As the weather turns from winter’s harshness to more spring’s mild sun, many Bandon residents are starting their work in the Good Earth Community Garden. Nestled in a residential neighborhood, it’s not in plain view of the town, but the garden and the organization have had quite an impact.
The purposes of the Good Earth Community Garden are many. First, it provides an organic gardening space for community members who may not have proper space for gardening. Pesticides and herbicides are not allowed, so gardeners can be assured that their veggies will be free of these chemicals. The garden encourages gardeners through their many tips, tricks, and inspirations on their Facebook page and through free gardening classes.
These classes are offered year round and cover a wide variety of topics from starting seeds inside to beneficial insects to gardening on the coast. Gardening expert Jennifer Ewing has been teaching these workshops, typically held in the garden or at the Bandon Community Youth Center, since 2015.
The community garden is located at the end of 8th Court SW in Bandon on a parcel of land that was unbuildable due to its location on a water main. The city provided the parcel to the community garden, and construction began in 2009. Through generous donations of money, supplies, skills and time from the Ford Institute Leadership Program, Willamette Graystone, Liza Ehle, By-The-Sea-Gardens, contractor Ralph Leshin, Bandon High School students and teacher Trent Hatfield, Belloni Boys Ranch, and countless volunteers, the garden opened in 2010. Construction has continued since, and the garden now boasts 41 4×12 garden spaces, some of which are built higher to accommodate physically challenged gardeners.
As of 2017, improvements have continued at the garden with the addition of a fence with pathways, an entry from 8th St., a parking lot, a compost bin, and a greenhouse. The garden will continue as a work in progress; updates and upgrades will be made into the future.
Applications for garden plots come out each year around the first of February, and plots are available until they are gone. The cost is $10 for a plot and $10 for a Good Earth Community Garden membership, money well-spent for having access to your own, organically grown vegetables!
The Good Earth Community Garden organization holds a plant sale each spring to help fund the continuing projects and upkeep at the garden. The 6th annual sale in 2017 will be held at the Farmers and Artisans Market in Old Town on May 5 and 6 from 10-4. Locally grown vegetable and herb starts will be available for purchase. All of the starts are organically grown and are chosen carefully and specifically for our cool coastal climate.
Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc), leafy greens, cucumbers, squash, and more practically beg to be taken home, planted, and nurtured. And, despite naysayers’ declarations that tomatoes are impossible to grow on the coast, the right types in the right conditions will flourish. There will be a huge selection of heirloom tomato plants available at the plant sale, and Master Gardeners who know a thing or two about gardening will be there to help gardeners find varieties for specific growing conditions. Adding to the excitement of the sale, there will be a silent auction, a raffle basket, and beneficial bug houses for purchase.
There are many ways to get involved in Bandon’s community, and the Good Earth Community Garden is one way to dig in and get your hands dirty while enjoying good food and supporting a great cause!
For more information about the Good Earth Community Garden, visit their Facebook page, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 5411-808-1813. Garden on!