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Please join us for the 2011 School Garden Tour!

2011 School Garden Tour
Friday, August 26th 9am-2pm

Spend the day discovering
local educational gardens!

*See examples of school garden infrastructure & design
*Learn how garden programs are structured & maintained
*Discover how garden-grown produce is utilized in schools & beyond
*Ask questions & network with local school garden experts
*Find out how school gardens support curriculum-wide student learning

We’ll be visiting Vernon Gardens, Rigler Peace Garden, The Lewis Garden and Abernethy Garden of Wonders. The tour will begin in the Vernon Garden and we’ll arrange and we’ll arrange carpools and biking teams from there. Directions and logistical information will be emailed out to those who register. The tour is limited to 40 participants, so please register early. We’ll have a picnic lunch at Abernethy, just before the final garden site tour.

This tour is free of cost, presented by GROWING GARDENS
To register contact Candice: (503)284-8420 x109


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Growing Gardens 8th Annual Tour de Coops!

We are inspired by the creativity of Portland’s urban chicken keepers and we think you will be too.  That’s why we’re excited about our 2011 Tour de Coops!

Saturday, July 16 – 10am-3pm

There are 22 amazing coops on this year’s tour.  From green roofs to cob building, water catchment features to repurposed materials, you will see lots of fantastic coops some lucky chickens call home.  Navigating the tour is easy.  You can get out of your car and bike or walk because we organized the coops into neighborhood clusters.

The ticket to the tour is the booklet. Booklets are $15 and one booklet is good for a group of people.  The booklets include pictures, descriptions, maps and our comprehensive list of coop building tips.  Booklets are on sale Friday, July 8 – 1pm Saturday, July 16.  You can pick up your booklet at one of the following locations:

Garden Fever! – 3433 NE 24th Ave.

Urban Farm Store – 2100 SE Belmont St.

People’s Co-op – 3029 SE 21st Ave.

All of the booklet sales locations will also be selling raffle tickets to win The Garden Ark mobile chicken coop built in a Growing Gardens workshop, taught by John Carr from The Garden Coop  Raffle tickets are one for $5 or three for $12.

you can also order snazzy Tour de Coops 2011 Henlandia t-shirts online!

Want a sneak peak of what you’ll see on the tour? Here is Mitchell Snyder and Shelley Martin’s coop in NE Portland.

Photo by John Clark

“With backgrounds in architecture, we approached the design and building of our coop with much consideration.  We thought about the best location, the space, what materials would be most appropriate and durable, and how our hens would use their new home.  Comfort and protection from the elements were most important for our hens, so we framed the walls to allow insulation to keep them warm in the winter while providing multiple ventilation options and a green roof for hot summer months.  Inside, two perches made from branches are comfortable resting places, and two egg boxes can be accessed through a long door on the outside of the run.  the run is fully enclosed to provide protection from predators when we are not able to let our chickens in the yard.  The “kitchen” is a small, separate enclosure in the run that keeps the food dry and the water clean, and is easily accessible from the exterior for changing.  With those considerations in mind, we kept the design of the hen house as simple as possible while also – most importantly – keeping our hens as happy as possible.”

If any of you have ever gone on the tour or shown your coop on the tour, we’d love to hear from you. Tell us some of the inspiring things you saw or learned from all those creative coops.

We’d like to thank our Tour de Coops “Egg-cellent Layer Circle” Sponsors:

The Garden Coop

Concentrates, Inc.

Living Room Realtors

We hope to see you all on the tour next Saturday, July 16!

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GG’s Latest Dig: A new school garden!

Removing sod

After almost two years of thoughtful planning, phase I of the Shaver School/Community Garden in  Parkrose was installed last Saturday.  Students, parents, teachers, the custodian, the principal, the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) staff, neighbors and Growing Gardens staff and volunteers built 8 raised beds and one disabled accessible bed.

Building the garden boxes

Filling the new beds

The garden was designed in 2010 with input from Shaver students who submitted ‘dream garden’ designs to the Shaver Garden Committee. The committee worked with Pete Cromwell a local landscape designer who turned the ideas into a working blueprint. The Garden Committee’s vision for the garden is to 1) be a ‘teaching place’ to meld hands-on activities with science and English Language Learning (ELL) instruction strategies; and 2) to be a food producing garden, integrating cooking & eating within the school to  increase food literacy and improve nutrition.

Students helping assemble the disabled accessible bed with the Growing Gardens Dawn of the Bed team

In preparation for the garden install, students and teachers have been growing edible plants in their classrooms to plant into the new beds and the after-school SUN/Youth Grow Garden club has been eagerly awaiting the new garden space –  growing garlic, collards, peas, broccoli, chard, radishes and lettuce in three existing beds.

Phase II of the garden includes installing an irrigation system to the beds, building a tool shed, compost and worm bins, an outdoor classroom space with picnic benches and adding pollinator and native plants.  In the meantime the school will cultivate student’s enthusiasm to tend and harvest the new beds.

The finished beds

Funding for supplies came  from: a grant from the Hardy Plant society,  donations from nearby Burgerville fundraising nights, and through donations raised by the Growing Gardens’ Dawn of the Bed team.  Parkrose Hardware, Portland Nursery, Mt Scott Fuel,  and Mr Plywood provided generous discounts on materials, and  Noah’s provided bagels for volunteers. Thank you Peter Cromwell who created the Shaver Garden landscape design.

Congratulations to the Shaver community on this exciting new garden program and to everyone who has helped make it grow!

For more information or to get involved contact the Shaver SUN program at (503) 408-2850.

photos by Caitlin Blethen

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GG’s Latest Dig: A few tidbits to tide you over while you wait for the sunshine

  • In the GG Youth Grow program, we talk with our students about the importance of eating colorful fruits and veggies.  We thought this “nature mapping system”, including a coloring books, murals, and placemats was a pretty cool idea to remind kids and grown-ups alike to eat colorful foods (Thanks to a post by @WK_Kellogg_Fdn!).
  • If you missed it, last week Mark Bittman wrote a great New York Times piece about some good news about food (We especially like number “4” and “6”).
  • And in case you are still planning on planting some spring peas and are looking for a building project, here’s some instructions for building a cool pea trellis! (and check out this kid-friendly version!).

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GG Latest Dig: New Partnership With Earl Boyles Elementary School

Raised Beds in Earl Boyles Community Garden

The Youth Grow program is excited to announce our latest school partnership with Earl Boyles Elementary School! Earl Boyles is in the David Douglas School District, located on the same site as Ron Russell Middle School. The two schools share two plots in an on-site Portland community garden, where students and families will garden together. The school has recently established a garden committee, made up of teachers, parents, staff, community members, and the school’s  SUN coordinator. The garden committee has established two main goals for the garden program this year: to 1) involve families in connecting with their food at its source, and 2) supplement cafeteria salad bar for spring, summer, and fall at both schools. The committee has also developed a timeline and action steps to carry out the vision.   Becky Wandell, a teacher at Earl Boyles, is a graduate of Growing Gardens’ School Garden Coordinator Certificate training, and has been a leading force in bringing together the garden committee. Becky is leading an adult gardening class for families and is working on in-class garden education.

Eli Tinkelman and Nancy Gomez

This spring, Youth Grow after-school Garden Club will share  one of the large garden plots with the school’s new Green Team (4th & 5th graders), taught by Americorps member Nancy Gomez, as well as an after-school garden class at Ron Russell Middle School, taught by Eli Tinkelman. The three after-school classes will collaborate and share resources, creating some exciting opportunities for the spring term. Youth Grow will also  participate in the school’s Health and Wellness Fair this spring, teach a family workshop this summer, as well as provide a summer Garden Camp for students through the SUN program.  We are excited about the new partnership, and look forward to growing with the  Earl Boyles community!

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What’s Ahead for Growing Gardens

Our board adopted a new strategic plan in January for the next 18 months. We’d like to share our main priorities from this plan.


More people are growing their own food because of GROWINGGARDENS.


  • Expand geographic service area
  • Increase student enrollment
  • Establish citywide garden registry





GROWINGGARDENS is a go-to expert on home and school gardening.

  • Increase resources for Spanish-speaking community
  • Expand web-presence and activity.





GROWINGGARDENS is a healthy people organization.

  • Strengthen board capacity and increase opportunities for development
  • Improve staff workload with establishment of Volunteer Coordinator position
  • Ensure constituents reflect community diversity





GROWINGGARDENS is financially strong and growing

  • Maintain a financial reserve
  • Enhance fee-for-service revenue through trainings, installations, and more.







Your support makes it possible for us to plant the seeds for good food, healthy people and strong communities…to help people GROW! If you are not already on our monthly email list, please go to our sign up link so you don’t miss anything.

Finally, thanks to very generous support from Oregon Community Foundation and Meyer Memorial Trust, and a lot of help from Ben McKinnis, of Benco Commercial Real Estate, GROWINGGARDENS is moving to our new office in May.

Stay tuned for details, requests for moving help and a new office wish-list!

Thank you for your support.

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Garden Tips: Making a Garden Plan

Spring is around the corner, and empty garden patches are beckoning.  A little bit of planning now, though, can save you time, prevent confusion, and increase your chances of a successful harvest later in the season.  Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan out this year’s vegetable garden.

What should I plant?

Seed catalogs can be good sources of inspiration when you’re trying to figure out what to plant in your garden.  If the many options get overwhelming, think about this:

  • What do you like to eat?  Growing your own can be an exciting way to try interesting or rare new vegetables, but there’s no point in giving garden space to foods that you know you or your family don’t like.

    You can harvest leaves off one chard plant all season long.

  • What has done well in the past?  If there was something you really enjoyed growing last year, plant it again!
  • What will produce the most food?  You can keep harvesting from beans or greens over a long period of time.  Tomatoes will produce many pounds of fruit in a short time.  Corn or cabbage, on the other hand, take up a lot of space but produce relatively little.
  • What will save you the most money?  Tomatoes and salad greens are both expensive at the store or market, but are easy to grow at home.  Potatoes are cheap, so you might want to leave them out of your home garden.

When should I plant it?

Reference a Pacific Northwest garden calendar (here or here) or check out OSU Extension’s garden calendar to find the best time to plant a particular vegetable.  Check the seed packet for each vegetable’s “days to harvest”—how long you can expect it to be in your garden.

  • Remember that you can plant some fast growing crops like lettuces or radishes multiple times throughout the season, to have a continuous supply.  Other, cold tolerant crops can be planted once in early spring for a summer harvest, then again in mid summer for a fall and winter harvest.
  • Also note whether each plant can be planted from seed, or must be transplanted.    Tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers all need a longer growing season then our climate allows.  You need to give these plants a head-start by transplanting them into your garden as starts.

Where should I plant it?

A map of your garden can help you decide where to plant each kind of vegetable.  It can also help you remember what you planted, and where.  As you’re drawing your garden map, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Space plants according to the directions on the back of the seed packet. Although it can be tempting to put plants close together to squeeze more in, too-close plants compete for sun and nutrients.  Your garden will produce more if plants have space to spread out.
  • Think about using space vertically.  Pole beans, peas, indeterminate tomatoes, winter squash, cucumbers and pumpkins can all be encouraged to grow up trellises, stakes, cages or strings.  The plants often do better grown this way, and it opens up garden space for other crops.   Put trellised plants and taller plants on the north side of the garden, so they don’t shade shorter plants.
  • Some types of veggies grow better when grown together; others can actually inhibit each others growth.  Check out this chart to see who to pair with whom, and who to keep apart in your garden.

A map for two four by eight food garden beds

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