Community Farm Happenings: A Deer Fence?

Hey everyone! There is a lot going on up at the farm!

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First, one of our fearless gardeners noticed that there were some signs of deer having a presence in our garden. When I first heard about the deer my mind imagined the worst. The carnage was awful in my imagination, but, when I was finally able to bring myself to go and see what actually happened at the beloved garden, I saw that the deer were merely grazing. They had taken a top of a sunflower here and a couple of beans plants there-nothing really to be too upset about. However, the deer now knew how delicious our bounty was and they would be back. Personally, I prefer to have a more laid back reaction to sharing with the deer and other critters. My idea is to just plant 20% more than you want and it won’t be an issue. If you happen to share some of what you’ve planted with the creatures that were here long before we were, so be it, however, I must succumb to the fact that we are in a community garden and not everyone is a food socialist, or should I say, not quite as naïve as I am. Some of our more experienced gardeners have paid “deerly” when dealing with these beasts before. So, to make a long story even longer, we have begun to construct an inexpensive deer fence. Thanks to an anonymous donation we were able to procure an abundance of cedar fence posts, most of which were 8’-10’ long. We were then able to find a ½ mile of electric fence wire on Craigslist, for a screamin’ deal, which we will space approximately 12” apart and run horizontally around the perimeter of the garden 4 or 5 times. This combined with some twine or nylon rope tied from the top wire dangling and swaying vertically, will create enough of a barrier in the not-so-great eyesight of the deer-seeming impenetrable. Deer problem solved, or at least greatly reduced.

A big thank you to Neal Poland, Ric Beard, Steve Randolph, Jim Doty, Niki Samek, Iver and Bonnie Poole for making this happen.

Also, on Sunday I was able to begin our Three Sisters Garden. This is an old Native American planting ideology that incorporates basic permaculture principles that nourish the soil. The idea is to plant corn first-we opted for Tom Thumb Popcorn, then, when the corn is 4” high, we will plant pole beans that will grow up the corn stalks and squash that will grow beneath to keep the moisture and nourish the soil. Here is a link to a planting guide if anyone would like to try it at home: http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html

If you are interested in working at the farm we have work parties every Sunday at 4 pm. This Sunday we will be working on planting a pumpkin patch-little sugar pumpkins and Jack-be-little pumpkins. You don’t have to have a garden plot to come and get your hands dirty!

We will also be able to harvest some lettuce for the REACH program pretty soon. Fresh, organic salads for people makes me smile really big!

A really big Thank You to Celebration Church for making this sacred property available to us. As a visitor called it the other day a “healing garden”, and it truly is.

There are a couple of plots left; if you hurry you can plant yourself an abundant fall/winter garden. We have year round gardening!

Contact larar35@comcast.net for more info or sustainablerenton@gmail.com

Pallet Board Shed Success!

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WOW! I was absolutely amazed at how wonderful the Pallet Shed Building Workshop turned out. Not only do we have an amazing shed built out of Pallet Boards standing at the Farm site now, but everyone that attended the workshop chipped in to drive a screw, level a pallet, sturdy a ladder, or handle a skill saw.

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Steve and Kelvin Randolph (The Randolph Brothers aka Double Trouble) made it look fun and simple all at the same time. They did a great job fielding questions and giving answers that were simple and logical-it was a very user-friendly workshop filled with all the information anyone could need to build their own shed-complete with hands-on experience too!

This shed was made with 100% recycled and donated materials. We were able to secure donations thanks to Eric DeShaw, Clayton Stiles, Mana Kashay, Jim and Debbie Doty, Steve Randolph and Commercial Building Maintenance.

I am absolutely overwhelmed with the feeling of how necessary community is to a healthy and fulfilled life. With that comes a renewed passion for the efforts going into starting our community farm. There is such a beautiful reality emerging up here in the Renton Highlands and I am so grateful to be a part of it.

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Y’all ought to come up and take a look at how beautiful everything is here, also-we still have plots available! We are gearing up for some winter crop planting now so it’s never too late to get a plot and start the adventure of growing your own food. We have gardeners of all experience levels, there is plenty of help and information to be had so don’t be shy and come on by!

For more information please contact Lara Randolph at larar35@comcast.net or Sustainable Renton at sustainablerenton@gmail.com

Pallet Board Shed Workshop!

HEY FARMERS AND OTHER INTERESTED FOLK!

Sustainable Renton Community Farm is hosting a Pallet Board Shed building Workshop on Saturday, June 15th at 11 a.m. This engaging workshop will be held at the Farm property located just behind Celebration Church in the Renton Highland neighborhood at 11840 148th Ave. S.E.

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Come join us as seasoned carpenters, Clayton Stiles and Steve Randolph, walk us through the steps on how to build a functioning and CHEAP shed using mostly pallet boards. Bring your tool belts and come prepared for a hands-on experience.

You may want to pack a lunch as the workshop will go through the lunch hour-and remember to bring enough fluid to keep hydrated in case the weather is hot.

You can RSVP at the Facebook event page.

SEE YOU AT THE FARM!

Sustainable Renton Community Farm

Hello from Sustainable Renton Community Farm!

We have been busy up here in the East Renton Highlands neighborhood! CelebrationChurch has been kind enough to give us access to about 3 acres of land to start a community effort towards growing food.

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So, we have capitalized on the opportunity and we are off to an amazing start. We have 20 plots all sized 10’x 20’ with the plan of expanding the number of plots next season. What is different about our plots from other community gardens is that these plots are encouraged to be gardened year around with the same plot being assigned year after year. This concept lends itself to winter harvests which can be abundant here in the Pacific Northwest as well as perennial planting. There are only 3 plots left so if you or anyone you know might be interested in gardening here please let us know.

We are committed to organic practices and using only seeds from companies that have taken the Safe Seed Pledge.

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We are also interested in exploring a variety of growing practices. Besides individual gardeners and the various growing methods displayed within each plot, we also have some Hugelkultur beds displayed as well. There is a demonstration of how companion planting can be the wonderful equation of 1+1=3 in our popcorn field, with beans and squash being planted in the same bed. This combination is known in the gardening world as the three sisters. The primary goal is to give back to the soil as it gives to us. It is an amazing adventure to learn to listen to the earth and work with it rather than dominate it and force it to do what we want it to.

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If you are not interested in gardening but just want to come and get your hands dirty there is plenty of opportunity for that as well. We have planted 2 plots for the local REACH effort that has dedicated itself to feeding the hungry in our community every night of the week. They were so excited to hear that they will be receiving fresh produce from our farm.

Celebration Church has been a very gracious host and we are thankful for their giving spirit and their tireless dedication to helping our community.

Also, if you have any expertise that you would like to share with us and the community please contact us and we can put together a workshop for you.

If you would like to know more please contact:

Elizabeth Zwicker, Community Farm Liaison at linguisticnurse@gmail.com

Lara Randolph, Farm Manager at larar35@comcast.net

Chris Conkling, Sustainable Renton/President at sustainablerenton@gmail.com

We would love to have you.

A Renton Food Co-op

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Food.

All animals need it to survive and thrive. Seems simple enough: Find food. Eat food. Survive. Thrive.

Sure-you can eat just about anything and survive. Fast food, frozen processed TV dinners, energy drinks-you can certainly survive on all of them. But over time, it will take a toll on your body. The question is-what can you do to thrive? What choices can you make right here in Renton to do that? And-what can you do to not only nourish your body to thrive, but to help your community and planet thrive?

These are all concerns and questions that a local group of community members are exploring together. And the channel we are using to explore these questions is the idea of a local grocery co-op. Currently using the name Renton Food Co-op (although Renton Grocery Co-op is gaining favor), this group is gathering on a regular basis to create a vision of a local, sustainable, member-owned and operated grocery cooperative. We are inspired by other successful grassroots co-op models that already exist in the region, such as Olympia Food Co-op, Tacoma Food Co-op, and the under construction Delridge Grocery.

Why does Renton need a grocery co-op you ask? We already have a Grocery Outlet; Fred Meyer and Safeway have organic produce; Minkler’s has gluten-free products. True-but a locally owned, member operated grocery co-op provides something unique and special that can’t necessarily be found in those other businesses: an opportunity to nourish our community, the environment, and all people.

A grocery co-op would provide many benefits to Renton:

–          A space to find locally sourced, sustainable, organic food;

–          An opportunity to be a stakeholder in how the grocery co-op is run;

–          Create and provide new jobs;

–          A space to hold educational classes on cooking, making healthy food choices, sustainability, etc.;

–          A means to care for our environment by intentionally offering sustainable shopping choices;

–          and A space to build community connections and partnerships.

Our steering committee meets every few weeks, and is growing. But we want to see this idea engage the wider community and thrive. We encourage any interested parties to get in contact with us. There are many ways to get involved-some very simple, and some that are more in-depth.

We look forward to sharing more details about this project as it proceeds and develops in the near future.

If you would like to find out more or get involved, please contact us via email at sustainablerenton@gmail.com or visit us on Facebook.