Master Gardeners crops go to Salvation Army

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES -- The Salvation Army Soup Kitchen used more than 1,200 pounds of home-grown produce harvested by the Clallam County Master Gardeners this season.

The Master Gardeners donated the fruit and vegetables from their Robin Hill demonstration garden, which is off Dryke road north of U.S. Highway 101, between Sequim and Port Angeles, said Master Gardener Nancy Bryant.

The purpose of the Robin Hill garden is to demonstrate research-based organic practices in the local growing environment, Bryant said.


Sharing crops

At the same time, the garden shares its crops "with an agency that is feeding our community's most vulnerable," she said.

Sue Williams, Port Angeles Salvation Army Soup Kitchen coordinator, said that the soup kitchen feeds 50 to 100 people, five days a week.

The fresh vegetables and fruit from the Master Gardener program are used in daily meal preparation and are distributed through the Salvation Army's food bank.


All year round

The garden grows both summer and winter vegetables.

Crops include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, summer squash, pole beans, peas, onions, garlic, beets, raspberries, Marion berries, chard, Asian vegetables, radishes, carrots and four varieties of potatoes.

Winter vegetables were planted in a raised bed, extending harvest of cool weather crops Mizuna, bok choy and turnips into December.

Unseasonably cool weather delayed last year's spring planting by four weeks and limited crop development, particularly tomatoes, Bryant said.

The Robin Hill farmers also contended with damage from voles. Jack Williams said that the population of these small mammals appears to be increasing on the North Olympic Peninsula.


Vole problems

Dave Pehling, WSU Extension, Snohomish County, vertebrate pest management expert, said vole populations generally rise and shrink in cycles of three to six years.

Master Gardener volunteers recently planted blueberry bushes.

Alicia Kwok collected seeds from two of last season's varieties of Asian vegetables, garland chrysanthemum and Kai-lan, and she will be planting them this spring at Robin Hill.

Other volunteers who work at the Robin Hill demonstration garden include LeAnn Barber, Lois Bellamy, Riley Bigler, Donna and Floyd Brock, Barbara Hanna, Jan Keithley, Nancy and Larry Lang, John Norgord, Amanda Rosenberg, Sue Shirkey and John Smith.

For more information about Clallam County Master Gardners, see http://clallam.wsu.edu/mg/ or phone the Washington State University Cooperative Extension Office at 360-417-2279 or visit the office in the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Suite 15, Port Angeles.

Last modified: March 29. 2009 11:02PM
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