March 19, 2009 in Washington Voices

Gardens require human resources

Pat Munts

Coming up

In April and early May, the Master Gardeners are offering a series of Saturday classes on Growing Your Own Food that will cover the basics of growing vegetables, herbs and fruit. Culinary herbs will be covered on April 4, home fruit growing on April 11, heirloom vegetables on April 18 and raised beds on May 2. Classes will be held at the WSU Extension Office from 10 a.m. to noon. Cost is $10 per class or $35 for the series. Call 477-2048 for registration information.

Yes, Spokane, there will be a spring.

There will be green again with warm sun. Many of you are already visiting the garden stores in hopeful anticipation. This is a good thing. Here are some local opportunities to get involved in now.

Several groups around town are organizing community gardens particularly in the West Central, East Central and Hillyard neighborhoods. Growing gardens with neighbors and friends is a great way to learn how to grow stuff but even a better way to get to know your neighbors.

The best way to start a community garden is to get a group of neighbors, friends and community groups together around a piece of open, sunny land in a backyard or vacant lot. By organizing a large group to run the garden, the work is spread out and resources are easier to gather. Check out Spokane Community Gardens’ Web site at for a how-to fact sheet on starting a garden and to see pictures of local community gardens.

Two gardens in the East Central and Hillyard neighborhoods need the community’s help to get started this year. In the East Central neighborhood, the community is looking for people to help gather resources, build and prepare the gardens for planting and then garden at the Spokane Water Department pumping station at Ralph Street and Hartson Avenue just south of Fred Meyer. The group will meet Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone St. to discuss garden building schedules and talk to perspective gardeners.

In Hillyard, community members are trying to organize a garden on the Spokane Water Department pumping station property at Hoffman Avenue and Crestline Street behind the Wellesley Avenue fire station. They are inviting the public to meet April 2 at 6 p.m. at the Northeast Community Center, 4001 N. Cook St. to help organize the garden and rally resources in time for the growing season. Call (509) 998-9769 for more information.

For those looking for gardening information, the WSU Master Gardener Plant Clinic is open for business again after taking the winter off. Located at the WSU Extension Office, 222 N. Havana St., the clinic is staffed Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Oct. 31. You can also call (509) 477-2181, e-mail MGardeners@, or check out the Web site /Spokane/eastside/. The Master Gardeners will answer questions, evaluate problems and connect you with the considerable resources of WSU’s horticultural research.

Pat Munts is a Master Gardener who has gardened the same acre in Spokane Valley for 30 years. She can be reached at

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