Nehalem—Local gardening lore says the wise gardener can sit tight until all traces of snow are gone from Onion Peak. Translated that means that until mid-May there is a twenty percent chance of a killing frost in Tillamook County and gardeners are advised to be patient and allow soil temperatures to warm to provide the ideal environment for plants and seeds to grow.

Along with warm soil temperatures, healthy plant starts are the key to a bountiful harvest throughout the growing season and in the Nehalem Valley plant starts grown for the maritime climate further ensure good results. Lower Nehalem Community Trust's Community Garden Program is offering a wide variety of organic veggie plant starts, proven in this climate, for sale on Saturday, May 19, 9:00 a.m. - noon at Alder Creek Farm. Arrive early for the best selection of greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choi, squashes, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, artichokes, herbs and more.

"Proceeds from the sale will help with the ongoing improvements to our greenhouse and gardens," said Karen Matthews, LNCT's Community Garden manager. "We continually upgrade our garden practices which allow our productivity to flourish. The more our garden grows, the more fresh organic produce we can donate to the North County Community Food Bank."

LNCT's popular community garden program has 32 active gardeners who share in the work and the harvest of the half-acre garden. From February through October these gardeners grow starts, prepare beds, plant, weed, water and harvest for their own use and the donated produce for the Food Bank. The program teaches local residents how to confidently grow a wide variety of food and offers advice, recipes and potlucks to encourage new ways to enjoy fresh, locally grown produce.

"The community garden program is just one of the active programs of the Trust," said Matthews, "and we encourage others to get involved in the Trust by becoming members. At our sale we will gift a one gallon plant start to anyone becoming a member."

Annual individual membership in the LNCT begins at just $15 and includes benefits such as reduced admission and tuition to events and fee-based programs and workshops.

To reach Alder Creek Farm & Natural Area, turn south off of Hwy 101 at Underhill Lane between Manzanita and Nehalem. Follow the Lane to the end of the road for plenty of free parking. For more information call 503-368-3203.

Lower Nehalem Community Trust, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has been conserving and managing land in the lower Nehalem watershed since 2002. The Trust leads restoration projects and provides community education programs throughout the year. For more information go to www.nehalemtrust.org

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