Pickering Garden hopes to harvest a ton of produce for food bank
By CELESTE GRACEY
Issaquah Reporter Staff Writer
September 15, 2012 · Updated 9:27 AM
When Kristin Meijer wanted to start an organic garden at her home, she knew she had a lot to learn, but didn’t quite know where to start.
So she began volunteering with Tilth, a nonprofit focused on sustainable urban gardens.
Her hard work began to pay off. Not only had Tilth taught her how to save her broccoli from bugs without using pesticides, but she did it all while helping to grow food for Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.
The Pickering Garden, which has a line-drive view of Costco, is an Issaquah gem. It represents not only a community effort to enjoy growing things, but also to nurture a group of people who don’t have easy access to fresh vegetables.
Tilth’s goal is to harvest 2,000 pounds this season. They have 1,093 so far.
“We’re gardening all together, so it’s no one’s plot,” said Falaah Jones, the Tilth gardener who manages Pickering’s lot. “We want to give back to the community.”
Throughout the summer months regular classes of children toured the garden, learning how worm bins work, what salad looks like when it grows and how many vines a squash plant has.
The kids also get to taste their way through a couple dozen beds, which butt up against the red walls of the historic barn.
It’s not just about showing people that gardens can be grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizer. It connects people to the source of their food, Jones said.
Pointing to a vining plant, she asks for a guess at what it is, then corrects the responder by saying they aren’t peas, but beans.
It’s also a place meant for the community to come and explore. An occasional bench begs to be used for reading a good book.
“We want Issaquah to know that this is their garden. They can come to learn or just sit around and journal,” Jones said, adding that it’s also about enhancing a sense of community.
Often community members dedicate the plants to the garden, and they always find a home. The area seems to have a particular affinity for tomatoes. So many have been donated, Tilth has had to plant several beds of them.
Pickering Barn is owned and maintained by the City of Issaquah. Tilth has partnered with the office of sustainability to keep the garden going.
“It’s kind of the hidden jewel of the city,” Jones said.
Contact Issaquah Reporter Staff Writer Celeste Gracey at email@example.com or 425-391-0363.