Skip to main content

Around the Town: Community Garden

I've had the privilege to take care of a large community garden plot that is just west of our new church family, Northwood Alliance in Blaine. I'm not sure how large the square footage, but it's got it's own well, a nice greenhouse behind, and at least 15 rows and a few mounds of plants. I've always wanted a plot of land but up here prices are even worse for land than back in Nebraska. I know it's a 'far off dream' but I haven't let it die yet. In the meantime, something I can do to make that dream a reality is to help with the community garden. It helps to take ownership of how it turns out, and with daily watering, I'm invested. I have watched this garden over the summer and it is something our family shows off with pride when visitors come. 

I'll try to explain the views as you see them in the photos. The top photo is looking south from the back fence where the green house is. The photo above (with the black trash bags) is a shot of the artichoke plant (far right), and 6 potato plants in garbage bags. It's either that or tires for the cheap way! I've picked one artichoke but though I haven't cooked it yet, based on pictures from the internet, it might be too old/ripe for it to taste any good. We'll see. I had never even seen an artichoke plant before and the ones that are really healthy are just huge. It's always a learning experience in any garden. This climate's pest is the common slug, and boy are they ugly. They are anywhere from 1-6 inches and they look like...well, a dog turd. They get in the garden and eat everything. We've seen a few in the corner of the property, but the planter has taken a lot of measures to get rid of them naturally. 

This view above is a little more clear of the home-made greenhouse. A gentleman from our church made that and it's even got a ventilation system that opens and closes when it gets too hot or cold. It's an excellent design! 
The four mounds in the foreground and middle are squash and cucumbers and from when I took this picture--maybe a week ago--they have doubled, tripled, or quadrupled in size! It won't be long for those squash and lemon cucumbers to be in my kitchen.
The two rows after that are bush peas (sugar snaps), and cabbage, chives, broccoli rabe, and beets. Unfortunately I don't like too many of those, but man did we eat sugar snaps by the pound this year, and of course, all for free!

This is a side view that you can see the water tank (which holds the well water in the summer) and the large plants to the left are the shelling peas. I only got one batch of those but they were delicious. I put them in so many salads I can't even count. I think I might still have a small bag left for that one last salad. They're done now. The bush with color is an edible flower, and the one just to the left of it, out of sight, is just massive. The lettuce is planted there but is also out of sight. We've eaten curly leaf, butter, and so much romaine this summer. It's been wonderful! There are a few new heads of lettuce coming up, too. The following row is carrots, onions, beets? The bushy plants in the middle are two types of kale, with rhubarb out of sight. 

Here's a side view of the shelling peas (right), the large edible flower bush, and some cabbage. I'm not quite sure what the plant is on the left. It hasn't bloomed yet, and I do not see any veg. on the plant. It's quite large, though. 
The fence around the property was also built by a gentleman who goes to the church, and the entrance door is large and sturdy. It has a number of work pegs, and even a shelf built into it. It's really handy to just plop my keys there every day. 

Here's a nice shot of the fence line. It's the same view as above but just taken to show the length of the fence.  The white building in the back is the greenhouse.
The working relationship I have with the rightful owner of the garden, a lady at our church, has been great so far. It works so well because she is the knowledge & planter behind everything, and I'm the daily waterer. I can water, and when I have a weekend that Stefan is home, I can help weed for a long period of time, but since we live two blocks away, getting to the garden is very easy for me. The neighborhood kids like to eat what I bring back, and one has even come with us to see it. Others have asked to go, and I just need to find a time that works for all of us (on a day I'm not too tired!). It takes the load off of just one person, and I love doing a bit of work for all the produce I'm getting. It also is helping me realize a small part of owning property and doing this completely for myself one day. I have learned a lot through this experience. 

In this picture you can see how the white pump runs along inside the garden to the hose and tank in the middle of the area. The 'springy' plants up front are garlic, and behind those are rosemary and sage. Those are probably my two least favorite herbs. Next year if we're still here I'm going to try to get cilantro and mint in there--the two I use the most! 
Behind that area is the beautiful and colorful Swiss Chard and then a bit of onions followed by 3 cucumber plants. There is one long cucumber that is waiting a few more days before I pick it off to sample. I love cucumbers. The big bushy plant to the right is rhubarb. The dark green to the left are green beans. Just this evening, I went through the bottom 'shelf' of the green beans very quickly, and I got a large bowl full of them! Lukka and I snapped them this evening after we came home, and we'll feast on these until we get sick of them this summer (there are 2 full rows of them) and then we'll start flashing them and saving them for the winter. 

This final shot is looking north, facing north-east. It's the iris plants (far left), second planting of cabbage and beans, and then the beautiful tomatoes! They are packed full of green tomatoes, and quite healthy and lovely smelling. I can't wait for those babies to ripen. I am a tomato fiend in the summer, and it's been agonizing waiting for them. Early July is when tomatoes are starting to be sold at the Farmer's Markets in Nebraska, and here the season is about 4-6 weeks later. They'll probably be done and ready and dropping off in a few weeks, and I'll be ready. Overshadowed by the tomatoes is a small row of basil, and then back to the beans again. I hope you enjoyed the tour!


Are you a gardener? What is in your backyard or community garden? 


Kerri said…
Wow! What an operation. Impressive. How does the parceling out of the produce work? Does everyone who works there just come and get whatever they want?
Brewed Together said…
This looks like a wonderful garden! And what a great idea for a community to be involved so that everyone can share in the fruits (or vegetables) of the labor. Thanks for sharing! Xo, M&K at

Popular posts from this blog

How To: DIY Sand/Water Table

How To: Build A Sand/Water Table for Under $30!
Sorry this took me so long to blog, but I had to have a tool list and full instructions before I could do so.
A little history on my love for the sand/water table. I love the idea behind tools for tiny hands, i.e. the Montessori Method, and like to have Lukka 'figure things out for himself', even when he is playing. I try to have the most simple and basic toys available for 3 reasons: a) simple toys generally have less parts, which means less of a hassle for me
b) simple toys inspire way more creativity and imagination than do 'exact replica' toys
c) they are much more aesthetically pleasing to look at, therefore, not making every nook and cranny of our house an eyesore!
I know the last reason is just for me, but it's true. Plastic things don't generally last 1/2 as long as wooden or fabric toys, and they are unattractive. For this reason, I started to look for a wooden sand/water table as opposed to a plastic one …

Snapshot Story of Malibu, Lake Louise Inlet, British Columbia

top photo: The Blainiacs; self-titled, our group from bible study

There are too many words to share everything about Malibu, so I'm going to share a few pictures, and some words in this post. Malibu is a Young Life camp that is it's own little village in the middle of nowhere, British Columbia, or at least it feels that way--very isolated. It's right at the top of Lake Louise Inlet (right before Lake Louise) but really, there is nothing out there. It is what a leader called "The Thin Place"; the place right in the middle of heaven and earth. It's beautiful, welcoming, joyful, and raw, pristine.

This lodge is where "Club" happens. This is where the large group of the 220+ women who were present for Women's Weekend  would get together twice daily for skits, singing, and hearing speakers before breaking out into small group time. The Women's Weekend follows the Young Life way in how they structure the retreat. Everything we did resembled what t…

Subscription Boxes as Homeschool Curriculum

Ani painting her first diarama
The subscription service business sector is exploding the online retail market. You can now buy toys, pet products, clothing, stationary, beauty products, eco-cleaning supplies, and even organic snacks all in monthly packages with excellent branding. While print magazines are slowly fading away, a new type of subscription purchasing is taking place in droves--for those who are too busy or depleted to run one more errand (hand raised here), you can get a fun surprise on your doorstep for a decent price. These are excellent as curriculum because all the work of planning and gathering has been done for you! Now it's just up to the child to execute and enjoy the process. 
I have tried a few subscription services as either birthday gifts or a trial run for homeschooling, and let me tell you there are some awesome businesses going up! I want to highlight a few of them for you that can be used as homeschooling curriculum for elementary grade kids. With each…