Gardens at Stafford Creek Corrections Center

By Sarah Larson, SPP Sagebrush Coordinator

Incarcerated gardeners have been tending to their gardens since the season began this past spring. Despite delays in planting due to the unusually long and cool spring, the gardeners managed to plant a variety of vegetables throughout the facility. Harvests occur each Monday morning with the bounty being donated to the Coastal Harvest food bank in Hoquiam. As of mid-September, they’ve grown and donated an amazing 6,000 lbs. of produce! 

The gardeners don’t just grow vegetables, they also incorporate wildflowers and perennials. While this helps beautify the grounds, it also does an incredibly important job of supporting the Stafford Creek honey bees. The bees forage for pollen and nectar, while also pollinating many of the vegetables. 

Gardeners often experiment with new plant varieties, giving them the opportunity to learn more about the needs of different plants and how to solve issues with pests and diseases. Gardeners also collect and store seeds that are then sown the following year. 

With sustainability in mind, the gardeners get very creative in repurposing old containers to grow plants in. Many items are repurposed, like recycling bins, water barrels, laundry tubs, as well as reusing black plastic nursery pots.

A weekly garden harvest packaged in reusable crates and ready to be picked up by the food bank (bottom). Photo by Sarah Larson. 

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