Last year, across 28 Oregon counties there were 3,323 active OSU Extension Service Master Gardener Volunteers. Here in Bend, we are lucky to have some of the best, including our own NorthWest Crossing Community Garden Master Gardeners. Not only have our Master Gardeners brought knowledge, patience and green thumbs to our garden plots, but they’ve helped ensure the continued success of this important community amenity. And growing food and plants is only part of the success.
In 2013, the OSU Master Gardeners were approached by teachers at the High Desert ESD Headstart Language Development Group which serves 3, 4 and 5 year old students who are learning English as a second language. The teachers wanted to give their students a garden tour and help educate them about gardening and plant growth. The following year, the team planned ahead so that the students were able to plant their own beans and potaties, watch them grow harvest them in the fall.
Louise Gaston, OSU Master Gardener Volunteer, said, “This was a great language experience for these children. One boy had spoken almost no spontaneous English since beginning the class. While harvesting the potatoes, he used only English to talk about the potatoes he found. All the students went home with potatoes and beans for dinner.”
She continued, “We have already planned to continue this program. It is as much fun for the Master Gardeners as it is for the students!” The students planted their vegetables earlier this month and will come back in fall when school starts again to harvest.
This program with Headstart was highlighted in the OSU Master Gardeners Annual Report, and may even eventually be implemented in other areas.
Our community garden has every plot spoken for in 2016, but if you are interested in learning more please visit our garden page at: http://www.northwestcrossing.com/activities/community-garden/
Have you heard? Our beloved garden is making the move to the new Discovery Park and will be holding an “opening day” on May 7 at 9:30am. The garden plots will be available to Bend community members on a first come, first served basis. The garden, which is managed by the OSU Extension Service’s Master Gardener program, features 51 raised beds with micro spray irrigation enclosed by an eight-foot tall wire fence. It’s specific location is at the corner of NorthWest Crossing Drive and Discovery Park Drive, just west of the dog park.
Participation in the opening day is required for all gardeners, who are asked to bring gloves and tools to the meeting for weeding, plot preparation and clean-up. Plots are available to all community members for an annual fee of $30 ($25 for senior citizens). Interested parties will need to pay in cash or check and fill out a basic registration form. Row cover and soil thermometers will also be available for purchase at the launch event.
Garden assistants, who are all OSU Master Gardener volunteers from the Deschutes County OSU Extension Service, will provide information and mentoring to gardeners throughout the 2016 season. This year, they have scheduled a number of monthly educational classes that are open to the general community as well as garden participants. All classes will be held inside the NorthWest Crossing Community Garden from 9:30-11am with the exception of Open Garden on July 9. More details on these events will be coming soon!
- May 14: “Getting Started” with presentations on protection, amending soil and what to plant.
- May 28: Growing vegetables in containers and gardening with children.
- June 25: Composting, vermiculture and mason bee pollinators.
- July 9: OPEN GARDEN 9am to Noon – Public invited to a tour of the gardens and short classes on succession planting and keeping your vegetable garden producing and special guests.
- August 27: The gardening learning curve – common problems and lessons learned.
- September 24: Selecting trees for the landscape and formative pruning.
For more information, go to northwestcrossing.com/amenities/Community_Garden/ or contact Tina Burnside ([email protected] 541.318.0426) or Kathy Geary ([email protected] 541.588.2424).