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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

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Phone: 503-823-7700

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1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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Better Together Blotter: Can We Dig It?

doggy driver

Driving by City Hall on Saturday morning you might have experienced a close encounter with a mammoth mountain of compost. An experimental art installation, you wonder?  A protest piece?

Nope. Just compost. To be precise, seven and a half cubic yards of organic Portland compost was delivered by Dean Innovations to nourish City Hall’s Better Together Garden. The delivery was pro-bone-o (see photo on the right). 

Better Together Garden Goddess and Master Gardener Jen

Aron said that she had been waiting for this moment since taking on responsibilities at the garden over a year ago. Although there were tons of tiny critters dancing in the dirt, Aron demonstrated how compact the beds had become over time by trying to push her fingers through the soil. 

It is important to give your garden an annual boost, Aron explained. “I’m excited to have this chance to start afresh and add amendments so that the plants can thrive with nutrients that they need,” she said in her always cheerful manner.

Aron, her family and a few other volunteers spent the morning harvesting garden greens and dropped off the produce at nearby Loaves and Fishes Elm Court. Once the beds were cleared, it was time to start diggin’ in.

Shovel to wheelbarrow to bed. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

We dug and dumped until the garden was covered with a

four-inch fresh, moist and aerated layer of compost. The beds were hand tilled with a pitchfork to mix up the nutrients. Soon, Aron will shuttle over the starts that she has been raising to plant in the newly nourished soil. A true makeover indeed.

So, next time you walk by City Hall keep your eyes out for sprouting summer vegetables. If you’re lucky, have a chat with Jen Aron. And don’t forget to thank the soil that makes your lunch.