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Arlington Garden Club looks to recruit new members

Arlington High School junior Lucas Revelle spreads wood chips around the Arlington community garden to keep weeds from coming up Oct. 16.  - Kirk Boxleitner
Arlington High School junior Lucas Revelle spreads wood chips around the Arlington community garden to keep weeds from coming up Oct. 16.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Its goals are green, but its members are increasingly gray, by their own admission.

The Arlington Garden Club drew roughly half a dozen volunteers to help spread wood chips around their community garden Oct. 16, including two Arlington High School students, but the rest of its workers that morning were not quite as spry.

Bea Randall, the community garden coordinator, was quick to tout the benefits of age and experience in the Garden Club’s membership, but she’d also be happy to see some younger faces in the crowd as well.

“Keith Sarkisian is a former agriculture teacher at Arlington High School,” Randall said of the 87-year-old man who quietly tended one patch of soil. “Even his replacement at the school has retired. Even as someone who’s gone through the Master Gardeners program myself, I’m still learning all sorts of things from him. He moved across the street just to be near this garden.”

Northwest Sawdust donated two dump truck loads’ worth of wood chips to the Arlington Garden Club for their day’s labors. Randall noted that it took the group nine years to use up the last pile that was donated to them.

“It keeps the weeds out,” Randall said. “Weeds don’t come up through the wood chips. We can’t spray for weeds, because then those crops can’t be taken to organic farmers markets”

According to Randall, 18 people currently tend 26 plant beds at the community garden. As a chill wind cut through the volunteers, while they shoveled wood chips into wheelbarrows and spread them over the soil, Randall reflected on what lay ahead for the gardeners.

“The crops aren’t growing so good this year,” Randall said. “It’s been lousy. The year Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980 was bad, but this year is even worse, I think. There’s been a real lack of sun, and this winter is supposed to be especially cold.”

Randall invited community members to pitch in on behalf of the Arlington Garden Club’s Nov. 27 wreath-making at the Regency Care Center at Arlington. For more information, log onto www.arlingtongardenclub.org.

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