Posts Tagged ‘Tipton’


Future home of the Hardacre Community Garden High Tunnel.

A new project over a year in the making is about to come to life at Hardacre Community Garden, and we’re calling on friends and neighbors to help make it happen.

This weekend, Friday, June 20 and Saturday, June 21 we will be building our new High Tunnel at the Hardacre farm. A high tunnel is basically a rudimentary greenhouse that captures the suns heat to warm the soil and plants inside. (Click HERE for more info…) We first began discussing the possibility of adding a high tunnel in the spring of 2013, as we knew it would extend our growing season and our ability to produce even more food to benefit the community. Plans were set into action, funding was generously donated, and earlier this spring dirt was moved to create a pad for the structure. Now it’s time to finish the build.


The High Tunnel will measure 30′ x 72′ in size and will allow us to extend our growing season, starting earlier in the spring and going later in the fall.

Construction will begin on Friday morning at 9am, and will likely continue all day and into Saturday. Those who wish to volunteer their time are invited to join us for as long as they are able, be it for both days or even for just a couple of hours. You don’t need to be an experienced carpenter or have extensive construction know-how to help out, just a desire to put a little effort into the betterment of our community. However, those who have tools such as wrench and socket sets or power tools for fastening bolts and setting self tapping screws are definitely encouraged to bring them along.


The High Tunnel will maximize available sunlight with it’s east-west orientation, sitting at this location east of the house.

And if building isn’t necessarily your cup of tea, you can still get involved by helping us tend to some weeding and a number of other garden chores. Garden Director Mike Boyle will be on site both mornings beginning at nine o’clock and will be happy to point you in the right direction; just come on out and ask what you can do to help!

(If you need directions, the garden is located at 1167 West 9th Street, Tipton. Just follow 9th Street a short distance heading west out of town, and you’ll see the Tipton/Hardacre Community Garden sign on your right, north of Country Estates.)

Special thanks goes out to members of the Tipton Lions Club who have helped with site preparation and will be helping with the High Tunnel construction. Also, thank you to Margaret and Keith Stroup who generously donated funding for this project. Without all of these people, their belief in what we do and the impact we are having on the community, none of this would have been possible. Now, with your help we can really turn the page and begin a new chapter in the Hardacre Community Garden story.

Hope to see you there!


Keith and Margaret Stroup help unpackage materials for the High Tunnel. The Stroup’s provided generous financial assistance for this project.


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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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CC LocalFood

Please hold the date, and plan to attend the first Cedar County Local Foods Summit to be held Wednesday, February 13th from 6-8pm at the Cedar County Extension Office meeting room, 107 Cedar Street, Tipton, Iowa.

In addition to attending, we need your help in notifying others with an interest in Local Grown Foods and the emerging desire in the growing and consumption of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Please forward this information on to others, thank you.

There seems to be a consensus of interested local foods producers wanting to network and build interest in the promotion of locally grown produce. This meeting is a great chance to do just that and more.

A local-non-profit group will host this meeting and are looking for Local Foods Producers, Farmers Market Vendors, Master Gardeners, Garden Clubs, School Personnel, ISU Extension Staff, USDA Staff, Government, Business Leaders and the general public to begin this discussion and disseminate information on locally grown foods.

This meeting is free and light refreshments will be available. No registration is necessary, but attendance is certainly encouraged. If you’d like to know more contact Mike Boyle at mike.boyle@ia.usda.gov

Guest Speakers at this meeting include Jason Grimm and Cindy Heilmann, their bios follow:

Jason Grimm

As the Food System Planner with Iowa Valley RC&D, Jason is the project manager of the RC&D’s Regional Food Initiative where he co-coordinates the Field To Family Regional Community Food Coalition. The Coalition is local and county governments, health authorities, schools, producers, non-profit organizations, food processors and developers who are working to build a sustainable food and agriculture system in the Iowa Corridor Region that includes Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Linn, Tama, Poweshiek, Washington, Cedar and Jones counties.

Jason’s projects include beginning farmer and rancher training, the Iowa Valley Food Co-op, Food Policy Council organization and implementation in Johnson and Linn Counties, Regional Farm to School Chapter development, Come to the Table Summit and collection of regional food system metrics.

Jason and his wife live in Coralville where they practice urban agriculture in their yard and work heavily on their family’s small diversified farm south of Williamsburg raising corn, alfalfa, small grains, black beans, produce, beef, and poultry.

Plan on attending the following future event:

Third Annual Come to the Table Summit that will be happening on Feb 15th in Iowa City.

Here is the registration page with more info: http://2013cometothetablesummit.eventbrite.com/#

Jason Grimm
Iowa Valley RC&D
Food System Planner
Office: 319.622.3264
Cell: 319.270.3890

Cindy Heilmann

The daughter of a farmer and a native Iowan, Cindy Heilmann eats what she grows in Goose Lake, Iowa, on her 45-acre farm that is USDA certified organic. Her garden includes 41 varieties of produce, and last year her tomato plants alone numbered 400. Last fall, she planted 6,000 heads of garlic by hand. Cindy enjoys the taste of organic & heirloom produce, she cooks and cans. Cindy understands the environmental and health benefits of sustainable farming and is a local & organic food advocate. As the facilitator of the PACG Local Foods Initiative Seed Library, she understands the need to treasure our seeds. Cindy offers her fresh organic produce at the Davenport Freight house Farmers Market.

Cindy Heilmann

Heilmann Hawkeye Acres Organic Farm

3570 210th St

Goose Lake, IA 52750



Please forward on to others and plan on attending to learn more about regional locally grown foods.

Thank you.

Mike Boyle

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We are very pleased to announce that for the second time this summer Hardacre Community Garden is gaining national exposure.

A few weeks back, representatives from the USDA contacted Mike Boyle stating that they were impressed with Tipton’s contributions to their Feds Feed Families program, and asked for more information on our local work. Apparently, they were pleased with what they learned, and responded with this little write up on their blog.



It’s pretty cool to think that our local community garden has not once, but twice this season turned heads in Washington. It seems we must be doing something right (although we don’t need them to tell us that!)

Stay tuned in the coming weeks, because some of our regional media has caught wind as well…

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We received some exciting news regarding a new addition to our garden team today, as Mike Boyle sent an email to fellow volunteers introducing “Johnny Pat Putt-Putt…” Johnny Pat, as it turns out, is an old John Deere tractor that has been in the Boyle family since Mike was a kid. And while Johnny Pat may look a little rough now, he’s had a productive and exciting life; with more bright days to come.

For those of you who don’t know Mike Boyle, he is the life-blood of Hardacre Community Garden. Mike devotes untold hours to the garden (not to mention many other community activities) and though he would insist on highlighting the efforts of others, truth be told our project wouldn’t be what it is without him. Mike often lists continuation of our horticultural legacy as a key benefit of the garden, and enjoys teaching techniques that his own grandparents shared with him. It seems only fitting that this important piece of Mike’s heritage would also find its way to the Hardacre farm.

Here is what Mike had to say…

Good Morning,

 We have a new resident at the Tipton/Hardacre Community Garden named ‘Johnny Pat’ Putt Putt.

 Yes, indeed it is a John Deere tractor, one that I personally have many fond memories of growing up. This was my Dad’s (Pat) tractor, the first tractor I learned to drive.

 Many years ago ‘Johnny Pat’ had a major role down-on-the-farm planting corn & soybeans, pulling in loads of baled hay and wagon loads of grain. As the years rolled by ‘Johnny Pat’ became weak and worn having survived the May 15, 1968 tornado that completed turned the tractor & four row planter a complete 180 degree turn.

My Dad had been planting soybeans that afternoon and with storm clouds looming overhead he left the farm equipment facing east in the field. In those days we thought it best to ‘out run’ tornadoes so as a family we all got into the family car and followed my grandparents who were in their car and headed toward the 7 funnel tornadoes’. My memories of this is forever imprinted on my mind.

 Needless to say by the Grace of God our lives were spared, as we returned to our home the devastation from these tornadoes completely destroyed our neighborhood. The Boyle farms did not receive major damage like the neighbors homesteads although it did uproot trees and completely destroyed all fences on the farms. ‘Johnny Pat’ putt putt and planter changed directions and was now facing west, a 180 degree turn from the east position it had been before the storm.

 We hope ‘Johnny Pat’s ‘ current inoperable condition will soon change and having a new home and a little love & TLC will bring it new life.

I grew up with this tractor and had never tagged a name to it until it came home to the Hardacre acreage.

 Seemed so fitting to name the tractor after my Dad and it being a John Deere tractor Johnny was appropriate too. But with the young grandson (Johnny) of Bob & Sandy Harmel taking a likening to the tractor, Johnny just fit as the first name.

 Johnny Pat’s picture is attached. Wouldn’t it be nice to see it putt putt around the acreage and perhaps pull a hay ride full of people…….

 Imagine being nameless all those years.

 Josh, please post on the garden site.




We can all relate to objects that trigger memories, sacred in our minds. The fortunate among us are able to resurrect these in adult life, maintaining a connection to our past. And greater blessings still; to revive them with true purpose, the intent of helping others and contributing good to the world…


Welcome home, Johnny Pat.

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