Community Garden Blog

Bunnies in the Garden

May 18, 2019
Last week, we had quite the surprise of finding a bunny nest in the garden. We have been keeping on eye on them and this week the bunnies have their eyes open!  I expect them to be hopping around by next week. I've learned some things about rabbit culture in my OCNV classes:

- the mother only visits the nest twice daily
- after 45 days bunnies are mature and out on their own
- most female rabbits will have up to 5 litters yearly from Feb-Aug and about 50% of the bunnies from the litter will live into the next year
​- if you stumble on a nest like we did, don’t retrieve the bunnies, leave them in the nest. The mother is probably close by gathering food for them or eating for her milk supply. 

The boxes are starting to produce and the second picture is of the demo box which I started planting three weeks ago. The strawberries are starting to flower and we should have berries in June (hence the name 'Juneberry' some people call the plants.) 

Hopefully sometime next week, we can work up the lowlands and plant the rest of the garden.

If the bugs leave us alone, we might have a pretty good year!

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

bunny nest
bunnies in the garden
demo box
strawberry plants
The 2019 Growing Season Has Begun!

May 15, 2019

With the help of the Bellevue High School Teen Leadership Class, more than 50% of The Bellevue Hospital's community gardens have been planted, which means - the 2019 growing season is underway! Everyone worked hard and I wanted to thank you again for all the work you did. We were able to get the boxes and herb garden planted which included crops such as lettuce, chard, radishes, onions, carrots, sage, cilantro and lemon balm.  The rhubarb was re-planted until we can get the lowlands worked up.  It’s been a wet start to the season, so the crops in the lowlands have not been able to be planted yet. Once planted, these crops will include peppers, squash, sunflowers and green beans. I am looking forward to another successful year in the garden!!
Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Teen Leadership Class from Bellevue High School
Bellevue High School students helping to plant the herb garden
Members of Bellevue High School's Team Leadership Class working in the garden's lowlands
Growing Season 2018 Has Come to an End

November 20, 2018

There is snow on the ground and everything has been put to sleep for the winter.  A big thank you to everyone who helped in the community garden this year!  YOU have helped to produce a garden that yielded 1,253 pounds of produce this year alone.  Cumulative, that is over 4.96 tons of produce that has been grown in the garden over the last eight years.  Next year I am hoping our yield will push us past the five ton mark!

With sadness that another growing season has come to an end, I take a deep sigh and look at the garden to marvel at what we have done in the past eight years. December is a time to sit, think and and appreciate all the help I have had through these years in making this project a success.  It is time to look forward to snowstorms, icy roads, darkness, okay, okay enough!  I am looking forward to hitting that five ton mark next year! 

If I don’t see you before the first of the year.  Have a Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year.

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Abundance of Eggplant

October 5, 2018

The rain this year has resulted in a good harvest - especially eggplant!  We harvested 130 lbs. of eggplant this week and beat our record for eggplant in August! For this reason (and the fact that everyone is sick of eggplant!) we are retiring the crop and will not be planting eggplant next year. 

The lettuce planted in June is now coming up in the boxes so we will continue to harvest them until the frost hits. 

A few weeks ago, we harvested 210 lbs. of sweet potatoes!

We are looking for adult volunteers for Thursday, October 11th from 9 am -12 pm to help with winterizing the garden. If you can’t volunteer that day, then may you can contribute a shovel, a wheel barrel or other gardening tools. Select students from the Bellevue High School will also be volunteering their time to help winterize the garden. It is always a great time when the students are here!

Thanks to Tracey Nason, TBH's Nutritional Service leader, we got the culinary garden weeded, mulched, and strawberries planted - so it is ready to go for next year. 

We are winding down the season, and it’s been a good year. I have a lot to be thankful for - especially the volunteers who help make the community garden possible. 

Sweet potato harvest
Culinary Garden
Harvest is Going Strong

September 10, 2018

The harvest is going strong with over 116 lbs. of produce harvested from the garden so far this season.  

The runner beans are still producing and are climbing beyond my reach on the sunflowers. 

I hope to pull up the rest of the sweet potatoes soon and put them in the boxes to cure. We are also going to cover some the sunflower heads with bonnets to collect the seeds.  They are edible and a rich source of omega 3’s. Tomorrow, Sept. 11, I hope to get the culinary garden ready for next year with pulling weeds, mulching, and transplanting strawberry plants from some of the boxes to the community garden.

I can't believe the season is almost over already! This summer went fast. 

If you have any suggestions for next year, or are interested in volunteering, please contact me at 419.484.5421.  Thanks for a wonderful season so far!

Patti Keller, RD, CD, LDE


Sunflower Seeds
Sweet Potato harvested
Over 100 lbs. of Produce Weekly

August 28, 2018

A big thank you to Cathy Ackerman who harvested about 10 lbs. of green beans last Thursday when I was unable to complete the harvest.  We have been averaging over 100 lbs. of produce weekly with these harvests. Nearly 544 lbs. of produce has been harvested in August alone!

I have decided to close down the garden early this year, with our last harvest being September 11, 2018 which will include the sweet potato harvest.  I’m hoping to get to the potatoes before the voles eat through them which has seemed to be a problem in the past couple of years.  I don't think we rotate our crops as often as maybe we should, so for this reason I am scaling down the size of the garden and the lowlands for next year and the years to come. They will be about half the size as they are now.  This will give us more time to focus on the produce in the garden boxes, and the prairie garden and culinary garden in future years. 

Below are pictures from our last harvest we donated to the Clyde Backdoor Food Pantry, and also some funny eggplant that seemed to grow "noses".  I don’t know if this happened due to cross pollination with the peppers or beans, or if it was just a genetic fluke.  

Thank you again for everyone who continues to work in the gardens! We couldn't do this project with out you!

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE


Recent Harvest for Clyde Backdoor Pantry
Eggplant with "noses"
Eggplants Galore!

August 15, 2018

The harvest is in full swing, collecting over 100 lbs of produce this week! We harvested onions, peppers, beans, and eggplant. Just look at the size of those eggplants! I foresee a bumper crop ahead.

Speaking of exceptional growth - I thought the sunflower seed package said maximum height of 6-feet. I’d like to know what their definition of a "foot" is, because some of our sunflower plants must be 10-feet tall! Plant genetics is fascinating.  One year, we planted cantaloupe along side butternut squash.  We did this to sweeten the butternuts, but instead we got melons with a smooth skin and round butternuts.  

Upcoming events The Bellevue Hospital's Community Garden is invovled in include the Committee to Grow Bellevue Farmer’s Market happening every Thursday at Central Park in Bellevue.  We will have a tent display featuring the following topics:

8/16/18 - "Cooking to delay Heart Disease." TBH employee Julie Jarrett will be demonstrating Green Beans with Walnuts.  

8/23/18 - "Cooking for Diabetes Management." I will be demonstrating Cold Vegetable Pizzas using Peppers and English Muffins.

8/30/18 - "Cooking to delay the onset of cancer." I will be demonstrating a Chard with Parmesan Cheese recipe.

All of these demos are to bring an awareness of the value of fresh grown vegetables to our lifestyles.  If you are interested in helping out with the garden, contact me at 419.484.5421.


Harvest - Week of Aug. 15, 2018
More Eggplant
Bush Beans
Over 68 lbs. of Produce This Week

August 9, 2018

The harvest continues!  This week we harvested snow peas, green beans, eggplant, peppers, chard and onions for a total of over 68 lbs produce.   

The Committee To Grow Bellevue (CTGB) had their first Open Air Market on Thursday, August 2 and it went well.  The Bellevue Open Air Markets is the newest project The Bellevue Hospital's community garden has been involved in. Our goal is to bring an awareness of the value of the vegetables we grow for pantry donation to health. 

Next week Julie Jarrett, one of our Master Gardeners, is going to present a heart healthy recipe: Green Beans with Walnuts. Speaking of green beans, below is a picture of the green beans we are growing on our sunflowers.  They are a hit, producing beans about 6-8 inches long and relatively bug free.  The eggplant is also producing well.  The pantries tell me that their clients like the larger onions.

Below is a fourth picture of a special rock that was found in the garden this week.  It is a type of quartz that is not indigenous to this area. This means that it came down with the glaciers many, many years ago. This maymean that we need to replenish the topsoil more often since we are digging into a lower layer of the earth in this region.  The next couple of years we may be doing some very heavy mulching to prevent further erosion.

Patti Keller, RD, CD, LDE

Green Beans
Green Onion
Harvesting has begun!

July 26, 2018

The harvesting has started!  The eggplant plants look fabulous and we have a goal to beat our record eggplant production from two years ago.  This week we harvested onions, lettuce, snow peas and eggplant for a total of over 33 lbs produce.  Next week we will harvest chard, peppers, more eggplant, more onions and maybe more snow peas.  Don't forget, this week starts the demonstrations at the Bellevue's Farmer’s Markets that wil be held every Thursday in August from 3 pm - 7 pm at Central Park. The Bellevue Hospital will be doing cooking demonstrations and will also have healthy eating information available.  The demonstrations this week will include a stir fry using some of the snow peas harvested. Another THANK YOU to all of our garden volunteers who make our garden successful year after year. 

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Snow Peas
Fun with Squash
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