Kiwanis prepares beds, plants peas OLYMPIA – Spring arrived early Saturday as about 30 Olympia Kiwanis members and volunteers gathered on the Capitol Campus to prepare garden beds for vegetables that later will be donated to the Thurston County Food Bank.
The six garden beds, which are not far from the Korean War Memorial on the east side of the campus, are among four main planting areas in the city maintained by the Kiwanis Club. Kiwanis has been growing vegetables for the food bank since 1990, co-chairman Don Leaf said Saturday.
Its four main gardens produced about 26,000 pounds of vegetables last year, and the Capitol Campus gardens produced about 5,900 pounds. This year, the Capitol Campus garden beds have a chance to produce even more vegetables because they were expanded to about 16,000 square feet from 11,000 square feet, Leaf said. About $8,500 to $10,000 was raised to maintain the four garden areas this year, he said.
The day got started about 8:30 a.m., and the Kiwanis members and volunteers busied themselves picking weeds, tilling the garden beds, and putting down about a dump truck full of chicken and horse manure. They also planted some peas, but most of the vegetable planting will take place next month, Leaf said. Up next are potatoes, onions, cabbage, beets, carrots, cucumbers, winter squash and peppers.
Among Saturday’s volunteers and Olympia Kiwanis members were some high-profile community leaders, including Thurston County Assessor Steve Drew, Treasurer Shawn Myers and Olympia City Councilwoman Rhenda Strub.
Gov. Chris Gregoire and her husband, Mike, also stopped by to deliver some doughnuts.
High school and college students pitched in, too, including Katelyn LeBlanc, a South Puget Sound Community College student who is in the school’s pre-nursing program. She’s also taking a sociology class that requires her to volunteer her time toward a social cause. LeBlanc picked weeds and planted peas Saturday.
Another volunteer, Sarah Swanson, the Thurston County Food Bank’s produce manager, said the Olympia Kiwanis garden beds are the biggest source of produce for the food bank. In addition to the Capitol Campus gardens, the Kiwanis club has garden beds on 11th Avenue in west Olympia, on Friendly Grove Road north of the park and on Carpenter Road at Vista Village, Leaf said.
The group also will put up fencing around the garden beds because although the Capitol Campus garden beds are in an urban area, deer know where to go to snack on vegetables.
“They are awful good jumpers,” Leaf said about the deer.