To build, or not to build?


Karen-pic-for-Independence-GardensIt is with great pleasure that I welcome back Karen from Independence Gardens PDX. This is Karen’s third article with us.  Karen’s past articles were, “Getting the feel of a garden” and “Prepping your garden and gardening prepared.”  Please visit Independence Gardens PDX if you have questions or need guidance on gardening.  Enjoy!


That IS the question—especially at this time of the year, when dedicated gardeners are planning for spring  and getting their spaces ready for upcoming planting! And the answer? Well, it depends.

Growing your own food doesn’t require any specific infrastructure. In order to grow, plants need the right amount of sun and water, fertile soil, and to be sown at the right time. If they’re given the right environmental conditions and left to their own devices, they might even bear something that we’d like to eat. But for our gardens to reach maximum productivity, they need to be accessible to us and also provide ideal conditions for plants to grow the right parts—roots, shoots, stems, leaves, buds, flowers, and/or fruits—for us to enjoy. And that’s where infrastructure comes in. Continue reading

Getting the feel of a garden




   We are honored to have Karen Wolfgang back as a guest blogger.  She operates the business Independence Gardens PDX.  Her first article focused on all of the benefits of starting your own garden. If you have not had the chance to read the post, I would highly recommend it. This next article takes us on a journey of the simple nature of being connected with your own hideaway.  The article is a simple, pure and a powerful piece. 


I hope that you sometimes find yourself, as I am doing right now, simply thinking “ooh, I’m so lucky!” My garden is one of the many things in my life that makes me feel that way, and I’m writing to explain why.

First of all, I derive a lot of pleasure from many of the elements of my garden for which I am in no way responsible. The previous gardener was all about bulbs: raucous ornamentals that magically appear in the spring and interact with each other in unexpected ways, keeping me on my toes and wondering how DID she do it? I am fascinated. I am enormously entertained by the flowers themselves, the foliage, the accidental(?) juxtapositions–and, of course, by the bees and other critters that come to visit them. I am observing: I am a little too ADD to watch a single bumblebee for more than a few seconds, but I do see it, and I appreciate it, and its erratic flight pattern makes me smile. And then, every once in a while, the way the leaves of the maple move in the slightest breeze catches my attention, and although my eyes don’t always linger, the image sticks in my brain. Continue reading

Prepping your garden & gardening “prepared”


I would like to welcome my first guest writer, Karen Wolfgang. She is owner and project coordinator of Independence Gardens PDX. She has written an outstanding piece on being a new gardener and being prepared. Thank you Karen!


Thanks to a few spectacularly sunny recent days, Portlanders are in the throes of garden fever. But behind the excitement of getting out into the spring sunshine is another growing trend (so to speak). This season, many people are beginning to seriously consider gardening for preparedness, a.k.a. resilient gardening, or gardening when it counts: developing the skills, habits, and resources for growing food for ourselves and our people, wherever we are and whatever comes next.

As it turns out, however, many of the people who are getting excited about growing food have little to no previous experience doing so, not to mention performing associated preparation and preservation tasks. Not to worry: I, for one, believe that this lack of practical understanding is a tremendous opportunity for learning and growth. All steps taken toward food awareness and security–even the baby ones–contribute positively to the long-term resilience of our community. I count myself lucky to be able to help people take those steps on a daily basis through my business…but it certainly is possible to DIY, here! Continue reading