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Home & Garden - Grow your own groceries

Bea Randall points out a new composting system invented by Leilani Wallace. Last fall’s leaves, grass and organic matter are stored in plastic bags over the winter and by spring the contents are rotted enough to add to the soil. - Sarah Arney
Bea Randall points out a new composting system invented by Leilani Wallace. Last fall’s leaves, grass and organic matter are stored in plastic bags over the winter and by spring the contents are rotted enough to add to the soil.
— image credit: Sarah Arney

Master Gardener Bea Randall is making the rounds at several events this month, helping people grow their own groceries as part of a new campaign presented by Snohomish County’s Master Gardener program.

“The Granite Falls library was packed with people for the program we presented March 19,” Randall said, while wandering through the Arlington Community Garden across from the Arlington Library. Also a member of the Arlington Garden Club, Randall manages the community garden as well as teaching classes for the Master Gardeners.

The Grow Your Own Groceries program was an idea from the county’s head Master Gardener, Sharon Coleman, who works full time for the Washington State University extension service for Snohomish County, Randall said.

Along with the Master Gardener program, Randall was also preparing a class/garden clean-up party on Saturday, March 28, when the public was invited to bring shovels, buckets and tools to learn about preparing a garden for planting.

Randall was excited about a new composting system introduced in the community garden by Leilani Wallace.

“She gathered up all the leaves and grass clippings from last summer and put them in these black bags,” Randall explained. After six months in the bags, it’s now great mulch that will soon be turned into the soil,” she said.

The Grow Your Own Groceries presentation includes the basics of getting started with vegetable gardening, with information about what grows well in this climate, site selection, basics of a good soil foundation, soil testing, composting, mulching, crop rotation and how to plan and prepare a garden for success.

The presenters are volunteer mentors which is one of the requirements for Master Gardener training.

A former city council woman for the city of Arlington, Randall added that the Master Gardeners have $10,000 in their Community Garden Fund to help non-profits and community groups in Snohomish County set up and develop community gardens. The application form is on the Snohomish County Master Gardener Foundation’s Web site at snomgf.org/grants.

The Arlington Garden Club will have a follow-up on the first session on growing groceries at its April 11 Keep Your Thumb Green Workshop, Randall said.

And the garden club is also planning its plant sale and speakers for the day of Arlington’s Arbor Day Celebration April 25. The Arbor Day Celebration will be in Legion Park and the plant sale will be at the City Hall Plaza, next to the Mayor’s Garden, also a project of the garden club.

“One garden club member has volunteered to talk about growing tomatoes and I might do something about tools for Pacific Northwest gardening,” Randall said.

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