Community Garden Blog

To pick, you have to pull!

July 20, 2018

To pick, you have to pull.  With our garden, we look at our statistics on food production and realize our production would be drastically decreased if we did not pull weeds.  It’s great to see 400-500 eggplants or 210 sweet potatoes, but these production statistics are up because we keep the garden clear of weeds as much as possible, year after year.  Once again I would like to thank our garden volunteers for all their help.  If they didn’t pull weeds, we couldn’t pick the produce that we do.  To pick, you have to pull.

Attached are two pictures from the harvest this week.  Covering the chard has helped greatly with keeping the cabbage loopers out.  The eggplant looks good and they may start producing next week.  The production from the garden boxes is lower this year due to the lack of rain.

We are going to have harvests weekly starting next Wednesday, July 25. Join us in the garden at 7 a.m. if you are interested in helping! The next step is to start a fall garden probably the first week in August.  

Don't forget our hospital and community garden will be represented at the Bellevue Farmer's Markets starting on August 2. The markets are from 3-7 p.m. every Thursday during the month. We will be distributing information on nutrition related diseases and doing cooking demonstrations. We hope to see you there!  

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Harvest - Week of July 16
Harvest - Week of July 16
Flowering Begins!

July 11, 2018

The 2018 garden looks great!  Now, if we just keep ahead of the weeds, the growing season will continue to be successful. 

The sunflowers are flowering and will probably be in full bloom by the end of July.  Several other plants are beginning to flower including the sweet potatoes, so we may have some fruiting starting soon. 

Some onions will be harvested next week with the rest being used as large onions later in the fall.  The baby chard is almost ready to be harvested as well. 

I want to thank all of the volunteers who work so hard to keep the garden tended throughout the season. A large THANK YOU to Cat Valero for his near 40 hours of garden help so far this year. Another THANK YOU to Bob Beck who has rototilled between the rows of plants to keep the garden weed free. 

Don't forget, next week The Bellevue Hospital will host Drown's Garden Market on July 18 from 9 am - 2 pm. The Garden Market is open to the public and will offer a wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables. 

Please contact me if you have any questions, or are interested in getting involved with our Community Garden project. 

Thanks, Patti Keller - 419.484.5421 



Sunflowers beginning to bloom.
Sweet potato plants have started to flower
View of boxes in the garden
Herb Garden Update

June 28, 2018


A big thank-you to Julie Jarrett and Donna Allen for helping me bag the dill and chives from our herb garden for the Farmer’s market, Clyde food bank and Fish and Loaves food bank.  Our herb production is off due to changes made in the gardens but we still bagged 134 bags of herbs yesterday! 

I am finalizing the plans for the Bellevue Farmer’s Market demonstrations in August.  This Farmer’s Market is on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m. On August 9 we will be demonstrating how to cook red cabbage and eggplant.  On August 16 we will demonstrate "Healthy Eating to Delay Heart Disease and may feature carrots, green onions and garlic recipes.  On August 23 we will demonstrate "Healthy Eating to Delay Diabetes" and may feature, green beans and peppers. The last Farmer's Market on August 30 will feature healthy eating tips that may help delay cancer and will feature recipes with chard, radishes, and lettuce.  Information on these diseases will be available along with some food samples. 

We have planted the remaining boxes and all but the carrots are up.  I only hope the birds didn’t eat the carrot seeds. If you get a chance visit the garden and take a look! I think this is the best looking TBH Community Garden yet. Thank you to all the volunteers who make this possible year after year!  

If you are interested in helping with the garden, please contact me at 419.484.5421.  

Thanks, Patti Keller

Updated view of the Community Garden - June 27, 2018
Seeing Great Progress

June 25, 2018

The garden is starting to grow!  Below are pictures of the plants in the lowlands to show our progress.  With the sunflowers, look carefully because we have planted runner beans in between them and they are climbing up the sunflower.  They are not as invasive as morning glories or the creeper plants in the boxes. 

The strawberries are continuing to produce and have almost been spent.  If we can keep the boxes watered, then the rest of the plants will start to emerge soon. 

I'd like to send a  big THANK YOU to Bob Beck for tilling between the rows.  This is the first year we could go with wide row planting and it seems to be working out well.  Also a big THANK YOU to Connie Meacham and Cat Valero for weeding parts of the garden. 

If you get a chance, stop out and help with the weeding. We still have a lot of weeding that needs done between the garden rows. If you are able, it is good exercise and stress relieving.

That’s it for now.   Enjoy the pictures!

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Sweet Potato
Sunflower plant with runner beans
Already Harvesting Produce!

June 15, 2018


The plants in the garden are taking off! And so are the weeds! A lot of weeding needs to be done between the plants this week.  

We still have some open areas to plant and I hope to get the rest of the planting done Sunday evening before the rain comes.  A special thanks to TBH Plant Operations staff member Nina Schueren for all her help watering the boxes and the culinary garden. 

TBH Nutritional Services staff Kelly Reid  and Tracey Nason have worked hard to plant the culinary garden this year and it is also starting to produce.  The food from this garden is used in special recipes we offer in the The Bellevue Hospital's Main Station Cafe,  giving us an opportunity to learn new ways to prepare certain vegetables. 

Once the strawberries have stopped producing, we will need to thin out a couple of the boxes.  If anyone has experience with this, please let me know so I can learn more about thinning these plants.

To date we have harvested about 7 lbs. of strawberries, 24 lbs. of free willy lettuce, and 1.89 lbs. of chives.

If you are interested in helping with our gardens this year, contact me at 419.484.5421.

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Green onions sprouting
Radish plants
Planting Is Complete

May 31, 2018

We did it! Yesterday the Community Garden volunteers planted 21 of 27 available rows in the low lands, set strawberries in the boxes, pulled weeds in the box area, started the culinary garden and planted the marigolds in the pathway containers.  Thank you to the following workers: Dave Schmidt, Morgan Nason, Bernie Nason, Tracey Nason, and Kelly Reid.  We started planting at 7:00 a.m. and worked until about 2:30 pm for a total combined volunteer hours of 24 hours.

Next week is our first farmer’s market with a chive harvest and bagging scheduled for June 5th at 2:00 p.m.  We also deciding what will be done with the remaining rows we have available for planting, but are leaning toward planting bush beans. 

Some of the strawberries are starting to turn red, and we got pro-active with the cabbage and covered it when we planted it.  We planted purple cabbage this year because it is supposed to be more resistant to disease and insects.  We also planted a lot of sweet potatoes this year and hopefully will get a good heavy harvest.  

We are always looking for volunteers to help us with our gardens! If you are interested, please contact me at 419.484.5421.

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE


Sprouting Asparagus
2018 Planting Boxes
The start of the 2018 Community Garden
Strawberries starting to produce
TBH Community Garden Off To A Great Start

May 16, 2018

The Community Garden has already began producing with an estimated 7 lbs. of asparagus and 6 lbs. of spinach.  The lettuce has began to pop-up as well, and we will be able to harvest it next week. 

Spring spinach has a different flavor (more heartier) than later season spinach and with all the rain we have had the stems and leaves are very sturdy. I call these volunteer plants because they are from seed planted last year.  Free Willies you might say.  That is the best part about community gardening, the Free Willies. 

The herbs in the northwest box may not have survived the move last year, but we are keeping on eye on them.  The chives are up and the mint is struggling, but I don’t see any signs of life from the thyme and oregano.  Horseradish is being planted in this box as well. I bought horseradish at the grocery store when I needed just a little for a cooking demo.  All I could find was a HUGE root, so I cut it up and potted it over the winter and will plant it in our herb box.  This is the experimental plant for this year. 

We have another large planting day scheduled for May 31st.  There will be plenty to do that day, from planting the rest of the strawberries to setting in sweet potato plants along will pulling weeds around the culinary garden and boxes.  If you want to volunteer, we will be out in the garden at 8:00 a.m., so bring gloves and any garden tools that you have.

Thank you!


Spinach has begun to pop up.
The lettuce is off to a great start.
Strawberry plants
Garden Awakens From Winter Slumber

April 11, 2018

It’s that time again! The 2018 growing season has begun. 

We had our first meeting for the community gardens on Monday and had a great turn out.  Things are rolling along and the garden is beginning to wake from a long winter. Some plants like the rhubarb, spinach, chives and strawberries are starting to poke up.  The weeds are making a presence already, also.

This year, we will have nine of the raised boxes dedicated to strawberries and seven boxes will be salad vegetables.  We are retiring the cucurbits (cukes and squash) in 2018 due to increased infestations.  We might be retiring the cole vegetables (cabbage, radishes, broccoli) next year if infestation becomes a problem this year.  While this is a different type of crop rotation, it may work better than moving the plants around in a small area. 

Every year I grow an experimental plant (some examples from the past have been okra, sweet potatoes, and quinoa).  This year we are going to try horseradish in the square foot box. If it goes well, it will be transferred to the herb box and grown as a herb.

I am looking forward to a great year for the community gardens! We are also looking for volunteers to help us with our gardens! If you are interested, please contact me at 419.484.5421.

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Spinach has begun to pop up.
Plants awakening from a long winter.
Planting A Fall Garden

October 13, 2017

One of the things I have never been able to do was plant a fall community garden.  Reasons were usually due to early frosts, schedule, and lack of volunteers.  However, this year with the help of Tracey Nason and Chris Norris, we started a fall garden. For this garden, we planted spinach and lettuce; kept the chard and kale growing; and the dill and tomatoes in the culinary garden are at a limit that we can donate to food pantries. 

The okra plants did amazingly will this year.  They grew to over six feet tall, which is possible but not probable.  We hit the possible this time!  Okra was considered a success this year and we are planning to plant it next year.  I put in an enclosed porch and hope to start seedlings (from our plants this year) in it next year to cut down on the cost of the plants. 

The peas were a success also, and I hope that we can fence/grow them starting in the spring next year and actually have two plantings, early spring and late summer.  The community garden is starting to produce like a community garden should.  After next year, our biggest yearly expense will only be fertilizer and the gardens should continue for hopefully another three-to-four years depending on how long the boxes hold out. 

That's it for now. I will be able to report final produce stats hopefully within a few weeks!

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Harvest Home Stretch

September 22, 2017

Hello all,

We are coming into the home stretch of harvest.  This week we harvested 100 lbs. of butternut squash!  The squash held its own this year, and produced only 5 lbs. less than the sweet potatoes.  Both patches were the same size, so they are what I call good balancing crops! Balancing crops are similar in size and nutritional values.  

I want to thank Bob Beck for keeping the garden tilled - it looks really nice this year. 

It is always interesting to find different uses for plants in the garden. Recently, we cut some marigolds, okra flowers and eggplant flowers and used them as center piece displays for a dinner this week.  It looked great!  Some of the foods in the demo garden box were used for cooking demonstrations at the library, and some of the herbs were part of a give-away at the Bellevue Open Air Market this year.  All of these ideas have fueled ideas for next year’s garden. 

It has been a good year and we are starting to plan for next year.  Students from Bellevue High School's Leadership Class will come to the hospital on October 16 to help with final harvesting and clean-up.

If you get a chance, stop by the garden and look at what  is there.  It really is marvelous! Chris Norris and Jennie Kindler have been a big help this year with harvesting and planting.

Thank you to EVERYONE for a terrific year!

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE


Garden view
Green Peppers