compost!"

Garden tour: Everybody loves shelling beans!
We decided to make the leaf-raking itself - truly voluntary - so we wouldn't have a lot of students dragging their feet and resenting being required to do it. We set aside two Saturday mornings (and later picked one) in hopes of having good weather, and to assure that enough leaves would have fallen to make it worth everyone's time. Chris and I rode our bikes around town the afternoon before the Leaf-Raking Day in order to map out the route to rake the most leaves. Marie-Louise had her students make a few posters which they hung on community bulletin-boards so people would know we were coming. We also made fliers to distribute on the day of the raking that explained the project and told people how to donate more leaves, if they were interested.

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.
We had a beautiful day to do the raking with crisp, sunny weather. We had eight or nine students come help with the raking along with four parents. We raked for about two hours and collected 37 giant bags of leaves. One of the parents had also done some raking with her two children at home and brought another nine bags!

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.
Special thanks go to:
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
Abundant peppers!
Greetings dear people - Well, the gardens are basically done for the season. We still have some lettuce, kale and beets to harvest but all the heat-loving plants are done. These past few weeks we've been removing the old plants and beginning to prep the beds so they'll be ready for next year's plants.

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.
Below are examples of how community-support has been manifesting at the Sharing Gardens in 2017. If you appreciate what we do and would like to express your support, here is a LINK to our wish-list. And thank you for the ways you are already expressing generosity beyond your own inner circle - extending the definition of "family" to include people you are un-related to, and the natural world within which we live and are intimately dependent on for all our needs.

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!"
Next, we'd like to extend a hearty "thanks" to all the people who come and actually help us in the gardens with the tasks great and small; those who are willing to get their hands in the dirt in service of the project. We call them "share-givers":

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.
This year we have also been grateful for intermittent volunteer help from other folks in the Monroe community: Eva Fife (who also donated surplus apples from her trees, building supplies salvaged from a previous employer who needed to sell her property suddenly). Christina O'Bryan who, despite having very challenging health issues came consistently for several weeks during peak-weeding season. She also gave us a spade fork for extra-tall people and  introduced us to her neighbor George Etsey who used his professional sharpening tool to sharpen our riding mower and refused to take more than $10 for his services! Wanda Foster also joined us during our peak weeding season and, when she had to leave town for a few weeks brought back a big bag of wild Chanterelle mushrooms she'd gathered. The first of the season!

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.
 George and Irene Dougherty always donate lots of leaves and this year, when they heard of our herbicide contamination gave us about a dozen zucchini plants as well! Steve Rose - tomato starts, grass hay, mushroom spores to start our own mini mushroom farm. Pete Alford - picks up surplus produce from the Gardens and delivers it to Local Aid - a Food Pantry in a nearby town.

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!".
Mid-summer, we had a huge give-away of surplus accumulated pots and flats that had been donated over the years and were way more than we could ever use! Four different groups of people came , each filling their car or truck! The last two, Gloria and Lynda insisted on leaving us with a $40 donation!

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'.
We love our local Food Pantry!
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

We have a funny story about the refrigerator that the SB Food Pantry donated to our project. We already had two refrigerators on the premises - one in our kitchen and one on our back porch. The porch one was mainly used for surplus garden-produce that we were going to 'can' or dehydrate but, in peak season, we also stored produce waiting for distribution at the Food Pantry as their three fridges are often too full to receive any surplus.
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"!
We went to St. Vincent de Paul's - a store for used-items and picked out the one we wanted. As they were setting up the delivery time, they asked us if we already had a fridge (they give priority to people who are without a fridge). We didn't know that and said we already had one so the manager, Jennie, said she thought it would come in about 10-days. "Ten days!?!" we exclaimed, "That's too long to wait!". We told her about our project and what the fridge would be used for and she said, "In that case, how about we deliver it in three-days?". "Much better." we said, "That would be great.". Two days later, we got a call from Jennie and she said, with a smile in her voice, "How about the guys bring it over in a few hours?". Perfect. And they did.

Garden abundance!
The real punch-line of this story is that, that very same night, with no warning, our porch-fridge just completely died on us. We discovered it the next morning before things had had a chance to warm up or thaw very much and we transferred everything over to our "new" fridge. If it hadn't been for Jennie's generosity and persistence to get our fridge delivered as soon as possible. It's likely that much of the food on our porch-fridge might have been irreparably spoiled.

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.
 And remember...

January 19, 2017
A "praying" mantis, giving thanks!
The Sharing Gardens is a hub of giving and receiving. People give what they can and receive what they need. We give thanks to those who continue to contribute to and support the program; we couldn't do it without you!

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!
Our last round of thanks goes to all the wild-critters who have come to make the Sharing Gardens their home. You enhance our life with your funny antics and help keep things in balance  by playing your parts in the great web of life. These first few pics were all taken here at the Sharing Gardens.

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!
We don't have any good pictures of the birds and mammals that live in and around the Sharing Gardens; our camera just isn't good enough to zoom in on them at a distance. But here's a story about the flicker family who comes daily to our feeder. We've seen as many as five flickers at a time in the upper branches of our walnut tree and one or two come regularly to our feeder. They seem to enjoy the millet we provide (purchased in the bulk-foods section, it's much less expensive than buying it as "bird-seed mixed with other ingredients). I've watched them with binoculars and they feed by extending their sticky tongues, coating them with millet seeds and retracting their tongues full of the yummy nibbles.

Northern Flicker
Flicker with tongue extended; they're in the woodpecker family and love eating ants. Photo credit: W.H. Sim LINK
The flickers are the only birds at our feeder who aren't intimidated by the scrub jays. Though the juncos and sparrows are far smaller than the flickers, they all feed happily side-by-side.
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
October 28, 2012
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.

Autumn Bounty!
We are grateful to our new friends Jo and David Crosby on Coon Road. They keep looking for ways they can support the project. Here's a short list: hog panels, an electric, portable cement mixer (to mix potting soil), a 5'x10' utility trailer we have fixed up and painted (which we will either sell or use to go on materials-runs), shade cloth, and lawn furniture. The Crosby's also continue to hire Chris and I for odd-jobs around their property. This money goes directly into the Sharing Gardens account to support the project.

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.

We're excited about a new sense of partnership we feel with the United Methodist Church adjacent to the gardens. They gave us free use of their building, kitchen and grounds to host the Farm to Farm Century Ride/Benefit. We are beginning active conversations about cooperating on a series of classes, movie nights and potlucks meant to inspire and educate people about healthy eating, food preservation  and other healthy-living topics.

United Methodist Church - and South Benton Food bank, adjacent to the Gardens
Chester Crowson, who passed away in February of this year, for his initial open-handed generosity in extending us the free use of his land, and well, and covering the cost of running the pump set the Monroe project on firm ground from the start. We are grateful to the rest of the Crowsons for their continued support. We are exploring the idea of expanding the garden site to include more winter-storage crops such as squash and potatoes, and to expand the existing orchard area to include figs, berries and more apples and plums.

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.

Trimming garlic.
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.
Life is good!

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.

Beautiful worm-compost.
For example, Monroe resident John Kinsey has a red-wiggler worm farm in his backyard. He takes kitchen scraps, weeds, grass clippings and other organic material and feeds it to his worms who turn it into fantastic compost and worm castings (poo). He also brings us bags and bags of grass clippings from his own and other people's yards which we use to mulch our plants. John is also growing this year's garlic crop in his raised beds and will grow exclusively Jalapeño pepper plants so that he can save pure seed. He lives close enough that it will be easy for him to share in the bounty of all the other kinds of peppers and garden produce grown at the main garden-site so it's a real win-win all around.

Sam and Becky Bowman, with Chris.
Sam Bowmen has been another friend who's been doing all our small-engine repair and maintenance. Brother to Loren, who started the Monroe Food Bank, and Curtis, who manages it now, he comes from a family of community servants and has extended himself generously to keep our tillers, mower and string-trimmer running smoothly. Sam and John are both examples of people finding where their own talents and interests can intersect with the garden's needs and, though they may not be physically in the gardens with us, their support makes the gardens possible.

Volunteers plant tomatoes amidst straw -mulch paths.
Support has also come in the form of donations of materials and money. Mark and Heather Frystak keep amazing us with their generosity. Heather's family has lived in the area for generations and, though Mark has "married in" he's become a major networker and advocate of the Sharing Gardens by securing donations of coffee grounds (from relatives who run a coffee shop in Albany) and straw from Soggy Bottom Farms near Harrisburg (also part of his new extended family). The Frystak's generosity has not stopped there. Mark keeps a regular watch on the Wish List published on our website and, showed up with 22, brand new, ten-foot T-posts. The really amazing donation followed our request for a set of tires for our 1968 GMC pick-up truck. We were hoping someone might have a used-set sitting in their barn or garage, that they're not needing anymore. Imagine our surprise when Mark sent us an email saying, "Meet me at Les Schwab tire store, and I'll make it happen." And he did. he bought us a brand new set!

Amy, Cindy and Adri sort donated pots and flats.
Our friends and neighbors, Larry and Germaine Hammon, not to be outdone, have donated an 18-foot, fifth-wheel travel trailer, in very good condition. We just need to do some minor repairs and detailing and it's up for sale. All proceeds will go directly into the Garden account. In the past six weeks we have also received a $1,000 grant from the OSU Thrift store, a generous cash donation from Claudia McCue, several hundred dollars in donations from people who have come for seeds and starts at our "Give-aways", and a full $200 donation from the Circle of Children Village/School at Triangle Lake who received the last of our starts on Sunday, June 3rd. Thanks got to Gini Bramlett and the Tribune News for publishing so many of our posts and helping us reach people who don't have internet access. Rann and Doreen Millar bought the Gardens a subscription to the Tribune News so we can clip the articles for our scrapbook. We are also grateful for the delivery of sheep manure from David Wells and steer manure from Mike Spoerl (who also gave us a 55-pound bag of powdered kelp.) Keep it coming!

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.
Linda Zielinsky - donated a block of Mason Bees (to get us started), and wrote a beautiful post about their life-cycle. Link

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.
Kaitlynn - a member of 4-H joined us many times during the summer. Potato-digging was one of her favorite tasks. Kyra was visiting from out of town but jumped in with great enthusiasm.
Niko was one of our youngest helpers. he took his broccoli-watering task very seriously and did a great job. It's amazing to see the focus kids can hold if the value and enjoy what they're doing.
Dustin is one of those kids who didn't always want to garden with us but often stopped by to say "hi". On this one day he became engrossed in harvesting sun-flower seeds. I think he liked to harvest and take hoe something that he personally enjoys eating. it made the garden-time more meaningful for him.
Many people develop an aversion to worms, slugs and other "creepy-crawlies". Here, Serena, too young to "know better" makes friends with a garden gastropod.
Here's Ismael ("My") in the corn patch. That's Bantam corn behind him, a variety that doesn't usually grow taller than six-feet! Ours was nearing ten-feet this year!
Ricardo helping us to bring in the Delicata squash harvest.
August 21, 2011
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.

Weekly harvest - Alpine 2010

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.

Happy pumpkin picker - 2011

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.

Miles plants broccoli
Sue displays an early onion harvest proudly.

Kaitlynn and Kyra with a bucket of potatoes freshly harvested
Christine (Ms Bug) trims tomatoes
Monroe Garden - celery in sleeves on left, lettuce-starts in middle, potatoes on right
That's an 8-pound cabbage!
Judy-mom, Chris and Jennifer - mulching with grass clippings
Kaitlynn watering the lettuce and Brussels Sprouts
Mark building a new compost bin
Niko - our youngest helper, takes a turn at watering.
July 28, 2011
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.
Renee and Johan pull the last of the broccoli plants. Time to soak the compost pile and tarp it so it will start to decompose. Renee has been a big help this spring as she comes weekly to help and harvest food to take to the bi-weekly Senior Lunch program in Monroe at the Legion Hall.
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!
We 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.
Aside from the volunteers, pictured and "behind the scenes", we'd also like to thank these people for their contributions to the garden's success:
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
We are very grateful for the surge of support that has come to us since we lost greenhouse access and the big grant we applied for. All told, we received close to $2,000 in donations from people near and far. We have also received materials donations and the warming weather here in the Pacific NW has brought out droves of volunteers, both new faces and familiar friends from last year.
Jan with lettuce for the Food Bank

Llyn with spring's bounty!
Straw delivery: We are extremely grateful to Mark Frystak, a resident of Monroe who saw our recent wishlist posted in the Tribune News and came through with 55 bales of straw for us to begin to mulch the gardens. Everyone agrees that the straw makes the garden look so tidy, volunteers love the dry comfort of weeding from straw paths and the worms, snakes and other garden-friendly wildlife appreciate the food and shelter it provides.

A-Frame - tomato cages with mulch on the paths
Young people in the garden: The last day of school is June 10 but we're already receiving lots of help from some of the local young people. Weeding, mulching, planting seeds and transplanting starts...all these tasks provide meaningful activity and fun in a town without much else to do after school. One afternoon last week we had five kids stop by; some just to visit, and others to help out.
Seth and Ricardo take lettuce home to their families after helping us mulch the garden paths
Volunteers: We've got some new faces and many of the core group of volunteers coming back from last year. Today we had five people helping with the harvest and other tasks. These included Pastor Mark Peterson from the nearby Monroe Church of Christ, Jim and Cindy Kitchen who are the coordinators for a garden modeled after the Sharing Gardens, in Corvallis and Larry Winiarski who went above and beyond the call of duty and patiently took apart our donated lawnmower that hasn't been working at all this season. He finally sleuthed out the problem and got her running! Now maybe our garden paths won't look quite so shaggy. Thanks to all the rest of you who have been coming out to help.

Jan, spreading mulch
Jennifer and Llyn planting tomatoes
Larry (the lawnmower doctor) starting seeds at the Monroe garden
Pepper plants interspersed with red lettuce. The lettuce will be harvested before the peppers get too big.

Much thanks too to all the people bringing us your used pots and flats. We're glad to give them new life. Phyllis Derr has been calling us to pick up her lawn clippings in Monroe. We use them to mulch. We've received financial donations since our last post from Jennie and Kris Rhoads, Craig Erken, Karen Josephson, Angee Costa and Chuck and Betty Conway. And thanks to Steve Rose who, once again has grown hundreds of tomato starts which he gives away to food-bank recipients, volunteers and provides us with the surplus at the Sharing Gardens. 
May 23, 2011 
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.
Basically, we figure, if you want to get the job done in Alpine, call the Jones family!

Celeste, Joanne and Cypress Jones in the park.
It's a challenge, "keeping up with the Joneses"!

The tree to the left was planted in spring of 2009 in honor of Alta Rainey who founded the park in the late 1960's. She always loved dogwoods. This spring is the first time it has bloomed.

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.

May 16, 2011
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.
Our local weekly paper, The Tribune News continues to publish frequent articles about us. Many of the donations listed below have come as a result.

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 Corporationalmost $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
The "Sharing Gardens" turned "two" on April 15th! Hard to believe it's only been that long...This past few weeks we've been dodging raindrops and spending time transplanting and preparing beds with the trust that sunnier weather is on its way. Our young friend Dustin McClintock showed up to help us dig up the last few onions that wintered over. We always appreciate his willing smile and "can-do" attitude!
Doreen transplanting
Doreen Millar managed to join us a few times already this season. She and her husband Rann were some of our most dedicated volunteers last year. Here she is transplanting out a few lettuce plants. The slugs are getting plump on many of our early transplants. It's a good thing we have many more at "The Ark" - greenhouse - awaiting their turn to be planted out.

4-H Giveaway
We enjoyed our time at the 4-H Giveaway on Saturday, April 16th. Chris and I brought a whole table-full of starts: broccoli, lettuce, kale, spinach, amaranth and sunflowers. It was fun to see the smiles of people taking their free "starts" home for their own gardens. The young people in Christie Warden's 4-H group did a beautiful job of putting on the event. They volunteered their time to set up, be there for the day and clean up the leftovers. It felt good to see all these young people being in service to their community.
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
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.

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.
Linda Zielinski has given us a "starter" batch of Mason Bees (Osmia Ribifloris). These industrious pollinators do not build hives but lay eggs in tubes which they seal off with a daub of mud (hence their name). Since they have no queen or honey to defend they are easy-going and will not sting unless you step on them or squish them in some way. For this reason they are ideal to keep in your garden if you have children nearby. They have a fascinating life-cycle which Linda is going to write about and post to this blog in the coming months.

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
Karen Finley, of Alpine's Queen Bee Honey drove with Llyn down to Eugene and back and loaded twenty recycled 55 gallon barrels donated by Glory Bee Foods onto her truck and brought them back to the greenhouse. They are set up to support our potting tables and, once filled with water, will provide thermal mass--moderating the temperature of the greenhouse year round. The water-filled drums will absorb the heat from the sun, or the woodstove, during the day and release it slowly through the night.

A sample of our seed bank.
We received a seed-donation from Brigitte Goetze of Alpine. All together we had three lidded buckets full of seeds - most of which Chris saved systematically over the course of last year's harvest. We sorted through them and determined which ones we could give away and have been sharing them with other gardeners, and people growing food for those in need.

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
February 13, 2011
Llyn and Cindy putting on hinges
Chris and I have been having a lot of fun building the greenhouse. We give thanks daily for this meaningful project to channel our energy into. We've had some good help from Cindy and Paul Canter, and Bruce and Elizabeth Hayler. Both couples have been very supportive and helpful in moving the project along.  Thanks also to Larry Hammon for showing up at a moment's notice to help us put the plastic on the greenhouse.

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
Judy Peabody (Llyn's mom) and Claudia McCue made generous cash donations to the project. Way to go gals!

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.
Rob and Sally of Hazelnut Hill heard our plea for nursery pots and flats and donated two whole pallets, stacked about 3 feet high, of various sizes. (We can still use more though - if readers have extras they're not using--especially small sizes.) Rob and Sally run a hazelnut orchard and candy-making shop on their 225 acre-farm that has been in Sally's family since 1853.

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!
January 15, 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

September 28, 2010
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
August 27, 2010

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
Our weekly volunteer times at the Monroe site have become quite a social hub. Many people come to help with the gardening and others stop by just because it feels good to be in the atmosphere of service and giving that the garden provides. Volunteers usually spend two to three hours weeding, mulching, planting or harvesting and then we take a break in the shade, eat cookies someone has brought, sip iced tea or fresh, delicious well-water (Thanks again Chester for getting the well hooked up again!). Today people were munching on fresh picked beans and last week, My sampled his first fresh beet (peeled and stuck on a shish-kabob stick to keep his hands clean.) With a big, red grin he said, "These are great! And my mom says they'll give me a healthy body." Yes they will, My. We're so happy to see you developing a taste for healthy fresh produce!
July 27, 2010

Gratitude goes out to:
  • 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.) 
What follows is a "gallery of givers". A short pictorial tribute to the many helpers who have been giving of their time to grow food for those in need. We sure appreciate you! 

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
Rann-fence building
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!
 One of our volunteers, who also receives assistance from the Monroe Food bank to support his family's needs wrote us the following note:
"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
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/

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!

Volunteers Cathy, Danielle and Llyn with bouquets of kale

June 16, 2010 

 Gary Watts mowing Alpine Chapel Park

We have much to be thankful for this month, in spite of spells of rainy weather, volunteers Rann and Doreen have showed up weekly to help us with making tomato cages, transplanting and mulching the gardens. Gary Weems has continued to assist with the construction of the garden shed in Alpine. With just a bit of trim-work and painting, it's done. We've already begun filling it with tools and garden supplies. Steve Rose, Larry Hammon and Greg and Marilyn Palmer have donated a variety of tomato plants to the gardens. We've planted as much as we have room for (close to 200 plants!) and there are still some left over. Jan Fanger donated some interesting blue and red sprouting potatoes which we'll be planting down in Monroe. We've got a whole neighborhood effort bringing us grass clippings in Alpine: Thanks to: Curtis, Aubrey, Phil and his partner Jorie for helping us keep Alpine mulched. Bud Hardin has come on board with a generous $200 donation, fencing material we're using for tomato cages and a huge load of pots and flats for the greenhouse. Gary and Dorothy - of Alpine Pump spent a good portion of their day mowing the Alpine Park with a mower loaned to us from Diamond Woods Golf Course-great job you guys!  Jack Jones showed up that same day and tinkered on our donated lawn-mower to help us get it running better

 Dorothy Brinckerhoff mowing the center-lawn at Alpine's garden
Evelyn Lee donated us a string-trimmer she no longer needed and we've got that running now. Renee Duncan answered the call for a person to oversee the perennial beds in Alpine. We'll be using the volunteers' back-power to help her keep the flowering shrubs and flowers beds looking nice but its great to have someone oversee things. Renee also contributed some squash and pumpkin plants. Chester Crowson had a new pump installed at the Monroe site. We'll have 10-15 gallons a minute down there which will be great once summer finally gets here! Last but not least, Eva Fife has found a Philomath connection for some horse poop which she loaded and delivered to the Monroe site. The squash plants thank you, Eva! As you can see, the gardens are truly becoming a community effort.

Jack Jones tinkering with mower donated by Ray Kreth and Mylrea Estell

May 24, 2010
Rann Millar and Chris putting in the floor.
The Alpine Park Clean-Up Day was a big success despite foreboding weather forecasts. Ida Mae showed up early and got the coffee pot perking and Chris and Llyn showed up with a batch of choc-chip oatmeal cookies to keep the crews humming.

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
Steve also brought 51 tomatoes that he started from seed. George Wisner planted them into the Alpine beds prepared earlier in the week by our new friend David Urbach. Gary Weems weed-wacked the park's periphery. Llyn scalped the grass away from the tree-trunks of our fruit orchard and gave the trees a heavy mulching.

Evelyn Lee and Doreen Millar in the pea-patch
In spite of the wet spring, our weekly volunteer program has been blossoming beautifully. We have a core group of about seven of us showing up regularly and another half-dozen who've expressed interest in joining in. Here are more pictures of volunteers sharing in the fun!

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 18, 2010
More "thank-you's" are in order: Steve Rose has been down to the Monroe site three times already this spring, mowing the long grass, "scalping" off the first few inches of grass-roots and soil and finally going another 4" down with the big tractor and roto-tiller attachment but he's had to hold off on going deeper while the ground has been too saturated. Adele "Gia" Kubein donated a load of brand-new pressure-treated lumber and plywood. Kat Conn gave us four big, food-grade plastic buckets and a few dozen chitted potatoes. Thanks to Ray Kreth, we got a lawnmower! Phil Ezell has taken over the mowing at Bert and Theresa's place by the Alpine garden and been bringing us grass clippings for mulch. Renee Duncan has contributed a stack of weathered, cedar fence-boards that we can use to build birdhouses and feeders with the kids. Thanks to the folks at Ten Rivers Food Web who have been re-posting our blogs on their wonderful site. Check 'em out! Thanks too to all those people near and far who have been sending us notes of thanks and support, especially my mom, Judy Peabody (our biggest fan!) It really lifts our spirits! We apologize if we've overlooked anyone. Please know that you are all appreciated. After all, this is your garden too!

May 8, 2010
Wood chips donated from Trees Inc.
Thanks to our local power company and the tree service they contract to for line maintenance, Trees Inc., we had a huge load of wood chips donated at the Monroe Garden site. This was enough to make a thick path from the Methodist Church's driveway back to our tool shed. Volunteer Steve Rose brought his tractor down to the site and began the process of tilling up the soil last Thursday but took a break from that to move the wood chips to where it was easier to spread them.
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
Speaking of "developing our volunteer base", Saturday May 9th was our first "official" volunteer day at the Alpine Park. The weather was gorgeous and we got a lot done. We now have about 1/3 of our "chitted" potatoes planted which is equal to our whole crop from last year (five 30-foot rows). The rest will go into the Monroe site.We mulched the potato paths with leaves raked last fall (thanks to Mylrea Estell and Raymond Kreth for giving us rent-credit for the raking!) We potted up two dozen raspberry plants - and there's a lot more still to be potted. And finally, Chris got the beautiful sign he painted over the winter hung at the Alpine site. A very productive morning.
Tibbi and Chris planting potatoes
A few more "thank you's" need to be mentioned: Bert and Theresa, who live on the edge of the Alpine Park, keep bringing us lawn clippings. Bert's probably in his 80's so we're especially grateful for him making the extra effort to drive his mower over to our drop-site. Guy Urbach has been nice enough to foot the bill for the Porta-Potty that's been stationed at Alpine park since we took over the bathroom-building as our tool shed. Once we get the new shed built we'll be able to leave the bathroom unlocked all summer.
Tibbi, Llyn and Danielle on our first official volunteer day - 2010
April 26, 2010
Curtis and Loren Bowman are brothers. They have lived in the Monroe/Alpine community for many years. Loren began managing the Monroe Food Bank as a volunteer almost fifteen years ago and developed it into the thriving service it is today. When he started, the Food Bank was giving food-boxes once a month to about three families. Now it serves about ten times that amount on a weekly basis. Because of the recession, the numbers of people served by this local effort continues to grow. A year or so ago, Loren stepped back from being the manager of the program and passed on the job to his brother Curtis. These are two humble and hard-working servants in our community. Just last week Loren made a donation to help the "Sharing Gardens", he donated a whole bunch of used decking material that we can use to build a tool shed at the Alpine Garden site.

Add this to the lumber already donated by Tibby and John Scott and we have more than half of what we need to build the shed. After a few hours pulling nails this weekend we ended up with a good-looking stack of lumber.

Our current lumber stash at Alpine Park
April 19, 2010
We were happy when Jesse Wolfe, a regular volunteer from last year, happened to be driving by and stopped to help transplant the lettuce and stake up the peas.

Chris and Jesse transplanting in the Alpine Garden.
As readers know, these gardens are run entirely through donated time and materials. We continue to feel support coming from all directions of our extended community. We make an effort to acknowledge all the generous donations that come our way. Please forgive us if we have somehow overlooked your specific donation. YOU ARE APPRECIATED! Tina Johnson, one of the volunteers at the Monroe Foodbank gave us a bunch of corn, peas and bean seeds; Guy Urbach has donated a large piece of "road carpet" to use as weed barrier. Tibby and John Scott have donated a whole slew of fencing and other building materials and garden supplies. The Diamond Woods Golf Course has made their heavy-duty lawn mower available to us for periodic lawn-mowing at the Alpine Park this summer. Last weekend, Jack Jones donated much of his Saturday joyfully mowing the grass at the Alpine Park that surrounds our garden. Dorothy Brinckerhoff and Gary Watts of Alpine Pump continue to be our guardian angels in too many ways to innumerate. Thank you also to the Lion's Club who made a $100 donation to the Gardens' general fund and $100 to cover the electric bill to run the pump at the Alpine site. Evelyn Lee donated a whole bushel of sprouting potatoes and is the ongoing manager of our local list-serve--passing on these emails to the community at-large. Rann Millar of Harrisburg has been contributing his time translating our materials into Spanish to support our outreach efforts to the Latino community. And last but not least we received an anonymous donation of pots and flats and a bag of already beautifully "chitted" potatoes.

A handful of potatoes ready for planting.
February 19, 2010
With the help of Evelyn Lee (thanks Evelyn!), we submitted an extensive grant proposal to Trust Management Services.
We've been given permission by Chester Crowson to expand our garden to a second, additional garden plot on his property between the Food Bank (where we've been taking our surplus produce) and the elementary school in Monroe. He made it clear to us that he is one hundred percent supportive of the program and will "help us in any way" he can. At 86, Chester has been a bus-driver for over 40 years and has the distinction of being Oregon's oldest bus-driver on record. He currently owns the bus company that provides transport for all the local children to and from school. We are deeply grateful for Mr. Crowson's open-handed and good-hearted support for this garden project. Be sure to thank him next time you see him. 

September 1, 2009
Though Chris and I still do most of the gardening, the word has gotten out that Thursday is harvest day and we have volunteers showing up most weeks to help with the harvest and assist with other projects as they arise.

Steve Northway and Chris Burns planting fall crops

 Eva harvesting beans inside the bean teepee.

July 21, 2009
Thanks to Dorothy and Evelyn for your help in weeding the perennial bed at the park. We've laid down clear plastic to "solarize" the weedy grasses. This will kill the grasses and their seeds so we can till them in and start fresh, planting perennial plants in the fall.

"Solarizing" weeds (under plastic) to kill them
July 13, 2009
Last week we took our first harvest down to the food-bank. We want to thank Evelyn Lee for sharing potatoes, peas and cukes from her garden too. People were so excited when they saw us coming and flocked around us to pick from our boxes of produce. Thank you to everyone who has contributed time, money or materials to the garden. It's working! Below, is last week's harvest.

Llyn with first harvest - July, 2009
June 16, 2009
Gratitude to Margi Willowmoon for the purple potato fingerlings. We've got almost 50 feet of them planted! And to Vicki Thompson for the green pepper and jalapeno starts. We found good homes for all of them. Thanks to any of you who came and picked up tomato starts. They're all gone now. We've got about 80 tomato plants in the garden itself; all different varieties. That oughta keep the Alpine-area real saucy come harvest-time!

June 3, 2009
Thanks to Lori of Alsea, OR who donated 3 tons of spoiled hay! We were only able to pick up one ton of it so far (due to our old funky 1968 GMC...we have to borrow a stronger truck if we're going to get the rest). Karen Finley - of Queen Bee Honey - turned us onto a big stash of dried grass clippings behind the baseball field across the street from our park. Also Rachel Unrein rescued some huge bales of rotting hay from her grandpas farm and brought those down to the garden.

May 24. 2009
Thank you to Gary Weems for donating time and materials to get the toilet working again at the Alpine Park. Thanks to Steve and Beatrice Rose for housing our tomato-starts in their greenhouse this spring. Thanks to Patty Parsons for writing the grant and to the South Benton Foundation for awarding our project $350 (this means that cash donations have now surpassed $1000.) Thank you to Dorothy Brinckerhoff for being our treasurer (and all-around go-to gal!). We also appreciate Phil Hawkins and Emily Smith for the picture spread and article that featured our Alpine Park clean-up day in the Tri-County news.

May 11, 2009
We have so much to be grateful for! The Alpine Park Clean-up Day was a huge success. We had 13 volunteers show up and we pruned, weed-wacked and prepared the ground in our perennial garden bed so we can plant bulbs, herbs and berries as they're donated. Here are a few pics from the day:

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.
Steve Rose - tractor work - preparing the ground Larry Lester and Leonard Cox - helping us get our Cub tractor running again
Larry Hammond - putting in the fence posts
Gary Weems - dug the holes for the wooden fence posts

Gary Weems drilling fence post hole
South Benton Community Enhancement $300 donation
Corvallis Oregon Tilthe $250 donation
Jerry's Home Improvement Center $50 donation
Evening Garden Club $100 donation

Gary Watts - turned on the water for us at the park.
Jack Jones - fixed the outlets at the park.
Patty Parsons - grant writing
Joe Russin and Jeri Mrazek - donated a Troybilt rototiller (Thanks Suzie Morrill for telling them about our project).
Olivia and Cory for shoveling a load of rabbit manure.

April 20, 2009
We are grateful to Julia Sunkler of "My Pharm", who has donated a load of rabbit manure to our cause. We hope that people will support her stand at the Corvallis Farmer's Market on Weds. and Saturdays. She has meat rabbits, chicken, pork, lamb and beef (in season) and a variety of home grown vegies. You can order her fresh butchered rabbits and chickens directly by calling 424-2233. 

April 13, 2009
Due to the great generosity of Mylrea and Ray on Kyle Rd. we have all the ten-foot metal "T"-posts that we need to put up the fence at the Alpine Community Garden.

Donated metal T-posts
March 17, 2009
Thanks to: Jack and Joanne Jones: they found three of those carport frames that someone was going to take to the dump. These make excellent greenhouses (with a little bit of work). Thanks to the people at "Ten Rivers Food Web" for the warm welcome they have given us to link up with their site and help spread the word about our garden. They are a local group that advocates for healthy, local, organic solutions to food production and distribution. Click Here to see their website.

March 14, 2009
Dorothy Brinckerhoff got us copies of the well-house, and bathroom keys and Chris and I went down to see the tools we'd stashed in there during the community center clean-up after the honey people moved in last fall. We have several flat rakes, a leaf rake, multiple shovels and a wheelbarrow. There's also several hoses including a flat hose (the kind with holes poked every few inches) that will be perfect for watering our potato patch. What a great start!

Thanks go to: Lee Miller, at Earth Risings Farm for donating a wheelbarrow. Also to Evelyn and Dorothy (and others?) for the amazing job they did cleaning up and rearranging the library. It looks incredible!!!

March 7, 2009

Potting up thornless raspberries from Evelyn Lee
Chris and I went to Evelyn Lee's house and dug up a bed of thornless raspberries. Then we went to Steve Rose's and he donated several hundred gallon pots.
We ended up with over 100 whips!

Thanks also to Barry Brandt for his donation of a 10' farm gate. This is great! Also we are thankful to Rachel Unrein for all her help in thinking of people to contact about reaching out to young people, for bailing twine from her Grandpa's place and to her mother for a bag of sprouting potatoes. Gary Watts (of Alpine Pump fame) spent some time down at the park this last week and got the electricity flowing again. We also want to thank Dorothy Brinkerhoff for all of her help in coordinating between the Alpine Community Center and the Garden Club so we could get permission to host the garden in the park. Patty Parsons has been writing grants for us. We'll start hearing in April if the first of them came through.

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