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The WSU Demonstration Beds at Garden by the Sea Community Garden
The Coastal Grays Harbor Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) use their four beds at Garden by the Sea Community Garden to participate in scientific experiments and environmental programs including the study of pollinators, community education and engagement in gardening projects, and the factors of the marine environment that affect gardening including soil, wind, climate, and salty, marine environmental conditions.
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The MGVs have been partnering with Garden by the Sea over the years to allow gardeners and the community to “look over their shoulders” as they conduct research on coastal gardening issues such as perennial and annual vegetables for cool climates and pollinator plants that attract bees and butterflies. One of their plots for the last several years was dedicated to a NASA project using ozone sensitive plants that are affected by higher ozone levels before humans, animals or other plants notice a problem.
Thanks to the efforts of the Coastal Grays Harbor Master Gardener Volunteers, the garden has two beautiful new hooped garden beds. MGVs added resistant covers on top of the two of their four Demonstration Beds that have been part of the Garden by the Sea for the last several years. The covers are made with a double layer of UV protected 6ml plastic over PVC supports on a frame of treated lumber. These structures create a greenhouse effect to keep the plants warm allowing them to garden well into the winter months.
The new hooped garden beds, sometimes referred to as cold frames or cloche houses, are used in fall and winter to grow different cover cops. Cover crops are used as “green manure” which transfers valuable nutrients into the soil naturally. In the late winter/early spring, the plants are turned back into the soil to decompose before new crops are planted. Already the MGVs have sprouts of fava beans, crimson clover and daikon radishes coming up strong!
the Grays Harbor Coastal Master Gardener Volunteers have an ongoing partnership with a local hardware store to offer plant clinics to answer questions regarding plants and gardening for the public. When possible, they offer workshops in the garden on specific topics for gardening on the coast.