Fall Soil Health Workshop for School and Community Gardens – October 15

Tualatin SWCD has been working hard to protect the health of our soils in Washington County. Every year, we teach local farmers how improving soil health can help protect natural resources and improve their operations.

We are excited to share that education with school gardens and community gardens this year, and hope you will join us for a special, free workshop October 15! Register now at www.swcd.net/soil-health-workshop/
Soil is more than sand, silt and clay – it is a living ecosystem! Proper soil health care is natural insurance for school gardens against drought, pests and weeds. Soil health plays a key role in protecting our environment. Teaching soil health helps meet NGSS standards, gets kids outside, and prepares future conservationists!

Join us for a free half day workshop on October 15 to learn the basics of soil health, how to protect it in the school garden, and how to teach it in the classroom! Get hands on with activity demonstrations. Gain access to our NGSS aligned curriculum resources. Take home a copy of Building Better Soils.

In this workshop, we will:

– Learn what soil health is and explore how it works as an ecosystem
– Learn specific things to do in the garden to protect soil and care for its health, like cover cropping and reducing impact
– Get hands-on with demonstrations of how healthy soil looks and feels, as well as some great classroom activities
– Share strategies for managing volunteers in the garden and get some tips from the experts.
We will offer continuing education credit for teachers through PSU too. Please inquire for details.
We welcome multiple people from your group. Please feel free to forward this email to them or post the attached flier.

You can register one or more people at:
Or you can register by responding to this email with:

– The names of the people in your group
– The name of your school garden/farm
– An email address and phone number to contact you about this registration
– Any dietary restrictions for lunch
Space is limited – if we have more than 20 community gardeners or 20 school gardeners (teachers or volunteers), we will start a wait list.

You are invited to a Gathering of Gardeners June 18th

Saturday, June 18, 2016, 9AM – Noon at the Forest Grove Senior & Community Center, 2037 Douglas St.  Please stop by anytime!

There will be a diverse collection of activities occurring all the time:

OSU Master Gardeners offering advice and answering questions about all things related to gardens.

* an on-going “rolling” video of clips related to food: home gardens, small/urban farming, positive ecological impacts of sustainable gardening, involving children & youth in nutrition & gardening, etc.

table topic discussions  such as dryland gardening/farming projects, soil enhancement, water usage, weed suppression  ideas, etc.

*tool sharpening

* give-away goodies for gardeners

raffle baskets from New Seasons

*worm-bin construction

The program is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

2016 Growing Season Updates

Letters and emails are going out in Spanish and English this week.  Please let us know your intentions for gardening this season as soon as possible.

Thanks!

fgvgarden@gmail.com

503-334-2811

Mail to – Mande a

 

P.O. Box 384

Forest Grove, OR 97116

The 2016 gardening season is just beginning as we start our preparations to work outdoors. We have the good fortune to have a few more interested gardeners than available plots this year. If you do not plan to garden or could more easily manage fewer plots than last year, please let us know.  It is our hope that everyone who wants to garden will have a chance to do so. We also will be keeping the same rate structure so there is no price increase at this time.

We are continuing our 2015 policies into 2016. Plots that are never worked, or appear to be abandoned because they are not weeded or harvested will be donated back to the community to be offered to another gardener.   This should help all of us minimize the amount of weeding that needs to be done and better utilize the garden space.

Our website fggardens.wordpress.com has the 2016 sign up sheet and waiver for download. If you prefer we can send out a copy via mail for you. We are trying to streamline the process of registration and improve our accounting. To assist in that effort we are asking everyone to make payment by April 30, 2016. If no payment is negotiated by May 15 the plot will be re-assigned. Should you need to discuss terms of payment please let us know and we will try to accommodate you. Non-payment will be treated the same as abandonment of the plot.

 

Beginning this year, we will require payments with personal check or money order. We will not accept payment in cash or without signed registration forms.

 

Estimados usuarios del Huerto Comunitario de Forest Grove:

La temporada de cultivo 2016 está iniciando y con ello nuestros preparativos para trabajar al aire libre. Este año tenemos la suerte de contar con más personas interesadas en cultivar que espacios disponibles en el huerto; así que, si usted ya no va a utilizar el lote o desea reducir la cantidad de lotes que hasta el momento tiene, por favor avísenos. Nuestra intención es que todos aquellos que quieran un espacio en el huerto lo puedan obtener. También le informamos que vamos a mantener el mismo precio por lote, no habrá aumento este año.

 

En 2015, ha habido varios lotes abandonados y se convirtieron en un problema para los usuarios adyacentes. En el 2016, los lotes que no se usen o que tienen mucha maleza, por abandono, el Comité Coordinador del huerto lo pondrá a disposición de otros usuarios; esto reducirá el trabajo de desyerbado y permitirá el mejor uso de los espacios.

 

El formulario de inscripción y el permiso especial para bajarlo los puede encontrar en nuestro sitio:fggardens.wordpress.com. Si prefiere le podemos enviar una copia del formulario por correo regular. Estamos tratando de reestructurar el proceso de inscripción y mejorar nuestra contabilidad, por lo que pedimos a todos que nos ayuden en ese esfuerzo haciendo su pago antes del 30 de abril. Si para el 15 de mayo no hemos recibido pago alguno, vamos a darle su espacio a otro usuario. Si usted necesita negociar la forma de pago, avísenos y haremos lo posible de acomodarnos a sus necesidades. Un lote que no haya sido pagado, será tratado como un lote abandonado
Empezando este año, se requiere pagar con cheque o giro postal. Ya no podemos aceptar efectivo o pago sin el formulario de inscripción incluido.

 

Water is on!

 

Hello Gardeners

The water is turned on. Currently it is not restricted but in the near future the pressure will be at drip or soaker hose levels. Thanks for your patience.

The compost delivery is scheduled for this coming Wednesday May 4. Friendly reminder that it is 4 wheel barrows full per plot.

Happy Gardening!

Grow IT! 2015

Hello gardeners,

This is the line up for the Grow It! 2015 series of gardening classes in the Rogers Room at the Forest Grove public library.  Please note that the first one is tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb 25:

 

Wednesday, 2/25, 6:30-8 pm, Starting Seeds Indoors

Tuesday, 3/17, 6:30-8 pm, Improving Your Soil

Tuesday, 4/21, 6:30-8 pm, Container Gardening

Wednesday, 5/27, 6:30-8 pm, Growing Herbs

The classes are taught by Master Gardeners, are free of cost, and open to the public. We hope to see you there and please bring a friend!  There will be seeds to share.

Seed Saving? Why you need to do it…

SEED SAVINGHands-seedling
With large biochemical companies like Syngenta & Seminis (both Monsanto owned) controlling the vast majority of the seed market for both commercial Farmers and the Home Gardener, we are losing the bio diversity of our seeds. We as avid home gardeners are limited to what we can buy “off the rack” at retail and need to diligently seek out alternatives to the narrow choice of seeds marketed. To be good stewards of what Nature has given us, we can help stop the loss of the precious natural genetics by saving heirloom & open-pollinated seeds.

Ever wonder how to grow and save your own seed? There are lots of people that want to save seeds of heirloom & open-pollinated varieties of vegetables & more. With a little bit of care, you can too!   This is a short list of info on how to do it and resources for more on seed saving.  You’ll find online links, titles of books found at the library and places to share seeds. If you are interested in finding out more about sustainable organic gardening, ways to combat food insecurity or other issues on growing food, education, agriculture, and solutions in your neighborhood, contact:
The Forest Grove Victory Garden – FGGardens.wordpress.com
DairyCreekCommunityFoodWeb.org
AdelanteMujeres .org

Download & Print or view online:

AGuideToSeedSaving-cover“A Guide to Seed Saving, Seed Stewardship & Seed Sovereignty” (PDF)
http://www.seedambassadors.org/docs/seedzine4handout.pdf

“A Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and Farmers” (PDF)
http://www.seedalliance.org/uploads/publications/Seed_Saving_Guide.pdf

Growing Tomatoes For Seed Saving – Dowling Community Garden (PDF)
http://www.dowlingcommunitygarden.org/pdf/savTomSeeds.pdf

“Organic Seed Production and Saving: The Wisdom of Plant Heritage” By Bryan Connolly
books.google.com/books?isbn=1603583548

“How to Save Seeds” Vegetable Seed Saving Handbook (PDF)  http://howtosaveseeds.com/index.php

Books about Seed Saving – found at the Library
Seed to Seed : seed saving and growing techniques for vegetable gardeners by Ashworth, Suzanne.
The manual of seed saving : harvesting, storing, and sowing techniques… by Heistinger, Andrea.
The complete guide to saving seeds : by Gough, Robert E. (Robert Edward)
The complete idiot’s guide to seed saving and starting by Richerson, Sheri Ann.
Heirloom vegetable gardening ; a master gardener’s guide to planting, seed saving… by Weaver, William Woys

How long do garden seeds last?
http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/how-long-do-garden-seeds-last
Resources For Seeds
http://seedambassadors.org/
http://www.winonagrange271.org/gpage12.html
http://www.seedsavers.org/Education/Seed-Donation-Program/
http://seeddreams.blogspot.com/
http://www.seedsavers.org/

Share Seeds
http://www.nomoola.com/seeds/where.html

Helpful Hints
Download & Print:  Natural Yard & Garden – A Guide to Alternatives to Pesticides
http://www.clark.wa.gov/esa/documents/garden.PDF

Upcoming Events

Grow It! – March 15th, 2014 at the Forest Grove Library.
Free Gardening Classes Presented by OSU Extension Service Master Gardeners, in partnership with Dairy Creek Community Food Web and the Forest Grove Community Gardens . Come to a FREE class to learn  how grow things. Come to network and help find ways we can support our local food systems, feed our hungry, help create a year round farmer’s market, support community kitchens, develop school gardens, farm to school programs and

Saturday, Feb. 15, 10:30 am – Noon Quick and Easy Plant Propagation
Saturday, March 15, 10:30 am – Noon Start Your Own Vegetable Garden (March class also offered in Spanish 2 – 3:30 pm)
Saturday, April 19 ,10:30 am – Noon Square Foot Vegetable Gardening
Saturday, May 17, 10:30 am – Noon Year-Round Vegetable Gardening (May close only held in the Community Auditorium 1915 Main Street, Forest Grove)

The SHARE SEEDS station will be there!

Is your favorite seed company selling a GMO?

Probably not. Seed companies don’t sell genetically modified seed to the home gardener since it requires a contract for their “patented life form” Whew!  But still, where can you go for pure seeds and trusted seed companies that sell them. I’m working on it!

TripleSweet™ is a Syngenta registered brand!

TripleSweet™ is a Syngenta registered brand!

I’ve recently discovered through my own digging that I may have been supporting the “big 6” biochemical companies inadvertently. I thought that buying from companies that have taken the “Safe Seed Pledge” or sold “USDA Organic & Heirloom” seed was good enough. It is NOT! It’s come to my attention that a couple of the companies I’ve long trusted, Territorial Seed Company and Ed Hume Seeds, both claim the Safe Seed Pledge (in that they don’t sell GMO seed) and yet they continue to sell Syngenta & Seminis seeds! Imagine my horror to find that I had retail packages of the offending corporations like Monsanto & Syngenta in my own garden seed box!

With that discovery I began my slog through the Ag catalogs to see if any of the seed I’d purchased was a GMO or treated with insecticides and such. Low and behold, I found some of those trademarked brands of seed listed right alongside the genetically engineered BT corn! It also allowed me to see that they make a distinction between seed for the home garden and commercial farmers. I was relieved to find that as a home gardener, I can’t get a GMO seed without signing a contract with the biochemical company since some seeds are patented life forms.  Thankfully, I’m not growing a GMO in my garden. What it did do, was make me aware of the brand names of seeds I am buying and which companies still sell Syngenta & Seminis (Monsanto) seeds!

So now the hard part. How can I keep my dollars from flowing to the companies that are diametrically opposed to the values I hold dear? (namely, buying sustainable organic, open pollinated, heirloom varieties that help continue the genetic diversity of seeds I can grow in my own garden) Well, its difficult! I can’t just grab an “organic” packet off the rack anymore since those seed companies may be repackaging Syngenta & Seminis seeds under their own labels!

What can we do? We can continually challenge companies to keep our values by divesting themselves from the biochemical companies. By reaching for seeds that are from companies that have not only taken the Safe Seed Pledge, but by checking to make sure that they are true to the spirit of genetic diversity and not just giving it “lip service” or using the Safe Seed Pledge as a marketing tool. I’ve also started challenging the companies directly on their Facebook pages about their commitment to the S.S.P. Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote on the Ed Hume Seeds Facebook page:”

Your seeds are not GMO? Anybody that’s done a little research knows seeds marketed for home gardens CAN’T be a GMO. You’ve got to sign a contract to get those. What CAN be said is that Ed Hume Seeds sells #Syngenta seeds, from one of the “big 6” biochemical companies! #Syngenta and #Seminis are both divisions of, or associated with #Monsanto! We need companies true to the “SafeSeedPledge”. #EdHumeSeeds has NOT taken that pledge! Honey Select is a registered Syngenta seed! http://www.humeseeds.com/cornhs.htm”

That has resulted in them deleting my Facebook posts and gotten me banned by Ed Hume Seeds. Thankfully Territorial Seed is still responding!

Since I’ve decided I don’t want to support biochemical companies in my garden if its humanly possible, I’ve started the task of finding ways to reliably confirm that the seed companies I buy from are in fact NOT sourcing their seeds from Seminis or Syngeta. That is proving to be a hard row to hoe! I’ve found a few “cultivars” databases that allow me to actually reference the brand name of the seed to verify who has developed it and where its sourced from. Here are links to two databases. They aren’t as up to date as they could be, but they are a start!
http://ashs.org/cultivars/index.lasso
http://cuke.hort.ncsu.edu/cucurbit/wehner/vegcult/

I’ve also started compiling a list of companies that I have checked for Syngenta & Seminis branded seed varieties. That list is incomplete and I will post it when its reasonably accurate. On a side note, I was able to retrieve the list of seed companies from “Occupy Monsanto 360” website that disappeared last year. If you’d like that, just let me know. Lets hope that with our hard work  and with help from others, we can gain knowledge and find tools to help us make educated choices in how we grow, feed and build our families!