The Randall Street Garden that was established last year has turned out to be like a perennial plant, sprouting back to life again this year.
And, with our late spring weather, it’s not too late to rent a space at this garden at 1015 Randall St. in East Aberdeen.
“We still have a fair amount of open ground that is waiting for gardeners,” said Liz Ellis, the garden’s mastermind who has an agricultural degree from WSU.
There is a $15 membership fee to join and bed rental is suggested at $2 a square foot, making a 4-foot by 14-foot plot cost $112 for the season.
Included in that price is already prepared and amended soil, access to tools, seeds, water and help.
Also, Liz said, some grant funds are available for people who are unable to pay the rent.
We’re talking about this great program, because here at NeighborWorks we’re not just about improving houses in Grays Harbor, we are also about improving neighborhoods and communities in collaboration with residents.
Perhaps after learning about the Randall Street Garden those nearby may consider participating and those farther away may be inspired by the kinds of things that can bring life, health and a sense of community to a neighborhood.
REVIEWING LAST YEAR
“Last year went wonderfully,” said Liz. “There were several first-time gardeners. We grew a lot of produce; we donated a lot of produce to the senior center, and even sold some produce to some of our neighbors. It was just a very nice beginning.”
Five different families and a youth group were all part of the first year of the garden.
“We had such an amazing growing year last year. The cucumbers seemed to be limitless!
“I took some of my veggies to the Grays Harbor County Fair and came away with many first and second place ribbons. I’m encouraging people to take what they grow here to the fair this year. Not only is it fun, but the ribbons come with a dollar value so you can actually generate some income too!”
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW
This year, “everything is bigger and better,” Liz said.
So far seven families and 11 individuals have signed up to garden. In addition to the nearly 400 square feet of raised beds, there is 1,000 feet of in-ground growing space that is still available.
Also, this summer there will be a farm stand at the garden selling seasonal produce. As crops become available, the farm stand will be open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and by appointment.
It will provide fresh flowers, herbs, berries and vegetables at reasonable prices with the proceeds going back to support the garden. Any surplus that doesn’t sell will be donated to the senior center again, she said.
Having access to locally grown food gives consumers important choices for how their food is produced, Liz said. “The Randall Street Garden grows crops without pesticides and using natural soil-building compost and organic fertilizers that grow healthy, non GMO produce,” she said.
As of last week, Liz said she’d already planted onions, lettuce, basil, celery, carrots, green beans and a variety of flowers.
She was planning to soon plant non GMO corn, pumpkins, summer squash, winter squash, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes and garlic.
“Already this spring, Randall Street Garden produce has been featured at Rediviva Restaurant and the Favorite Fresh Produce and Gifts. The farm stand is even on the Grays Harbor County Farm Map!” she said.
Meanwhile, another community garden, the South Side Pollen Patch, is forming at 931 Stockwell St. on the south side of Aberdeen.
Volunteers are transforming this 8,875-square-foot site so that a third is dedicated as community garden spaces, a third is for growing market vegetables and a third is for growing crops to be donated.
Sheilia Canada is the one to contact to if you would like to be a part of this new community garden. She can be reached at (360) 581-5419.,
CHECK IT OUT TODAY
If you’re interested at all in taking a look at the Randall Street Garden, today is a great day to check it out! From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 10, the garden will be providing a place to celebrate the Worldwide Knit in Public Day.
“People are invited to bring their knitting, spinning and crocheting projects, sit in the garden and check out what it is all about! Everyone is welcome to stop by and say hello, even if you don’t knit,” said Liz.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Liz clued us in to another interesting event you may just want to mark on your calendar. The Alternative Energy Fair and Solar Home Tour will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 26 next to the Tesla charging lot at F Street and East Wishkah in Aberdeen.
“There will be displays of solar panels, various vehicles and tools as well as solar and financing experts,” she said.
For more information about the Randall Street Garden or the Solar Home Tour, you can contact Liz Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction experts at NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County, where Beaty is the construction manager and Murnen is the executive director. This is a non-profit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing opportunities for all residents of Grays Harbor County.
Do you have questions about home repair, remodeling or becoming a homeowner? Call us at 533-7828, or 1-866-533-7828, write or visit us at 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen.