A Guide to Growing Small Scale Food Gardening Projects - Food Gardening Tool Kit
Clark County Food Gardening Tool Kit: A Guide to Growing Small Scale Food Gardening Projects
Clark County Public Health’s Mission Our mission is your good health. Together we: Prevent disease and injury Promote healthier choices Protect food, water, and air Prepare for emergencies. We’re always working for a safer and healthier community.For more information about the Garden Toolkit contact:Clark County Public HealthP.O. Box 9825Vancouver, WA 98666-8825Phone: (360) 397-8000 x7218Email: Public.Health@clark.wa.govWebsite: www.communitygrown.orgThis gardening toolkit was written by Tricia Pace, RD, IBCLC, Clark County Public Health withfunding from Washington State
ContentsPrefaceAbout This ToolkitIntroduction: Why Garden? Why Home Garden? Why Square Foot Garden?Part One: How to Create a Food Garden Project: Step 1: The People; Partners, Participants, and Mentors Step 2: The Places: Where to Site Garden Projects Step 3: The Products: Materials, Beds, and Plants Step 4: The Process: Timelines, Guidelines, and Templates Step 5: The Party: Celebrating the Harvest Step 6: Project EvaluationPart Two: A Garden PrimerPart Three: Resources: Local Gardening Education and Information Resources General Gardening Education and Information sites Book List Potential Funding OpportunitiesAppendix: Coalition Building 10 Steps to Starting a Community Garden Coordinator OutlineAttachments: Participant Letter of Invitation Participant Covenant/Landlord Agreement Participant Pre/post Survey Plant Request Forms Mentor Letter of Invitation Mentor Agreement Invitation to Harvest Celebration Certificates of Participation, Appreciation, and /or RecognitionReferences:Acknowledgements:
PrefaceWelcome to the Clark County Food Gardening Toolkit; a guide to growing successful small scalefood gardening projects. This guide is a result of our experiences in supporting families withlimited resources enjoy more fresh produce through home gardening. The bountiful gardens ofdelicious, nutritious fruits and vegetables exceeded all of our expectations. But what alsogrew were individual self-esteem and resourcefulness, family bonding, and strongercommunities. The initial ten family pilot has evolved into Vancouver-Clark Community Grownwith hundreds of residents benefiting from the practical and wonderful events that occurwhen people connect with nature and with each other.Growing food gardens begins to address two of the most significant public health issuesaffecting us today: chronic disease and environmental degradation. Increased physical activityand eating more fruits and vegetables are key to healthier, happier citizens. Growing one’sown food reduces trips to the store to buy commercially grown, transported, packaged andstored food that uses so much energy and causes a lot of pollution. Tending the land asorganic food gardens improves and protects our personal and environmental health.We hope that this guide inspires and supports the creation of many food gardening projectsand programs across Clark County and beyond.
About This ToolkitThis tool kit was designed using lessons learned by Clark County Public Health to helpindividuals and organizations develop food gardening projects. Included are guidelines,suggestions, resources, and templates to assist and enhance those efforts.The toolkit is divided into four sections. The introduction briefly discusses some of thegeneral benefits of gardening with a focus on home scale food gardens. Part 1 details steps todeveloping gardening projects. Part 2 is a garden primer with basic gardening informationPart 3 lists local and internet resources for information, education, events, potential fundingopportunities and a book list for further reading. The appendix and attachments offerguidelines and templates we found useful in our projects.Comments or suggestions for improving this toolkit are welcomed and appreciated. Pleasedirect those to Clark County Public Health at Public.Health@clark.wa.gov .
Why Gardening? Food costs are high, food safety is questionable, and food security is an issue for many residents. Most of us would like to eat better and get more exercise. Gardening is a fun, creative, economic way to address some of these problems and more. The National Gardening association estimates that a well-maintained garden may yield an average of $500 of food per year. Food grown in a local garden is more likely to be fresher, more nutritious, and with less risk of contamination. Gardening increases outdoor physical activity associated with the prevention of multiple chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, adult-onset diabetes, and high blood pressure. Research shows that gardeners are often happier, healthier people who are better able to handle the ups and downs of life. Gardening creates a connection of people with the naturalworld which increases our respect for our environment and reminds us how our actions reallydo make a difference. Why Home Gardening?Home gardening provides healthy physical activity and fresh, organic fruits and vegetables forall who put in a little effort. Growing produce at home means no plot rent or transportationcosts to get to a garden somewhere else. The time saved on the road means more time in yourhome garden which is also more likely to be healthy and beautiful because you’ll see it severaltimes everyday. At home, the whole family can be involved; the little ones can learn to help and there is no need for child care. Relatives and neighbors can offer help and advice from their own gardening experiences. Small garden beds can also be heightened or put on tabletops so people with physical limitations can join in as well. Think of the great potlucks you can share with friends, neighbors, and extended family.
Why Square Foot Gardening?Square Foot Gardening (SFG) is a unique gardening concept developed by Mel Bartholomewover 30 years ago. Small, sturdy raised beds filled with a topquality planting mix and gridded into one foot squares are the basisfor efficient, economic, simplified gardening. Mel estimates that100% of the produce from a traditional garden can be grown in20% of the space in a square foot garden. He further calculatesthat a square foot garden uses only 10% of the water, 5% of theseeds, 2% of the effort, and leaves the gardener with 0% of theweeds! This system is a boon to those with limited time or moneyand little gardening knowledge or experience. Our projects foundthe SFG method to be easy to teach, productive, and rewardingfor our participants. For further information read The All NewSquare Foot Gardening Book or check out the website atwww.squarefootgardening.comThe Waltons had great production from their 4’ x 8’ square foot garden.
How to Create a Successful Food Gardening ProjectCreating a successful small scale food gardening project is a lot of fun…and quite a bit of work.The steps below helped us plan, implement, and monitor our projects in an organized systemthat worked well for everyone involved. Step 1: The PeopleDeveloping a garden project is a people-intensive undertaking that requires enthusiasm,collaboration, knowledge, and time. Projects evolve due to the unique personalities andrelationships that develop between the people who make it happen. Each contributor brings hisor her own skills, talents, and ideas to create a successful outcome. Our folks were defined bythe following categories: partners, participants, volunteers, mentors, and coordinators.The Partners:Partners are so important for a project bigger than a few gardens. Collaborating with otherswill give your project more exposure and increase its likelihood of success. Building a coalitionwith people or groups who share your goals combines resources to create a more powerful andeffective force compared to working alone. For information on building a coalition seeAppendix 1.Partners may be individuals, groups, or organizations. They’ll help you with many tasks fromoffering advice to providing supplies and labor. When looking for partners, carefully considerwhat your true needs are since projects can take on a life of their own and may lose theiroriginal intent. Partners may include: • Community service organizations (Rotary, YWCA, Scouts, 4-H, etc.) • Schools (primary, middle, and high schools, tech schools, colleges) • Horticulture programs • WSU Extension • Churches • Businesses (garden shops, lumber yards, compost/recyclers, hardware stores) • Neighborhood associations • Gardening enthusiasts/experts (clubs, master gardeners, Beautiful Backyards, ) • Hospitals • Food banks • Government and non-governmental agencies • Parks and Recreation • Community centers • Volunteers (gardeners, laborers, organizers, etc.)
Our Story:Clark County Public Health formed a coalition with partners from a local high schoolhorticulture program, a faith-based organization, and a master gardener program. Between us,we found funding and leadership, built, installed and filled raised beds, and bought vegetablestarts, seeds, and basic gardening supplies. We connected participants with experiencedgardeners who supported and educated them through the summer and we collected input anddocumented the progress all along. We celebrated with a fabulous harvest potluck taking timeto recognize and honor everyone involved. We evaluated surveys and our findings were writtenup, presented, and published. Vaughn Andersen, Teacher Duane Sich, Director Lewis & Clark High school Friends of the Carpenter Bill Coleman, Master Gardener, with Aaron Glenn.
The Participants:The participants are the folks for whom you are creating the gardens. They will become thenew gardeners who will tend and harvest their own raised beds. Be sure that your participantsunderstand that the success of their garden depends on their efforts and consistentattention. Some of them may have gardening experience while others may never have turned aspade. Experience doesn’t matter but commitment does.Participants will depend on the target audience for yourprojects. They may include: • Singles • Families • Children, teens or adults • Persons with disabilities • Students • Employees • People with limited resources • Immigrants • People who are homeless • People in recovery programs • People who want to improve their health Noe working his soil.Outreach to participants can be challenging depending on how your project is designed.Apartment-based projects serving tenants simplifies outreach by only talking to thoseresidents. Recruiting participants from more varied or mobile groups takes planning,collaboration, and persistence. If your project will be reaching out to people with low incomes,working with Head Start, WIC, or schools with a high percentage of free and reduced lunchmay be effective. When engaging specific groups, ask people from those groups to be on yourcoalition to ensure respectful, successful outreach efforts.Inviting potential participants to information meetings lets them to learn about the projectand ask questions. Participants need to have a clear understanding of what signing up means sothey’ll know what’s involved and how committed they are. Showing examples of the garden bedsor posters of similar projects makes a project more real. If possible, ask previousparticipants to talk about their experiences. Serving fresh produce gives a taste of thepossibilities. Salad greens, bread with herbed butter, and water flavored with cucumbers andmint is an easy, healthy menu.Sending letters of invitation and participant covenants enhances outreach and tracks interest.The participant covenant is a promise to tend the garden all season and reminds them thattheir garden’s success depends on their efforts. Templates for letters and covenants are inthe Attachments.
The Mentors:A mentor is a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person, whooften has a powerful influence on the recipient’s success. Mentors will educate and supportparticipants from planting through harvesting and share ideas for using the produce. They willteach about composting, staking tomatoes, and protecting plants from critters and badweather. Often mentors learn right along with participants. Match mentors with yourgardeners early to give more time for getting to know each other and more effective teaching.Be mindful to match mentors with gardeners who live in the same areas when possible.Training mentors goes beyond assuring that they know enough about gardening. The groupserved will dictate what kinds of skills and qualities mentors need to have. Participants mayhave unique situations mentors need to understand so both will be comfortable. There may belanguage barriers, significant cultural differences, differing work ethics and/or differentmores around home maintenance. For a mentor/mentoree relationship to succeed, personal andlifestyle differences cannot interfere. Melissa Harris mentoring new gardeners at Central Park Place.Expectations of garden mentors: • Enthusiastic about their mentoring role • Non-judgemental towards others’ backgrounds, skills, abilities, or situations • Friendly, open, and willing to work with participants where they are • Ability to teach and provide gentle, constructive guidance • Dependable and reasonably available • Passionate and knowledgeable about organic gardening
Recruiting enough qualified, dedicated mentors can be difficult. Mentors need not be “mastergardeners” but must know about home-scale vegetable gardening. Training participants tobecome peer mentors is a way to avoid this potential problem in the future. Peer mentors havethe advantage of being recently mentored themselves so they can readily pass on what did anddid not work for them.Recruit mentors via letters, phone calls, and posting notices in local gardening publications andon the internet. Possible places to find mentors may be: • WSU’s Master Gardener program • Clark County’s Naturally Beautiful Backyards program • Local Garden Clubs • Center for Agriculture and Science Environmental Education (CASEE) Center • Community Gardens • Horticulture Programs • Gardening friends and family • Volunteer services requestThe Volunteers:Few projects succeed without dedicated, passionate, reliable volunteers. A volunteer issomeone who willingly works for others or the enviroment because they choose to do sowithout being motivated by money or gifts. For many, the emotional benefits of giving ofthemselves are satisfying, fulfilling, and sometimes healing. For a rewarding volunteerexperience, be sure that your project is well organized and that volunteers are given specific,meaningful and timely tasks. Volunteers can help in many ways including: • Outreach assistance (phone calls, presentations, letter writing) • Labor (building and installing the beds, mixing soil) • Running errands (picking up and delivering materials, lunch, etc.) • Providing child care during meetings • Administrative support (distributing & retrieving surveys, tallying data, etc.)The Coordinator:The coordinator is the one who pulls all the people, places, and things together into a commonaction or effort. This is a big role with many responsibilities. This position may be sharedwith a clear division of tasks to keep it manageable.The coordinator(s) need not be an expert gardener but must understand all phases of yourproject and be able to get along well with everyone involved. Respectis earned by being wellorganized, assuring timely delivery of materials and supplies, and treating others’ time, talents,and skills respectfully. A general coordinator outline is found in the appendix.
Step 2: The PlacesWhere to Site your ProjectsOne of the many beauties of small raised garden beds is their adaptability—one can fit intothe tiniest postage-stamp yard or a group of them can fill a field. Your project may be one bedper home in a neighborhood or a cluster o beds in the common area of an apartment complex.Schools may choose to group beds around the campus while worksites may line their walkways.Parks and Recreation is a great connection for large projects in public spaces. The places youchoose are as varied as the projects you design. The following are options to consider: • Single homes/duplexes • Apartment complexes • Assisted Living facilities • Residential Treatment Centers • Child Care Centers • Churches • Work sites • Correctional Facilities • Neighborhoods • Food Banks • Community Centers ABC & 123 Preschool’s garden • Hospitals • Libraries • Parks • Vacant lots /Parking Strips • Storefronts/BusinessesOnce you decide on your participantgroup, the next step is to find aconvenient location, preferably withinwagon-dragging distance for everyone.It’s hard to beat the convenience of The gardens at Aurora Placeone’s own yard but the size and missionof your project may mean creating acommunity garden rather than individual home gardens. After you’ve found your spot, you’llneed to figure out where on that place to put the beds. This, and lots of other basic gardeninginformation, is found in Part 3: A Garden Primer.
Step 3: The Products: Supplies, Materials, and PlantsBooks and SuppliesThe basis of our gardening project is found in Mel Bartholomew’s book All New Square FootGardening; Grow More in Less Space. We chose it because of its simple, efficient, andeconomic gardening methods and its easy, detailed instructions on building beds and how andwhy to make the planting mix. It is written in an easy-to-read format with many colorfulpictures, helpful charts, and a glossary. The book is available in bookstores or may be orderedin bulk. See resources for information.We kept supplies few and simple to show that gardening doesn’t have to be expensive. Ourgardener’s kit included the book, a kneeling pad, a trowel, and gardening gloves for each familymember. Excluding the book, all supplies were bought at local gardening centers for about$10-$15 per family depending on how many pairs of gloves they needed. Through thegenerosity of a local organization, many supplies were donated.Materials for the Beds:Our raised beds were made of untreated 2” x 6” cedar boards. Other woods will work and areless expensive but cedar lasts longer so is cheaper than replacements over time. It is NOTrecommended to use pressure treated wood because chemicals might leach into to soil and betaken up by some plants. We used metal corner brackets to secure, square, and strengthen theboxes. Screwing the corners to stakes hammered into the ground added extra support.All of our beds were 4’x 8’ for consistency and simplicity. We doubled the 4’x 4’ bedspromoted by “All New Square Foot Gardening” so gardeners had more growing space. The sizeof the beds can easily be adapted to your project designs and spaces. For one of ourparticipants with a back injury, we stacked extra boards to make it higher. Table-top beds canalso be built or bought for people with physical limitations.We used the weed cloth recommended in the book at first, but then chose to use newspapersand cardboard instead. These are free and break down overtime by worms and other bugs.Cardboard and newspapers are very effective weed barriers under soil and reusing them inthis way keeps them out of the landfill.
Make grids that divide the beds into one foot squares. Our grids were made of 1 inch lath which is cheap and available in bundles of 50 from most lumber yards. Grids can also be made of sticks, bamboo, or even string strung from nails in the tops of the sides. If the garden is not divided like this, then it is NOT a square foot garden (SFG). We found the SFG method to be easy and very productive for our participants.Heather proudly displaying her new square foot garden.We partnered with Friends of the Carpenter (FOC), a local faith-based organization who useswood working as a means of outreach. For a set fee, FOC provided wood, hardware, and laborfor building and installing our beds. This was a win/win partnership which made our firstproject possible and provided income for a worthy organization. Donations of wood, hardware,and volunteer labor could lower project costs. Jeff and Dennis of FOC installing yet another fine garden.
Materials for the Planting Mixture:After the first year using a commercial garden soil mix, we decided to follow the planting mixrecipe in Mel’s book, All New Square Foot Gardening. His premise is to not waste time, money,and effort on making poor soil good, but instead start from the beginning with a great plantingmix.The recipe for “Mel’s Mix” is equal parts peat moss, vermiculite, and a blend of five differentkinds of compost. Peat moss aerates and lightens the mixture. Vermiculite’s role is to holdmoisture but proper watering will assure your plants get enough. We used half therecommended amount to reduce costs. The most important component is the blend ofcomposts. Using a blend provides a better mix of nutrients so you won’t need to add fertilizer.For big projects, mixing a yard of commercial compost in with bags of specific composts likemushroom, forest floor, and chicken or steer manure, makes a less expensive, well-roundedblend. Compost from kitchen waste is all the future amendment home gardens will need. Seemore about composting in the Garden Primer.We followed the instructions for making Mel’s Mix on site. Premixing large batches off site,then bagging it to be delivered to the gardens may cut time and decrease mess. Jeff and Dennis preparing planting mixture.
The Plants:Most of our plants camefrom Lewis & Clark HighSchool’s horticultureprogram. Be sure to orderearly so plants have timeto grow. Then, scheduleinstallations so that startsare ready to be plantedwhen they need to comeout of the greenhouse.Plants from a greenhousewill need time to adapt tothe outdoors through aprocess called hardeningoff. Read more abouthardening off in theGarden Primer. Thriving plant starts in Lewis & Clark’s greenhouseWe bought seeds and miscellaneous plants from local garden centers. Buy seeds on sale whenpossible, usually in late winter or early spring. Many seeds are good for several seasons so tryold seeds as well. Choose disease-resistant plant varieties known to grow well in your area.Check the packet or tag for all kinds of information on plant needs. Combination of plants from Lewis & Clark and a local garden center.
Step Four: The ProcessCreating and implementing your first garden project can be quite involved. Below is a briefoutline of how we did it. It is presented here as an outline for simplicity and clarity. Most ofthe activities are discussed in detail in the other sections of this toolkit and in thecoordinator outline in the appendix. Some activities may occur in different order. Forinstance, does a coalition form around an idea to seek funding or does available fundingdetermine the need for a coalition? Your own projects will dictate your steps. 10 Steps to Home-Scale Food Gardening Projects 1. Develop a general idea of what you want to do, for whom, and why 2. Secure funding and make a flexible, comprehensive budget 3. Build community buy-in; form a coalition if needed 4. Solicit, educate, and select all the players; match mentors with participants a. Partners b. Participants c. Mentors d. Volunteers 5. Order plant starts & gather all materials 6. Organize, schedule and monitor installations; take pictures 7. Monitor through season to provide encouragement, support, and appreciation for everyone involved; take lots more pictures and document progress 8. Plan and host a potluck celebration; take more pictures and thank everyone 9. Collect data and testimonials; evaluate and write up your project 10. Present project findings and experiences to any and all interested parties Summer crop beds at Central Park Place
Step Five: The CelebrationThe potluck celebration is the place for all to shine and share. For the gardeners, it is anopportunity to tell their stories, meet other gardeners, and to give back to the community bysharing their bounty of delicious produce. Mentors appreciate this time to enjoy the fruits oftheir mentorship. Organizers and partners come together in celebration of a project withresults often beyond their initial goals and objectives.Celebrations are detail-intensive so enlist the support of volunteers and delegate tasks amongthem. Begin planning the celebration by mid-summer. Find a central place with a kitchen andplenty of room to accommodate your guests and reserve it early. The Clark PUD communityroom was a great venue for our largest celebration. Community rooms at apartment complexesor churches may be better options for some projects.Be sure to include everyone on the guest list: funders, officials, managers, directors,landlords, and business owners in addition to all gardeners, mentors, and volunteers. Sendinvitations at least three weeks in advance. Be sure that gardeners and mentors know to bringdishes made with produce from their gardens. To round out our menu, we provided bread,herb butter, desserts of locally grown fruit, and water flavored with mint and cucumbers. Aninvitation sample is included in the attachments.Fun, informative displays can be made with pictures, and quotes from gardeners and mentors.We posted ours on tri-fold posters to stand alone. Laminating with clear contact paper is aninexpensive, effective way to preserve posters for future displays.Awarding certificates of accomplishment and appreciation acknowledges individual efforts andcontributions. When possible and appropriate, invite the media to cover your celebration.Take lots of pictures to document the event and for future presentations. Ashley helping out at the 2007 potluck celebration.
Step Six: The EvaluationEvaluating your project will provide much useful information to guide you in future projects.Input from participants and mentors is invaluable. How else will you know what worked, whatdidn’t, what was missing, and what could have been better? Information about connectionsmade during the project may lead to partnerships in the future which can cut costs, increaseparticipation, and ease the process.Since most funding is driven by data reflecting a need or results, it is very important to planwhat information you want to collect and collect it in a way that you will give answers to yourquestions. We used a pre/post survey to gather baseline data to compare and measurechanges in participants’ gardening knowledge and skill levels as well as in their physical activityand nutrition. Soliciting both short and long answers provides a wealth of data from which tomeasure your success. Our mentors also completed surveys at the end to provide input on theprocess and to rate their satisfaction with participation.Data can be compiled into reports for your funders, partners, and participants to illustrateproject outcomes. The data from our projects was written into a report, and abstract, andarticles for the newspaper and a professional journal. We pulled it all into a logic model whichis a one-page illustration of a project from beginning to end. See our logic model in theappendix.
A Garden PrimerThis primer was written to give you basic gardening information but the knowledge and wisdomof experienced gardeners is invaluable. We strongly encourage you to seek the advice of manyfine gardening experts in your communities and of those listed in the resources section. Where to Plant: Site, Soil, Water, and SafetySiteAll plants need sun, some more than others. The amount of sunlight depends on the type ofplant. Large flowering or fruiting plants need twelve-plus hours of sunlight per day. Theseplants are referred to as “warm weather plants” or “summer crops” and include tomatoes,peppers, squash, beans, cucumbers, corn, eggplant, melons, potatoes, and sunflowers. “Coolweather crops” are those which grow well spring and fall. They grow with less sun but stillneed at least eight hours per day to thrive and produce. Cool weather crops include spinach,lettuces, other greens, radishes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and garlic. If a gardenwith cool weather plants gets too much sun—especially true for south or west facing beds--build shade barriers or plant sun-sensitive plants in the shade of larger sun-loving plants.Trees and shrubs will block sun so don’t put beds too near these. Young trees and shrubberymay not cause shade now but might in a few years. Also, larger plants will suck up water andnutrients from young starts and seeds.Try to put the garden on flat or slightly sloping ground in well-drained soil so it is easier tolevel and won’t sit in a puddle which will be messy and cause rot. Slight southern slopes areusually a great location for maximizing sun. If the sunniest site is on a hillside, be creativewith terracing. Retaining walls can provide stable support and are a great spot for pockets ofherbs, or for trailing flowers or vining vegetables to hang over.SoilThe best garden soil is loose enough so roots can grow freely, drains well yet retains moisture,is slightly acidic (pH between 6.2 -7.0), and provides lots of nutrients for healthy plantgrowth. For in-ground gardens, amendments may be needed to improve the soil’s balance ofnutrients and texture. Adding organic matter, or compost, will create a balanced, crumbly soilthat water and air can easily move through so roots can grow easily. Learn more about makingyour own compost in the “how to” section. Raised beds should be filled with a light, nutrient-rich mixture so young plants have what they need to thrive.WaterWater is as important as sun and soil for healthy plants so site gardens near a water source.Larger, community gardens need to be close to several spigots and have agreements in place
with city or county authorities for billing. Teach community gardeners about any security orsafety systems so they can get water when they need it. Put home gardens near a faucet ifpossible and keep hoses, watering cans, or buckets nearby. Be careful when dragging hosesaround since they can easily damage plants. More about watering plants is covered in the “howto” section.SafetyGardens should be in well marked areas safely away from busy streets. They should also be agood distance away from industrial areas or factories that may contaminate nearby water, air,or soil. Planting a community garden adds significantly to the beauty, pride, and safety ofneighborhoods. What to PlantHardiness Zones/Heat ZonesGardeners should plant what they want to eat but it doesn’t always work out that way. Climateand elevation play a key role in determining which plants will grow where. To decreasefrustration and waste by trial and error, plant hardiness zones, or climate zones, were set upby the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a guide to help determine whichplants grow best in what climates. Hardiness zones show the lowest average temperature it willget in each zone every year with Zone 1 being the coldest and Zone 11 being the warmest.Southwest Washington is mostly in Climate Zone 8. The criteria for these zones will vary evenwithin a few miles due to natural conditions such as altitude, wind, humidity, and heat.There is also a heat zone map based on the average number of days the temperature is 86degrees or more. Eighty-six degrees is the temperature at which plants begin sufferingdamage to their branches and leaves. Southwest Washington is in Heat Zone 4, having 14-30days hotter than 86 degrees. Heat Zone, like Hardiness Zone also is affected by otherconditions but the biggest problem with heat is water supply. Warm weather crops can takemore direct heat and usually aren’t damaged until temperatures reach 95 degrees but ALLplants need lots of water in severe heat. Always keep a check on the water needs of yourplants, especially those in raised beds and containers.Knowing the hardiness and heat zones helps gardeners choose plants and seeds that do well intheir areas. This information is often included on seed packs or with planting instructions.Experience over time will help gardeners learn what will thrive in their gardens.Selecting SeedsBuy quality, disease-resistant seeds from a reliable dealer and shop early for best selectionand sales. Seed packets offer important planting information and often a drawing or photo ofmature plants which is very helpful to new gardeners. Sharing seeds with others is a fun,educational, and free way to increase your gardening knowledge and bounty.
New seeds may have better germination rates, but seeds that were saved and stored properlywill be good for several years. Never save seed from hybrid plants because over time they willproduce inferior plants. Examples of some hybrid plants are eggplant, bell peppers, broccoli,and most corn. Below is a table of typical storage lives assuming seeds are kept cool, dark, anddry. Storage Life of Most Seeds 1 year 2 years 3 years 4 years 5 years Onions Chives Beans Cauliflower Collards Parsley Corn Broccoli Heirloom tomatoes Cucumber Spinach Hot peppers Cabbage Kale Lettuce Carrots Pumpkin Celery Radishes Marigolds Squash Peas Swiss Chard WatermelonSelecting PlantsVegetable plants, also known as starts, are often the only chance for long-season vegetableslike tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli. Buy plant starts sales hosted by horticulture programs,nurseries, or garden centers of variety stores. Choose plants that are strong, straight, anddeep green without yellowing or insect damage. Plants bought from outside stands will be readyto go in the ground but those from a green house or windowsill will need time to slowly adjustto the outside. Abrupt temperature changes can shock, stunt, or even kill tender plants.Helping plants adjust to the outside is called “hardening off” and is further explained in theplanting section.Think about the mature size of the plants you’re choosing for your garden beds. In large, in-ground plots space isn’t too much of a problem, but smaller raised beds can quickly becomejungles. Two zucchinis will overtake a small bed. Seed packets and most plant starts will haveinformation on mature size and whether or not plants will need to be supported with stakes,cages, or trellises. When to PlantStarting early increases production and variety of a garden. In our area, many cool seasoncrops can be planted in early spring when the soil temperature is around 50 degrees. Warmseason crops won’t do well until the ground is above 60 degrees. Seed packets, plant labels andexperienced gardeners can give guidance on planting times. Planting early, mid-season, and latecrops is called succession planting. Well timed succession plantings provide a steady supply ofproduce from spring through fall and helps lessen bumper crop madness.
How to PlantThere are several ways to plant a garden; the method chosen depends on the layout. For large,in-ground plots, single-row furrows or wide row plantings are most typical. Seed packets orplanting guides will tell you how far apart to plant. Some gardens may include hill plantingswhere vining plants like squash and cucumbers are planted in small hills to allow the roots tospread out and the vine to grow freely. The hills are planted with 4-6 seeds. Once growing,thin the starts to no more than three plants.Our projects used raised beds which were filled with a special soil mix and overlaid with a gridthat divided them into one foot squares. The squares were then planted with one, four, nine,or sixteen seeds or plants depending on how big the plant would be when mature. All theinformation needed for this type of planting is found in “The All New Square Foot Gardening”book by Mel Bartholomew. See the resources section for information on Mel’s book.The depth seeds are planted depends on their size. Small seeds should be lightly covered with¼” of soil. Larger seeds should be planted the depth that is about ½ of the seed’s width. Seedpackets and planting tags will provide information on planting. All seeds should be kept moistduring their germination period.Seeds are ready to plant when soil reaches the right temperature: 50 degrees for cool seasonplants and 60 degrees or more for warm season plants. Dig a small hole, put in one or twoseeds, cover lightly with soil and water well. While most instructions tell you to over plant,then thin, why not plant only what you need in the first place? This will save time, work, andseeds. No need to plant something only to pull it up two weeks later.Starts bought from outdoor stands are ready to go in the ground. Those bought fromgreenhouses or started indoors need to be “hardened off” before planting by graduallyexposing them to the outside. Begin to harden off your plants about a week before theirtransplant date which is found on the seed packet or with planting instructions. Set plants outin a protected, shady spot during the day and bring them in at night and if the weather turnscold, windy, or rainy. Leave them out a bit longer each day so that by the end of the week,they’ll be tough enough to bask in the sunshine all day. Transplant seedlings into the garden onan overcast, even misty day if possible, to ease the shock of moving from the pot to ground.Consider companion planting which is based on the idea that certain plants do better in thecompany of certain other plants. One plant may benefit another by enriching the soil withnutrients or by improving conditions above ground like the shade produced by a tall, sun-lovingplant for a low-growing cooler plant. A companion planting chart is found below:ng?Some plants do better when in the company of other plants. Companion planting is using this knowledge to increase plant performance bothas insect control and to take advantage of the symbiotic relationships between plants. plant varieties and cropping practices.
Table 1. COMPANION PLANTING CHART FOR HOME & MARKET GARDENING (compiled fromtraditional literature on companion planting)CROP COMPANIONS INCOMPATIBLEAsparagus Tomato, Parsley, BasilBeans Most Vegetables & Herbs Irish Potato, Cucumber, Corn, Strawberry,Beans, Bush Onion Celery, Summer SavoryBeans, Pole Corn, Summer Savory, Radish Onion, Beets, Kohlrabi, Sunflower Aromatic Herbs, Celery, Beets, Onion Family, Dill, Strawberries, Pole Beans,Cabbage Family Chamomile, Spinach, Chard Tomato English Pea, Lettuce, Rosemary, Onion Family,Carrots Dill Sage, Tomato Onion & Cabbage Families, Tomato, BushCelery Beans, Nasturtium Irish Potato, Beans, English Pea, Pumpkin,Corn Tomato Cucumber, SquashCucumber Beans, Corn, English Pea, Sunflowers, Radish Irish Potato, Aromatic HerbsEggplant Beans, MarigoldLettuce Carrot, Radish, Strawberry, Cucumber Beets, Carrot, Lettuce, Cabbage Family,Onion Family Beans, English Peas Summer SavoryParsley Tomato, Asparagus Carrots, Radish, Turnip, Cucumber, Corn, Onion Family, Gladiolus, IrishPea, English Beans Potato Beans, Corn, Cabbage Family, Marigolds, Pumpkin, Squash, Tomato,Potato, Irish Horseradish Cucumber, SunflowerPumpkins Corn, Marigold Irish PotatoRadish English Pea, Nasturtium, Lettuce, Cucumber HyssopSpinach Strawberry, Favba BeanSquash Nasturtium, Corn, Marigold Irish Potato Onion Family, Nasturtium, Marigold, Irish Potato, Fennel, CabbageTomato Asparagus, Carrot, Parsley, Cucumber FamilyTurnip English Pea Irish Potatohttp://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/complant.html#chart (companion planting chart)
WateringThere is an art to watering well: not enough and plants will stunt, shrivel, and die. Too muchand they’ll rot or die from lack of oxygen. Plants like sun-warmed so keep a bucket full nearbyand refill it after each watering to be ready next time. Warm water gets a little deeper intothe soil so more quickly increases the soil temperature and helps plants absorb nutrientsfaster in spring and late fall. Water the roots only by lifting the leaves and slowly pouringwater directly into the ground. This way water goes where it is most needed and reduces therisks of fungal infections in plants.Overhead watering drenches some plants with too much water while others don’t get enough.Also, the gardener is too far away to closely check out the plants for any problems. Besides,hoses will hurt plants if they are dragged over them. If you must use a hose, have a shut offvalve for the end and an extension hand wand with a spray nozzle. This helps direct the waterunder the leaves to the roots, thus keeping most of the plant dry. Keep the hose coiled in thesun but be careful that the water is not too hot for use. Drip systems can be very efficientwhen they deliver water when and where it is needed but they may also be expensive.Seeds and seedlings need consistent moisture until well-established. Spring rains will takecare of some days but gardeners need to keep watch for signs of under- or over-watering.Over-watering is the more common problem. Too much water causes stems to wilt, leaves toturn yellow, and mold to grow. Over-watered plants may appear to need water because theirstems wilt and their leaves may turn yellow and fall off. Check the soil! If it’s wet, don’twater again until it has dried out a bit.Once growing well, water needs will vary depending on size, season, weather, and growthdemands of individual plants. New gardeners will gain confidence about watering—andeverything else--with experience. Protecting the gardenYour garden is a living labor of love that will need protection at times. The most commonharmful elements will be weather and critters. In all the excitement of spring planting, wesometimes forget frosts are still likely. The average last day of frost for Vancouver is April12. The “Safe Date”, the day on which nine of the ten previous years the last frost hadalready occurred, is May 14. There is only a 10% chance of a frost after this date.Covering your tender young plants can save them from frost damage. Cloth and paper workwell for covers; use plastic as a last resort. Try cloth shower curtains, old blankets, pillowcases for tall plants, newspapers, or tarps. Drape covers over supports and secure tightly incase of high winds. Water plants well before covering since water carries heat from theground upwards into the plant. Remember to remove covers the next day-especially plasticcovers which can create a hothouse effect and overheat plants.
Wind and hail can also cause a lot of damage to your garden. When possible, put you gardenbeds in the most protected site that still receives plenty of sun. Solid walls are the bestprotection against strong winds. Temporary barriers made of hay bales can provide some windprotection and simple but sturdy tent structures can be effective against winds and hail.Animals can be another cause of damage to your garden. Deer, rabbits and squirrels arenotorious for devouring young starts from above while moles and voles can feast and destroyfrom below. Dogs can accidentally trample the garden while cats may find it an exceptionallitter box. Fencing from above and below can be very effective against all these creatureswhile still allowing for sun, water, and attention to reach your plants. Check with otherexperienced gardeners and in the resources section for more ideas and information onprotecting your garden. Diseases and PestsThe healthier your garden is, the fewer problems it will have with pests and disease. Growingyour plants in a sunny location in healthy soil and giving them the right amount of water will gofar in promoting a thriving, verdant garden. Close attention to your garden each day will let youcatch and address problems early. Early signs of disease include spotting, discoloration, andchanges in plant structure like curling leaves or wilting stems. For accurate identification andwhat to do, seek the advice of an expert gardener such as a master gardener from WSU.There are both good and bad garden insects. The goal is to attract and retain the good bugswhile keeping the bad bugs away. Beneficial insects help gardens by eating harmful pests,pollinating plants, composting and improving soil, and by being food for birds and other animalsthat also eat pests. Attract common beneficial bugs like bees, dragonflies, and ladybugs byplanting flowers, having a water source nearby, and by leaving some of your yard “wild” tocreate a safe home for insects. See resources for “Bugs and Pests: The Good, The Bad, andthe Downright Ugly”, a handy identification and information brochure produced by ClarkCounty Solid Waste and WSU Extension. HarvestingNow comes the happiest part of gardening: harvesting your beautiful, delicious, nutritiousproduce. The key to harvesting is timing. If picked too soon, vegetables can be tough or soft,and lacking in taste and nutrients. If picked too late, again they may be tough and fibrous ortoo soft and mushy with an off or bland taste. Weather is the determining factor affectingplant maturity. Many sunny days can ripen some plants early while cooler, rainy weather maydelay or prevent ripening at all (think green tomatoes) Information about typical days tomaturity is generally listed on seed packets. Harvest tables, like the one on the next page, arealso a helpful guideline. Taste, texture, and experience will guide you in harvesting the perfectprize.
Vegetable Part Eaten Too Early Optimum Too LateArtichoke, Globe Immature bloom Flower buds small When buds are 2" Buds large with scales or to 4" in diameter bracts looseAsparagus Stem Insufficient length , 6" to 8" long; no Excess woody fiber in 1* fiber stemBeans, Lima Seed Insufficient bean Bright green pod; Pods turned yellow; ok size seed good size for dried beansBeans, Pole Green Pod and seed Insufficient size, 1* Bean cavity full; Seed large; pods fibrous; seed ¼ grown ok for dried beansBeans, Snap Bush Pod and seed Insufficient size , Pods turgid; seeds Pods fibrous; seed large 1* just visibleBeets Root and leaves Insufficient size , Roots 2" to 3" in Roots pithy; strong taste 1* diameterBroccoli Immature bloom Insufficient size , Bright green color; Head loose; some blooms 1* bloom still tightly beginning to show closedBrussels Sprouts Head Insufficient size; Bright green; tight Head loose; color change hard to harvest , 1* head to green yellowCabbage Head Insufficient leaf Heads firm; leaf Leaf loose; heads cracked cover , 1* tight openCantaloupes Fruit Stem does not want Stem easily breaks Background color of to separate from away clean when melon is yellow; rind soft fruit pulledCarrots Root Insufficient size , ½" to ¾" at Strong taste; oversweet 1* shoulderCauliflower Immature bloom Head not developed Head compact; Curds open; separate , 1* fairly smoothCelery Stems Stem too small , 1* Plant 12" to 15" Seed stalk formed; tall; stem medium bitterness thickCollards & greens Leaf Insufficient leaf Bright green color; Midrib large; fibrous size, 1* small midribCorn, Sweet Grain Grain watery; small Grain plump; liquid Grain starting to dent; ; BABY CORN, 1* in milk stage liquid in dough stageCucumber Fruit Insufficient size , Skin dark green; Skin beginning to yellow; 1* seeds soft seeds hardEggplant Fruit Insufficient size , High glossy skin; Seeds brown; side will 1* side springs back not spring back when when mashed mashedLettuce, Head Leaves Head not fully Fairly firm; good Heads very hard formed , 1* sizeOkra Pod Insufficient size, 1* 2" to 3" long; still Fiber development; pods tender tough
Onions, Dry Bulb Tops all green Tops yellow; ¾ All tops down; bulb rot fallen over startedPeas, English Seed Peas immature and Peas small to Pods yellow; peas large too small to shell ; medium; sweet EDIBLE PODS, 1* bright greenPeas, Southern Seed and pod Peas immature and Seeds fully Seeds hard; pods dry(green) too small to shell ; developed but still EDIBLE soft; pods soft IMMATURE POD, 1*Pepper, Green Bell Pod Pod thin and small, Tick walled and Pod shrivels 1* green to some redPepper, Colored Pod Pods still light Bright red/yellow Pod shrivelsBell green and thin etc. and firm walled , 1*Potato, Irish Tuber Insufficient size, 1* When tops begin to Damaged by freezing die back weatherPotato, Sweet Root Size small; Most roots 2" to 3" Early plantings get too immature; 1* in diameter large & crack; damaged by soil temperatures below 50°FRadish/turnip roots Root Size too small, 1* Appropriate size for Pithy, strong flavor, hot variety. taste, fibrous.Soybeans, edible Seeds Seeds not Pods thick; bright Pods yellowing/ dry; seed developed green shatters outSquash, Summer Fruit Insufficient size, 1* Rind can be Penetration by thumbnail penetrated by difficult; seed large thumbnailSquash, Winter Fruit Rind soft but can be Rind difficult to Damaged by frost used as summer penetrate by squash, 1* thumbnailTomatoes Fruit May be harvested in three stages: Mature green – tomato firm, mature, color change from green to light green, no pink color showing on blossom end. Pink – pink color on blossom end half. These tomatoes, at room temperature, will ripen in 3-4 days. Expose to indirect light / don’t keep in the dark. Ripe – tomato full red but still firm. Should be used immediately or these tomatoes will store one to two weeks if kept 60 F. (Warm to room temp before using.)Watermelon Fruit Flesh green; stem Melon surface next Top surface has dull look green and difficult to ground turns to separate from light straw color to a richer yellow
Some first time gardeners are so excited their plants are growing that they don’t want to pickthem. But that’s the whole point! Harvesting produce for healthy meals and to share withfriends is a true joy. Preserving your ProduceWell-planned and cared for gardens produce a bounty of fruits and vegetables that sometimesoverwhelm even the heartiest appetite. Preserving this abundance provides delicious summer-fresh taste in the dark of winter and can greatly reduce grocery bills. Preserved produce isalso among the proudest of gifts to give and the most welcomed of gifts to receive.The most common methods of food preservation are drying, canning, and freezing.Successfully preserved foods retain their flavor, texture, and nutrients and remain safe toeat for a long time without contaminants or fermentation. For information and educationabout a variety of food preservation methods, check out local experts in the resources tab. Putting your Garden to BedPutting your vegetable garden to bed for the winter properly will prepare it for an early andproductive spring just a few short months away. The crops that are finished or have beenkilled by frost need to be removed and tossed into the compost pile. Be sure to gather up anydecaying vegetables which may have hidden fungus and insect pests. Once all spent plants arecleaned up, layer on a few inches of compost and/or mulch of shredded leaves and work it intothe soil. This organic matter will add nutrients and air to the soil in preparation for next year’sgarden.
ResourcesLocal gardening resources for education, information, plants, and events:Clark County Food and Farm websitehttp://clarkfoodfarm.blogspot.com/2009/01/washougal-community-garden.html (local food and farm site with information, classes, events, and products)The Urban Farm SchoolP. O. Box 393(?)Ridgefield, WA 98642Kendra Pearce (360) 852-3728Toree Hiebert (360) 907-5814http://urbanfarmschool.wordpress.com/about-urban-farm-school/ (teaching people how to farm their urban/suburban land)Vancouver Food NetworkP.O. Box 249Vancouver, WA 98666 (360) 694-3663http://VancouverFood.Net (local food and gardening information, presentations, classes, and events, Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm information)Washington State University (WSU) ExtensionCenter for Agriculture and Science Environmental Education (CASEE) Center11104 NE 149th Street, 11104 NE 149th St, Brush Prairie, WA 98606, 360-397-6060, Contact UsBrush Prairie, WA 98606360-397-6060 email@example.com://clark.wsu.edu/volunteer/mg/plantClinic.html WSU’s home page for gardening info in Clark Countyhttp://gardening.wsu.edu/ WSU’s master gardener website with moderated forum for gardening discussionsClark County Public WorksNaturally Beautiful Backyards/ Master Composter and Recycler Program1300 Franklin StreetVancouver, WA 98660(360) 397-6118
http://www.co.clark.wa.us/recycle/natural/index.html Naturally Beautiful Backyards programhttp://www.clark.wa.gov/recycle/yard/mastercomposter.html Master Composter and Recycler programhttp://www.clark.wa.gov/recycle/A-Z/Resources/CSEEC.html Columbia Springs Environmental Education CenterFind a Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm near you – www.swwa-csafarms.com (CSAs sell shares to people who then receive a weekly allotment of fresh produce through the growing season)Find a farm stand near you – http://smallfarms.wsu.edu/farms/locate_search.aspFind a local farmers’ market – http://www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/living/eating.htmlBattle Ground Farmers’ Market (Brenda Millar Stanton, Market Coordinator) SE Grace Avenue and SE Rasmussen Blvd., Battle Ground http://battlegroundfarmersmarket.com www.battlegroundfarmersmarket.org (360) 576-9767 email is firstname.lastname@example.org Hours are 9-3 every Saturday through October 17th.Manor Farmers’ Market Evangelical Christian Church, 179th Street and 72nd Avenue, Battle Ground http://www.manorec.comCamas Farmers’ Market 5th Avenue between NE Birch and Cedar, Camas http://camasfarmersmarket.comVancouver Farmers’ Market Esther Short Park, corner of Esther and 8th Streets, Vancouver http://vancouverfarmersmarket.com/index.htmlWashougal Farmers’ Market Reflection Plaza Main and Pendleton Way, Washougal http://washougalfarmersmarket.com
Elementary School Gardens Camas Roots Garden Growing Food, Minds, and Community www.camasroots.org HomeLink School GardensHigh School Horticulture programs: Columbia River High School 800 NW 99th Street, 98665 Fort Vancouver High School 5700 East 18th Street, 98661 Hudson’s Bay High School 1601 East McLoughlin Blvd., 98663 Lewis & Clark High School 2901 General Anderson Avenue, 98661 Skyview High School 1300 NW 139th Street, 98685
General gardening information websiteshttp://depts.washington.edu/hortlib/resources/resource_search.php?term=540 (UW’s Botanical Gardens info web site; gardening answers knowledge base and book lists)http://www.thegardenhelper.com/vegetables.html (free internet guides to gardening)http://www.vegetable-gardening-basics.com/ (extensive information on vegetable gardening)http://www.helpfulgardener.com/vegetable/2003/vegetable.html (how to plan and grow a vegetable garden; links to vegetable forum)http://www.squarefootgardening.com/ (Official Square Foot Gardening website)http://www.heirloomseeds.com/ (comprehensive gardening information)http://growingtaste.com/ (comprehensive home vegetable gardening info)http://www.humeseeds.com/frost1.htm#WA (frost dates for Washington, Oregon, and Alaska )http://extension.missouri.edu/xplor/agguides/hort/g06203.htm (common diseases in the home garden)http://w3.aces.uiuc.edu/NRES/extension/factsheets/vc-11/VC-11.html (harvesting vegetables)http://growingtaste.com/storage.shtml (seed saving info)http://www.seedsave.org/issi/issi_904.html (seed saving info)http://www.patriotfood.com/Seed_Saving.html (seed saving info)
Book ListCheck with Library for these and other helpful gardening books.All New Square Foot Gardening: Growing More in Less Space by Mel Bartholomew This is the second edition of Mel’s 1982 best selling gardening book. It gives the basics, instructions, and guidance for gardening by the square foot method plus planting information and multiple useful gardening tables.The New Self-Sufficient Gardener by John Seymour This is the definitive book on the "common-sensical" way to do things told in a homey, conversational way.The Vegetable Garden by M. M. Vilmorin-Andrieux This is a modern reprint of a wonderful book—lots of information of the cultivars of vegetables, including many youve never even heard of--first published in 1885 but still a valuable resource. Out of print, search for used.The Sustainable Vegetable Garden: A Backyard Guide to Healthy Soil and Higher Yields by John Jeavons and Carol Cox100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden by Dr. Carolyn J. Male She is the doyenne of heirloom-tomato experts.The Heirloom Tomato by Amy Goldman Another winner to follow her heirloom melons success..Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long by Eliot Coleman Growing veggies through the winter (and summer) in Maine.Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth This is the definitive seed-saving and seed-starting manual--the one far and away most often recommended by seed houses.
Taylor’s Guide to Vegetables and Herbs by Norman Taylor et al This "pocket guide" is extraordinarily valuable because of its wonderful series of photographs of each vegetable and herb described; but the concise yet complete entries themselves are also quite useful in a summary way. (Out of print)Guide to Heirloom Vegetables by Benjamin Watson Like the item above, except, of course, focused on "heirloom" varieties.Herbs, Spices, and Flavorings by Tom Stobart This is an indispensable book to anyone interested in cooking with or in growing food flavorings.The Big Book of Herbs By Tom DeBaggio and Dr. Arthur Tucker A collaboration between an long-time recognized expert herb grower and one of the nations foremost botanical experts on herbs, this book clarifies the muddy mess of modern herb classification and provides a wealth of detail on growing herbs.Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte The most thorough guide available to "companion planting"--the idea that certain plants very much help or hinder the growth of certain other plants when the two are planted close together. No positive science that we know of, but a principle widely believed in by many wise, veteran gardeners.Rodale’s All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening by Marshall Bradley, Barbara W. Ellis (Editor) It really is what its title says: an encyclopedia. No one article exhausts the possibilities of its subject, but its sort of the Joy of Cooking of gardening--whatever you want to know about, theres at least some useful information in it.The Backyard Berry Book by Stella Otto Lots of handy, practical advice on how to grow berry plants of all sorts in your back yard; it covers quite a number of berry types, with some advice on cultivar selection.
The Backyard Orchardist by Stella Otto Lots of handy, practical advice on how to grow fruit trees of all sorts in your back yard; it covers quite a number of types, with some advice on cultivar selection.Let It Rot! by Stu Campbell "The Gardeners Guide to Composting"--and that is pretty much what it is, a sound, basic handbook on this subject of vital importance to every serious home vegetable gardener.Saving Seeds: The Gardeners Guide to Growing & Storing Vegetable & Flower Seeds by Marc Rogers, Ben Watson (Editor), Polly Alexander (Illustrator)
Potential Grant Sources/OpportunitiesGardening projects are often funded by grants, individually or collaboratively with partners.Below are sites for potential funding sources.http://clark.wsu.edu/volunteer/mg/foundation.html WSU Master Gardener Foundationhttp://www.whf.org/Grants/HSINGrants.aspx Washington Health Foundation—currently grants for rural areas onlyhttp://www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/OHP/community-grants.htm DOH/ Office of Health Promotion community block grantshttp://www.gatesfoundation.org/grants/Pages/search.aspx Dedicated to the idea that all people should have healthy, productive liveshttp://attra.ncat.org/guide/index.html USDA Building Better Rural Places/funding grants that focus on nutrition and healthhttp://www.rwjf.org/grants/ Robert Wood Johnson foundation focuses on health disparities and obesity preventionhttp://wkkf.org W. K. Kellogg foundation focuses on promoting health, happiness, and well-being of children around the world.http://www.aecf.org/AboutUs/GrantInformation.aspx Annie E. Casey Foundation focuses on meeting the needs of today’s vulnerable children and families through grants to help states, cities and neighborhoods create innovative, cost-effective responses to those needs.
Appendix 1Coalition Building:Spangler, Brad. "Coalition Building." Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. ConflictResearch Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: June 2003<http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/coalition_building/>. Coalition BuildingByBrad SpanglerJune 2003What is Coalition Building?A coalition is a temporary alliance or partnering of groups in order to achieve a common purpose or to engage in joint activity.Coalition building is the process by which parties (individuals, organizations, or nations) come together to form a coalition. Formingcoalitions with other groups of similar values, interests, and goals allows members to combine their resources and become morepowerful than when they each acted alone.Why is Coalition Building Important?The "ability to build coalitions is a basic skill for those who wish to attain and maintain power and influence." Through coalitions,weaker parties to a conflict can increase their power. Coalition building is the "primary mechanism through which disempoweredparties can develop their power base and thereby better defend their interests." Coalitions may be built around any issue and atany scale of society, from neighborhood issues to international conflict.The formation of a coalition can shift the balance of power in a conflict situation and alter the future course of the conflict. People whopool their resources and work together are generally more powerful and more able to advance their interests, than those who do not.Coalition members may be able to resist certain threats or even begin to make counter threats. Generally, low-power groups aremuch more successful in defending their interests against the dominant group if they work together as a coalition. This is certainlymore effective than fighting among themselves and/or fighting the dominant group alone.Environmental groups in the United States have long understood the power of coalitions. Rather than taking on powerful industries ontheir own, leading environmental groups have often formed coalitions to challenge big business in the ballot box, at the legislature,and in the courts. They have succeeded in getting environmental candidates elected, and strong environmental protection lawspassed. Without having many environmental groups working together, industry would have had a much stronger hand in the fight overenvironmental protection in the U.S.How Do You Build a Successful Coalition?Building a successful coalition involves a series of steps. The early steps center on the recognition of compatible interests.Sometimes this happens naturally. Other times potential coalition members must be persuaded that forming a coalition would be totheir benefit. To do this one needs to demonstrate 1. that your goals are similar and compatible, 2. that working together will enhance both groups abilities to reach their goals, and 3. that the benefits of coalescing will be greater than the costs.This third point can be demonstrated in either of two ways: incentives can be offered to make the benefits of joining the coalition high,or sanctions can be threatened, making the costs of not joining even higher. For example, the United States offered a variety offinancial aid and political benefits to countries that joined its coalition against Iraq in 2003; it also threatened negative repercussions
for those who failed to join, and much worse for those who sided with Saddam Hussein. Another method that can make joining thecoalition appealing is to eliminate alternatives to the coalition. Once most of ones allies or associates have joined a coalition, it isawkward...perhaps dangerous not to join oneself. Although people and organizations often prefer non-action to making a riskydecision, if they find themselves choosing between getting on board a growing coalition or being left behind, getting on board is oftenmore attractive.Lastly, coalition builders may use precedence as a means of social influence. For example, in making decisions, people (or countries)generally want to remain consistent with prior commitments. That means that nations can pressure their allies to act with them in newendeavors. Failing to do so, it can be argued, would hurt their "long-standing alliance." This strategy is not always successful,especially if the self-interest of the other group seems to be harmed by the proposed action. (France, for instance, was not willing tojoin the U.S. coalition against Iraq in 2003, despite a long-term alliance between France and the U.S.)What are the Benefits of Coalitions?The benefits of coalition building go beyond increased power in relation to the opposition. Coalition building may also strengthen themembers internally, enabling them to be more effective in other arenas. Some other key advantages to coalition building include: A coalition of organizations can win on more fronts than a single organization working alone and increase the potential for success. A coalition can bring more expertise and resources to bear on complex issues, where the technical or personnel resources of any one organization would not be sufficient. A coalition can develop new leaders. As experienced group leaders step forward to lead the coalition, openings are created for new leaders in the individual groups. The new, emerging leadership strengthens the groups and the coalition. A coalition will increase the impact of each organizations effort. Involvement in a coalition means there are more people who have a better understanding of your issues and more people advocating for your side. A coalition will increase available resources. Not only will physical and financial resources be increased, but each group will gain access to the contacts, connections, and relationships established by other groups. A coalition may raise its members public profiles by broadening the range of groups involved in a conflict. The activities of a coalition are likely to receive more media attention than those of any individual organization. A coalition can build a lasting base for change. Once groups unite, each groups vision of change broadens and it becomes more difficult for opposition groups to disregard the coalitions efforts as dismissible or as special interests. A successful coalition is made up of people who have never worked together before. Coming from diverse backgrounds and different viewpoints, they have to figure out how to respect each others differences and get something big accomplished. They have to figure out how each group and its representatives can make their different but valuable contributions to the overall strategy for change (See consensus building). This helps avoid duplication of efforts and improve communication among key players.Disadvantages of Working in Coalition Member groups can get distracted from other work. If that happens, non-coalition efforts may become less effective and the organization may be weakened overall. A coalition may only be as strong as its weakest link. Each member organization will have different levels of resources and experience as well as different internal problems. Organizations that provide a lot of resources and leadership may get frustrated with other members shortcomings. To keep a coalition together, it is often necessary to cater to one side more than another, especially when negotiating tactics. If a member prefers high-profile confrontational tactics, they might dislike subdued tactics, thinking they are not exciting enough to mobilize support. At the same time, the low profile, conciliatory members might be alarmed by the confrontation advocates, fearing they will escalate the conflict and make eventual victory more difficult to obtain. The democratic principle of one group-one vote may not always be acceptable to members with a lot of power and resources. The coalition must carefully define the relationships between powerful and less-powerful groups. Individual organizations may not get credit for their contributions to a coalition. Members that contribute a lot may think they did not receive enough credit.The Bottom LineDeciding whether to join a coalition is both a rational and an emotional decision. Rationally, one must consider whether oneseffectiveness and ones ability to attain ones own goals would be enhanced or harmed by participation in a coalition. Emotionally, onemust consider whether one likes the other people or groups, and whether cooperating with them would be easy, or more trouble thanit is worth. Usually when two people, groups, or organizations goals are compatible, forming a coalition is to both groups benefit. But
organizational styles, cultures, and relationships must be considered as well before any choices are made. Douglas H. Yarn, The Dictionary of Conflict Resolution. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1991), 81. "Coalition Building" (Boulder, CO: Conflict Research Consortium, 1998, accessed on January 30, 2003); available fromhttp://www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/problem/coalition.htm; Internet. Michael Watkins and Susan Rosegrant. "Building Coalitions." In Breakthrough International Negotiation: How Great NegotiatorsTransformed the Worlds Toughest Post-Cold War Conflicts. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2001), 211. "Coalition Building," op.cit Michael Watkins and Susan Rosegrant, op. cit Ibid, 218-219. Florida Office of Collegiate Volunteerism, Coalition Building Guide. (1991, accessed 1 July 2003) available fromhttp://www.tzd.state.mn.us/gettingstarted.html; Internet. Ibid.Use the following to cite this article:Spangler, Brad. "Coalition Building." Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Research Consortium,University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: June 2003 <http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/coalition_building/>.
10 STEPS TO STARTING A COMMUNITYGARDEN*American Community Gardening AssociationThe following steps are adapted from the American Community Garden Associations guidelinesfor launching a successful community garden in your neighborhood.1. ORGANIZE A MEETING OF INTERESTED PEOPLEDetermine whether a garden is really needed and wanted, what kind it should be (vegetable, flower, both,organic?), whom it will involve and who benefits. Invite neighbors, tenants, community organizations,gardening and horticultural societies, building superintendents (if it is at an apartment building)—in otherwords, anyone who is likely to be interested.2. FORM A PLANNING COMMITTEEThis group can be comprised of people who feel committed to the creation of the garden and have the time todevote to it, at least at this initial stage. Choose well-organized persons as garden coordinators Formcommittees totackle specific tasks: funding and partnerships, youth activities, construction andcommunication.3. IDENTIFY ALL YOUR RESOURCESDo a community asset assessment. What skills and resources already exist in the community that can aid in thegarden’s creation? Contact local municipal planners about possible sites, as well as horticultural societies and otherlocal sources of information and assistance. Look within your community for people with experience inlandscaping and gardening. In Toronto contact the Toronto Community Garden Network.4. APPROACH A SPONSORSome gardens "self-support" through membership dues, but for many, a sponsor is essential for donations oftools, seeds or money. Churches, schools, private businesses or parks and recreation departments are allpossible supporters. One garden raised money by selling "square inches" at $5 each to hundreds of sonsors.5. CHOOSE A SITEConsider the amount of daily sunshine (vegetables need at least six hours a day), availability of water, and soiltesting for possible pollutants. Find out who owns the land. Can the gardeners get a lease agreement for at leastthree years? Will public liability insurance be necessary?6. PREPARE AND DEVELOP THE SITEIn most cases, the land will need considerable preparation for planting. Organize volunteer work crews to clean it,gather materials and decide on the design and plot arrangement.7. ORGANIZE THE GARDENMembers must decide how many plots are available and how they will be assigned. Allow space for storingtools, making compost and don’t forget the pathways between plots! Plant flowers or shrubs around thegardens edges to promote good will with non-gardening neighbors, passersby and municipal authorities.8. PLAN FOR CHILDRENConsider creating a special garden just for kids--including them is essential. Children are not as interested in thesize of the harvest but rather in the process of gardening. A separate area set aside for them allows them toexplore the garden at their own speed.9. DETERMINE RULES AND PUT THEM IN WRITINGThe gardeners themselves devise the best ground rules. We are more willing to comply with rules that we have hada hand in creating. Ground rules help gardeners to know what is expected of them. Think of it as a code ofbehavior. Some examples of issues that are best dealt with by agreed upon rules are: dues, how will the money beused? . How are plots assigned? Will gardeners share tools, meet regularly, handle basic maintenance?10. HELP MEMBERS KEEP IN TOUCH WITH EACH OTHERGood communication ensures a strong community garden with active participation by all. Some ways to do thisare: form a telephone tree, create an email list; install a rainproof bulletin board in the garden; have regularcelebrations. Community gardens are all about creating and strengthening communities.
Appendix 3 Coordinator ResponsibilitiesI. The People Part Recruitment a. Identify and recruit participants based on criteria set by coalition or grant Inform participants of project outline and goals b. Identify and recruit mentors Inform mentors of project outline and goals participants served mentor responsibilities timelines and commitments/expectations obtain signed mentor agreements c. Identify and recruit volunteers Inform of project outline and volunteer needs Education/Information a. Plan information meeting • Secure convenient, adequate meeting site and reserve it • Invite all potential participants, mentors, and volunteers if appropriate • Invite previous participants to present if possible • Secure posters, journals, PowerPoint of similar projects • Plan menu/secure donations or funding for food • Plan for miscellaneous needs: camera, tablecloths, plates, cutlery, etc. b. Conduct information meeting • Fully explain project to all • Provide and explain participant packets which include: o Letter of invitation to apply o Participant covenant/landlord agreement o Pre-survey o Plant request o Photo release • Introduce mentors • Obtain and maintain contact list for all participants, mentors & volunteers • Set and/or review timelines c. Collect and review packets from participants d. Follow up on missing information e. Select participants f. Match mentors with participants if not done previously
II. Locations (the Places Part) a. Determine and secure permission for locations b. Check with officials for zoning, water needs and billing, etc. c. Obtain landlord permission prior to installationsIII. Materials (the Products part) a. Order enough copies of “All New Square Foot Gardening” for each participant/family and each mentor b. Order plant starts based on participant requests (order some extras) c. Purchase or obtain via donations (or combination of both) materials for beds: i. Cedar boards ii. Hardware for construction iii. Lath or other material for grids iv. Miscellaneous supplies such as tomato stakes, wood and netting for trellises, etc. d. Determine soil mixture to be used and purchase or obtain via donations (or combination of both) ingredients for the soil mix i. Vermiculite ii. Peat moss iii. 5 different kinds of compost iv. Other if you decide to use a different soil e. Purchase or obtain via donations (or combination of both) supplies for participant gardening kits: i. Kneeling pads ii. Gloves for each family member iii. Garden trowel iv. Seeds per participant request formsIV. Installing, Monitoring, and Evaluating (the Process Part) a. Coordinate installation schedules with participants, installers, and mentors b. Assure soil mix will be available and ready to add with installations c. Retrieve and distribute plants to participants ideally on or prior to installation day (unless beds are installed prior to planting time) d. Meet at participant’s home with installers and assure needs are met for installers and participants regarding installations i. At least one adult participant must be present for installation—goal is to engage participants fully in process and provide education about sunny site, proximity to water and house, etc. e. Stencil number sequence on boxes for tracking f. Take plenty of pictures throughout installations at multiple sites
g. Monitor through season to assure participants and mentors are well connected and have what they need; provide on-going encouragement, support, and appreciation for all involved h. Deliver post tests and evaluations with stamped return envelopes to participants i. Deliver evaluations with stamped return envelopes or via e-mail to mentors j. Begin data evaluation as evaluations are returned k. Follow up with participants and mentors to assure good return rate of post tests and evaluations l. Begin data evaluationV. Celebration (the Party Part) a. Enlist help of volunteers and delegate tasks b. Locate and reserve a convenient, adequate location with a kitchen c. Plan most convenient date and time and design an invitation d. Send invitation about 3 weeks prior to event; invite everyone involved e. Assure all gardeners—but especially participants—know to contribute a dish made with produce from their gardens f. Plan for extras: bread, drinks, dessert, pitchers, tablecloths, etc. g. Develop displays of project using lots of pictures and quotes h. Create Certificates of Participation for participants i. Create Certificates of Appreciation for mentors j. Create any other acknowledgements as deemed appropriate k. Hold potluck celebration and take lots of pictures l. Eat, drink, and enjoy!VI. Project Evaluation a. Gather all straggler surveys, evaluations, and comments; follow up to collect missing data b. Compile data into reports, articles, and/or presentations c. Present on project and outcomes to any and all interested parties d. Save everything for future project opportunities
Attachment 1: Participant Letter of InvitationDear Potential Gardener,Do you like the idea of growing delicious fruits and vegetables in your own yard? If so, youmight be interested in Your Project’s Name’s home gardening project. The goal of the projectis to help folks who may be struggling with grocery bills to eat more fruits and vegetables bygrowing their own produce. Home gardening reduces costs, transportation, and storage andspoilage problems of fresh foods. And, it’s a lot of fun!This project will create home gardens provided at no cost to qualifying participants. To beeligible, you or someone in your household must receive medical coupons and/or food stamps.Knowing how to garden is not necessary-- just the desire to learn and to eat your own freshproduce.One 4’ x 8’ wooden raised bed will be installed in a sunny spot in your yard. A crew will build theframes, fill them with soil, and provide seeds and vegetable starts. An “All New Square FootGardening” book and garden tools will be supplied. Experienced garden mentors will provideongoing gardening education and support to you. Maintaining the garden is easy since it’s sosmall. But don’t let the small size fool you; a well-planned raised bed can grow lots of produce.To apply, please fill out the enclosed forms. Selection will be based on the completedapplication with landlord approval, verification of a medical coupons or food stamps for at leastone household member, and a commitment to tending the garden throughout the growingseason.Deadline for applications is 00/00/00. All applicants will be informed of acceptance by00/00/00.Thank you for your time and interest.Name NameProject Director Project Coordinator
Attachment 2: Landlord Agreement/Participant Covenant Covenant for Participation in Your Project’s Name Food Gardening Project 2009I/we, __________________________________, are applying for acceptance to the YourProject’s Name Food Gardening Project. I/we understand that project staff and volunteerswill install a raised bed, provide soil, seeds, and starts to plant our garden, and that I/we willbe paired with a garden mentor for support and education.By signing below I/we confirm that I/we have obtained permission from our landlord(s) toparticipate in this project. I/we commit to planting, tending, and harvesting our gardenthroughout the 2009 growing season. I/we also agree to fully participate in project activitiesincluding allowing photographs of our garden. I/we will not hold your organization or anyparticipating organization liable for any damages or injuries incurred during this project.Signed: ______________________________________ Date: _______Signed: ______________________________________ Date: _______Signed: _______________________________________Date: _______I/we own our home:______________________________ Date: _______I/we, _______________________________________, owners/landlords of the propertyat __________________________________________, agree to my/our tenant’sparticipation in the Your Project’s Name project. I/we understand that participation involvesinstallation of one 4’ x 8’ raised bed of wood construction including digging up the groundwithin the raised bed. I/we agree not to hold your organization responsible or liable for anydamages to my/our property due to participation in this project. You may contact me at(phone) ______________________ or (e-mail)________________________________________ to verify confirmation.Signed: _________________________________________ Date: ______Signed: ____________________________________________Date: ______
Attachment 3: Pre/post Survey Your Project’s Name Food Gardening Project Initial Survey, 2009Thank you for your interest in food gardening. To help make this project a success, we needyour input. Please answer the following questions and then return this survey with yourcovenant and photo release. 1. How much gardening experience do you have? none very little some quite a bit I’m an expert gardener 2. Growing produce (fruits and vegetables) for myself and my family is important because: (please circle all that apply) a. It’s fresher b. It’s readily available c. It’s safer d. It’s cheaper e. Maybe my children will eat more if we grow it f. Maybe I and other adults in my home will eat more if we grow it g. It’s not important h. Other: 3. How would you rate your ability to provide nutritious foods for your family? very limited limited Ok good very good 4. How many servings of produce do you usually eat each day? 0-1 2-3 4-5 5 or more 5. How many servings of produce do you serve your family each day? 0-1 1-3 3-5 5 or more
6. How much time do you spend doing activities outside (including gardening) each day? 0-1 hour 1-3 hours 3-5 hours more than 5 hours 7. How would you rate your level of physical activity? low somewhat active moderately active very active 8. What benefits do you hope to gain/did you gain for yourself and/or your family by growing a garden? (please circle all that apply) a. bigger food supply/ save money on groceries b. bring family together on an activity c. increased physical activity d. better nutrition for self and/or family e. sense of accomplishment f. create new and/or better relationships g. improved health for self and/or family h. opportunity to share with others i. no benefits expected j. other:How many people will/did help tend your garden and how many people will eat/ate from yourgarden?Tended by: Eat from:Adults:___________________ Adults:_____________________Children (1 – 18 yr.):________ Children (1-18 yr.):_____________Babies (birth – 1 yr):________ Babies (birth – 1 yr):___________Any other comments welcome: