Saturday, June 26, 2010

End of June in the gardens

It's been an interesting spring. What started out warm and mild in early April turned into a late season blizzard, then a wetter and cooler than normal May. June followed the same pattern until now. It looks like hot weather is on the horizon, which means everything should take off and grow as long as gardeners keep adequate moisture on the tender veggies.

I was out the other evening to further mulch my potatoes, and ended up talking with my friend, Karen, and taking a peek at the other plots. Gardens are a great place to catch up when our lives are as frenetic as many people's. Most everything is coming along well. It's later and slower than normal, but I believe the plants will kick into gear very soon.

There is a flea beetle problem on some of the lettuce and cole crops. If your greens look like someone pebbled them with a shotgun, it's most likely these nasty little critters. If you watch your lettuce or kale long enough you can most likely see the tiny beetles that jump immediately if you touch them. I wrote an article for that addresses what to do about them.

We do have one plot that was spoken for earlier in the season, but it appears the lady can't do it this year. If you know of anyone who'd like a plot for free just drop us an email at

Keep up the good work.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Troop 43

Well, we finally got things planted. We managed to plant 2 rows of corn, beans, lettuce, onions, carrots, strawberries, peppers, and tomatoes. Hopefully we can actually get things to grow. In case anyone wanted to know, there is a lady at the Farmer's Market that has really nice plants. Good prices and the plants are almost mature and will start producing soon. You can also get free bags of coffee grounds for your garden or compost from the local Starbucks. Now if the rains would just come back for a bit.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Troop 43

Well, we did it! We finally made it over to our plot and starting prepping it. We managed to get the rocks outs and made the walking paths. The weather was cold and it even tried to rain a bit. We hung in there though. Hopefully, next weekend we'll get our stuff planted. Fingers crossed! :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Troop 43

Well, this is all new for us. We have never been a part of a Community Garden, but thought it would be a great experience for all of us. The boys and their families will all be working together and with a little luck, something will grow that is edible! For all of their hard work, the boys will be able to earn Gardening Merit Badge.

We are hoping to get our assigned plot this week. Don't think we'll be planting yet because knowing our luck, it'll snow. It is spring in Montana! All of us are excited and will share the experience since we are Boy Scouts and hope we will inspire someone along the way.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

New year for the gardens

We're off to another great start in the community gardens, and this year we're better than ever. The gardens at Park Place Health Care Center are double the size they were last year thanks to the generosity of Park Place. They stretch from the western edge of the property all the way to the road. Wade Crouch from the County Extension Office plowed, tilled and fertilized the entire garden this spring, and the City of Great Falls dumped several loads of bark chips down the center aisle.

Ace Hardware is also stepping up to the plate by reconfiguring our water system. Instead of all of us sharing one spigot, they're going to run a water line down the center with numerous hose bibs for people to use. Plus, they are donating a screened gazebo to allow the Park Place residents (and weary gardeners) to sit in insect free comfort. It will be a lovely addition to the grounds. Bob Ford at Ace is also making all of us name plaques to identify our garden spaces.

Today we had our open house and pot luck to greet the Park Place gardeners, and get everyone started. Despite an ominous forecast as soon as yesterday, the afternoon was perfect. It was great food and great company.

Last Saturday we had the open house for the Electric City Conservatory garden, although we abbreviated the event from potluck to tea and cookies since it did rain on us on several occasions. There are an enthusiastic bunch of gardeners - some veterans, some rookies - who will make it a successful season no matter what the weather throws our way.

Once again, these gardens are due to the generosity of Gary Petrini from Electric City Conservatory/Flower Farm. Gary helped out the youth group from Our Saviors Lutheran Church under the direction of the Energizer Bunny, Casey Bailey, by providing the lot, as well as fencing and free water. Casey led the kids into growing vegetables for Meals on Wheels. Always busy, he's taken on more duties and working on bringing more local food to the Central Montana area so wasn't able to maintain the program. Thankfully, he passed the torch onto River City Harvest. We intend to keep the Electric City Gardens as our organic gardens and do our best to improve the gorgeous soil Casey created. The raised beds are lovely and ideal for intensive planting.

In both gardens we have spaces set aside to grow specifically for the Food Bank and Meals on Wheels here in Great Falls. There are teams of Master Gardeners forming for both areas to stay on top of planting, weeding, watering and harvesting. We've had 1400 packets of seeds donated to us by Seeds of Change, Ace Hardware and the America the Beautiful Fund. A gentleman west of town also gave us more than 5 dozen pepper plants (which I still have to transplant and baby in the greenhouse for a few more weeks). There's plenty to plant, which is good because there are plenty to feed.

There will be more updates soon. With news about the gardens at University of Great Falls, the Salvation Army (they're growing for their food services program), CMR High School and a few more in the works there is a lot to tell.

Amy Grisak will be speaking at Forde's Nursery on Saturday, May 15 at 10 a.m. about everything that's happening with the community gardens, or drop us a note with any questions you might have.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dog days of summer

It's been a busy summer, but despite a late start and early gopher problems, we can consider it a success. The garden has gone from bare ground to a lush jungle of plants and vines. Harvesting is well under way, and we've even been able to take some to the Meals on Wheels Program including most of the 120 cabbages, as well as tomatoes, spaghetti squash, zucchini and Swiss chard. The grape tomatoes are finally kicking is, so Deb and I picked a couple of large yogurt containers last Monday for the Park Place residents, and we'll keep on top of them as long as they're producing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Looking Good!

It feels like summer is finally here, and everything is looking great in the Park Place garden. The gophers are finally under control, most people have things planted, and now it's a matter of watering, feeding, mulching and waiting.

We had a youth group from San Diego come out last week to help mulch the cabbage and tomatoes for the Park Place and food bank plots, as well as stake the tomatoes. They're newbies in the gardening realm, but did fine. I was grateful for the help since it's been a challenge keeping up with watering and other duties.

It's very interesting to see everyone's gardening style. I keep saying I'm going to write an article on how gardens and gardeners' personalities coordinate. Some people are extremely neat and tidy. Everything is organized and gorgeous. Others (me) are hooshels - things are planted, but it's not necessarily pretty. I love walking through and seeing how everyone is doing their own thing. It's a community garden with lots of individuality!

We're stilll looking for volunteers to help water and harvest for the food banks when the time comes so email us at if you're interested.