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Guest Opinion

Plants and soil provide building blocks for bodies

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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When we hear the word nutrition, we think about food we need to eat to be healthful, but plants need nutrients, just like our bodies.

A great source of nutrients for our bodies is locally grown fruits and vegetables purchased at a farmers market or grown yourself in a home garden, raised bed or container.

If your garden lacks space or sun, you might want to join a community garden where other gardeners will be growing food and where you can receive education and tips about how to grow successfully in Mason County's climate.

Catalyst Park Community Garden is accepting applications for local citizens to lease a garden bed for the growing season. The cost is $15 for a raised bed measuring 4 feet by 8 feet or $20 for a larger bed measuring 4 feet by 12 feet. Participants will receive seeds, wonderful nutrient-rich soil, monthly garden meetings and workshops, and access to WSU Master Gardener volunteers for help and assistance.

Participants will be required to attend an orientation session in March to familiarize themselves with the community gardening experience. Applications can be picked up at the WSU Extension Office or downloaded from our website at The deadline for applications is Feb. 28, and space is limited.

I taught a lesson last week at Olympic Middle School in the seventh-grade science classes.

The lesson was about minerals, and we made the connection between minerals in the soil and minerals that we need in our bodies.

Everything we eat comes from the soil. Do you believe this statement? If you trace all natural food (aside from manmade chemical sources), all our food has a connection to the soil. If you ate sausage for breakfast, the hog that it came from ate food scraps and grains that were grown in the soil.

Did you have milk in your cereal? The cow ate grass and the milk it produced contained nutrients derived from the grass it ate, which grew from the soil.

Healthful soil is the most important ingredient to being a successful gardener. Once you have good soil, full of nutrients and organic matter, then growing plants will be a breeze. As many of you know, Mason County is not known to have sandy loam soil. I was very lucky when I first moved to Mason County and we did, in fact, have sandy loam soil.

I couldn't understand what all the fuss about clay and rocks was all about until we moved again. Now I see why so many gardeners struggle to grow healthful, thriving plants. To dig a hole in our current location means getting out a pickaxe and trying to urge the rocks to break free.

Rather than breaking my back in the process, we have brought in soil and compost and created garden beds on top of the rocky soil rather than trying to directly use the native soil.

Another important ingredient in your recipe for successful gardening is water.

We have plenty of rain in the fall and winter, but we almost always experience dry.

Mason County WSU master gardeners have you covered in both areas. They will be giving a workshop from 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday at Memorial Hall.

This week's topics are using season extenders to start your garden sooner and finish later. We will explore ways to keep your plants moist while saving on the water bill, and I will be talking about soil and how to amend your soil to hold more water and nutrients.

The cost is $10 per person, payable at the door.

To register, call 427-9670, ext. 680.

Jeanne Rehwaldt is an extension coordinator supervisor at WSU Extension Mason County. She can be reached at 427-9670, ext. 688.

Everything we eat comes from the soil.

Copyright 2015 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 22, 2015

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