Growing Food

Urban gardening can help cut down grocery costs, provide healthful food, foster environmental stewardship and build communities. Plus, it can lead to a strong sense of personal empowerment, as well as being fun! It’s no wonder gardens are sprouting in backyards, balconies, churches, schools, businesses and on vacant land.
You can grow fresh food no matter where you live or what your experience. Try a tomato plant in a container or some herbs in your windowsill to enjoy homegrown ripe produce all summer for the price of a seed packet. In time, you may get hooked on growing your own greens year round in Oregon's mild climate. Very easy things to grow include kale, mustard greens, oriental greens, arugula, purslane, sorrel, oregano, mint and chives.

General Food Growing Resources

Site, Soil – Where to find gardening space, soil testing, container gardening, etc.


Plant Your Garden - Resources for planting a home food garden 

Gardening Books and Links - Great food growing resources from the nonprofit Growing Gardens

  • Subjects include gardening with children, garden planning, composting, growing fruits and veggies, lead and soil testing, backyard chickens and more

  • Among the excellent books are Let it Rot by Stu Campbell, Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades by Steve Solomon (with an all-purpose organic fertilizer recipe for the Pacific NW), Gaia’s Garden by Portlander Toby Hemenway, and (for kids) Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof

Vegetables and Herbs - More food growing resources from Portland Nursery including their local Veggie Planting Calendar (PDF) 

Seed Saving - Several resources following this article on organic seed research and certification

Oregon State University Extension's Gardening Encyclopedia – handbooks, articles, videos, advice and much more, including year-round gardening articles here and here

Metro's Natural Gardening Guide - Natural techniques to control pests and weeds, encourage beneficial insects and grow a healthier yard and garden without chemicals

Permaculture is a system of sustainable, ecological design that is much broader than but does include growing food.

Portland area farm programs

These Portland area farms offer educational tours and workshops. Some allow drop-ins and some specialize in scheduled activities geared for youth. Check websites for details.

Other Portland area gardening programs

  • Portland Community Gardens Program - Online application for a garden plot 
  • Portland Yardsharing Project - Post an offer to host a garden or a listing looking for a place to garden
  • Home Gardens from Growing Gardens - Home garden installations, seeds, plant starts, classes, mentors and more for limited-income households. Online application in English and Spanish.   
  • Youth Grow from Growing Gardens - After school garden clubs, summer garden camps, school gardens, parent/child workshops, youth garden education training

Note: We realize that we lack information on gardening resources outside the Portland area. Please send any suggestions to