March 19, 2019 Newsletter
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Food for Thought - A Healthier Lifestyle Through Gardening!

Many of us started the year with goals of eating healthier and exercising.  Now that it's March and sunshine with warmer weather have finally arrived, it's a good time to renew those efforts. Gardening and growing your own produce can help achieve both of those goals!  According to the Center for Disease Control, gardening is a moderate physical activity that can burn up to 330 calories per hour.  That’s more than walking or bicycling, and equivalent to golfing or dancing!  And enjoying time outdoors, connecting with nature is a rewarding way to relax and improve overall emotional health.  

Does it get any better than that?  Yes!  By signing up with Neighbors Nourishing Communities and donating a portion of your produce to the Tualatin Food Pantry, you get gardening advice, the opportunity to learn about new and more nutritious produce we can grow in our region, free plants and seeds, and the “feel good” benefit of helping our community.  Whether you are passionate about gardening or just experimenting and getting started, this is an opportunity for you to achieve your personal goals while helping others.  

Neighbors Nourishing Communities (NNC) is a Tualatin non-profit organization entering it’s 6th growing season. We supply the seeds and plant starts, and you supply the garden spot at the convenience of your home or office.  With a little water and some love - we all benefit with a bounty of organically grown, beautiful produce.  We ask that you donate 20% of your harvest to the Tualatin Schoolhouse Pantry for families in need.  The other 80%, along with the rewards of a healthy garden and healthier you - are all yours!  Last year NNC gardeners donated over 4,100 pounds of produce!

I’ve personally always enjoyed gardening, but have grown the basics like tomatoes and cucumbers. Through working with NNC, I’m now growing purple potatoes, leeks, red onions, lettuce, kale and more.  It is fun, and so nutritious to pick a salad from my garden, knowing that the produce is at the peak of their nutritional value and organically grown.  Any size of garden works, whether it’s a single container or a full backyard garden. 

Many gardeners pick their donation produce on Sunday and drop it by an NNC collection site.  NNC makes deliveries to the Tualatin Food Pantry, where the produce is quickly distributed to those in need.  Gardeners harvest the rest of the week for their own family. It’s that simple. Fresh produce is more costly than less-nutritional food, and can be unobtainable for many families. This is an opportunity to help combat a growing need.

For more information about gardening with NNC and getting your garden started, please contact Chad Darby at (503) 523-7142 or Peggy Fisher at (503) 692-0370 / or visit

Families struggling to make ends meet can also contact Neighbors Nourishing Communities for gardening assistance.  The organization supports families in need by providing free community gardening beds and tools, along with plants and seeds. 

Peggy Fisher
NNC Board Director

Save the Dates

April 6
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
17660 SW Shawnee Trail
NNC will be handing out seeds (from beans to zucchini), onion starts, and seed potatoes in exchange for your pledge to donate 20% of the produce. It's a great time to get these items started in your garden. This is an open house style event where you can stop by any time between the hours of 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.  

May  11
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Plant Handout at Mitch Charter School, 19550 SW 90th Ct., Tualatin. Tomatoes, peppers, herbs and more! Free plants in exchange for your pledge to donate 20% of the produce.


When and What to Do In Your Garden

Seeing these sunny weekends, seed catalogs, daffodils and budding trees and wondering when and what seeds we can get in the ground? Spending the next few weeks in March top dressing soil with compost, weeding, and mowing down cover crops is a great place to start. If possible, try not to disturb your soil deeper than 1-2 inches. The warm sun is waking up the macro and microscopic life in your soil that are vital for turning organic matter into nutrients for your plants. Worms just hate being cut in half, and microorganisms aren't a big fan of the sun. Layering compost or leaf mulch on top of your soil is a great way to keep it covered and retain moisture. If you're interested in more resources on Soil Health and cover crops, check out the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education website (SARE).

As soon as your garden soil consistently hits 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you can seed beets, carrots, lettuce, brassicas, peas and turnips. This should be by March 20th this year. Beets include some other Chenopods like spinach. When I say carrots, I mean the carrot family - think herbs like chervil, cilantro, fennel, sweet cicely, and parsley. In the Brassica family are arugula, radishes, cress, turnips, and some Japanese greens like Komatsuna. Peas (shelling, snap and snow) are a legume, which opens the door to seeding other hardy legumes like fenugreek and garbanzo beans. Don't go for beans just yet - they need soil temperatures closer to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Want to grow your own linen or flax oil? Try seeding some flax seeds! Although be sure you know if they are fiber flax or edible flax. Fiber Flax is enjoying a comeback in the Pacific Northwest, and you can find out more about it here with the farmers of Fibrevolution.

The big one for gardeners that grow with Neighbors Nourishing Communities is potatoes. Cut them to 1 oz. pieces with 2-3 eyes each or leave them whole. Make sure the cut sides have a few days to form a skin to protect them from rotting in the soil. Let the seed potatoes grow eyes about 1/2 inch to 1 inch long and then plop them in the ground whenever it reaches 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit. This process is called "chitting". It gives potatoes a head start, getting their plants established before they are buried in the cool, damp soil. 

Flowers are vital to our lives and many are cold hardy or need cold temperatures to germinate properly. Toss some Breadseed or California Poppies out and around, especially on rocky areas. Alyssum, Bachelor's Buttons, Calendula, Corn Cockle, Feverfew, Love in a Mist, Phlox, Sweet Peas, and Stock are all great options for early spring seeding. Give the bees a high five and give yourself a gift to give others mid-summer. Many of those flower petals are edible and a beautiful, delicious addition to salads or to top cakes with. 

If you haven't gotten your fruit tree pruning done, check out my favorite fruit tree resource, Michael Phillips. His website is full of incredibly valuable and straight-forward information about fruit tree care and physiology. You just might want to wait to prune those suckers til next winter. 

Enjoy the sunshine! 

Caitlin Blood
NNC Board Director and MITCH Charter School Agricultural Coordinator
Resource Web Links:

Almanac Planting Calendar

Oregon State Soil Testing

Fruit Tree Pruning

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

Sustainable Market Farming
Capital Press Agricultural News
Neighbors Nourishing Communities (NNC) is an organization of neighbors gardening to raise fresh produce for local families in need of food support.  We provide plants, seeds, instruction and site consultations in exchange for 20% of the produce raised.
Copyright © 2017 / Neighbors Nourishing Communities /All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
17660 SW Shawnee Trail, Tualatin, OR 97062

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Neighbors Nourishing Communities · 17660 SW Shawnee Trail · Tualatin, Or 97062 · USA

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