Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Plant Sales in the Iowa City area

Plants for sale/trade

image credit: Terrie Schweitzer, flickr.com

Three local organizations will be holding plant sales over the next few weeks - all of the proceeds go to worthy causes and can help you get an easy start on your garden.

Backyard Abundance Plant Sale

April 28, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center

220 South Gilbert Street, Iowa City

Get a jump on spring plant shopping at the Backyard Abundance plant sale fundraiser. Many herbs and vegetables are heirlooms and were organically grown by volunteers. All fruits and nuts were sourced as locally as possible and were carefully chosen to maximize yield and thrive in the Midwest. Your purchases help host free yard tours and presentations in our community throughout the season.

Other interests: Silent auction, seed swap, mushroom growing kits, urban chickens, locally-made garden tools.

Project Green Plant Sale
9:00-11:30 AM, Saturday, May 5

Carver Hawkeye Arena

Website link with more information: http://www.projectgreen.org/gardenfair.htm

Friends of Hickory Hill Park Plant Sale

Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12

4:00-7:00 PM - 10:00 AM-4:00 PM


Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19

4:00-7:00 PM - 10:00 AM-4:00 PM

1167 East Jefferson Street

Money raised through the plant sale supports volunteer work in Hickory Hill Park. Click here for more information about Friends of Hickory Hill Park.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

MOCG News: Work Party Progress and Garden Blessing

A new growing season: mulberry trees, plots and paths all laid out, and tire stacks for growing potatoes.

Garden Blessing:
Miller Orchard Community Garden is ready for planting, and we want to bless it! Come to the garden at noon on Earth Sunday, April 22. Folks from First Mennonite Church will lead in a prayer and a song to bless the garden, the gardeners, and all the creatures for whom this plot of ground is home. Bring a sack lunch, if you like, and linger in a beautiful place! The blessing will happen rain or shine, unless there is a storm brewing.

The garden has all manner of entertainment for the kids.

Work Party Update:
We had a great work party on Saturday, April 14th. The fence got installed, paths are mulched and plots laid out and numbered. The sweet potato tire stacks are on the inside of the fence this year so that the fat woodchuck cannot use them as stairs to breach our perimeter. However, for people looking to come do a little extra work, we still need to have the stakes that hold the fence down pounded into the ground all the way around the fence (they will be in the shed; bring a rubber mallet if you have one), and there is always, always weeding in the front garden beds to do as people have time.

April 14 workday: laying out the perimeter fence stakes (above) and mulching paths between the plots (below)

Also, please think of the worms in our vermicomposter if you currently throw out kitchen scraps. Keep a little bucket or an old pot with a lid, and collect any sort of veggie or fruit scraps, bread, pasta, egg shells, and non-meat items. When you come to the garden, dump it into the vermicomposter. It has black doors and looks a little like a tornado shelter. The wormies will thank you, and the compost we get from it will help improve the soil.

If you need the combination for the shed, please email Marcia Widmer: tmmrwidmer (at sign) msn dot com.

Friday, March 30, 2012

New Season Beginning

The garden at the end of the last growing season, with kiosk and vegetable giveaway shelf made by Art & Ecology students.

The Miller Orchard Community Garden will commence its third growing season on April 14th with a work party to install fencing, lay out plots and paths, and welcome new and returning gardeners. The party will begin at 10 a.m. Please bring food to share, as well as your own plate, cup, and utensils. You can sign up for a plot at the party, or by contacting Marcia Widmer at (319) 354-8468 or via email: tmmrwidmer@msn.com.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Spring Home and Gardening Gala

image credit: http://bread-water-salt-oil.blogspot.com/2008/04/heart-of-tomato.html

Spring Home and Gardening Gala

Saturday, March 3

9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Johnson County Fairgrounds Extension Building

4265 Oak Crest Hill Rd SE, Iowa City, IA

Save money, energy and time by creating a beautiful home and garden that work harmoniously together. Meet fellow gardeners and home energy enthusiasts at this fun and information-packed event.

Workshops include:

· Successful Gardening Basics

· Deer-Resistant Gardening

· Easily Create a New Garden Bed

· Grow Mushrooms at Home

· Grow Seedlings and Save Money

· Reuse Materials in the Garden

· Create an Eco-Friendly Home

· Save Energy with Windbreaks and Shade

The cost is $30 if registered by February 29 and $35 at the door. Lunch, access to all workshops and materials are provided. Hosted by Backyard Abundance, the Master Gardeners, Trees Forever, and Center on Sustainable Communities. Click here for complete schedule.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Art & Ecology students

Sarah Kanouse's Art & Ecology students from the University of Iowa's School of Art & Art History have done amazing work over the last two semesters at the garden site. They have been tremendously helpful with putting up fencing, weeding, tree-of-heaven removal, and animating the garden space. This semester, Sarah's students completed a pair of lovely and much-desired message boards, one at the front of the site, one next to the garden itself. They designed them so that gardeners can leave messages, post flyers for events and workshops, distribute information to people who might be interested in gardening, and leave extra produce out to be taken by others. They also devised a flagging system so that we can flag plots that can be picked by anybody, great for when gardeners go away for a few weeks in the summer. This will enhance communication, as I suspect that not many gardeners check this blog as their main source of garden information.

Message board at the front of the garden, with nasturtium still going strong in mid-October.

The message board with shelf for flags and veggies. The white part is now a blackboard, and the corkboard has a plexiglass cover.

The vermicomposting unit, built in the spring.

Interior of the vermicomposter. I hope the worms got enough kitchen scraps and that they survive the winter.

The beautiful butterfly milkweed pod. We have a cluster of them that come up every year at the front of the garden.


Bonus reading on milkweed
. Did you know that it is an edible plant and that "[i]n World War II, schoolchildren across the Midwest collected thousands of pounds of milkweed fluff to stuff life preservers for the armed forces in the Pacific, because kapok, the normal material used for this purpose, came from Japanese-occupied Indonesia and was unavailable. Today, you can buy pillows, jackets, and comforters stuffed with this material, which is wonderfully soft and has a higher insulative value than goose down..."?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Harvest Party, October 22

photo: Ken Stigler (stigs), flickr.com

What: Harvest Party and end of season clean-up
When: Sat., Oct. 22, 12-2 p.m. (rain date, Sat. Oct. 29, 12-2 p.m.)
Why: To celebrate the end of the growing season and all the hard work put in by gardeners and other community groups at the garden site.
Who: Everybody! Whether or not you gardened, come on down. Want to meet some neighbors? Come see what is happening at the garden. Interested in gardening next season? Come learn more.
Where: 815 Orchard St., Iowa City, in the back half of the lot.

Most importantly: Bring some food to share, as well as your own utensils and plate.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fauna Report

Some of the wonderful folks from Iowa City Summer of Solutions came by and dispatched the tree-of-heaven thicket that had been growing on the edge of the front flower bed and pulled weeds so that the flowers have a bit more room to bloom. We are grateful for their efforts!




The flowers are attracting lots of animal life: bees, at least three kinds of butterflies, and a female ruby-throated hummingbird at the bee balm today. Very exciting! I was not fast enough to take a picture of the hummer, but here are a few of the slower insects (black butterfly on the bee balm, bees on the sunflowers).