Community Garden Blog

2019 Season Has Come to a Close

October 28, 2019

The 2019 growing season for The Bellevue Hospital's Community Garden was a success thanks to the help of the Bellevue High School's Teen Leadership Class and several volunteers throughout the course of the season.  Even though the weather was variable this year, the garden still yielded good results. 

Since its start in 2011, over five tons of produce has been harvested from the Community Garden, with 802 pounds of fruits and vegetables produced in 2019 alone. 

All produce grown in the garden is donated to Bellevue Fish and Loaves and Clyde Backdoor Food Pantries to help feed the hungry in both communities.

The Community Garden began as a small 12 x 24 foot square space on the east side of The Bellevue Hospital's campus and has since grown into an estimated 1,000 square foot area. The gardens will continue into 2020, but with a different focus. The garden committee has decided not to plant the low-land (in-ground) garden, and rather maintain the garden boxes and the herb garden. With more time and focus on the garden boxes, our hope is the plants in the boxes will grow more aggressively than in previous years. I am looking forward to an exciting growing season next year. 

Once again I would like to extend my heart-felt THANKS to the volunteers that make this garden possible. In 2019, volunteers contributed nearly 400 hours to planting, weeding and harvesting to ensure the garden's success. 

Patti...

Squash, Squash and More Squash

September 27, 2019

We had a successful harvest on Tuesday, harvesting close to 450 pounds of squash. Almost a quarter ton!  Half of the crop that went to the Clyde Food Bank along with 25 pounds of peppers.  The other half was donated to Bellevue Fish and Loaves last Wednesday.  A big thanks goes to Donna and Francesca (an Italian High School Foreign exchange student), Bernadette Fergusen, Bob Beck and Tom Schmidt (who had a scale to weigh everything) for helping with the harvest.  

We've also started prepping the herb garden for the changes we are making next year, where we turn half of the herb garden into a butterfly garden.  Next week will be our final garden committee meeting of the year. I should have most of the plans in place for next year, and a final produce report.  I’m trying to get everything done early so that everyone (including myself) can have a quiet peaceful holiday season.  Growing up, the contest in my family was to get the crops out by Thanksgiving, otherwise dad had to harvest on the holiday.  We still had to feed the animals on Thanksgiving, but it was nice to sit down with family and relax for a day.

The air is getting cooler and there is a hint of autumn in the air which is a pleasant feeling for me this year.

Thank you all for your help and support,

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Recent squash harvest
Herb garden restructured
North side of the herb garden
Autumn Means Its Time For Squash

Sept. 13, 2019

Oh look! We've got squash with an hourglass figure! (It's probably the envy of the other squash in the patch).  This happens when you have a lot of rain at once and then none at another time.  Many times they will have a shriveled end but the rain this year hit at the right time in the growth spurts and this is what happened.  Next week, we plan to harvest most of the butternut squash. It looks like we may have some large ones this season.  

I’ve had requests for seeds from the sunflowers from people and I have told them to go ahead and claim some.  Below is a picture of the sunflowers. I have started to call them mother flowers.  It’s been a tough few years for me and when I drive by the flowers, I imagine sitting under them and getting comfort from them like a child would from a consoling mother or grandmother. My mother was tough on us, but it made us resilient and in my case just ornery at times. 

The garden committee met recently and made some final decisions for the gardens for next year.  After much deliberation, it was decided to do away with the lowlands. That said, we are going to continue with the boxes and the herb/butterfly garden.  We have one more meeting before the close of the harvest year this year, and I will update everyone on our garden production totals after this meeting.

Thank you all again for your help this season. I couldn't do it without our amazing volunteers. 

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

A squash from a recent harvest
Sunflowers in the Community Garden
Starting to Come to a Close

September 6, 2019

Getting back from vacation, I would like to thank those who are trying to keep the weeds down in the herb garden this year.  Next week I hope to get that garden cleared out.  I didn’t mulch this year because the soil was getting compacted and the plants were having trouble growing.  Since that problem is solved, we can finish clearing out the herb garden and start transistioning the north part into our butterly garden. After that, maybe we can mulch down for the winter.  Yep, the season is starting to come to a close.  We worked hard this year! I would say it was a hard year due to too much rain. I sometimes call these years transitional years.  It was a good year for some crops (like the squash, which is a native plant) and not so good for others (like peppers which are not native). The beans just keep coming and coming!

It looks like we will have 2-3 squash harvests and I have never seen so many HUGE squash. We may have some that will break our 8.5 lb record. Our pepper crop produced a fair amount of peppers, unfortunately the peppers grew between the stems and got misshapen or moldy because they couldn’t expand.  We did harvest over 85 pounds of peppers which is a fair harvest.

I will continue to keep everyone updated as we continue to wind down the season. Again, THANK YOU to all of those that have made this year possible. 

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Fall Garden is Starting to Surface

August 16, 2019

Thank you to those who continue to help us with the garden.  

We are starting to get some production again! We harvested 17.75 pounds of peppers, 8 pounds of carrots and a ½ pound of beans from the garden this week.

Earlier in the year, we planted radishes, peas and lettuce for our fall garden.  The radishes are up and some of the peas are starting to surfacing, but the lettuce hasn’t surfaced yet.

The birds have found the sunflowers and are starting to eat the seeds, and the bees have found the sunflowers also and are working on pollinating the new ones. 

As the weeks go by, we will continue to harvest the peppers. My goal is 50 pounds of peppers for the year and we should make that goal as long as the weather holds out. 

Our overall goal for the garden this year was to get 188 pounds of produce to meet our FIVE TON total for garden production since 2011.  So far this year, we have  produced 180 pounds!  We should meet our FIVE TON goal next week.  

GOOD JOB EVERYONE!

Fun fact: some things that weigh FIVE TONS include: a big hippopotamus,  an Asian Elephant, or three pick-up trucks.

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Carrots
Beautiful Sunflowers in Bloom

July 31, 2019

Progress is slow with fruiting this year probably because of all of the rain earlier in the season. Our garden demo box is producing beautiful tomatoes but unfortunately the cabbages and broccoli are not doing so well. I’m not sure if it’s the soil type or the shading.  Next week, we will be spreading some mulch in the garden. Thank you to The City of Bellevue for providing the mulch for us to use.  It will be spread on the low lands to keep down the weeds and help with moisture retention. 

I’ve gotten a lot of nice comments about the sunflowers this year. Some of our climber beans have attched and started climbing up our sunflowers. 

A big thank you to Bob Beck for keeping the lowlands tilled and the weeds down, and Cat Valero for keeping the weeds down around the boxes. They have never looked so good! 

This week I also plan to plant for the fall garden.  We will be planting lettuce and radishes for fall salads. 

If anyone is interested in volunteering their time in the gardens, please contact me at 419.484.5421.

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Climber beans on sunflower stalks
Low-land garden at The Bellevue Hospital
Welcome New Volunteer

July 18, 2019

We have a newcomer to our garden volunteer force!  We'd like to welcome Todd Brown. He will primarily working on the garden boxes during his time here. 

Everything is growing pretty good, although when I planted beans in the strawberry boxes recently, I noticed that the soil was already dry.  That happened quickly in this heat!! 

We recently had a great potato harvest from the demo box, roughly 10 potatoes. They were beautiful! I must say I do envy the garden boxes and the herb garden that the hospital has. I built two boxes at home last year and plan on building three more this year. We will see how mine produce this year at home. 

I have been approved to put in a butterfly garden in the other half of the herb garden. If anyone is interested in helping me with this, please email me at pkeller@bellevuehospital.com and we will get started.

I ordered a load of mulch from the City of Bellevue and hope to have it by the week of August 5th.  This will be a busy week as we will be putting in the fall plants, mulching, and keeping the weeds down. 

Thank you for all of your help with the community gardens.  Because of all your help, we are having a great year. 

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Garden Box
Potato Harvest
Harvests Are Going Well

July 12, 2019

The strawberry harvest is done for now and I am pruning the boxes so the berries are bigger next year.  They were kind of small this year, probably due to overcrowding. The plan for next year is to plant green beans in between the strawberry plants to increase the nutrients for the strawberry plants.  We received a large donation of green bean seeds last year and their germination will not be very good next year for production. We also received a generous donation of peas and will be planting them in sometime in August. 

Let’s hope the rains continue on a regular basis so production will continue to be good!  To date we have produced:

50 lbs. strawberries, 68 lbs. of lettuce mix, 1 lb. of peas, 3 lbs. of rhubarb, 3 lbs. of onions, 5 lbs. of radishes, 6 oz. of cilantro, 2 lbs. of chives

We still have peppers and squash that haven't started to produce yet. 

I would like to thank Cat Valero and Bob Beck for their hardwork taking care of the lowlands this year. Kathy Ackerman and Patti Gray have helped with the herb gardens and we are seeing progress in those. Thank you all! 

So far the year is going smoother than previous years although we did get off to a rocky start with all the rains.

Thank you to everyone who help with this wonderful project!

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Demo Box
Community Garden
Mixed Greens Galore

July 2, 2019

The garden is really starting to take off!  Today we harvested 19 salad bags of mixed greens.  Last week the demo box, which is used as a guide to show how much food can be produced from one box, produced 20 onions and 20 salad bags. Today it produced 11 oz. of peas, enough for about 4 servings, and they are just getting started! 

I fenced the peas so they will climb up and not interfere with the other plants.  One of the tomato plants has tomatoes on it and should be ready to pick in a couple of weeks.  The onions were replanted and we will see how they do.  I am also harvesting rhubarb from this box and have gotten about 2 lbs. so far. 

The strawberries are pretty much done for the season and we will be getting into the boxes and pruning heavily.  When finished, the boxes should have ten, 12-inch squares.  When that is complete we will plant green beans in the blank areas to add extra fertilizer to the crop for next year.  

A big thanks to our amazing garden volunteers for weeding, harvesting, and tilling the garden this year.  We couldn't do it without your help!!

Wishing everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE 

Snow Peas
Recent strawberry harvest
Nearly 125 Pounds Harvested So Far!

June 27, 2019

I'd like to send a big thank-you to the volunteers that have showed up to help out in the garden these past few weeks. To date, we have harvested:

- Almost 50 lbs. of strawberries

- Nearly 67 lbs. of salad mix 

- 2 lbs. of chives

- 3 lbs. of onions 

- 6 oz. of cilantro from the demo box 

- 5 lbs. of radishes

For a total of nearly 125 lbs. of produce so far this growing season!

We are starting the second round of planting with radishes, onions and lettuce very soon. Right now, our main focus is weeding!

The herb garden is coming along nicely and after some thought, I have decided to let the herbs grow and fill in this year with harvests starting next year. The garden boxes are also producing well except for the squash, and we may have to consider replanting some of the squash seeds.  

Again, we are always looking for volunteers to help with our garden. If you are interested, please feel free to contact me at 419.484.5421 for more information. 

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE 

Recent strawberry harvest
Our gardening demo box is flourishing this season!