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Idaho Voices

Many indicators show more gardeners growing own food

Sun., May 23, 2010

Wow, I’ve never seen vegetable starts and seeds fly off the store shelves so fast. I went looking for some of my favorites at the end of April thinking I was way ahead of the rush and ended up searching high and low to find them.

The silk purse out of this sow’s ear is that you are all really getting into growing your own food. Best of all it’s not just because the economy is down and you are trying to stretch your budget. Rather, it’s because you want produce and fruit that tastes good, didn’t travel 1,500 miles to get here and wasn’t sustained with pesticides.

Another strong indicator of the interest in vegetable gardening has been the requests for beds in our new community gardens around town. In early March we had almost 150 beds available in various gardens. At last check, they were going fast. Don’t worry though if you think you are too late. We can add more beds at most gardens. To find a garden near you go to the WSU Spokane County Master Gardeners website, www. spokane/eastside/.

Since my early March article on community gardens, two other opportunities have developed. For individuals or groups looking for larger plots of land to grow crops for personal use, the food bank or the farmers markets, there will be plots available at Fourth Avenue and Pittsburg Street in the East Central neighborhood by early June.

There will be 13 raised beds measuring either 80 or 172 square feet and eight large plots measuring between 650 and 1,700 square feet. The latter would be great for a large family or a group that wanted to grow vegetables for the food banks. The Spokane Community Development Department is making the land available for at least three years as part of the North South Freeway right-of-way land management along Interstate 90. Best of all they will be putting in the beds and water so it will be ready to plant. If you are interested in a plot, contact me at (509) 998 9769 or at pat@inlandnwgardening .com.

At the Salvation Army complex on East Indiana Avenue, a group of the 2010 Leadership Spokane Class is about ready to break ground on a garden next to the food bank. The garden will serve folks using the Salvation Army’s transitional housing, the food bank and neighborhood residents.

The group is just a little shy of fundraising efforts and could use your help. They are offering a cookbook featuring more than 100 recipes from Leadership Spokane graduates and students in addition to baking and cooking tips. Believe me, there are some really creative cooks in this bunch. Your effort will not only get the garden off the ground but also provide a measure of independence and connect folks back into the community. You can purchase a cookbook by contacting the Leadership Spokane office at (509) 459-4110 or by e-mail to lsintern@ The cost is $10, plus $2 shipping.

Pat Munts is a Master Gardener who has gardened the same acre in Spokane Valley for 30 years. She can be reached by e-mail at pat@inlandnwgardening .com

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