There’s Something Happening Here…in the Columbia Falls Community Garden

I’ve been a bit remiss about posting pictures of the garden this season.  Fact is, the garden looks fantastic!  Best ever!  We have wonderful plot holders who are committed to the upkeep of the garden.

We all walk around the garden looking at the various ways people grow their healthy food–and this, of course, is the beauty of the community garden concept.  We get ideas from each other, we problem solve together and we celebrate our successful harvests.  We get a little overly excited about when our beans sprout, and we become gravely concerned when a hole appears in the leaf of a new pepper seedling.  We worry about chilly NW Montana mornings, and we stare endlessly at our gardens–contemplating the next chore, wondering why our potato plants aren’t as big as Robbie’s, and discussing the merits of rows vs. mounds.  Should we use straw?  Is the compost ready yet?  Why won’t the mower start?  Should I have done square foot gardening like Staci and Craig?  Drip hoses or hand watering?

I love it!  So here are some pictures of the garden in early June.  Enjoy.

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Only gardeners get excited about compost bins, I think.

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Bug motel. The good kind.

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Hops. Under new management. Welcome, Coralan and Nate!

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Food Bank plot looks fabulous, Robbie!

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Neon!

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Corn sprouts

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Some haphazardly planted potatoes. Still, I think my ten-year-old minion did a great job!

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Peas and flowers. And I got fancy with the trellis.

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Erin’s pretty much perfect plot.

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Erma planted some lavender in our corner bed

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I think we are set on oregano.

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Also set on chives.

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Great idea–a hanging basket!

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Raspberries are thriving

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Colorful cages

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A riot of strawberries

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Beautiful brassica bed

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Zinnias!

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Ready and waiting!

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Sweet potatoes in a tire!

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Square foot perfection

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A ridiculously large rhubarb. Pie, anyone?

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My onions. I will never have as many as Erin, but I will keep trying!

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Volunteers sunflowers, maybe?

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Pallet veggies

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Potatoes, all in a (crooked) row.

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Peas getting ready to climb

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Check back in a few weeks–the changes will be amazing!

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The Columbia Falls Community Garden at the End of June

I have definitely realized that I am a “cold-weather blogger”.  When winter lasts as long as it does in NW Montana, it seems silly to spend those few nice months inside at a computer.  Still, I want you to see the progress of our community garden.  It has truly never looked better.  

Warning:  if you don’t like pictures of vegetables, stop here.  

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This is the Boys & Girls Club plot

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Starting to look like the Pinterest project that inspired it…

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Desert Mountain Brewing is growing hops in the garden. Aren’t they pretty?

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More hops

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Thanks to Arnold and Naomi for making the compost bins!

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This is the Food Bank plot. Thanks to Robbie and all the work she has done!

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If you’ve made it this far, thanks for checking on our progress this season!

 

A Dozen Homemade Organic Garden Remedies

I think I may have to try some of these…

Hope Gardens

12 home remedies

Veggie gardens need special care. Vegetable plants are prone to all sorts of disease and fungus. They are highly sought after by pests both big and teeny teeny tiny. A slight negative change in their environment can cause them to stop producing. And we aren’t happy when our veggie garden is just limping along…we want it to thrive!

We also expect our vegetables to be nutritious and safe to eat; and as if that’s not enough, we demand our gardens be harmonious, attractive and a boon to their environment.

This is a lot to ask of our humble garden, but it can be accomplished! Generations of our ancestors have done it, and they’ve done it with less. Maybe we should follow their lead…

You can do it with less by using homemade natural remedies to treat pests and disease. With readily available ingredients, fertilizers too can be mixed up right…

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Columbia Falls Community Garden

I am getting ridiculously excited about the Garden this year.

394398_10150988945670886_1665330948_nColumbia Falls Community Garden is entering its third year of existence.  Ours is a plot holder garden–we have thirty 12′ x 12′ beds that can be split into half plots, if desired.

We are operating a bit differently this season.  First, plots are free, with a minimal security deposit.  We don’t need to pay a garden manager anymore, as that job will now be done on a volunteer basis. Also, because we aren’t full yet, we are encouraging those who garden with us to make improvements to their plots that will make them more likely to return next year.  The land the city gave us used was a hay field, but it is now overgrown with  reed canarygrass, quack grass and other assorted weeds (toad flax!).  It is a battle to keep all that stuff  from retaking our plots.

392259_10150988945755886_23060354_nWe decided to become a no-till garden. Tilling destroys the soil building process. (See this awesome blog post about it from our friends at Old World Gardens) If gardeners want to build raised beds, or incorporate support structures, they can do so.  They can invest in mulch or hoop houses or drip hoses and know that their sweat equity will see a return in future growing seasons.

In addition, we are adding perennial beds that will be divvied up among plot holders.  The garlic bed was built and planted last fall.  This spring we will build an onion bed and a shallot bed, as well as an herb garden.  We plan to plant raspberry canes, a strawberry bed, and blueberry bushes.

There will be a dedicated Columbia Falls Food Bank plot as well as one for the Boys & Girls Club.

We will have a small greenhouse available for plot holders who wish to start seeds.  It isn’t fancy, but it will do the job.

The Desert Mountain Brewing and Draughthaus will be using the north fence to grow hops. Thanks Desert Mountain!

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I am working with the junior high art teacher to have students design and paint one end of the garden shed.  I want to build (or find someone to build) this awesome bug hotel!

We have a lot to do–but it is all going to be awesome.  Join us!  Grow delicious organic food for your family and friends.  Finally understand the difference between a grocery store tomato, and one plucked right off the vine.  Grow an enormous cabbage (this one made a lot of slaw!!!)

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If you have any questions, contact me (Jenny) at cfallscg@gmail.com.

Do any of the community garden pros out there have any advice for the newbies?