Written for the January 2015 Good Earth Home Show edition of the Register-Guard’s Home and Garden special section.
Nearly 50 speakers will take to various stages at the Lane Events Center, starting with keynoter Shannon Quimby of Portland. The nationally recognized salvage design expert and HGTV alumna will speak daily — five times altogether — on the beauty and possibilities of sustainable home decorating.
Carol Deppe, a biologist, author and plant breeder from Corvallis, will speak five times on Saturday about organic gardening, including best-ever tomatoes and new types of greens for abundant harvests.
And locally, our own “Relaxed Gardener,” John Fischer, will speak daily about ways to make gardening more effective with less work.
At last year’s Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show, Quimby shared details on a salvage reuse project that earned her international attention — the building of her home in Portland.
In her so-called Reuse Everything eXperiment, or REX for short, Quimby and her husband salvaged nearly every scrap from the demolition of an old
home in preparation for building their new one.
During her opening address at this year’s Good Earth home show, Quimby will revisit the REX for showing how to select sustainable building materials.
“I live and breathe this stuff,” Quimby says with enthusiasm, stressing that she won’t recommend something she hasn’t actually used. “I will share the pros and cons of using sustainable products, with the cons being, ‘Does it fit your lifestyle?’”
Quimby dispels the myth that sustainable materials have to be expensive. “It’s not expensive,” she says, “and I’ll share the ways you can achieve that.”
Her other talks will include salvage-wood design and décor. “I’ll talk about random pieces of wood that we all have, like old fencing, framing wood and old boxes, and look at how you can incorporate that into design and décor in your house. From flooring to walls to furniture to accessories, really fun stuff.”
At her closing session on Sunday, Quimby will present tips on creating beautiful, functional, high-end decorative objects on a low-end budget. Her inspiration comes from seeing items that are “crazy out of her budget” and making them herself.
“Fabric-topped ottomans are really hot right now,” she says, “and they cost hundreds of dollars. I made one for Better Homes & Gardens with a coffee table I found at a thrift store and a rug, and I did it for under $40. I’m showing people that high-end taste can be within your reach.”
Quimby laughs out loud when recalling that she’ll be bringing back her “marshmallow-a-pult.”
“Every time I speak, we do killer giveaways,” she says. “We have books, wine, paint and items that I’ve made — great stuff.”
She pelts audiences with marshmallows, and if they grab one, they get an item, so sit up front and bring your catcher’s mitt.
Quimby is the main contributor to a new book, “Salvage Secrets Design and Décor,” by Joanne Palmisano. “It’s top-to-bottom interiors and so much salvage,” she says. “The projects overlap in a whole bunch of design trends and styles, so everybody can get something from this book.”
Quimby stresses that her projects are attainable because they come about from common things everyone already owns. “You got a paint brush and a can of paint?” she asks with a laugh. “Well, get ready because here we go!”
Her presentations will be 7 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Within Deppe’s book, “The Tao of Vegetable Gardening: Cultivating Tomatoes, Greens, Peas, Beans, Squash, Joy and Serenity,” is a chapter called “The Eat-All Greens Garden,” a new way of growing greens such as kale, radish and mustard that is easier and requires less land than any other method.
Deppe gets abundant harvests of edible greens because all parts of the plants — including the stems — are succulent enough to eat. “One patch of greens can feed a family for a full year,” Deppe says. She collected 13.3 pounds of eat-all leaf radish greens from a 5-foot square plot, without thinning or weeding. “It’s a game changer,” she says, “especially for people with small gardens.”
Her “Eat-All Greens” talk will be Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Her four other talks scheduled on Saturday: best tomatoes at 10:30 a.m.; flint and flour corn varieties at 11:30 a.m.; winter squash and pumpkins at 12:30 p.m.; and gardening in an era of climate change at 1:30 p.m.
The Master Gardener will discuss trimming — not of his beard, but of fruit trees and vines. Fischer also will explain the benefits of drip irrigation.
“Putting in a drip system for $25 to $50 will save you water, weeding, money, weeding, the environment, weeding, salmon and weeding,” he says. “It takes about as long to set up as wandering around and hand-watering once.”
Once gardeners get their fruit and veggies in full production, they need to preserve the harvest. Fischer will explain which fruits to dry and how to prep them, and how to blanche vegetables for drying. He’ll bring in his own sun-dried fruit leather, raisins, figs and more as examples.
He will speak Friday evening at 6 p.m. on easy gardening techniques;
Saturday at 1 p.m. on drip irrigation; and Sunday at
1 p.m. on drying fruits and veggies.
Writer Vanessa Salvia can be contacted at
Schedule of talks
Nearly 50 speakers will present free seminars at the Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show at the fairgrounds in Eugene this weekend.