Earth Day comes early to community garden

Sequim Mayor Laura Dubois and other city volunteers celebrated Earth Day 2009 a few days early on Saturday as they prepared a plot at the Community Organic Garden of Sequim.

As the city's recognition of the 39th anniversary of Earth Day, volunteers from the city council, city staff, and city committees agreed to lease and maintain a plot at the garden behind St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 525 N. Fifth Ave.

The city council unanimously approved the idea at its Feb. 9 meeting, noting that the $35 plot lease fee and all subsequent gardening work will be donated by city councilors, staff and committee members.

Dubois said they plan to grow broccoli, lettuce, cilantro, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, beets, bush beans and perhaps tomatoes in June.

Seedlings were donated by Mark Ozias and Lisa Boulware of A New Leaf Nursery and organic seeds were bought with donations from McComb Gardens.

City Planner Joe Irvin will manage the gardening schedule on his own time. All the vegetables grown in the city plot will be donated to the Sequim Food Bank.

Dubois also presented hats declaring "Make Every Day Earth Day" to two winners of the Sequim Earth Day 2009 poster contest, 10-year-old Elizabeth Rosales from Greywolf Elementary and 10-year-old Stephanie Grow from Helen Haller Elementary.

Laminated color copies of some of the 73 Earth Day posters were posted on the garden's fence.

Dubois and art teacher Carrie Rodlend organized the contest with the theme "Grow Your Own Food." It attracted 73 entries from Helen Haller and Greywolf elementary schools as well as Sequim students of Queen of Angels and home-school students.

Rosales placed first with a poster featuring carrots and a kitchen table in a farm field.

Grow placed second for her depiction of two young gardeners with their arms raised in triumph.

Paula Roberts from Olympic Peninsula Academy placed third with a poster that featured the "Save the Earth" slogan.

All the students received a packet of vegetable seeds donated by Roger and Ellie Schmidt of Sunny Farms Country Store.

Bob Caldwell, founder of Friends of the Fields, said helping start the garden is one of the more rewarding things he's done.

It began at the suggestion of a couple of Sequim students and Friends of the Fields provided funding, he said.

Also in attendance Saturday was Laurie Liske, Sequim Village branch manager for First Federal. The bank awarded a $3,300 grant to the Community Organic Garden to lay gravel on the walkways and install a filtration system to remove chlorine from the water supply.

Reach Brian Gawley at

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