Old Ferguson West Community Garden

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Snowy Garden Opening Day

After several weeks of beautiful weather, our first day in the garden this year was met with cold and flurries. The plan for the day was to rebuild the beds for the strawberries, and to rebuild some other beds throughout the garden. This is our 8th year with the raised beds, so several have seen better days. We rented the bobcat yesterday, and leveled the strip down next to the grape vines and blackberry structures. Today we built 3 large frames, and filled them with some beautiful raised bed mix. Shoveling dirt and moving wheelbarrows warmed us up pretty quickly!

We didn't finish everything on our to-do list so some of us will be back again next week to get the garden ready for spring planting. We did manage to work up a big appetite, and we all enjoyed our potluck of corn chowder, broccoli slaw, 7-cheese mac and cheese, corn bread and brownies. (Carbs taste good after several hours of hard work!)

Thank you to our brave gardeners today for all your hard work, hilarious conversations and good company for lunch. This is going to be a fantastic year in the Old Ferguson West Community Garden!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Final Garden Work Day and Harvest


We had the most beautiful day in November for our final garden work day. We spent the morning harvesting vegetables, clearing out beds, chipping larger material to feed into the compost bin and everything else needed to tuck our garden in for the winter. Since the weather has been so mild, we left a few pepper and tomato plants to see what else we get over the next couple of weeks.

In perfect field-to-table style, many of the harvested veggies went directly into the harvest soup for lunch: peas, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, carrot, onion, okra, chives and oregano. That was served up alongside Cuban black bean and rice casserole, cornbread, garden apple crumble pie and apricot bars. With our bellies full from lunch we spent another couple of hours leisurely finishing our tasks.

It's hard to say good-bye to such a beautiful place for the winter, but we'll be starting seedlings soon enough! Thank you to all of our gardeners, volunteers, kids, visitors and well-wishers this year. See you all again in the spring!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

October's Fall Social for Kids and Garden Work Day

We had picture perfect weather for this big day at the garden. We were fortunate to be joined by a group of Engineering students from Washington University. These amazing young men and women weeded and spread a HUGE trailer load of wood chips throughout the garden paths and into the orchard. It truly gave the garden a makeover.

Later in the morning, neighborhood kids trickled in to enjoy the fall social. They got to decorate a pumpkin, enjoy lunch, help build and then use a soccer goal made from PVC, play various games, and of course participate in the yearly corn on the cob eating contest! It was fun to have the kids throwing a football, playing with frisbees and just simply enjoying being in the garden.

Next month we'll be cleaning out the beds and putting the garden to bed for the winter. Until then though, we'll enjoy the rest of the harvest while it lasts. I'd like to thank each and every wonderful volunteer that helped make our fall social a great success!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

September Work Day: Calm after the Storm

After some pretty heavy rains last night, the morning was calm and cloudy. We love the rains to make weeding and cleaning beds easier. Today nearly half of our volunteers were between the ages of 8 and 13. They were hard workers too! We got several beds cleared out, and the walkways tamed. The sun came out just as we finished and sat down to enjoy lunch. Thanks to all our volunteers at every age!

Next month will be our kid's fall fun day, and we'll spruce up the walkways with new wood chips. Hope to see many of you there!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

August Garden Work Day

The storms last night brought cooler temperatures and made the weeds much easier to pull for our monthly work day. The flowers are loving the weather mix this summer. There are zinnias six foot high! The veggies are doing very well too. We harvested onions, tomatoes, various peppers, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage and Swiss chard. It's getting to be fresh salsa time!

The sun made an appearance as we sat down to enjoy our potluck lunch. Thank you to our dedicated gardeners, and to neighbors that stopped by to say hi. It was a great day in the garden!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

July Work Day - A day of Weeding


 July's work day might have to be continued next week due to the incredible amount of weeds. (One of the "benefits" of an organic garden!) We were able to get most of the paths weed-free, but the orchard and the strawberry beds need some more attention. We also got the compost bins turned and consolidated. Here are some of the "fruits" of our harvesting labor today: blackberries, onions, potatoes (red and gold), cucumbers, zucchini, beets, okra, zinnias, and a couple of peppers. We had plenty to share with all our gardeners. It's nice to see everything so green and healthy.

Thanks to our hard workers, and for everyone's contribution to our traditional pot-luck lunch. We'll see you soon back in the garden!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

June Garden Work/Sweat Day

We sure missed the cooler weather we've been experiencing lately. It was a hot and sweaty morning weeding and spreading another trailer of mulch around the pathways. The kids got smart and moved to the shade to pull weeds.

The vegetables, fruit and flowers are all growing very well right now. Several of us picked peas, strawberries, different radish varieties, turnips and lettuces. The asparagus fern-like foliage was falling over into the pathway, so one of our awesome gardeners built a frame for the bed out of bamboo (top picture).

Following our potluck lunch, several of our gardeners "accidentally" stood in the path of the sprinkler for 15 minutes. :-) Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers, and I hope everyone got a cold shower and a good nap after all of the hard work in the sun!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Children's Fun Day in May

On our 7th annual spring fun day, we had a fantastic turnout of kids, gardeners, and UMSL social work students. We weeded, spread an entire trailer of wood chips around the beds, and planted the following: tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, sweet corn, pop corn, honeydew, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, and probably several other veggies I'm forgetting.

The kids had fun decorating a pot and planting a flower for mom or grandma. We also had several hula hoop contests and bubble and sidewalk chalk fun. Several kids learned about composting after lunch when they were finished with their apples or bananas. In fact, this was a turning point in our garden today: more kids wanted to help plant/work/learn than play! One of the teens stuck around to the very end to help clean up, and then he thanked us for teaching him to garden. He's been coming to the kids' events for several years. He admitted he thought it would be boring the first time, and was amazed that he enjoyed it and looked forward to the fun days. I look forward to seeing him more often at the garden than just on the fun days.

We had several visitors throughout the day, including two Kinloch officers that are looking to start a community garden in Kinloch. We love talking about our successes, and aren't afraid to talk about what we learned along the way that didn't work. I hope they are able to bring the idea to fruition in their community.

THANK YOU to all the kids, UMSL students, incredible volunteers and gardeners. Everyone involved contributes to the continued success of this amazing community space!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

April in the Garden

We arrived this morning to our garden workday relieved to find that it didn't quite get cold enough last night to hurt any of the plants. Our apple trees are blossoming, and the baby lettuce plants looked good. Thank goodness! The phlox that we received several years ago from Gateway Greening's Perennial Divide is so thick and lush. It is a beautiful announcement of spring.

We spent the morning weeding, planting more in our individual beds, and getting ever closer to finishing our garden shed. "Finishing" the garden shed has been on the honey-do list longer than I can remember. Progress!

A fun garden update: A stray that we found at the garden last month now belongs to one of our gardeners. This place grows all kinds of things, including relationships! Congrats to Dot and her new pup.

We enjoyed 2 different soups on this slightly chilly day, along with cornbread, homemade rhubarb cobbler, and strawberry shortcake. No one ever walks away from a work day hungry around here.

Thank you to all of our volunteers, and hope to see even more next month when we have our Children's Fun Day!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

2016 Opening Day at the Garden!

Spring is a time of renewal. It's a time for making new plans and talking about new ideas for this gardening year. Hope and anticipation are fresh and fun. We were welcomed back to the garden today by two dog friends and a mole. We were also happy to see a couple visitors of the two-legged, less furry variety as well as our new gardeners.

We had a misty morning planting strawberries, potatoes, 2 blackberry plants, and onions in the communal areas. We got most of the tall hedges trimmed back, and rebuilt one of the raised beds that had fallen apart. The asparagus bed that we planted last year looks like it will do well this spring. Spearmint overtook one of the individual beds, so we'll have to dig all of that out and start over another day. Chives and cilantro came back in the herb garden, and even the weeds seem to be waking up for spring.

It's not a garden workday without our community garden potluck lunch. One of our younger gardeners picked some flowers for the centerpiece from a vacant lot. Thank you to all our gardeners visitors, and well-wishers. I can't imagine a better opening day!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Final Garden Work Day of the Year


When was the last time anyone remembers picking tomatoes and peppers in NOVEMBER?? We gathered today for our final garden work day. We started off the morning clearing beds, while a few harvested swiss chard, turnip greens, peppers and tomatoes for the food pantry at St. Stephens.

One of our gardeners had a great suggestion that we had never considered. Before we topped off the beds with compost, we put a layer of garden fabric down. In the spring, we'll just cut through the fabric where the seedlings or seeds go. This should help us cut down on the weeds, and volunteer plants where they're not wanted due to rotating crops. Thanks, Ron Brown!

A friend and neighbor of the garden, Deborah Carter, came by at lunch time with pie and cookies. We all sat down to rest and enjoy our final potluck with black bean soup, skillet cornbread, bratwursts with spiced apple relish, and Little Caesar's pizza (we're all so happy that it reopened.)

The garden is all tucked in for winter, and will be ready for new beginnings next spring. Thank you to all our gardeners, all the volunteers, all the kids, and everyone that supported our fundraisers at the concerts at 501 Plaza this year. Each and every one of you has contributed to the success of this beautiful space. See you all next spring!