Soil school 2015

Soil School 2015 postcard (small)

The health of your soil determines the health of everything growing in it – the food you eat and the crops you produce! Learn all about how to care for your soil at Soil School 2015! The event will be a day packed full of information for small farmers, landscapers, gardeners, grounds managers and anyone else who wants to improve their soil.

When: Saturday, April 4, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Registration 8:00-8:30 a.m.)
Where: PCC Rock Creek Event Center, 17705 NW Springville Road, Portland
Cost: $30 per person or $50 for two people (Breakfast snacks and lunch are provided)
Register: Event page on

Attendees will learn about soil structure, texture and composition. You’ll also learn about growing crops and gardens using beneficial insects and how to improve your soil through cover crops. One session will focus on organic weed control, the myths and methods. Expert speakers will talk about irrigation and how to make sure you’re watering your plants in the most efficient way as well as the recent movement to replace lawns with low-maintenance native groundcovers and grasses. Finally, we’ll have a session on slugs and snails, which ones you want to get rid of and the most effective way to control them. Read more

Our 2015 Native Plant Sale

Customers pick up their plants on pickup day

Thank you for supporting our Native Plant Sale! We had a fantastic plant sale “pickup day” this last Saturday: hundreds of people picked up their plant orders, and now thousands of native plants are being planted in and around the District, which will help restore native habitat, support wildlife and lower outdoor water usage. We also want to thank our wonderful volunteers, who helped us package the plants, sort customer orders and distribute them on Saturday! Our Plant Sale would not have been possible without your efforts.

If you are still looking for more native plants, see our Local Sources of Native Plants page. There are several other nearby native plant sales coming soon!

If you were not able to pick up your plants on Saturday, we will process a refund for your order this week. You can email Alex Woolery, our Marketing and Media Specialist, or call him at (503) 935-5367, if you have any questions about your order. Thank you for supporting our Native Plant Sale!

Updates on the Native Plant Sale

Western bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa)

Updated at 5:00pm on January 23rd.

Thanks to some incredible enthusiasm for native plants, nearly half of the species in our Native Plant Sale are already out of stock! Similar to last year’s sale, we have seen a large number of early orders. Unlike last year, we have had about five times as many orders on the first day! While we like to see this kind of demand, we also wanted to give everybody a fair chance to order the plants they want. We have had many calls and emails asking if we can get more of these plants, and as a courtesy we would like to give some background on the Native Plant Sale for our visitors.

Unfortunately, we are not able to order more plants at this late stage. The plants that are being sold were ordered from the nurseries in the summer of 2014. Also, since we are running the sale at our District office, we can only handle and process so many orders (with the help of our wonderful volunteers!), and also have space limitations for the stored plants.

This year we are selling over 18,000 native plants – WOW! The demand has also risen since last year, and in just the first ten hours, we’ve seen nearly as many orders as last year’s entire sale! We apologize to anyone who did not get a chance to order the plants they want, but fear not! There are a number of native plant sales and nurseries where you can get many of the same plants. Check out our Local Sources of Native Plants page, which features eight other annual Native Plant Sales, as well as many low-cost retail and wholesale native plant suppliers! In many cases you can get groundcovers in 4-inch pots for prices very similar to ours.

“What does the future hold for your farm?” A free farm succession program

East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD), Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) and the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University are offering a family farm succession program, entitled “What Does the Future Hold for Your Farm?,” on Tuesday, February 3 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Milwaukie Center, 5440 SE Kellogg Creek Drive, Milwaukie, OR 97222. There is no cost for the program and light refreshments will be served.

Oregon farmer trends infographic

Our infographic on Oregon farmer trends, based on data from the USDA 2012 Census of Agriculture

The average age of farmers in Oregon is now over 59 years (see our infographic) and many family farms are facing a transition between generations, or to someone outside of the family. There are many important issues for farm families to consider when retiring from farming. “Can the current owners afford to retire?” “Do the children in the family want to keep farming?” “How do we transfer the farm’s assets?” These are just some of the important questions and issues that will be addressed. Read more

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