High Desert Gardening

Spring Break has allowed me a break from school and the Washington forest. I traveled south for the week to the dry high desert of Central Oregon, east of the Cascades, for a visit with old friends and place. This area is where I have spent the last several summers of my life instructing for the Outward Bound School. The landscape is a beautiful volcanic construction of junipers, sand, basaltic rock, sagebrush and clear magic waters.

This land is feeling more and more like home as I continue to return each year. The central cascades volcanoes sit between us and the more wet western sides, Willamette Valley.

We have been laying the groundwork for a Garden at our Outward Bound basecamp. My hope is that this will be the foundation for a long-term connection between our community and the food we put on the table. There are challenges that lie in growing in this desert climate and the tending process as we do not have funds for a full tiem gardener. The summer is very busy and most people are in and out of the wilderness instructing students.

We built several raised beds, an herb garden, compost experiments, and left natural habitat as well. The garden will add to our food production that began two years ago by raising pigs for compost consumption and meat. Out gardens are now enjoying the pig waste. all an effort to close loops. Next big step--- Electric grid???

We applied to get vegetable starters from the American Center for Sustainability (sustainableshift.org) in Portland. They will be providing our starters in mid-May!! this really helps us with our project because we do not have a greenhouse and the basecamp is not fully occupied until late spring.

Happy Gardening to all.
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