Port Angeles’ public Victory Garden taking shape

PORT ANGELES — On Earth Day this Friday, you can dip your hands into the earth itself, while building both community and a fence.

Port Angeles’ public Victory Garden, on West Fifth Street between Lincoln and Peabody streets, is throwing a work party — rain or shine, of course — to prepare for the coming season of sun and growth, said volunteer coordinator Diane Martin.

Everyone is welcome to join the party from 10 a.m. until late afternoon as volunteers finish the garden fence, build raised beds and otherwise transform what was a vacant field into a 50-plot garden.

This space, which stretches over two city lots, has been donated by the city of Port Angeles, and since the groundbreaking in January, Martin has been promoting the availability of garden plots to anyone hungry for fresh, organic produce.

The rental fee is $35 per year per plot, and complete details are available at 360-452-3192.

On Friday, 15 to 20 volunteers will come from The Home Depot in Sequim to complete the wooden fence and work on other garden infrastructure.

The company gave a $4,000 grant to the Port Angeles Victory Garden for lumber, topsoil and tools, said Brendan Moran, the specialty store manager who organizes Home Depot volunteers.

Volunteers dug post holes Sunday during a “prep day,” he said.

Those workers are part of the company-wide Team Depot program that assigns employees, once they express interest in volunteering, to local projects such as the garden.

The Home Depot doesn’t provide any monetary incentives to these workers, Moran said.

The point, he added, is “just giving back to the community.”

After the fence and beds are built and the first phase of seeds planted in the Fifth Street lot, Martin and her volunteers plan a grand opening party at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21.

The Fifth Street Victory Garden, which is across the street from City Hall, is named after the backyard victory gardens of the early 1940s — patriotic efforts that provided fresh fruit and vegetables for Americans during World War II.

Today, the Port Angeles garden is about growing good food, saving money and getting to know one’s neighbors, Martin said.

She already has devoted innumerable hours to planning the garden, talking with people about renting plots and organizing volunteers.

“It’s all worth it,” she said.

Port Angeles City Councilman Max Mania, who first floated the idea of a community garden, praised Martin for gathering a core group of garden-construction workers.

“It’s going to be a great community resource and certainly an aesthetic addition to that area,” Mania said, adding that he hopes the Fifth Street garden will help more community gardens to sprout elsewhere across the city.

Martin, for her part, was also a driving force behind Port Angeles’ first public planting space, the Vineyard Community Garden, in spring 2009.

That site, on land provided by the Olympic Vineyard Christian Fellowship at 3415 S. Peabody St., has many gardeners returning this year.

There are still plots available for anyone to rent, Martin said.

While about 10 spaces are open at the Vineyard, some 30 are up for grabs on Fifth Street, she said.

The new garden needs stuff, Martin added: Tools, lumber for a shed and raised beds and cash for supplies will help the plants flourish.

Martin welcomes inquiries from would-be donors of such materials at 360-452-3192 or PAVictoryGardens@gmail.com.

Growers and supporters also are encouraged to attend the next monthly meeting of the Port Angeles Victory Garden group at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St.


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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