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What's happening in December?

Updated: Feb 6

Sisters Community Garden Newsletter December 2023


Thank you for all your great gardening stories, efforts at composting, planting, harvesting and keeping the garden in planting shape all this last year. We especially thank you for your support in the search for a new home. Gardeners have passed on contacts, written letters and e-mails, attended meetings, given input to city and SPRD boards.

We also want to thank you for the excellent jobs you all did this summer. From cleaning the garden to having a massive plant sale to seeing our first-ever monarch butterfly caterpillars, we’ve had a fun and productive year. We look forward to seeing all of you and new gardeners in 2024.

Mornings puttering and planting,

Afternoons lunching and laughing.

Evenings with friends.

A lifegiving environment–just add dirt!

All the best to you and your families for a joyful Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

- Mimi Schaefer, president, and the entire SCG Board

Gardeners flocked to the Sisters Farmers Market to buy our plants at the GROW sale.


A group of employees from the Bend, Eugene and Corvallis offices of Kernutt Stokes, an accounting firm, chose the Sisters Community Garden for their October 23 volunteer and team building event. How fortunate are we that a crew of seven people descended upon our garden and set to work cleaning, organizing and planting!

It was a fine, sunny day and the volunteers tackled everything from starting native grass seeds in the greenhouse to spreading a mountain of bark chips to covering the Back 40 with manure. Their efforts made a significant impact, helping to ready the garden for winter.

They also potted seeds of three varieties of native grasses, which will be used in for landscaping the new garden space when we move. Native bunchgrasses are a good example of more sustainable plants than are commonly used in landscaping.

With Garden Secretary Ellen Mallon assistance, the volunteers also collected and folded wire fencing that had been in a tangled pile beside the composting area. Some of the fencing had been used to protect tree plantings from deer; others had been rejected by gardeners for use in their plots. We are grateful for Robin her husband, who took the collected fencing to Fryrear Transfer Station for recycling.

The administrative team from Kernutt Stokes December in the greenhouse


Seven optimistic members are actively winter gardening in the greenhouse this winter, and their efforts have given them a nice little harvest. Stop by and look! Plants from seeds started in mid-September or earlier are the largest. But later plantings are catching up. Despite outside temperatures hitting the single digits, the greenhouse has not been colder than 20 degrees. Soil temps generally run in the 40s.

At Thanksgiving, Nancy Bright was able to make a salad using some greens from her plot. Admittedly, those lettuces grew from seedlings transplanted from her outside space. Unfortunately, these plants soon had to be destroyed as aphids had found them. That’s because plants moved to the greenhouse from outside can suffer shock and are vulnerable to infestation and other ills. Plants that were started from seed in the greenhouse have not had aphids, and Nancy thinks they will be ready for harvest by Christmas dinner.

Greens from seeds planted in the greenhouse in late summer.


Three members of the Site Search Committee (Janie, Mimi and Nancy) attended the December 6th City Parks Advisory Board meeting and we are happy they did.

Janie reports that PAB members were pleased to have received written statements from gardeners and were impressed with the number of comments sent in, as well as the passion exhibited for the garden and the benefits it provides our community. They were also very excited to learn how many citizens wanted a community garden.

Many thanks to all for sending comments. It is obvious your involvement is very important.

This note was sent to Mimi in response to her comment:

“I will make sure the Parks Board receives your email. They are passionate about the Community Garden, so I know they will find a good home for it.” - Carol Jenkins, Planning Technician II, City of Sisters Community Development

In addition, Greenhouse Manager Nancy Bright asked David Hiller, a greenhouse expert, to come by the garden to give his assessment on moving the greenhouse when the time comes. He thought it was doable and volunteered to oversee the process. What could be better?


Forcing bulbs to bloom when you need a bit of cheer is something any gardener (or even a non-gardener) can do. All you need is some pebbles, soil or a forcing jar and some water.

A forcing jar is an hour-glass shaped container that lets the bulb sit on top and send its roots to the water below. Using pebbles in a tall container helps keep the stems upright. With soil, make sure your pot is twice as deep as the size of the bulbs. The easiest bulbs to force are paperwhites (narcissus) and amaryllis, because they don’t need to be chilled before planting. Others, such as crocus, daffodils and hyacinth, need weeks in your refrigerator to mimic natural conditions. R

Read this post from our friends at White Flower Farms for guidance. Forcing Bulbs – It’s Easier Than You Think


Many thanks to Jim Todd, Director of Space Science Education at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, for this story

Winter Solstice officially begins on December 21st at 7:27 pm PST. At that moment, the sun sits over the Tropic of Capricorn at a latitude of 23.5 degrees south and is the day on which the Earth's northern pole is tipped away from the sun. From December 17-25, we will have nearly eight hours and 42 minutes of daylight to enjoy.

On the day of the winter solstice, the sun will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at noon and at the same time, the region above the Arctic Circle will be in total darkness for 24 hours. The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol-stadium, for sun-standing. The winter solstice is when the sun stops its southern climb and stands briefly before turning back toward the equator.

It is easy to see why our ancestors could be frightened by the sun's movements. They believed that if the sun continued its journey south, the world would be plunged into eternal night. Winter solstice celebrations were so widespread in our Western culture that the early Christian church decided to move Christmas to the time of the solstice. For those of you who dislike the dark winter days, look at the bright side: after December 21, the days will gradually grow longer and the nights shorter as Earth completes its yearly journey around the sun.

On the evenings of December 21 and 22, the waxing gibbous moon will be near the bright planet Jupiter. Then the moon will pass the Pleiades star cluster on the evenings of December 23 and 24. The Pleiades is also known as the Seven Sisters Messier 45 and appears as a glittering, bluish cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus the Bu


Check our website at Sisters Community Garden for next year’s calendar. The gardening season begins February 1, when applications are open for plots in the main garden. Please note that some events, such as work parties and workshops, may be marked as tentative as the board continues to work towards a successful year.

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