Saturday, April 12, 2014

April Workday - Spring Cleaning

Perfect spring weather + garden workday = Spring cleaning in the garden! We cleared the straw from the strawberry beds, cleared the brush from behind the tool shed and compost bin, cleared trash from the creek area behind the garden, and got our large picnic table scraped, sanded and painted. We also planted the communal herb garden. The garden looks spiffy and is ready for another great year.

Critter alert: The famous Ferguson moles have finally made their way to the garden. These uninvited guests tunneled through the communal potato bed and a few other individual plots. We'll have to wait a little longer to see how much they damaged and what needs to be replanted.

Thank you to our volunteers for the hard work and the delicious pot luck lunch. We look forward to our next garden workday which will be the 5th annual Children's Fun Day, the Saturday before Mother's Day. Happy gardening!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mini Garden Workday

The strawberry plants just arrived, and we put out a call for volunteers to plant the new beds. We got all 3 strawberry beds planted, then moved on to plant the community potato bed. Raspberry plants then went in next to our blackberries.We were also able to get the two St. Stephens Food Pantry plots planted with cabbage, lettuce, spinach, radishes, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts and onions. Several of us also got a start on our individual beds. Not bad for a couple of hours of work!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

UMSL Students Help Kick Off the 2014 Garden Season

After a mean winter, so many of us have been itching to be back in the garden, and to use our collective willpower to hurry spring's arrival. While previous March garden workdays have been cold, wet, snowy, muddy and generally miserable, today was ONLY cool and overcast. We had the pleasure of extra volunteers from UMSL's School of Social Work. These students are part of the Community Practice and Social Change course. They certainly got some community practice today!

Last season we realized that the grass had overtaken our strawberry beds. With a suggestion from Gateway Greening, we decided to completely relocate the beds. Our volunteers put down a layer of cardboard under each bed, then filled the tiers with new soil. Next, we put garden fabric down around the beds and topped off with wood chips. That should keep the grass away this year! We also put fabric and wood chips around the new beds we built last year. There were LOTS of wheelbarrow trips! After topping off some of the beds with soil, and trimming the hedges and rose bushes, the group gathered together for some chili to warm us all inside and out.

THANK YOU to our gardeners, and to Holly Ingraham and members of her incredible class for all of the hard work and interesting conversations.

And a just a quick note to Spring: PLEASE HURRY!!!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November Garden Clean Up

It is bittersweet when we gather to clean out the beds and get the garden ready for winter. Conversations range from what grew well, what never seems to do well, what parents or grandparents grew, to sharing each of our grand growing plans for next year. We cleared the summer plants out of the beds, and many of us planted garlic to be enjoyed next summer. Garlic and leeks do very well for our gardeners. (See 2nd picture for leeks ready for soup season!) This year was also kind to peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, turnips, radishes, greens, lettuce varieties and eggplant.

We enjoyed having community beds designated for one or two vegetables for the first time this year. That allowed our gardeners to enjoy greater varieties of peppers and tomatoes. Maybe we'll start an asparagus bed next year understanding that it is a multi-year commitment.

Our workday ended as it always does with a fun pot-luck. While it's sad to say good-bye to the garden work days until next spring, we'll come back together then with great ideas and start it all again. Thank you to everyone who made the Old Ferguson West Community Garden so successful this year. See you next spring!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Children's Fall Social in the Garden

We are fortunate to live in a great community. Twice a year we invite the neighborhood kids to come have fun in our community garden. We talk to them about what is still growing, what grew during the year, and just let them have some FUN. Oh, and we feed them too! We had close to 60 kids show up today to decorate mini pumpkins, have a pumpkin-rolling relay, spit watermelon seeds (from our garden watermelons!) and over 20 stepped up to the corn on the cob eating contest. One of the mothers said "that's a fun way to get kids to eat vegetables - make it a race!"

An unexpected highlight for the kids turned out to be vampire teeth from the prize box. The picture of a handful of the kids posing in them might be one of my favorites from the garden. Although it doesn't ACTUALLY have anything to do with gardening, as long as the kids around here associate our community garden with good times, they'll help watch out for it and take care of it. Hopefully, they'll even garden with us!

Thank you to everyone (including the sun) who came out and made this one of our most successful Children's Days!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Volunteers from SLU! September Garden Work Day

Today we had the pleasure of a great group of volunteers from Saint Louis University's School of Public Health club. They had discussed food deserts in a meeting and contacted Gateway Greening to volunteer with a community garden in the St. Louis area. We were the lucky garden that Gateway Greening contacted!

This tenacious group got our garden paths and orchard in tip-top condition by weeding and spreading a full trailer-load of wood chips. They also helped remove the strawberry bed structures so we can move them to a different location in the spring. They were AWESOME! After all the weeding, shoveling and seemingly endless trips with wheelbarrows, we were happy to finally sit and enjoy a little pizza party with homemade desserts by some of our gardeners. We also had an extra dessert of fresh from-the-garden watermelon.

Thank you to Gateway Greening, Wayside Community Garden for the extra wheelbarrows and tools, and to Megan Copsey and the SLU Public Health undergrad student association!!! Our garden looks amazing now!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

August Workday

The rain this summer has done wonders for our little garden. Even hard-to-grow veggies (like Brussels sprouts) have flourished. Our herb garden (top photo) is doing very well. We should have spectacular cantaloupes (3rd photo) in a week. We spent the day weeding and tending to the community plots. We dug up the rest of the potatoes in the community plot and divided those out to our volunteers along with many tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

We ended the workday lunching on sandwiches, spinach/fruit salad, salsa made from garden ingredients, as well as blackberry jam on rolls made from our community garden blackberries!

Once again, a huge thank you to all our volunteers!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

July Workday and Summer Harvest!

What a beautiful day for gardening. We had the pleasure of digging in the dirt for a spectacular summer harvest. As you can see in the first picture, we picked a LOT to divide up between our volunteers: red, yellow, and white onions, garlic, carrots, swiss chard, cucumbers, zucchini, sweet peppers, green peppers, jalapenos, eggplant and several pounds of fingerling potatoes! Dot also took several bags of produce (not shown) to the food pantry. Our garden is loving this weather as much as we are!

We spent a good portion of the day fighting weeds that have been thriving this mild summer. Several neighborhood children stopped by to help us weed around the apple trees. While weeding, we found a rabbit burrow in one of the raised beds. Four little bunnies (pictured above) were quite cozy in their community garden home.

Thank you to all our volunteers for your dedication, hard work, and for participating in our pot luck lunch!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June Garden Work Day and Storm Recovery

The tornado/strong winds that blew through Ferguson last week knocked over our best apple tree, and split a third off the apple tree next to it. We tried to replant the fallen tree and stake it for stability. We also did a little tree surgery on the split one. We all have our fingers crossed that they'll pull through.

Other than the storm, the spring has been very kind to the garden. The plants have loved the weather and are growing extremely well. The strawberries look better this year than ever, and it looks like we'll have a bumper grape crop this fall! The lettuce is beautiful and we took about 8-10 lbs of it to the food pantry. Also growing well? WEEDS!!! We spent the majority of the day trying to tame them.

Thanks to our volunteers that helped out today and we hope you all are enjoying your fresh fruits and veggies!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Time again for kids in the garden! May fun day and work day.

Today was a combined work day and our annual Spring Children's Fun Day. Our hydrant had broken earlier this year, and Dan Rush Contracting was kind enough to help us dig the hole necessary to fix the pipes. We managed to fill the dirt back in before the fun day started. Whew!

We had over 40 kids come to the garden day to make a Mother's Day gift, help us plant, enjoy some lunch and gross out talking about the "dirt dessert!" (Gummy worms, crumbled oreo cookies, and chocolate pudding.) They also went through a ton of bubbles and we had several hula hoop contests.

The kids helped us plant the community tomato and pepper beds, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, the herb garden, and our second St. Stephen's food pantry plot donated by Ruth Bergner.

Special thanks to Gina, Becky, and our super-volunteer Dot for helping make the event a great success. Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers out there, and happy planting!!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

April Work Day

Last month's work day was cold, wet and miserable. Today made up for last month. Our group of volunteers took advantage of the cool, sunny morning and got so much accomplished. We cleaned out a few of the remaining beds, topped several with dirt/compost, spread wood chips throughout most of the paths and the orchard, weeded, planted a community potato bed, trimmed the hedge perimeter, and finished planting the food pantry plot. We were rewarded with a wonderful potluck lunch in a picture perfect setting. Several of us planted garlic last October, and you can see how well it's coming up now.

Thank you to everyone who participated! You all deserve a nap this afternoon!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Kids Fun Day at the Garden!

Our 3rd annual Fall Social for kids at the Community Garden was a great success! Over 40 kids participated in mini-pumpkin decorating, a pumpkin rolling relay, a sunflower seed spitting contest and the hilarious corn-on-the-cob eating contest. The kids also enjoyed a free lunch of hotdogs, fresh fruit and lemonade. Several helped dig up potatoes in the children's bed and pick some cherry tomatoes. A few even tried to plant some pumpkin seeds from the relay pumpkins. It will be funny if one of the seeds germinates next year!

A big thank you to our volunteers (Dot, Gail and Craig) for helping keep things moving and FUN! Kids of all ages had a great time and we'll undoubtedly see many of them next spring for the garden's next fun day!