Susan Garner, Judith McDougall and Su Liudahl pose in front of the food they made, created with ingredients that they grew in their gardens at the Aug. 28 Gardening Club meeting in the Creswell Library. ALIYA HALL/THE CRESWELL CHROICLE
Su Liudahl's favorite part of gardening is taking something as small as a seed and turning it into enough zucchini that she has to give some away. She applied this same concept to Creswell Garden Club: taking the interest community members had in gardening, and growing that into a club of around eight members.
The club started in June, and accepts all experience levels, as well as age ranges - even teenagers are involved. Already the club has had educational seminars from Oregon State University Master Gardeners for basic and beginner gardens, as well as how to best prepare gardens for fall.
This is the first year that Liudahl has been able to have a garden since she moved, and she's now trying to grow everything she can.
”I have 15 tomato varieties and 10 different lettuce varieties,” she said. ”I want to see what I like and what grows the best.”
She also grows cabbage, kale, multi-colored beets and more.
Liudahl grew up on a farm and had her own garden when she was younger, so the concept isn't new to her. She said it's been a good year for her even though she planted late and didn't prepare the soil; however, she said planting late made more sense for her with the warm vegetables.
”People make the mistake of planting warm veggies too early because it won't grow until the soil warms anyway,” she said.
Susan Garner, another member, also planted in June and said that her garden did better than her friend's who planted in April.
”It made me realize I could have planted more,” she said.
Garner was invited to the club by Liudahl, and plants a mix of flowers and produce together. She said she appreciates the beauty of the mix, and even planted purely purple flowers this year for aesthetic purposes.
Along with flowers, some of the vegetables she grows includes peas, beans, tomatoes and garlic.
”Garlic is one of my favorites,” she said. ”It's rewarding to dig up and have a bulb at the end.”
New to the group, and Creswell, Judith McDougall only has two tomato plants growing for this year, but has an extensive background in gardening, farming and canning.
”I do a lot of it because it saves money,” she said, ”but I love the whole process.”
From her bounty, McDougall has canned marinara sauce, jam, apple pie mix, plum sauce and more.
She plans on getting more involved in gardening, as well as with the Creswell community.
The women met on Aug. 28 meeting at the Creswell Library, which was a potluck and recipe exchange. Liudahl said she came up with the idea because this is the time of year where gardeners are having an abundance of tomatoes and zucchinis, and this was one option of using them up.
Each woman brought a dish made with fresh, garden ingredients: Liudahl made homemade salsa, zucchini lasagna, and zucchini bread cake; Garner brought a vegetable pasta salad full of green beans and tomatoes; and McDougall made zucchini bread cookies.