Exciting progress

In the Annex, the shed construction crew began painting the inside of the shed. Pete Jacobsen has also built 3 raised beds at the annex for temporarily housing perennials destined for future perennial beds in the annex.

Come join us at the garden and the annex – October is a great month to garden! We will work up until Thanksgiving - Monday and Thursday work days, 9 AM to noon. The garden is located at 6801 SE 60th Avenue across from Brentwood Park.


Project Status at the end of September, 2017

After two months simmering beneath clear sheets of plastic, the weeds in the new annex are… well, not gone, but small. Interestingly, there were small sections that almost flourished, and other areas that seemed to be sprouting new weeds. Alas, the plastic had degraded so badly in the sun that it could not be reused. I’d call our attempt at solarization… hmmm… interesting? educational? How about OVER!

We’ve put yellow flags out where our new, ADA compliant gravel paths will go. To my eye, it makes it seem real. You can walk along the path and say, “Ah, that’s were the herb swirl will go”, or “See how it converges on the presentation area?”. We have a design team led by Nancy Fineworking on the individual beds set aside for perennials. We have a soil committee deciding what the best approach to amendment is for the various areas. We have purchased and assembled a 8’ x 12’ shed instead of a shipping container, saving more than a $1000 compared to budgeted amount, and $2000 compared to current cost of those containers!

In the next week or so we will be building some nursery beds to allow us to take advantage of sales coming up soon. We’ll acquire desirable plants and place them in the nursery until their destination beds are ready to accept them. We’ll also be planting our swamp rose hedge soon, which will eventually block our view of a debris pile. Our next major project will be constructing the ADA compliant paths. Stay tuned!

The greenhouse in Vancouver is in limbo. The assembly/moving team is too busy to give me a quote, and the owner apparently needs the blessing of tons of people to give the thing away. I will continue to prod gently.

August 29, 2017

We’ve been waiting… waiting for the sun to do some work for us! The new garden is resting under a covering of clear plastic, and when the air temperature gets into the 90s, the weeds under that plastic are cooking… we hope.

Soon those 90 degree days will be behind us, and it will be time to roll back the plastic to reveal our new garden space. Just as the team of volunteers shown above watered the ground (to help the nasty weeds to germinate) and then spread the plastic, we’ll need help to remove the plastic and spread some amendments (i.e. food for plants). Watch for notice of a workday in the last half of September.

The exciting thing about removing the plastic is that we are almost ready to plant many of the areas planned for perennials. We have many proposed “beds” that need the thinking of a Master Gardener to plan their contents. Yeah, I’m talking to you! If you’ve ever wanted to start from scratch with a new area, and have other gardeners willing to help with the work to execute your ideas, you’ve got a great opportunity! Send a note to DemoGardenPlanning@gmail.com, and I’ll pass it on to our design team. We’d love to have your help!

Big things will come up soon: We’ll be assembling a 12’ x 8’ shed on the North edge of the garden to store tools. We’ll be constructing the 4’ wide ADA compliant paths through the garden area. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be putting in a 48’ x 30’ greenhouse! We are working with an organization that doesn’t want their almost new greenhouse, and hoping to have it dismantled and re-constructed on our site.


July 4, 2017


The annex irrigation work is done, at least until we have installed the raised beds this fall. 760 feet of pipe, 25 risers, 6 hose bibs, and no leaks. Work is taking a short break as many of us have duties with the International Master Gardener Conference next week. Come visit the Trade Show and check out the orange aprons that will identify the volunteers.

Alas, that puts us behind schedule! We want to use the hot sun to kill off all our weeds (ok, how about many of our weeds?) using a process called solarization. Starting Monday, July 17th, we’ll be tilling the annex to torture the current crop of weeds and bring other weed seeds to the surface. On Thursday, July 20th, I’m hoping a team of volunteers will help pick up the rocks that will also be turned up by the tilling. As soon as that’s done, we’ll water the whole area thoroughly to help those new weed seeds germinate. On Saturday, July 22nd, we’ll cover the area with clear plastic. With good sun for the next two months, the temperatures under the plastic will get sufficiently high to kill off those sprouting weeds, leaving us beds ready for planting.
We hoped to offer a class on solarization, but we don’t have the necessary preparation time. However, if you are interested in an organic method for getting a weedy area ready for planting, come to our workday on Saturday, July 22nd. We’ll certainly describe what we are doing and why, and what we would be doing if we were a month earlier. You can watch it happen. Actually, you can make it happen!


Four people, two hours. A Future Edible Forest Garden

June 7, 2017

The plans to rototill the annex were “ditched” at the last minute when we were advised that the ditching machines we need to use to install our irrigation will not move on tilled soil! Time to swap some items in the schedule! Now we’re ready to move on installing irrigation lines. Tilling will come next.
On Thursday, June 22nd, starting at 9am, we'll be digging ditches necessary to install our irrigation lines. We will rent a machine called a “Ditch Witch” for this job. From our past experience with these machines, it is wonderful to have several people who can run the machine for a short time. It is not technically challenging, but the machine does tend to shake up the operator. With one operator, it would be *!/&#@%, with several it should be easy. If there are extra helpers, there are several trees that need low hanging limbs trimmed.
On Saturday, June 24th, starting at 9am, we will be installing the pipes for irrigation. This means measuring, measuring again, then cutting, and gluing in a large number of trenches. We’re hoping a number of you will come help us get this job done in a reasonable time.
On Monday, June 26th, the irrigation folks from Portland Parks and Recreation will help us check over our work, and then we will test the system. I almost wrote that we would fix any problems, but how could there be any problems? Once the system is proved, we’ll fill in the trenches, which a lot of bodies would make easy.
If you can help that Thursday, Saturday, or Monday, send a note to DemoGardenNews@gmail.com with the subject “Irrigation”, and let me know which days you can help. It will be much appreciated, and you might learn a bit about installing a permanent irrigation system.
Speaking of Irrigation, there are a few openings left in the Irrigation class to be held June 17th, 9am, at the Demonstration Garden (6801 SE 60th). If you want to come, send “I want to be a drip” to DemoGardenNews@gmail.com and we’ll acknowledge your spot in the class, or put you on the waiting list if it fills.