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A growing hobby

A couple's produce garden is becoming popular in Sandy


by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - After moving to Sandy, Tracy Trandum and Adam Triplet built their dream produce garden.

It was normal to them but unusual in Sandy. After moving from Portland three years ago and buying their own house in the small mountain town, Tracy Trandum and Adam Triplet went to work on their front yard, overhauling a patch of grass in order to build a produce garden.

As lifelong garden growers, this was their passion. But some neighbors didn’t know what to think as they watched the couple disembowel their land for the purpose of growing produce. Would this be an eyesore? Was this some sort of hippie commune?

Today, their house is easy to find — and not for the reasons feared.

On a small street, among homes with similar characteristics, theirs is a microcosm of an agricultural-rich town. Thriving stalks of corn, plump tomatoes, sweet strawberries and more have made their house the envy of the neighborhood.

“People are going nutty for it,” Trandum says.

Each summer when the growing season is right, Trandum and Triplet will spend almost every day tending to their garden.by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - CONTRIBUTED PHOTOs Tracy Trandum, above, and Adam Triplet are able to use the food they grow in almost every meal. Below, Adam Triplet built their dream produce garden.

They’ll water, plant and harvest, providing the care that leads to a bountiful yield each year.

While they work, neighbors come over with questions and seeking advice. Cars will drive by and slow down for a better look at the tiny farm.

Interaction with curious and inspired passers-by is constant, and has given the couple near-celebrity status in the community’s gardening circles.

“When we’re in Fred Meyer’s and talking gardening, people will say, ‘Oh, that’s your house,’ ” Trandum says.

It’s a stark contrast to the initial skepticism the couple faced when they embarked on the project.

“I think some were scared it would make the neighborhood look bad,” Triplet says.

To build the garden, the couple’s yard needed a complete makeover. They removed all the sod from the front yard and broke apart the clay ground underneath, while a mound of soil the size of a small car waited in the driveway.

Word of the produce garden spread, and occasionally someone would walk past the construction site, doubtful it had any potential.

“People would say, ‘Well, I hope it turns out all right,’ “ Triplet says.

This has seldom been tried in the community. But Trandum and Triplet worked tirelessly to cultivate their yard.

Once the soil was laid, the real fun began.

They played around with the layout of planting beds and boxes and then decided what produce they wanted to grow. They planted carrots and onions, potatoes and more — a variety of produce they enjoyed.

The only problem was they had never gardened in a climate like Sandy’s.

Because they were living at a higher altitude, the growing season was short because of the colder weather — about four months during a good year. They had to wait for warmer temperatures before they could begin planting.

They also learned of some tricks to growing produce in Sandy, such as what it takes for a tomato to ripen. A friend in town told them that once the fruit is on the vine they should stop watering. So they tried it, and the couple says the tomatoes started to ripen the next day.

After some initial struggles, their dream garden was coming to life.

“It’s a constant learning process,” Trandum says.

“We get a better yield every season,” Triplet says.

Today, the bountiful garden provides organically grown fruits and vegetables for almost every meal.

The couple are reaping the rewards of their endeavor — and so are their neighbors. Trandum and Triplet aren’t shy about sharing their delicious produce — or their tricks of the trade.

And while some originally had dubious thoughts, the couple’s hobby is catching on. Drive down their block and you’ll see a few houses with produce growing from planting boxes.

Trandum and Triplet won’t take the credit, but it might be more than a coincidence.