Community Garden Blog

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
Great Harvest This Week!

Sept. 7, 2017


This past Sunday, we were able to harvest 105 lbs. of sweet potatoes. Our harvest total for this week was 136 lbs.  

Next Thursday, Sept. 14, will be a big harvest day for the garden!  We will remove the peppers and beans, put fencing up for the peas (they sprouted last weekend), weed, weed, weed and maybe trim down the sunflowers.  

The okra will remain in the garden until the first of October, or until after the first frost.

The Bellevue Hospital will be hosting the last Garden Market of the year on Sept. 13! Drown's Garden Market of Green Springs will be here from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. with fresh produce for purchase. We hope you are able to join us!

The season is coming to a close and we tried some interesting things this year - some things that worked, and some things that didn't. We will have a final report for the garden in October.

Thank you!

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Fall Is Right Around The Corner

August, 25, 2017

Fall is knocking at the backdoor, and we have had another good year with yields so far. The season got off to a dry start but the rain has caught up and the crops are growing - but so are the weeds! A big THANK YOU to the volunteers for harvesting and keeping the garden clear of weeds. One advantage to wide row planting is that it does make weeding a bit easier. If anyone would like to help weed the garden, we still need some help around the squash and the sweet potatoes. Just give me a call at 419.484.5421 to volunteer! 

Our little chewers are still being pests, so we are going to try to put some Cayenne pepper around the sweet potatoes to dry to keep Chucky, and other little chompers from ruining our sweet pototo crop. We will probably be harvesting the sweet potatoes the second week of September - a little earlier than normal. But, we want to get to the crop before the animals do! It looks like most of the squash will be done by then as well. 

On August 30, weather permitting, we will be planting peas for fall. The hospital will also be hosting a Garden Market on the 30th, from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. just outside the Main Station Cafe. The Garden Market is open to the public - so we hope you will join us!

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE  

Sweet Potatoes
We've Got Apples!

August 11, 2017

Hello all!

This week we harvested 67 lbs. of apples for donation to local food banks along with our other foods. Thank you to Nina Schueren for helping with the apple harvest!

Out of the apples we harvested, about 20 lbs. were not the quality needed to donate to the food banks. However, we were able to take the bad apples to Another Choice Animal Sanctuary for the animals to enjoy.  We went ahead and harvested the bad apples anyways because they can harbor bug eggs and diseases over the winter (especially if it doesn’t freeze long enough) and can become a menace to the new crop the next year.  This is an organic practice that we sometimes forget. There is also speculation that plowing in the fall turns the soil up so the grubs are exposed to the elements in winter and will die off.  I still like using chickens to pick out the grubs and keep a garden clean of pests.

The eggplant is starting to come in and we are having an abundance of lettuce and radishes for our salad bags that we donate. The north side of the culinary garden has been dug up and replanted with parsley, radishes  and cilantro.  

This week we met a milestone! We have harvested 4 tons of food to donate to local food banks since 2011!

Thanks to all who continue to help with our 2017 growing season!   

 Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Weeding and harvesting is in full force!

July 27, 2017

Hello again,

I want to thank everyone for the wonderful job on keeping the gardens weeded and harvested this season.  We harvested some excellent lettuce, carrots, and onions.  Cat Valero helped with the pepper and bean harvest.  Jennie Kindler and Kelly Ried have done an awesome job with weeding and finally Bob Beck has kept everything tilled and clean looking. 

The rains have brought on continued food growth, and along with the fertilizer, mostly everything is growing well!  The cucumbers have plenty of blossoms on them and should be good producers.  The squash is struggling and I am hoping the fertilizer will keep mosaic at bay.  

When I planted the runner beans I started a system of planting with sunflowers to see if they would trail up the flower.  Attached is a picture of what happened.  I also picked two of the most beautiful cucumbers I have ever seen from the garden this week. The okra is flowering beautifully also. 
Our little chomper Chucky (our troublesome little woodchuck) is still going at it.  He sneaks in the cage, takes a few bites out of the apples and continues on  with the beans. 

To date we have harvested 104 lbs. of produce from the gardens. 

Thank you,

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Okra flower
Runner beans
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

July 13, 2017

The continuous rain this week means we will not have to water the gardens for a while – at least two weeks!

This week with we harvested over 55 lbs. of cabbages. Not bad for our first crop.  About 12 lbs. of lettuce was also harvested. 

The lowlands are starting to produce peppers and okra, all the beans are up, and so is the popcorn.  We are watching the popcorn to see if it can produce by harvest.  It got planted late and the season and there may not be enough time for it to produce.  If the ears develop and start to dry, we can harvest and let it finish drying out. It could probably even sit on the stalk in the garden until January if need be, but the critters might find it a tasty treat. And, by critters I mean Chucky (our pesky resident woodchuck) and his Canadian Geese friends. 

The Bellevue Hospital has also decided to display some of the harvest at the Open Air Farmer’s Markets in Bellevue in August. We have some free herbs to give out as well as a sample of a recipe using the herbs.  We are also looking at giving some cooking programs at The Bellevue Public Library in August or September.  Dates to be announced.   


Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

Here come the birds

June 23, 2017

Hello to all,

To-date, the popcorn that we planted has not come up yet. I checked for the seeds and they were gone -which means BIRDS! Especially cowbirds and grackles.  We might replant if we get the chance this weekend. 

We have harvested 12 ½ lbs. of radishes and next week, we will hopefully have lettuce, more radishes, spinach, and green onions to harvest. 

Some of the radishes and onions from our special culinary garden will be served on the salad bar at the hospital’s Main Station Café. The squash is making a comeback after an attack by Chucky – our resident woodchuck.

We have also decided to experiment with runner beans this year, and we are going to try to train them to climb up the sunflowers as support, doing away with fencing them.  Let’s hope it works!

If you have any questions or want to work in the garden at a certain time, call 419.484.5421

Thank you,

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE

All planting is done

June 12, 2017

Planting is done!

All the boxes are planted, and the only thing left is a second planting of beans and onions in the lowlands.  Everything is looking good and I am hoping for a good harvest this year.  Thank you to all the volunteers who have helped to get the crops in! 

This is the first year for planting strawberries in the demo box, and so far – so good! We have harvested 4 lbs. of strawberries and I am speculating that next year, each of the three boxes of strawberries should produce a total of 100 lbs. strawberries or 300 lbs. total. 

For the lowlands, I’m still experimenting with crops, and at the end of this year hope to have a continuous rotation of favorite crops that are not abundantly given by the community like cabbage, beans, and peppers.

Thank you again to all TBH employees and Volunteers who have helped with the garden so far!

Patti Keller, RD, LD, CDE