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Garden tours grow attendance while showing edible front yards

Garden tours grow attendance while showing edible front yards

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Jo Moorefield stood in her front yard garden Wednesday night amid raised planter boxes bursting with herbs, tomatoes and vegetables, and told nearly 60 people that a year and a half before, the spot was just a lawn.

Moorefield shared the story of this transformation as part of the Edible Front Yard Garden Tour.

“I’m kind of proud of my little garden. It seemed like a fun thing to share it,” she said.

Moorefield said when she began planting a garden in place of a lawn at her house near Lincoln Elementary School, she had some concerns — theft of her garden’s bounty by browsing deer and passersby were chief among them. However, she said, she

netted off her plants to protect them from deer, and she has had no trouble with two-legged thieves. In fact, she’s made friends.

“One of my favorite things is working out in my front yard and having my neighbors come to talk about my garden,” she said.

The tour couldn’t have had a more aptly named organizer:

Sophie Grow, an Oregon State University Extension Service master gardener, quipped that in addition to her apt surname, she lives on Green Street. She said the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s tour of front yard gardens offers participants a chance to gain information and ideas from those with experience that they can adapt to their own front yards.

“We want to model home food productions,” she said.

The series of front yard garden tours is in its third year, and this year there also was a front yard tour in July in the Garfield neighborhood, where an emphasis on marketing paid off. Organizers there had expecting just 40 people, but closer to 90 showed up.

Grow said that not only is growing and tending a garden therapeutic, but growing your own food saves money, and eating fresh produce is part of healthy living.

“There’s nothing more local than your front yard,” she said.

Deb Curtis, who lives near the tour sites in south Corvallis, said she participated because she knew this was a good year for vegetables, and she wanted to see what other people had grown.

“It gives you ideas of different ways to plant the crops,” she said.

She said she was most surprised to see that one of the gardens had grown okra, because she didn’t know it grew in this climate. Curtis said she gardens herself, and seeing the tour sites can be inspirational.

“A lot of people like to eat healthy food, and they like to know what will grow easily,” she said.

Anthony Rimel covers K-12 education. He can be reached at 541-758-9526 or


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