“These are the best berries I’ve ever tasted”, said 3rd grader Jovanie after gulping down a handful of currants while in the garden with The Boys & Girls Club earlier this summer.
If you’ve ever had currants, you know they can be a little sour, kind of small, and probably not the best berries you’ve ever had. But to a kid who has never picked fresh berries, picking them yourself does make them the best berries ever. That’s why we added seven new berry beds and planted almost thirty more perennial berry plants as part of our garden build out we raised money for last summer. We’ve been hard at work building out the rest of the garden with your help. Here are some more of our accomplishments this past year:
Building Out The Garden
Garden Beds: Last fall, with the help of Amity Creek Elementary 3rd – 5th graders, Whole Foods and community volunteers, we built nine garden beds to fill out the garden and the greenhouse.
Centerpiece: Thanks to our uniquely arranged metal containers, now our garden has a heart!
Fruit Trees: Youth planted two apple trees and a plum tree this summer. We’ll plant a multi-grafted tree (up to four different kinds of fruit on one tree!) in our last planter next spring.
Irrigation: We worked hard to connect all 27 new growing spaces into our irrigation system.
Seating: The garden now has 4 new benches that convert to stadium style seating or tables, 2 new picnic tables and 2 sun shades for use as an outdoor classroom and for use by the public.
Vertical Growing Sitting Area: We have 2 new beds and 2 planter benches that are being set up in the garden this week. Next spring we will be planting hops and other vertical growing plants to finish out our new shady sitting area next to the greenhouse.
This summer we collaborated between with OSU Extension Nutrition Education to complement our garden activities. Every Tuesday for seven weeks we had about 70 1st-3rd grade Boys & Girls Club kids walk over for some time working in the garden (releasing ladybugs, separating worms from compost, planting fruit trees) alongside prepping and eating a fresh healthy recipe with OSU. We recently had enough surplus beans that they were even able to pick a bag full to donate to The Family Kitchen.
In addition to the funds we raised last summer from YOU and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, we’ve had additional support from businesses and organizations that allow our funds to travel further. Many thanks to COIC, Jim Guild Construction, Newport Market, Wilco, Deschutes Recycling, Instant Landscaping, and Moonfire & Sun Garden Center for your discounts, grants, sponsorships and in-kind donations!
Join us Tuesday August 25th from 4-6 pm in the garden for a special Happy Hour in the Garden that celebrates our work this summer with beer and sausages donated by Primal Cuts! This is an opportunity to celebrate and volunteer in the garden. Also keep an eye out for future opportunities to help us build benches for the berry nooks, and stay tuned for the installation of our custom arbors and the garden’s entrances.
Check out the transformations!