Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Garden Talk: Food Bank Garden ends the year with a stunning harvest

By Kate Nagel, Food Bank Garden Coordinator 

Potatoes ready to be cleaned and delivered to the  
Thurston County Food Bank
Volunteers from the Department of Ecology and the community brought in a harvest of almost 1,400 pounds of food during the Saturday, Oct. 5, Garden Harvest. Included in the totals were 1,012 pounds of potatoes, 372 pounds of squash and eight pounds of beets.
This year’s garden reached a stunning total of more than 2,000 pounds of produce.  The crop included lettuce, tomatoes, beets, basil, garlic, leeks, carrots, parsley, squash, potatoes, cosmos, marigolds, and sunflowers.

This is the largest yield in the garden’s three year existence; 2011 brought in 1,690 pounds and 2012 brought in close to 1,000 pounds of food.
All produce is donated to the Thurston County Food Bank for distribution.  Heather Sundean, produce manager at the food bank participated in this year’s harvest.

“The produce donated from Ecology’s garden is always gorgeous – it’s obvious when you see it that a great deal of care went into growing it, packing it, and delivering it to the Food Bank’s doors,” Sundean said.
“This summer Ecology donated some of the biggest heads of romaine lettuce I think I’ve ever seen! This fall’s harvest party was a lot of fun. The staff from Ecology and volunteers were so enthusiastic about helping, and certainly weren’t afraid of getting their hands (and sometimes backsides) in the dirt. We plan to reserve the squash to be included in our Thanksgiving boxes next month.”

The garden is run almost entirely by a group of dedicated volunteers. Starting with preparations and planting in the spring all the way to the fall harvest, Ecology employees volunteer their time on lunch breaks, evenings and weekends.
A huge thank you to everyone who contributed in the 2013 garden efforts! And special thanks to Laura Inouye, who volunteers countless hours in the garden, and provides her valuable gardening expertise. She really is the roots that keep the garden growing!

While the 2013 season is coming to a close, there will be plenty of volunteer opportunities starting again in early spring of 2014. To be added to the volunteer update list, send an email to kate.nagel@ecy.wa.gov.

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