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It hasn't been easy for this group to keep their demonstration garden going in the pandemic, but they persevere

DAVID F. ASHTON  - Linda Goldser shows one of the two new Perennial Bed Education signs, installed in the Multnomah County Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden this spring. When we checked in with the Multnomah County Master Gardeners (MCMG) last October, this all-volunteer group reported a bumper crop of vegetables and fruit from their Demonstration Garden in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood – all of which was given away to families in need.

Notwithstanding that they were "banned" from their Demonstration Garden early in 2020 by government officials – because of the COVID-19 pandemic – MCMG spokesperson Linda Goldser conceded that it had ended up being a pretty good year for them after all, when we returned for a visit on April 6.

"We worked at the garden through the middle of November, getting it ready for the winter; then it stayed closed, due to COVID, through the end of February," Goldser reported. Locked out of their garden, volunteers did projects at home – planning, making new signs, and starting seeds in pots.

Volunteers were allowed five days of "emergency access" to their garden to clean up the damage from February's snow and ice storm, and to prepare the raised beds for the spring planting, among other things. "During those days, ten MCMG volunteers spent 106 hours here," Goldser told THE BEE.

Since they were finally allowed to return in mid-March, MCMG folks have been doing a lot of weeding. They've prepared their raised beds by adding compost, top soil, pumice, and steer manure.

"So far, we have planted starts of lettuce, onions, peas, bac choi, and leeks; and we've direct-seeded or planted seed tape of spinach, lettuce, radish, chives, scallions, and peas," explained Goldser.

"We are really still under strict COVID rules, and can only have ten gardeners – on our 'COVID-approved list' here – at a time, in the garden," she confirmed. "We are hoping for the ability to invite more gardeners to volunteer at the garden soon, so if you'd like to garden with us this spring please let me know, so we can get your 'COVID-19 paperwork' ready for approval."

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