GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — If you’re one of the many growing your own fruits and veggies either because of the pandemic or the rising cost, you may want some tips to deal with the unusual weather Oregon has been getting this year.
Michelle Week, who owns Good Rain Farm in Gresham, suggests being gentle with your plants early on.
“I definitely suggest starting plants off in a nice environment, a greenhouse-type environment. A kitchen window is a great place to start. Little seedlings and starts to give them the best jump on life,” she said.
Even with a strong start some plants may not last long. Week has weathered many ups and downs as a farmer and staying resilient, she said, is the key.
“Even here on the farm, even after 7 seasons of farming, 5 years of running a farm business, we’re going to have to turn over some crops and we may have to give up on some of our pepper seed leaves and try again,” Week told KOIN 6 News.
Being a grower is also about persistence.
“That’s just part of this life, and growing food is not necessarily a failure. We learned a thing and we’re going to expand on that and grow from that and try again,” she said. “I don’t want anyone to feel discouraged if their first crop doesn’t go so well.”
Patience goes a long way with your crops.
“It takes time to build relationships with the plants and time to understand our microclimates, our backyard climates and our environments,” Week said. “And so continuing to work on that relationship takes time just like a friend or family member or a peer in your classroom who then becomes a friend. It takes time to build those relationships. So the same’s true for the garden and the plants.”
Because farming and gardening can be challenging, it helps to love what you’re growing. At Good Rain Farm, she is growing food that’s important to her and her ancestry.
“We grow a lot of Native indigenous first foods and varieties,” she said. “I do that as part of reconnecting to culture and community and sharing that.”
In another Northwest Grown, Michelle Week honors her Native American heritage through the
Save Our Seeds program.