Dry Farming and Soil Health for School and Community Garden Educators

Melons are sweet and juicy without any irrigation.

Melons are sweet and juicy without any irrigation or weeding.

Registration is open for our free Dry Farming and Soil Health Workshop on Saturday, April 6th, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., at the Environmental Learning Center at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City. Snacks, a certificate for continuing education hours, and take-home resources will be provided.

The Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District, in partnership with the Environmental Learning Center at Clackamas Community College and Oregon State University Small Farms Program is bringing soil health education to K-8 teachers, school garden volunteers, community gardeners, and others in a position to educate others about soil health.

Why Does Soil Health Matter?

Healthy soil is made up of much more than silt, sand, and clay!

Healthy soil is made up of much more than silt, sand, and clay!

Healthy soils produce better quality plants. They also help to protect many of our natural resources, including maintaining animal and plant biodiversity, contributing to water quality, and storing carbon, which can help slow climate change.

Poor soil health contributes to poor plant health, increased weed production, and diminished nutritional content of vegetation. It also leads to compaction, runoff, erosion, and loss of organic matter in soils.

School and community gardens provide living laboratories for investigation-based learning. Working with soils gets kids outside and engaged in learning by doing. Teaching about soil prepares our students to better understand their world and to conserve natural resources throughout their lives. And now, teachers can incorporate dry farming techniques and vegetable varieties to allow students to replicate the trails currently taking place through Oregon State University. This is also a potential school garden model that could make summer garden care much easier!

Why Dry Farming?

Buckwheat is a good choice for a summer cover crop.

Buckwheat is a good choice for a summer cover crop.

This April, at the bequest of our former soil health students, Clackamas SWCD is providing information on dry farming techniques. Our guest presenter, Amy Garrett, OSU Extension Dry Farming Project Leader, will be sharing the fundamentals of dry farming and will discuss the different studies being undertaken by the Dry Farming Collaborative.

In response to escalating concerns about climate change, drought, and reduced summer water availability, the Dry Farming Project was launched in 2014. The project started small with a few case studies and demonstrations, and has had a growing impact over the past three years leading to the establishment of the Dry Farming Collaborative (DFC) in 2016.

Workshop participants will also learn how implementing soil health principles can contribute to success in using a dry farm model.

Dry Farming and Soil Health: A FREE Soil Health Workshop for School & Community Gardens

  • Saturday, April 6, 2019
  • 8:00a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Environmental Learning Center at Clackamas Community College

For more information or to register for this workshop, please contact Cathy McQueeney at cmcqueeney@conservationdistrict.org or at 503-210-6012.

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