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Gardening for the greater good

Posted by Renee Magyar on April 27, 2015

Did you know your own backyard garden can support economic and environmental restoration in eastern Oregon?

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared April 2015 as National Garden Month, so what better reason to plant a garden this month. There is a certain satisfaction in growing your own vegetables, and peace of mind comes with the ability to eliminate use of herbicides or pesticides. Boost the sustainability factor of your garden by choosing to build raised garden beds with local Western Juniper. The wood is naturally impervious to rot and insects and requires no harsh chemicals to preserve its structure, which is great news for any organic gardener looking for a 100% chemical free, non-toxic garden environment. 

Western Juniper is native to the Northwest, but due to a century of fire suppression, grazing practices, and climate change the tree is acting more like an invasive species, pushing out other plants and sensitive wildlife species, lowering the water table, and transforming grasslands into desert. Its range has expanded by as much as ten-fold in parts of the state, with upwards of 9 million acres now present across eastern Oregon. 

Careful harvest of juniper can boost eastern Oregon’s economy by providing jobs for millers and harvesters, and a plentiful supply of naturally decay resistant wood for green building markets. Harvest also improves grazing conditions for local ranching, discourages the spread of invasive weeds, increases ground water supplies, decreases wildfire risks in communities, and restores habitat for sensitive species like sage-grouse and mule deer. 

Vote with your dollars to support the growing Western Juniper market. Landscape timbers are available at Sustainable Northwest Wood. Visit them at www.snwwood.com to see their full suite of indoor and outdoor juniper products. 

And voice your support for state funding to keep the effort moving forward. Call your Congressman to support bills HB 2997 and HB 2998. These two complementary bills moving through the Oregon Legislature can be a boon for small juniper businesses, and rangelands and sage-grouse habitat in eastern Oregon. Read more about what these policies will support

Learn more about the Western Juniper effort and watch this recent story on KATU Go Green.