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The Master Gardeners of the county have a new idea and challenge for you -- a square foot garden

DAVID F. ASHTON - Learning by doing, these folks are Planting a Square Foot Garden in the Multnomah County Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden. With the arrival of springtime, activities are increasing at the Multnomah County Master Gardeners' Demonstration Garden, in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood – across the street from Lane Middle School.

After a stormy morning, on Saturday, April 6, the sun came out to shine on a dozen people came to the orientation for new Master Gardner volunteers.

"We are hoping to recruit more gardeners to our program," said Oregon State Extension Service certified Master Gardener Jean Edmison.

"Part of what we do is teaching and answer gardening questions," Edmison said. "And also, supply a tremendous amount of fresh produce to food banks and other organizations here in inner Southeast Portland helping to solve the 'food desert' problem here in our neighborhoods."

After the introduction and orientation, Master Gardener Judy Battles led a demonstration called "Planting a Square Foot Garden" – a model developed by Mel Bartholomew, and explained in a book he originally published in 1981.

"This type of gardening can yield up to 110 pounds of produce a year!" Battles told the class.

"There's definitely a thought process and a technique that goes into this," Battles explained. "For example, as you harvest, you need to replace that crop with 'starts', instead of seeds so they get sunlight."

After a little more instruction, the group began putting what they'd learned into practice by planting their own square foot garden plots.

Interested in gardening? Learn more online – www.multnomahmastergardeners.org

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