Greening the Garden

Last Spring, Louisa DeHeer from the Sustainability Center, helped Slow Food: University of Oregon claim a garden plot in the Whiteaker neighborhood.  What started as rocky, messy soil has blossomed over the summer thanks to the direction of Slow Food members Pierce Kennedy and Jon Cox.

“This past season required a lot of initial effort to reclaim the plot from the weeds and snails and awful soil before we could even think about planting,” Jon said.  But it is now a thriving urban farm that produces sunflower seeds, kale, squash, pumkins, raspberries, beans, amaranth, basil, carrots, cucumber and cabbage.  At the peak of summer there was enough of a surplus to donate to Food For Lane County, a nonprofit founded in 1984 and dedicated to eliminating hunger by creating access to food.

Amaranth is a quinoa-like grain that is gluten free.

Pierce Kennedy rips the sunflower from it’s stem so he can harvest the seeds inside.

These seeds are hidden behind the florets covering the face of the sunflower.

It’s great to finally have a place of our own.  It’s great running into Slow Food members at the plot and we plan to have weekend work parties throughout the year.  Yes, even in the rainy winter months.  Eugene is actually a great place for winter gardening and it is an excellent solution for keeping the soil’s tilth and fertility at peak levels.  Here are some of the crops that do well in winter:

  • Beets
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Early Carrots
  • Leek
  • Turnip
  • Kohlrabi
  • Garlic


  • Winter Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Swiss Chard
  • Broccoli

Beets and Rutabagas have already been planted, but there is still time to prepare more crops for winter.  Make a point to come see the garden this fall and do a little harvesting, weeding or planting.

“This garden is a great way to see that you don’t have to be an expert to grow your own food.  And if you do want to learn about gardening there is no better way than to just get out there and observe what does or doesn’t work,” said Pierce.

The plot is located at the end of North Polk.


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