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Posts Tagged ‘Community Gardens’

Nasturtiums

Port Orford’s Community Garden is in full bloom.

Garden Bed

A walk among the beds shows a full array of gardening possibilities for our quirky coastal climate. This August we’ve had mostly clear cool (mid-60°) days but those vegetables and flowers have also had to deal with full sun and a desiccating north gale, fog, partial sun, and even, very occasionally 70°+ temperatures (you can almost watch the squash and tomatoes grow on those days.)

While we’ve given up on our front yard garden’s tomatoes (the deer have delicately nibbled through the “deer proof” netting) the community garden’s got a nice high fence. Most of the grazers there are slugs which seem particularly fond of succulent greens. Still, most of us are seeing our gardens grow; for some there’s enough for our Saturday farmer’s market as well as for The Common Good, Port Orford’s food pantry.

Peas and Lettuce

Here’s what I’ve seen in the garden recently: snow peas (we harvested at least 20 pounds ourselves), broccoli, cabbage (green and purple), strawberries, chard, spinach, squash, kale, potatoes, pak choi, snap and pod peas, celery, lettuces, cauliflower, radishes, and herbs. There’s even some plump pea whose pods stick straight out from the stalk. The green beans are beginning to flower and the tomatoes and peppers have begun to set.

Potatoes

And the flowers! While the flashy orange, red and pink-edged oriental poppies are almost past, there are two beds which are overflowing with violas and velvety purple petunias as well as lettuce and tomatoes. Some gardeners have landscaped beds; others have beds completely devoted to spinach or beans. The sheer abundance of green is delightful.

Oregon Spring Tomato

We’re not certain our own, heirloom looking Oregon Spring tomatoes will ripen on the vine. Stan says we can always put them in a sunny window. But come fall, sun may be hard to find.

Still there’s a bright side of Port Orford gardening. We never need to worry about a killing frost.

Port Orford Community Garden

Petunias and More

A Votre Sante!

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Welcome to Port Orford's Community Garden © SR Euston

Saturday we checked out our plots in the Port Orford Community Garden. We rented two for ten bucks apiece: Each is about eight feet long by four feet wide. That gives us about 64 square feet of garden.

Spring in the Garden © SR Euston

They’re raised beds filled with great black loamy looking soil and the water is free. They are about three blocks from our house.

Sunday under a warm partly sunny sky we planted the first bed with six strawberry plants, radishes, spinach, turnips, kale and chard. We broadcast sowed the spinach seeds, the others went into neat tiny rows. We’ll see.

It brought back fond memories of our exuberant organic farming days in Piedmont VA. There we had two acres cultivated. That’s somewhat over 87,000 square feet! There we worked 100 foot rows of assorted vegetables, and literally hundreds and hundreds of tomato plants. We harvested everything from the earliest (Oregon) snow peas and mesclun mixes, to high summer eggplant and okra. One Saturday a DC visitor to our Lynchburg farmer’s market, bought all 15 pounds of our mustard greens. That was enough to fill two black garbage bags which she planned to place in the seat next to her on the return bus trip home. Our largest crop (1000s of pounds) was tomatoes, at least a dozen types including the all-time favorite tiny SunGolds. Horizons Farms starred in the Thomas Jefferson Tomatoe Faire one year, sweeping every category including Best of Show.

At the Farmer’s Market © SR Euston

We sold luscious Charantais cantaloupe, just the right size for two. And flowers—zinnias, sunflowers, mums. The goldfinches loved our fields. We closed out the season with sugar sweet pumpkins and acorn squash. The deer left our fields alone until the end when they began to sample the pumpkins, taking dainty bites out of one, then another. Not eating any one whole, merely rendering each fit only for compost. Actually that was OK by me. After a few hard days harvesting pumpkins I was exhausted and more than happy to share. Those years were hard and frightening; unexpected, unwanted, unplanned-for events (late frost, potato beetles, heavy rain, tomato hornworms) are always part the farming life. But oh the satisfaction of seeing our fields making food.

I imagine we’ll feel the same way with our two plots. And so much easier to manage.

Pumpkins and Acorn Squash © SR Euston

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