Sept 2022 * No 13

Dear Sustainable Silverton supporters,

September Greetings!

Summer is winding down and we're grateful that cooler temperatures are coming.


A reminder that Sustainable Silverton is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and can

accept donations. Your donations are greatly appreciated!

(Donations help us pay for Constant Contact to send out newsletters,

print flyers, put on special events, etc.)

Mail your tax deductible check to:

Sustainable Silverton, 1205 Tenino Dr., Silverton, OR 97381

Or donate online using the PayPal donate link on our Get Involved page

Thanks to our August Farmers Market Recycling volunteers

Joe Craig, Teresa Foster, Karen Garst, Meagan Griffin, Kelley Morehouse, Diana Penley,

Kevin Mowrey, Jim Wilson

A big thanks to Meagan Griffin and Kevin Mowrey for managing the carton recycling and

recycling the Terracycle items (razors, pens/pencils, Febreze, Head and Shoulders, Burts Bees)!

We can't do this without your help.

Please consider signing up to volunteer at the Saturday market.

Recycling Cartons - Before and After

What does it take to recycle all those cartons that are dropped off at the Farmers Market? It takes a village!

  1. You -- Wash, flatten and bring to market

  2. Sustainable Silverton -- Collects the cartons at the first Saturday Farmers market

  3. Meagan Griffin and Kevin Mowrey -- pick up the cartons; pack them and then mail the cartons to the Carton Council where they are then made into new products.

For more information, here's a link to the Carton Council



Innovation makes something useful out of plastic

Here's what a BYBLOCK looks like (formed by steam and compression):

Herbal Basics Course starting September 18

with local herbalist, Randi Embree

Herbal Basics is a course for those people who want to learn how to confidently use locally available herbs and “weeds" in a fun, casual setting. You'll learn to prepare the basics - teas, decoctions, infusions, honeys, syrups, candies, tinctures, salves and more - from the herbs right outside your door and what you already have in your kitchen cupboard.

The full course is limited to 10 participants. To register, you must plan on attending at least 8 classes. Each class is stand-alone but the later content assumes you have some basic knowledge of herbs. This class is geared for those with beginning and intermediate herbal experience though everyone is welcome.

This course starts the third Sunday of September (Sept 18th) 10 am - 3 pm at Geercrest Farm and continues through August 2023

Please fill out this Google form to reserve your spot in the class!

For more information, please contact: Randi Embree, Community Herbalist | 971-267-9364

Randi is also offering introductory sessions at the Senior Center from 1-3:00 pm on the 2nd Tuesday of the month:

Tuesday, September 13

Tuesday, October 11

Tuesday, November 8

Link to Herbal Basics Brochure

Water Talk

Everyone is concerned about water. The next article focuses on ways that you can conserve our most valuable resource.

Dynamic Yards (turning your lawn into a productive space)

Color shows commitment. In our Pacific Northwest lawns, it reads from the considerate sandy hues of unirrigated dead grass to lush lawns verdant with disregard for community water budgets. Most lawns show our seasonal weariness in their slow dance toward death before autumn rainfall arrives. It’s the time of year when with a glance you can tell who irrigates their lawn. But lawns are still an easy choice for people because everyone knows what a lawn should look like and how to care for one. We’ve received the American dream memo quilted with green grass. People work from the subconscious assumption that anything other than a lawn requires even greater amounts of labor and resources. The script needs to be rewritten because dreams aren’t real life.

Abandon your lawn in favor of one of the alternatives: artificial turf, a blanket of bark with a few knobby shrubs, a biodiverse mixture of shrubs and flowers, or a productive vegetable garden. Not all are good ecological trades, however.

Artificial turf is green and looks like grass, but it is the same stuff as plastic bags. What happens to it in twenty years when its useful life is over – it gets sent to a landfill or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? No thank you, we can’t even recycle our week old food containers. Artificial turf cuts water use, but it represents a huge waste stream problem and only has negative impacts for biodiversity.

Even our yards seem to be consumptive. In Asia there are few lawns. I’ve spent time in Japan and lived in both South Korea and China. In those countries, even when people have free standing homes, they don’t have lawns. Instead, the land is productive. Vegetables are grown year round to supply the kitchen, and this even extends to growing their own dried grains like rice, beans and corn. There are steps we can take to change our yards from consumption to bounty.

On the continuum, a summer-green lawn is nearing the most wasteful use of land. Lawn is like an ecological desert; it benefits very little biodiversity beyond giving us some joy (this is only when you aren’t the person mowing it). If you have young kids and need outdoor space to kick a ball or so you don’t kick each other, some lawn can be useful. Grow it without irrigation and take the opportunity to teach your children about ecology and the environment. A step up from lawn, only because it uses less water but still an ecological desert, is the yard covered with bark studded with a few non-native shrubs. A front yard converted to vegetables is the most productive, even if it uses as much or more water than a lawn, the food it produces is a positive for its family. Vegetable and fruit gardens fill with animals and insects, and they engage the interest of the whole neighborhood in ways a lawn never can. Few children will comment on your green lawn, but they will all want to wager on how large and how many pumpkins you can grow.

Planting native and drought tolerant plants is an option for everyone. With increasing biodiversity as the goal, in the Pacific Northwest there are lots of choices. Let’s look at shrubs that bloom in the off season, then move into summer and end with a perennial and an annual.

The genus Mahonia has tough, drought tolerant, evergreen shrubs with showy yellow flowers loved by hummingbirds. Oregon grape, M. aquifolium, flowers in spring and has attractive edible if sour blue fruit in summer and autumn. The flowering season is easily extended over the whole winter with several commonly available Asian Mahonia. Flowering begins with ‘Arthur Menzies’ prior to Christmas, overlaps with ‘Winter Sun’, and finishes with ‘Charity’ in February. They are large growing and have prickly foliage, but they aren’t eaten by dear and grow back after some clipping; they are a great alternative hedge. Mahonia grow in full sun or bright shade and the ground-covering species, M. repens and M. nervosa, do well in dry shade.

Offering evergreen presence with total disregard for summer drought, manzanita, Arctostaphylos species vary a lot from the common low growing groundcover kinnikinic, to upright growing and even blue foliaged selections. Some, such as ‘Howard McMinn’ have small dark green foliage and white winter-time flowers on a medium sized shrub. As the shrubby and upright growing varieties mature smooth shiny stems are exposed. The papery bark peels away in thin curls and ribbons the color of rusted steel. It’s a very attractive ornamental feature. The small white to pink flowers borne in winter are both very showy and the object of fierce hummingbird competition; their nectar is so sweet. Manzanitas tolerate careful pruning and make fine informal hedges. After these are established, they never need more water. Grow them in at least an afternoon of sun.

Related to manzanitas – they both have hanging urn-shaped flowers - the genus Arbutus offers several varieties with extreme drought tolerance and season extending bloom. Strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo, blooms in autumn with clusters of showy white flowers, also loved by bees and hummingbirds. It is native to dry areas of Europe, over the summer its showy red fruit, the size and color of strawberries ripen. Brilliant and edible, they do have an odd sandy texture. It’s all too common to see this plant pruned into a blob which is sad because left alone it forms a large shrub with an open canopy exposing attractive exfoliating red bark. If these features sound interesting and you have space for a full sized tree consider planting a Pacific madrone, Arbutus menziesii. While the strawberry tree can be irrigated, madrone is intolerant of summer irrigation, so site it with care. But when a yard is large enough or owners committed to natural drought gardening, a madrone becomes a beautiful specimen tree. Its bark is smooth, rust colored, and exfoliates during summer exposing new pale green bark. There is not another native tree with showier bark in the West. In early spring clusters of white fragrant flowers are offered to bees and hummingbirds. Red berries follow in late summer and are good food for birds. It’s difficult to grow in the nursery and establishing it at home be can tricky. For success start with a small plant, plant early in spring irrigating only during rainy periods and do not water it in the summer.

You’ll hear the buzzing of bumblebees from quite a distance - Ceanothus are loved so much. They move our care for pollinators from winter blooming shrubs and trees through the spring into summer with blue flowers. They grow large and clip well making great informal hedges that only need irrigation for establishment. And unlike hedges of laurel, they offer nectar without threat of habitat invasion and there are many varieties to choose from.

Pollinators love daisies because they offer lots of nectar and pollen. They are important for maintaining biodiversity. Oregon sunshine, Eriophyllum lanatum, covers its low growing silver foliage in a mound of golden daisies in early summer. It does this without a single drop of supplemental water. They are perennial and slowly spread in full sun. And when garden conditions are correct, they reseed and establish a natural meadow. Another summer blooming native daisy, Madia elegans, showy tarweed is an annual. Its bright yellow flowers are pretty, and its seeds are loved by goldfinches. It’s easy to use in the otherwise unproductive margins of a garden.

How to avoid Powdery Mildew

People always have a lot of questions about powdery mildew disease. Prevention, not treatment, is the appropriate course of action. Do not use chemicals pushed by yard care companies.

Eric Hammond

Tips to lower Carbon Footprint


    1. Weatherization

      1. - Through our weatherization program, households can gain comfort, while drastically reducing their electric and gas bills.

    2. Electrify now

      1. - By choosing to electrify, we can help prevent the worst effects of climate change, save money on energy costs, reduce air and water pollution, improve our daily lives, and accelerate the transition to a clean energy future.

    3. Nancy Evenson - Refer to our April 2022 newsletter

  1. Carbon Footprint Reduction

    1. Make a plan.

  • What can you afford?

  • What do you want to do first?

  1. Reduce emissions:

  • Walk or bike, share rides, drive less.

  • Combine your errands to minimize car trips

  • When possible, switch to electric vehicles and home appliances.

For further discussion see: Your Home

  1. Reduce Consumption & Waste:

for another viewpoint see: Perspectives on Cow Farts

  • Reduce food waste

  • Avoid products containing palm oil. Harvesting palm oil causes deforestation which impacts wildlife dependent on those forests.

  • Buy local products

  • Support local farmers

  1. Energy:

  • Use ground-based public transportation as much as possible.

  • Reduce or eliminate air travel

  • Convert to solar when possible

  • Set the thermostat to a lower temperature in the winter and wear a sweater

  • Minimize use of air conditioning. Open windows at night or early morning and close them before the temperature outside exceeds the inside temperature. Close drapes/shades to prevent the sun from heating your house.

  • Maximize use of your microwave, toasters, and other small appliances for cooking food. Only use the oven to cook more than one thing at a time.

  • For more perspectives see our Information / Trends / Opinions page

  1. Housing: from Corvallis Sustainability Coalition website (below)

  • Conserve energy with thermal barriers under deep insulation

  • Upgrade windows (including storm windows), seal leaks in envelope

  • Install heat pumps to heat/cool, to heat water, and to dry clothes

  • Install solar PV panels or other renewable energy source

  • Install other energy efficient appliances such as an induction cooktop

  1. What is Sustainable Housing?

The ultimate in sustainable homes produce more renewable energy than they consume, harvest water from rain, recycle all wastes, and build with nontoxic, locally sourced materials. Even if we do not accomplish this high standard, we encourage homeowners to electrify and conserve energy for increased comfort and savings.

Recap of recent events

July 30 Oregon Garden ramble

Preparing for a Drier Future

Among the long list of advantages to living in Silverton is our easy access to the resources of the Oregon Garden. We are lucky. On July 30th, Sustainable Silverton organized a walking seminar to help us learn how to prepare for a drier future. It’s a real, tangible problem we are all facing. It was a brutal hot day, a great example to our group. During our ramble we had a chance to discuss different garden habitats and how to change our use of them. We learned about plants adapted to growing without irrigation, and their biodiversity benefits. My essay, “Dynamic Yards” in this newsletter, goes over several of these important species. Stay tuned for the next opportunity to join one of our seminars at the Oregon Garden.

August 6 Landscaping for Wildlife

A small but dedicated group of people interested in Landscaping for Wildlife met on Saturday August 6that the Oregon Garden to learn about this interesting subject. Lead by Mr. Ron Garst, our local Wildlife habitat expert, we walked to the “Fire-Wise” house at the garden for our discussion. This is a great location to look at some very nice

landscaping that was installed by Oregon Master Gardeners as a demonstration of Native and “fire-wise” plants. It is no coincidence that these plantings are also great for our native birds, small mammals and pollinator insects and birds.

Ron pointed out and identified the many plant species present and also shared his knowledge of which birds or insects prefer each one. We also looked at various landscape features such as water, rocks, and boulders that attract all kinds of wildlife species. This area of the Garden is not being maintained very much but it is a testament to the hardiness and drought tolerance of the native plants that most of them are doing very well!!

We finished our outing with a brief discussion of bird houses, bird feeders and nesting boxes for bats.

Upcycle art at the Silverton Art Festival at Coolidge-McClaine Park

Upcycle Art to TAKE HOME

Making art out of recycled items: buttons, ribbon, shiny moons, sequence, a multitude of collected items, and gluing them on matboard –for the pleasure of making it and enjoying it at home. Children loved creating beautiful collages of their own design.

To stay:

Reuse & Reuse for the Sake of Art. Play and recreate through reusable objects, such as magnetizing found objects to place onto a metal sheet (from an appliance). One child after another could use the items and not take them home. Another activity was to build a little town or vehicles out of cardboard pieces. Children enjoy playing with small wooden, paper, and metal objects while not having to own it.


All of the collage items were collected from households in the community, including one household in Salem, from Ruth Hudgens, who contributed the extensive number of pieces for the Reuse & Reuse Activity. We thank all of you who contributed, and we will have enough left over to do it again next year.

Silverton Art & Frame donated beautiful colored mat boards of various sizes that children could choose from. Thank you.

The Silverton Art Association lent us brushes for the Upcycle collage activity. Thank you.

The only two expenses were the magnets to create the magnet board and the glue.


Kate Russell, Donna Petrocelli, Kelley Morehouse, and two shifts by Debby Smick. Thank you volunteers. As you know, it could not happen without you!