Posts Tagged ‘Community Gardening’

Greetings everyone, and to our loyal blog followers (along with the blue skies, warm breeze, and green grass…) a hearty welcome back. As we get set to kickoff another growing season at Tipton’s Hardacre Community Garden we’ve decided to revitalize this blog, along with our Facebook page, in hopes of sharing news of our work at Hardacre farm with friends from near and far. As in the past you can look to these online resources for lots of photos and updates on garden activities, and stories of how we are incorporating sustainable agricultural practices for the benefit of Tipton and surrounding communities.

A new feature that we will be unveiling this year (right now, actually) will involve blog posts that list tasks and chores in current need of attention. We’ve always maintained a pretty loose and easy going volunteer system out at the garden; anybody is welcome to come out at anytime and just pitch in however they see fit, but we realize that some folks might prefer a bit more guidance and structure. Through this site we can offer regular updates on things that need done, and when appropriate provide further instruction. Volunteers can then head out to the garden and help with these tasks at their convenience.

With that said, let’s get started…

You'll see these red buildings at the end of the lane, and notice the mulch piles and bushes in the field to the east.

You’ll see these red buildings at the end of the lane, and notice the mulch piles and bushes in the field to the east.

Although things are about to shift into overdrive with the weather shaping up, right now the one big chore we would like to focus on is mulching. Out at the site in the plot east of the house and red sheds are a couple of big piles of mulch, and along the north border of that field is a row of shrubs (burning bush.) We simply want to spread that mulch around the plants, in one continuous line approximately two feet wide with the shrubs going right down the middle. The mulch should be spread about 6-8 inches deep. You’ll want to bring a shovel and something to carry the mulch (such as a bucket or bushel basket.) A wheel barrow would also be handy, but for the most part the bushes are a very short distance from the mulch pile.

Piles of mulch with line of burning bush close by.

Row of burning bush along the north edge of the field.

You’ll notice some existing mulch around the base of the shrubs. This is from last year, but it’s time for a fresh batch. Spread the mulch roughly two feet wide and 6-8″ deep, all the way down the line.

Mulching here will serve a number of purposes. For the sake of the bushes, it will suppress weeds and help to retain moisture. It will also help with maintenance, as it will eliminate the need to mow between the shrubs (and any little bit of mowing we can do away with not only saves time, but also decreases fuel consumption and emissions that are destructive to the environment.)

We will soon have more mulch delivered to be spread around the lilac bushes that run north-south along the western edge of the field in front of the house, so once that arrives it can be spread there just as instructed above.

A little later this spring we will be installing a High Tunnel on the property (click here to learn more about these structures) and of course as the season progresses there will be plenty of opportunity to help with planting, weeding, harvesting and distribution. Please keep a close eye on our Facebook page for updates, and be sure to sign-up to receive notice of new blog entries via email by providing your information in the column at the right. Also, feel free to utilize these channels to leave comments to let others know when work has been done or to ask questions. We’d like for this to be as interactive and as social as possible, so don’t be shy!

Thank you for your ongoing support and interest in being a part of the team at Tipton’s Hardacre Community Garden. Here’s to making 2014 the best season yet!


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Here are the rest of the photos from planting corn at the Cedar County Historical Society Museum on the evening of May 23. (In case you missed it, you can read about this and see the first batch of photos from that night by clicking HERE.)

We are looking into using a horse team to conduct some other garden activities this summer, and when possible I will post updates on planned activities and photos here on this blog and on the Hardacre Community Garden Facebook page.













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This past Thursday evening I had the pleasure of watching members of the Cedar County Historical Society plant sweet corn and field corn the “old fashioned way,” with a horse team and an antique two-row planter. It was a fascinating demonstration, and a reminder that in the overall evolution of agriculture these methods of our grandparents aren’t so far removed. Yet in a world of 600 horse power tractors and 48 row planters, this is clearly a scene from a bygone era; and a piece of our heritage that we should be grateful the CCHS is working to preserve.

I’ll let the photos do the talking, and this is only the first batch with more to come. You can watch for the others to be posted here on this blog in coming days, as well as on the Hardacre Community Garden Facebook page.

I would like to give a big thanks to Keith, Bob, and Alice Whitlatch, Denny Dykstra, Teresa Reed, Mike Boyle and others who helped on this evening or are involved with the Cedar County Historical Society for their hard work in maintaining our cultural legacy, and for inviting me out to document this story in photos. I look forward to following up on this and other projects, and to sharing them with our Hardacre Community Garden family over the course of this summer and into the future.







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Blame it on the lethargy of our on again-off again spring, but things have been kind of quiet here from Hardacre Community Garden on the blog post and social media front. That’s not to say, however, that there hasn’t been a lot going on.

Perhaps the biggest news of the 2013 season thus far is that Mike Boyle was recently awarded the United Way of East Central Iowa Volunteer of the Year honor. Mike has been an integral component and driving force behind Hardacre Community Garden from the projects inception, and is actively involved in many other local causes. With this award, Mike will receive a $500 prize to donate to the charity of his choice, and he has graciously decided to put that money toward continued efforts with the garden and collaborating with local high school classes to combat food insecurity in our community.

We couldn’t be prouder of Mike for earning this prestigious honor (and must agree it’s very much deserved) and wish to thank all of you who participated in the voting.

Of course as this all came to pass our 2013 season, though a bit delayed by the weather, slowly but surely got underway. This will be the gardens fifth summer in existence, and this year we will work to maintain plots at both the historic Hardacre property on the west edge of Tipton, and at the Cedar County Historical Society museum just northeast of town. Our goal will again be to better the impressive marks we’ve established in years before. It will be quite a challenge to match the record 14,000 pounds of produce that we helped to distribute in Tipton and neighboring communities last year, but we’re eager to prove that we are once again up to the task.

Here are a few photos of our early season progress in the garden. Once again this year we will post images on this blog and on our Facebook page to share with our friends near and far.

If you would like to get involved this year, feel free to leave a message in the comments section below, or email us at hardacregarden@gmail.com

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