BCS Teaching Garden 2011 (Year 2)

Casey and Angela Baker, participants with Birch Community Services, decided they wanted to do something to assist people in learning how to garden while helping to provide fresh garden produce to the families at BCS. They were planning on turning their city lot into a sustainable garden using permaculture gardening methods and chose to share this experience as a living learning lab with other participants at BCS — and the BCS Teaching Garden was born.

The garden is located in the Parkrose area of NE Portland on a standard size lot, that will soon boast a harvest of asparagus, blueberries and fruit trees, along with many different types of vegetables, herbs and even chickens. The garden foundation is made up of planting beds created using a method called “sheet mulching”, and wood chip foot paths. Nearly everything that went into this garden was something recycled, another important lesson for our participants.

Businesses and friends in the community stepped up to help, donating soil amendments and other items needed to create the beds, which greatly helped in keeping the initial costs of construction to a manageable level. The next step was having the volunteers join together to help build the garden. This garden is maintained and harvested with consistent, scheduled help from BCS volunteers, and any of our participants are welcome to visit, learn and get involved. One of the most important facets of this garden is the ongoing garden learning opportunities through hands-on harvesting, planting parties and related classes. Our goal is for every family to have a garden — or at least a potted tomato plant on their patio.

The BCS Teaching Garden is an exciting step in educating and helping the working poor in our community. We are blessed to have the Baker family’s generous help by supplying another garden for our participants to grow in.

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