Oregon Garden Challenge gives free seed packets

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CORVALLIS – Almost 38,000 free seed packets can be distributed by Oregon State University Extension Service to Oregonians who present no indicators of dropping the keenness for gardening generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge kicks off March 1 when people can sign up and begin making ready to gather their seed kits on the finish of March. The seed kits can be distributed on a first-come, first-served foundation at county Extension offices all through the state, based on Halie Cousineau, OSU Extension Food Hero state backyard schooling coordinator.

The seed packets, donated by Bi-Mart, can be packaged into 8,000 seed kits of 4 completely different vegetation: one cool-weather vegetable, one warm-weather vegetable, one herb or edible flowers and flowers to encourage pollination.

When folks enroll, they’re requested to finish a survey about what degree of expertise and curiosity they’ve in gardening. The suggestions will assist Cousineau alter this system to satisfy the wants of potential individuals. The problem is open to anybody, however solely Oregonians will obtain seeds. Cousineau encourages even these not in Oregon to backyard alongside.

The gardening problem, spearheaded by Food Hero, a statewide initiative of the Oregon Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) program and was developed by OSU Extension in English and Spanish. It expanded from final 12 months, when Cousineau and some colleagues, separated, counted and packaged the seed from 800 seed packets to make 14,000 particular person baggies to incorporate in 3,500 seed kits.

This 12 months, leftover seed goes to OSU Extension Master Gardeners Champions, who’re becoming a member of the problem and can backyard together with individuals, give suggestions and inform their tales of rising a number of the seeds.

“We’re thrilled that Master Gardeners are joining the 2021 Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge,” mentioned Lauren Tobey, Food Hero coordinator. “They’ll be answering participants’ questions and sharing tips from around the state to support a healthy harvest.”

The Food Hero Facebook page will maintain weekly workplace hours when gardeners can ask questions, publish pictures and brag about their accomplishments, Cousineau mentioned. Videos will come out bi-monthly and knowledge on social media can be ongoing. In addition to the knowledge printed on the seed packets, individuals can click on on photographs of seeds and browse detailed planting instructions. Once they harvest their produce, gardeners can discover greater than 300 recipes utilizing greens and fruits on the Food Hero website.

Children are a part of this system, too. Beginning April 1, digital classes can be launched each Thursday by June 10 when college ends. The lineup contains Growing Healthy Kids with OSU Master Gardeners and a four-week lesson plan in partnership with the Oregon Bee Project. Kids will study how bees assist make wholesome meals and easy methods to determine a number of of Oregon’s bees.

Throughout summer season and into fall, individuals will obtain a month-to-month Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge e mail with gardening data, harvest recipes and storage suggestions. Challenge data will even be obtainable in English and Spanish on the Food Hero gardening page. For extra customized interplay, individuals can e mail problem leaders or e mail or name the Master Gardeners in their area.

Cousineau mentioned directions and suggestions will embrace data on all varieties of gardening conditions like planting in containers and even indoors.

“We’re trying to make the program accessible to anyone, children, elders, people with special needs and the diversity of cultural populations in Oregon,” she mentioned. “We’re encouraging people anywhere to join. We really want to make sure the information we provide will make people successful. We want to make a community.”

— Kym Pokorny, [email protected]

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