The Marymoor Community Garden

The Marymoor Community Garden is one of the oldest of its kind in the country, spanning over 30 years in operation.  It is a 2.1-acre area divided into 10×40′ parcels that are essentially rented for an annual period by gardeners who are then individually responsible for management of their plot.   For the past 9 years, the Marymoor Community Gardeners Association has administered the garden with a strong focus on shared effort and a close partnership with HopeLink.   Hopelink has supported local homeless and low-income families, children, seniors and people with disabilities, and live a mission of building self-sufficiency and lasting life change for needy people in the communities where they operate.    The Marymoor Community Garden has a large area dedicated to growing food for Hopelink, plus organizes pickups of produce donations from gardeners through the growing season.  These efforts have contributed thousands of pounds of fresh produce every year through the Hopelink Food Bank in Redmond.   Every gardener ends up with some extra vegetables from their garden in a typical year – what a great thing to be able to distribute the extra to people in need!

For about 18 of those 30 years that the Community Garden has been in existence, I have been working the same plots, initially with my sister Lynne (she had been there for several years before that), and for the past 6-7 years with my husband John.  We now farm a 40×40 foot area, four official ‘plots’.  We grow dahlias for color, plus potatoes, onions, winter and summer squash, several kinds of cooking greens, tomatoes, bush and pole beans, sweet corn, raspberries, peppers and broccoli.  It is a true ‘labor of love’ and something that we look forward to with great anticipation from about January on.   We find this to be a great way to support our community along with our passion for digging in the dirt and eating fresh produce – since our own backyard is heavily forested and doesn’t provide enough sun for successful vegetable production.  Plus we love the interaction with fellow gardening-obsessed people!

Each January the seed catalogs begin to arrive in the mail and I begin my research (once a geneticist, always a geneticist!) on the different varieties that are available, their yield performance, days to production, disease and cold hardiness, flavor and variety of appearance.  Some I just have to try because of their names (“Black Zebra” tomato – gotta have it!)  I keep detailed records of the results year upon year, and have been steadily building up tried-and-true varieties plus trying a few new ones every year.  We now have mesh bags of potatoes and onions as well as winter squash which last us through much of the winter.

This page will share pictures and stories of our gardening adventures through the seasons, as well as information about vegetable varieties that we have tested and found to be reliable, productive and tasty.


2 comments on “Gardening

  1. Cheryl, it is good to hear your garden is sooo productive!! Annette and I have really enjoyed our Tomatos. Heartland is a great variety!
    Write soon!!

    • Hi Ron! Our tomatoes are just starting to gush in – love this season! The green beans, second crop of broccoli and sweet corn are also so delectable. today I’m making homemade pasta sauce and pickled beets to get some of this put up. I hope that you guys are doing well! Just got back from 8 days of backpacking on the Continental Divide in Colorado.


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