The Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Wenatchee Forestry Sciences Lab started our employee-tended People’s Garden in 2010. Since that time, we’ve harvested 3,976 pounds of fruits and vegetables that we’ve donated to Wenatchee-area food banks and community organizations, providing healthy produce to families that otherwise would not have them. Our harvest this year so far has totaled 1,476 pounds.
This year, we expanded our People’s Garden to include an educational component that involves more local organizations, businesses, and volunteers. We met with Master Gardeners in our area, who provided instruction—two classes, so far—to our lab gardeners and members of the public. In addition, volunteers from our local Community Service Crew helped to build tomato cages and to construct rebar stakes to secure the cages. They also helped to lay landscape fabric and bark between our vine vegetable rows. A local irrigation company also helped us to develop a system that conserves water through the use of a drip system; this system complements our “xeriscaping” approach, which minimizes water use for us here in the high desert environment east of the Cascade Mountains.
We’re now in the process of converting a lawn in the front section of our property to a native and pollinator garden with an interpretative path. Nearing completion, the garden and path will help to conserve additional water and to provide a green space for the community to gather in and enjoy.