community garden

Yet Another Great Year in the Garden - 2019

This year’s weather and climate has been quite unusual since we moved to Bend, Oregon. Although we had some hot days during Summer, there were also unexpected rainy days, thunder storms, and moderately cool days throughout the past few months. I also decided to beautify the garden this year by growing some flowers: sunflower and cosmos. Despite the deer coming through to help themselves to the “free salad bar” every now and then, the lettuces, kale, basil, sunflowers, and cosmos weathered the elements.

There is so much joy in maintaining a garden, and there’s so much to learn about how the plants grow and survive in such challenging climate conditions here in the high desert. Good soil health, length of the growing season, insect pollinators, water, and sunlight are only some of the essential ingredients needed for the plants to thrive. I have learned to be somewhat selective about what vegetables to grow outdoors, and one can never know what weather events might transpire and affect the health of the plants. I was fortunate enough to have harvested some tasty lettuce for salads, amazing basil for home-made pesto, and even the smooth-leaf kale grew bountiful enough for us to make oven-baked, crispy kale chips that were seasoned with my wife’s delicious seasoning.

Having grown food in this climate, I have reaped the benefits. One key take-away lesson for me has been understanding the need of a controlled-environment situation for growing specialty crops. The weather here in Bend can sometimes get too hot to grow quality lettuce because bolting (flowering) can occur, and that makes the leaves rather tough, alkaline and bitter-tasting. Also, factors such as high humidity, heat, and direct sunlight can cause tip-burn on the lettuce leaves. But I’m extremely grateful to grow food here and learn so much from the process (Click on the photo carousel to see more).

Our community "Around The Block Farming" program

The vegetables are thriving and getting bigger every day. With just a little love, water, light, and fertile soil, our lettuces, kale, radicchio, and tomatoes are coming along great! We are in the beginning stages of developing our Block Farming program, and residents in the neighborhood have begun to take notice and stop by to chat and ask about the project. There is great potential in this vision & endeavor - we aim to help reduce cost barriers to healthy veggies, and launch vegetable gardens in neighborhoods to engage community farming. This will help lower overall cost of production, and provide better access to people. Here are some images of the 160 square feet of veggies we're currently growing in our first garden (you may need to click on the images to advance the slideshow). Enjoy!

-Ben

Community Vegetable Garden Program here in Bend, OR

I am so excited to share the development of our community vegetable garden is in full swing! So far, we've built and installed 4 garden boxes, and we're preparing the soil for growing lettuces, kale, and tomatoes for now. Eventually, we will extend the construction to include more bed boxes (including cold boxes for winter growing). We're currently working with a few volunteers to help us out, and Michele and Goldie's help has been much appreciated.

It is so rewarding to see how positively the neighborhood has responded to the developing garden construction. I hope that we will get to a point where we can expand our operation to other neighborhoods in and around the vicinity of Bend. Who knows...maybe we'll be able to drift into a neighborhood in another state!

Our efforts are primarily supported by donations, and all donations are tax-deductible, as we're a non-profit corporation. If what we're doing resonates with you, and you're able to offer your support, then you can donate to our crowd-funding campaign. Thanks for reading our post!

-Ben