Community Garden Blog
Aug. 27, 2020
Harvests are in full swing. In the past three weeks we have harvested over 21 lbs. of onions and about 5 lbs. of green beans. The butterfly garden is also doing well. We have had several "visitors" to the butterly garden recently. This week it was a Monarch. Monarchs go through four cycles while they are in the northern states, with the first ones emerging in May. These then lay eggs for the next set and so on until the fourth set emerges to take the long migrational trip to Mexico. I have seen flutterlies and swallowtail caterpillars in the garden also.
I’m not sure we will have another bean harvest unless we get some rain. Time will tell. Thank you to our garden volunteers Connie, Bob, Patti Gray and Donna for helping out with weeding and harvesting this year. It has not been our best year for produce, but we had a lot working against us. Definitely circumstances beyond our control. Next month, probably late September, I will be winterizing the butterfly garden. The mint will need to be pruned back or it will crowd out the lemon balm. We also plan to let the weeds grow in the garden boxes to help keep the soil in for the winter.
It has been great working with everyone this year and I plan on only giving one more report which will be the year end report later next month.
July 7, 2020
The plants in the butterfly garden are starting to do well. The milkweed in the garden will get about four inches tall and will add a nice height to the garden. The violets that were planted earlier this season are starting to grow larger, although many of the violet plants have died due to the lack of rain. The violet plants that are left are naturalizing very well. A new tenant has moved in to the butterfly garden - a swallowtail butterly larvae. Swallowtails like dill which we have quite a bit of in the garden this year. All that remains to be done this year in the butterfly garden is to remove the horse thistles, morning glories and oxalis from the garden. This will help us continue to grow the area with more plants suitable to the butterflies. Last week garlic was also harvested from the butterfly garden and was cleaned and donated to Fish & Loaves food pantry this week.
To date, the vegetable garden on the east side of the hospital's campus has produced 60 lbs. of strawberries, 3 lbs. of lettuce and 8 lbs. of radishes. The green beans are starting to erupt and a good thunderstorm would help with giving them a good start. Thank you again to our volunteers who have helped with weeding and harvesting. We couldn't do this without you!
June 10, 2020
The 2020 growing season for The Bellevue Hospital's (TBH) Community Garden has begun! A big THANK YOU to garden volunteers Connie Meacham, Cat Valero, Bob Beck, Donna Allen, Patti Gray, and Dave Schmidt for helping weed and plant both the garden boxes and butterfly garden in preparation for this season's harvest.
Today, 2 lbs. of harvested strawberries and 1 lb. of lettuce was taken to Fish and Loaves Food Pantry. We are excited to see what this year will yield.
New this year is our butterly garden which we are also sharing with our herb garden. TBH's Registered and Licensed Dietician, Patti Keller, announced her retirement from TBH during the last quarter of 2019. Patti has been instrumental in starting and maintaining the Community Garden and the separate herb garden on the grounds of TBH. The Community Garden has supplied thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables to needy families over the years, while the herb garden continues to supply fresh herbs for employees and community members to use in cooking.
In recognition of the time and research Patti has contributed to her garden projects over the years, the herb garden, which is located on the southwest side of the hospital's campus, was dedicated on Jan. 31, 2020 as the Patricia S. Keller Butterfly & Herb Garden. THANK YOU Patti!
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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