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An unusual public garden space build right on an asphalt-covered lot is prospering on Powell

RITA A. LEONARD - A popular family activity at the Foster Powell Community Garden Harvest Party was decorating pumpkins, donated without charge by the Garden to its visitors that day. Scores of visitors showed up for the end-of-season Harvest Party at the unique Foster-Powell Community Garden, on Saturday, September 22.

In spite of intermittent showers that day, attendees enjoyed the potluck while exploring the harvest bounty in the unusual garden site S.E. 62nd and Powell Boulevard, built on an asphalt pad, formerly the site of a gas station. Consequently, raised garden beds are a hallmark of the garden. Gardeners have tried planting fruit trees with some success, but the blistering heat this summer killed some of those off. "We're still learning how to handle tree root balls," remarked Garden Director Stacey Keller. "It's a learning experience, but we'll try again. During summer, garden members met weekly for 'Watering Wednesdays', but this Harvest Festival is our last big event of the year."

Keller added, "We had about 25 gardeners this year for our 16 raised beds and community areas. Many folks brought their kids to help, and to learn where their food comes from. We had many new gardeners; some even signed up today. They're excited to learn about fall and winter crops."

Indeed, many vegetables were still on the vine during the party – including squash, eggplant, and many varieties of tomatoes, including black and "mini-tomatoes", which are even smaller than cherry tomatoes.

Garden representative Nicole Obog stepped to the microphone to thank donors, including those who brought potluck items and desserts: "Dave and Kristie from Bamboo Grove Hawaiian Grille brought hot trays of rice, chicken, and yakisoba; Rocio's Restaurant donated chips and salsa; and some folks just donated money. Thank you all! By the way, we'd really like to develop a Garden Board, since we're working to fund a new fence along S.E. 62nd Avenue."

Activities at the party included the raffle of a terrarium, face-painting, self-service pumpkin painting, and apple-stencil wall hangings. Sarah Jean of "Face Scapes" created detailed face paintings for kids and adults. Pumpkins donated by the Garden were free for decorating, as were small treats for kids. There was live music, too, performed by the group "Huge Manatee".

If you haven't noticed the "garden on asphalt" while driving by on Powell Boulevard, keep an eye out for it next time you pass 62nd Avenue.

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