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Making Space for Gardening: The Portland Community Garden Story

Gardeners in an Oregon community garden harvest late-season vegetables. (Image by Dawn Grunwald)
Throughout the United States, urban community gardens have become a common thread that helps bring communities together, in cities large and small. Most community gardens have similar goals. In addition to supplying families with fresh produce, they encourage physical activity, provide needed green space, and a relaxed way to meet your neighbor.
No matter […]

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Western Native Evergreen Shrubs for Landscapes

Oregon grape berries in winter
In recent years, I have noticed a substantial increase in the use of native shrubs for the home garden. Many are diverse and beautiful while growing well in local climates, and those with winter interest have the added benefit of year-round beauty. Quite a few native evergreen shrubs from our region have exceptional landscape value.
In my own neighborhood, […]

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Cultivate Beneficial Insects in the Garden

Ladybug adults and larvae (orange and black) waging war on black aphids!
Your garden is a battlefield with more life and death drama than the Serengeti during wildlife migrations.  Among your beautiful plants and flowers, there is that age-old war playing out every day as the insect world fights over who eats what.  Some insects are pests that eat your plants – they are garden prey.  […]

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Plant a Cactus Fruit Garden

Prickly pear fruits are tangy and often deep red. (Opuntia ficus-indica shown)
Cactus fruit are a forgotten staple of hot climates where they ripen quickly with a very high sugar content.  Fruits are cooked down into syrups, squeezed into icy drinks, made into jam, or eaten fresh after peeling.  These native fruits of the American Southwest and Mexico are both a staple and a survival food, depending […]

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Five Best Ways to Save Water in the Garden

Roof rainwater trickles into a classic garden rain barrel.
Smart gardeners prepare for summer dry spells and drought. A little water can go a long way, if you plan ahead with effective water conservation techniques. Implement one (or more) of our five ways to save water in the garden, and not only will your plants grow better in dry weather, you will spend less time and money […]

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Generational Family Gardening with Kids

New, budding gardeners learn how to grow vegetables organically.
Gardening is best shared with multiple generations, especially for our youngest gardeners. Whether we gardeners have our own children, grandchildren, or children in the neighborhood, it is an easy role to fill.  Young Millennial families are embracing gardening, so the goal for older gardeners should be to share our garden knowledge to inspire young, budding plant lovers. When […]

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The Best Pomegranates for Home and Garden

pome 2‘Wonderful’ is a popular orchard variety pomegranate that also grows well in home gardens.
Since antiquity the bright red seeds of the pomegranate (Punica granatum) have been likened to rubies.  The fleshy seeds are a sign of the nutritional treasure hidden inside the fruit’s tough, leathery rind. The covering of these Middle Eastern fruits protects them from birds and dehydration, unlike fully exposed stone fruits and berries.
The pomegranate […]

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8 Garden Fruits and Vegetables for Weight Loss and Health

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All veggies are naturally low calorie, but a few give an extra boost when it comes to weight loss. Some are extraordinarily filling while others have the perk of containing beneficial compounds that increase weight loss. Others are natural diuretics that increase water loss and reduce bloating. Broccoli, cucumbers, peppers, and melons are just a few tasty fruits and vegetables that provide an extra weight loss boost. […]

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The Well-Prepared Parterre Potager

villandry 1The grand French Chateau de Villandry Ornamental Parterre Garden is in the foreground with the Ornamental Kitchen Garden in the background.
As with most things French, even vegetable gardens can be decidedly beautiful.  What makes them so special are parterre potagers, a practice of creating symmetrical, geometric patterns with beds of vegetables of different colors and textures. Within the geometric beds, which are often lined with […]

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The High-Protein Vegetable Garden: Beans and Grains

800px-Broad-beans-after-cookingFava beans are a great source of protein and easy to grow in mild spring weather.
Vegetarian and vegan lifestyles have popularized high-protein garden vegetables. Growing a good selection of nutritious, protein-packed grains and beans means expanding upon the standard repertoire of veggies. The list may include cool-season legumes, like chickpeas and fava beans,  as well as winter grains and warm-season crops, such as edamame and amaranth.
The […]

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