Community Garden Blog

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!
Rain Is a Good Thing

June 17, 2019

Between all the rain we've had and the fertilizer, the gardens at The Bellevue Hospital are producing great!  We picked 10 lbs. of strawberries and 7.5 lbs. of radishes last week.  This week we will be harvesting some produce for the salad bags we make, including lettuce and arugula. The culinary garden has also produced its first harvest of onions last week.   

The garden boxes are also producing great this year with onions, radishes, peppers and different types of lettuce.  

We are always looking for volunteers to help us with our produce harvests and weeding. If you are interested in expanding your green-thumb and want to help with our Community Garden, please contact me at 419.484.5421. 

Thank you, 

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE


10 lbs. of strawberries were harvested last week
Garden boxes at The Bellevue Hospital
Herb/Culinary Garden at The Bellevue Hospital
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"