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It’s spring, and the garden is sure happy about it!


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The lettuce, kale, arugula, peas, spinach, and chard are all growing quickly in the hoop house, and we now have lettuce, kale, spinach, chard, beets, peas, leeks, cilantro planted out in the field. Poppies are starting to grow, and bees can be seen buzzing between the red dead nettle and dandelions.

Between the torrential downpours and pockets of warmth and sun, it feels like the garden is just itching to take off. We’ve harvested a little over 20 pounds from our overwintering crops, and expect to quickly be harvesting much more from our new plants.


We also have a lot of beautiful starts that are finding beautiful little homes out in the garden.

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On the work party Wednesday, March 19th, we had 14 students from Whitman College come and volunteer a morning in the rain! Even though the weather was miserable they helped us completely renovate our raised demonstration beds.


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Soon we’ll have beds that feature an insectary for pollinators and beneficial insects, square stem herbs, woody perennial herbs, cut flowers, annual herbs, and strawberries.

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With the help of the students we were able to nearly finish this project, and for that we must give a big THANK YOU!

IMG_1592Although we got rained out, we still enjoyed our picnic lunch in the hoop house.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates on the garden harvest, thanks to everyone who helped out this month, and we look forward to seeing more of you as the weather improves.

Join us at our work party every Wednesday, from 9 am – 4 pm. Stay for as short or long as you’d like! We have a picnic lunch at 12 noon, rain or shine, with delicious fresh salad greens from the hoophouse!





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The Good Cheer Garden is a WSU Compost demonstration site showing different ways to create nutritious compost from yard, garden and food waste. Each year we are fortunate to host the Master Gardeners trainees for their compost class.

A big thank you to WICEC (Whidbey Island Community Education Center) for providing warm indoor classroom space for instruction before going out to the garden to see the Good Cheer Garden’s cold compost bins of varying shapes and sizes, and the in-ground, above-ground and garbage can-style worm bins in action.

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Then, to get hands-on experience, the Master Gardener trainees helped turn the compost, and separate the finished compost from the compost that still needs a little more time.

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Thank you future Master Gardeners!

We had stunning success with our garlic this season after we planted it in seaweed. So, when the fall storms came, we went back to the beach to collect seaweed for the garlic beds again.

Middle School students from Wellington Day School and their teacher Cormac McCarthy enthusiastically helped us plant it!

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First we gave the seaweed a little rinsing. The garlic was carefully separated into cloves.

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A bed was prepped and then the fun began. We laid the seaweed down about 4 inches thick and also took some time to explore all the creatures still in the seaweed.

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The bed was then covered with about 4 inches of straw. We pulled the straw aside to create planting holes and filled them with compost.

wellington planting garlic1_0427 Then we planted the garlic! Care was taken to make sure the clove was oriented correctly with the roots on the bottom.

Thank you Adrian, Alejandro, Collin, Donovan, Gabe, Izzy, Kaio, Kellen, Makenna, Lulu, Molly, Serena and Mr. McCarthy!

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As some of our crops are reaching the end of their life cycle, others are coming on quickly. The past two Wednesdays have seen a harvest of around 500 lbs of produce for the food bank! An energetic group of students from the University of Washington’s Urban Farm recently came by the help out in the garden. With the extra muscle we were able to flip, harvest, and clean up our compost bins, harvest rhubarb, beans, and beets, rebuild a terrace bed, and weed and prepare a couple new flowers beds!

Flowers are blooming, tomatoes are dripping off the plant, beans are trying their best to take over the garden, winter squash keeps on sneaking up on me, plums are attracting gleaners (both human and avian), and every day is another adventure and lesson in maintaining the garden without interfering too much in what nature wants to do. Check out our slideshow of beautiful pictures!

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Carrot Camp for children ages 8 – 10! Click HERE for pdf.

Carrot Camp is a week-long adventure in the garden, searching for interesting bugs, getting dirty, and of course, snacking on veggies! Taking place at the Whidbey Insitute’s beautiful Westgarden, surrounded by 70 acres of forest, campers will learn about growing organic vegetables and how to use them for simple recipes and crafts. Bring your sense of play and learn how to transform dirt to delicious!

On Wednesday, the children will go the Good Cheer Food Bank and Garden, where they will be bringing over vegetables from the Westgarden to the food bank, and learning about providing healthy, fresh food for the whole community.

August 12th-16th, 2013
Monday to Friday, from 9am to 1pm
Westgarden at the Whidbey Institute
Boys and girls 8-10 years old
Registration Fee $150

For more information and registration click HERE

SWA harvest

Learning for the students and fresh veggies for the Good Cheer Food Bank!

Go to and HERE to read about the great growing and learning that  has been happening at the South Whidbey Academy Garden, Langley Middle School Garden, and Whidbey Institute Westgarden!

It’s a lot of work to grow 5,000 lbs of produce annually for the Food Bank! Not only do our apprentices and Wednesday work party volunteers make this happen, but we also are so grateful for the service learning programs that come to help in the garden. This spring, students from Bastyr Naturopathic College, Wartburg College (Iowa), and the Seattle Waldorf School have volunteered in the garden!

On Saturday, May 4th, Bastyr College students weeded, prepped and planted.

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On Wednesday, May 8th, Wartburg College students participating in a week of service learning as part of their Leadership and Spirituality May term, came to the work party and joined in with other volunteers to harvest veggies and vermicastings, prep beds and plant.

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Ninth grade students from the Seattle Waldorf School joined the Wednesday work party on May 22nd to help with harvesting, prepping and digging for a new concrete block worm bin.

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A big thank you to all the service learning volunteers this May for helping to grow our garden!

Bastyr College- Susan Azar, Sarah Chappelle, Rob Chappelle, Lila Chappelle, Evan Chappelle, Pa Lao, Missye Profit, Jennifer Harrison and Michael Smith.

Wartburg College: Haddie Vawter, Amy Sampson, Katlyn Underwood, Megan Puls, Tanner Wenger, Jordan Finch, Lauren Mapes, and Professor Fred Waldstein.

Seattle Waldorf School Ninth Grade: Kara Lyons-Hammond, Mariah Crawford, Terra Huyey, Georg Brudi, Samantha Hollos-Bist, Margaret Boram, Jori Wink, Noah Simon, Peter Jacobs, Kelly Rones, Adam Hess, Ravi Robinson, Aden Fallows, Leander Ramirez, Iain Kelly, Eve Dunkley, Sam Crewe-Sullam and teacher Jay Freundlich.

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The South Whidbey Academy Garden is taking shape! The grassy slope is being turned into an outdoor classroom for science and sustainability curriculum, and the produce grown will go to Good Cheer Food Bank! The terraces will be ready to plant soon, thanks to the hard work of students in Michele Sakaguchi’s class.

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A big thank you to Chris Korrow and his tractor with its Italian spading attachment,

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that beautifully tilled the soil. Casey Jackson, School Garden Apprentiice, confirmed that the tilling was deep and successful!

HUB mixing soil_4480  HUB prepping strawberries_4481 Youth from the HUB Youth Center in Langley came to the Good Cheer Garden and helped us restore a bed of strawberries! They mixed soil and learned about compost, and then removed aging strawberry plants, and replaced them with young ones that had grown from runners.

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A job well done! Thank you!

Community Gardening Leadership Training

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The Good Cheer Food Bank, and the South Whidbey School District, are partnering to offer a 7 1/2 month training in community gardening and leadership skills, with a focus on school gardens and garden-based curriculum, from March 2013 – October 2013.

This apprenticeship strengthens the school garden program of the Community Gardening Leadership Training. Besides participating in the educational program and field trips of the CGLT program, the school garden apprentice will also be developing and teaching garden-based curriculum in the schools, continuing the creation of the South Whidbey Academy Garden launched in 2012, developing composting programs, and helping to develop a long-term strategy for farm to school. The school garden apprentice will be assisted and mentored by school faculty and the CGLT coordinator, and will also have the support of the other apprentices in the program.

There are five gardens in the program, including three school gardens: the South Whidbey Academy, Langley Middle School, and South Whidbey Elementary School. All have either ongoing, or startup programs. The produce from these gardens goes to the Good Cheer Food Bank, and to school classroom activities.

Stipend and housing provided. Details and application below.

School Garden Apprenticeship – DESCRIPTION 2013

School Garden Apprenticeship – APPLICATION 2013

For more information and to apply, email Cary Peterson
Phone: 360-221-6046
Applications requested by February 28, 2013


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