Little Garden of Horrors

Sue is back, and it’s a good thing she goes on her daily walks – as her garden provides more stress than it should!


Pak Choy (AKA Audrey)

Early this year, I decided to tame the strawberry plants that had wandered out of their raised bed and filled the pathway. I dug out the bed, filled it with compost, added fertilizer, and replanted it with the biggest plants. The bed looked nice and neat, and I was very pleased with myself.

Later, when I weeded the bed, I left a few mystery sprouts “to see what they were.” In the blink of an eye (well, maybe a few weeks), the mystery sprouts were already growing much taller than the strawberry plants. When I finally had time to attend to the bed again, the mystery plants had grown into monsters, towering above the strawberries.

I named the biggest one Audrey 2 and slowly backed away, being careful not to make any sudden movements. I knew I needed to do some research and come back with the right arsenal. (If you’re a sci-fi fan like me, you know this is the correct strategy for dealing with a potential space alien invasion.)

Consulting last year’s seed packets, I found that Audrey and her seven sisters are not from outer space and are actually pak choi (AKA bok choy). It’s one of those veggies that are in a lot of Asian dishes — nondescript, but tasty. When I tried growing it before, it was scrawny and flowered right away, and so it went right into the compost pile. Ah-ha! The compost!

Audrey will go into the dinner pot tonight before she gets any bigger. Her sisters will soon follow. I guess the life lesson of the story is don’t be too quick to discard things that are unexpected and don’t fit the plan. Sometimes waiting to see what grows can provide you with tasty results.

How a Garden Can Help a Community

Holly Davis, Donna Wile, and Mari RiosThey’re a stress reliever, they yield delicious results, and they’re “green.” If you’re looking for an idea to live a healthier life, gardening is a great place to start. Since healthy employees are happy employees, Sara, one of our PacificSource Human Resources elite, came up with an idea to create a wonderful way to get our employees outdoors, active, and eating well. She was the driving force behind our employee garden. But she didn’t stop there, she also found a way to benefit the entire community. Here is her story about the beginnings of the PacificSource employee garden:

Meet Sara, our PacificSource Gardening Capatin.

Meet Sara, our PacificSource Gardening Captain

The idea for our garden came from a magazine article I read a while ago about companies that were creating a more impactful green space for their employees in the form of a garden. Seeing as our company is built on the idea of bettering the community and improving employee wellness, I thought we would be a great candidate for this kind of project.

I proposed the idea in 2009 thinking we would maintain only 2 or 3 garden beds, clearly, I needed to dream bigger. We began planting in 2010 and currently have 28 garden beds, which yield an incredible amount of food every season, and is completely employee run. As a volunteer, our employees are able to bring home much of the produce. But we also built in a way to benefit the food banks in Lane County. All of our volunteers agreed to donate at least half of the produce grown. After a few years, our employees love giving the produce to our food banks. As it turns out, we donate closer to 80 percent of what is grown, and our employees continue to take part just for the love of it.

We don’t have a scale to weigh what we donate, but the folks at Food for Lane County and the Eugene Mission estimate that we give roughly 100 pounds every week. We donate about 20 weeks out of the year, which means we donate nearly 1 ton of produce each season. I cannot imagine what 3 to 4 tons of veggies look like, but I am so glad they made it onto the plates of those in need.

While most of our gardeners are novices, we’ve gotten better at it each year. What’s most exciting is that we’ve been able to build a similar garden at our Bend office. Next stop Boise and Helena! It’s been an excellent project, and our employees are happy to share with friends and family. Whenever I sign up for watering on the weekend I always bring my dog. She gets so excited, she just can’t help herself from running to HER garden. My husband likes helping too, he just doesn’t pant as much as my dog! This project has been such a great way for our employees to get out and take a break, if you don’t garden, I would highly recommend it!

Special thanks to Sara and all of our employees who take part in keeping our garden green and healthy. We know it gives you a break from work, but it also helps feed some people in need. Thanks for being so darn awesome!

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Congratulations to the Healthy Life Essay Contest Winner

IMG_6419As part of the PacificSource Healthy Life Schools Challenge in Eugene/Springfield, we held an essay contest where elementary school students could answer the question, “What helps you live a healthy life?” After reading through hundreds of incredible essays, one stood above the rest.

Congratulations to our winner, Mariya Dolph from Clear Lake Elementary School. Check out her healthy ideas and see why she was our winner:

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Thank you to all the students that participated. Your essays were incredible, and reading them was truly inspiring.

Related Post:  Healthy Schools Delivery Crew