2013’s Bumper Crop at Washington Corrections Center

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By Scott Knapp, Grounds & Nursery Services Specialist 5, Washington Corrections Center; photos by Scott Knapp and Don Carlstad

It has been a busy and productive gardening season here at Washington Corrections Center (WCC). We harvested over 20,000 lbs. of fresh garden bounty this year. The 180 tomato plants that we grew in one of our greenhouses produced well over 1,000 pounds of deliciousness! Half the bounty has gone to Mason County food banks, and half has stayed here to help reduce the prison’s food costs.

We rotated crops so that we could harvest all season long—no booms or busts. Our main crops were the staple-type veggies that everyone enjoys and the folks at the food banks, some with limited resources, can enjoy without having to prepare in a kitchen; these were broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini, beans, potatoes, radishes, carrots, onions, and beets. The 19 offenders that work the garden really enjoyed being a part of a record-breaking year for WCC’s gardens, and planning for next year’s crops is already underway.

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This year, all of our annual flowers grown from seed did exceptionally well. We added fresh compost from our new composting center (photo of the center in a recent blog) to all of our flower beds, and that made everything flourish. The color and size of some of them were incredible, and a lot of it is still looking extremely nice this late in the season. The color really brings life to an otherwise dreary venue. Preparing for planning next year’s annuals is already underway: we are sterilizing the greenhouses this week and starting to mix our secret recipe of potting soil. This is a very busy time of year for us here at WCC as we put the garden area to bed for the season and prepare for another great season next year.

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Happy Gardening!!!

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