Niles Community Gardens
Growing Together Helping others produce their own fruits and vegetables while learning how to live more sustainably in Southwest Michigan.
Quote of the Month “It is the marriage of the soul with nature that makes the intellect fruitful and gives birth to the imagination. “ - Henry
Letter From the Director Dear Gardeners, Let me open by wishing all of you a most blessed Christmas and New Year of joy. The summer and gardening season goes by so fast but I am just finishing up. Three weeks ago I moved the potatoes and winter squash from the garage into winter storage in the crawl space under my house. The winter squash should last until the end of January, at which time I
bake and freeze the rest before they rot. The potatoes will be fine until next June and when they begin to sprout, I just break the sprouts off and put them in the old fridge in the basement. We will be eating this year’s spuds almost until next year’s new crop. The onions are in net bags and should keep until next spring. I dug the last carrots three weeks ago. I will
Store about of them in sand in the crawl space and the rest will go for juice. Adding some apple, pear, or citrus makes a great drink. I might even add some red cabbage. The color looks a bit like my old brown socks, but it tastes great and I know it is really good for me. We have also put up enough stewed tomatoes and salsa to last until next year’s harvest. We continue to dry herbs and hot peppers. If the Amish continue producing chickens we should make it through the winter. I hope that some of you, if not all, share in these blessings of gardening.
garden included). Squash bugs took over at the West Side garden (we will beat them back next year), thieves got many of the winter squash at Holy Trinity site and fungus took much of the pepper production except at North Side garden.
Despite some disappointments, I applaud all of you who did not give up – that’s a true gardener. We always see with wonder the magnificent beauty of nature and retain hope for a new seed and the new season. We study and labor to produce beauty, food, and a renewed relationship with the earth. I saw kids a pick cherry tomato Of course, the joys of for the first time in their life, gardening are always mixed pop it in their mouth and smile. with a few disappointments. I saw a first time gardener Because of the wet spring, we got off to an unusually late start. squeal with delight as she picked her first zucchini. She This did have some negative counted them all summer and effects. If the cauliflower totaled 135 from about six seedlings sit in the nursery trays too long, they quite often plants. I watched a young man at the Juvenile Center Garden do not bud correctly and tend ignore my warning not to bite to produce a small immature into a habanero pepper head or none at all. This was (it looked so good) and I common throughout all the suspect he won’t ignore the old gardens this year (my home
man’s warnings again. I saw the fun that people had picking weeds and building tomato cages (maybe I exaggerate). I watched folks of all ages working together towards a common goal and sharing the surplus. What a good year. How about that first large ripe tomato sliced on a BLT (does it get better than that), the first potatoes dug, washed, mashed with some garlic and butter, those zucchini sautéed with onions and peppers, or that first ear of sweet corn? What a good year! I want to thank all of you for making 2011 another great year for the Niles Community Gardens. I hope to see all of you again in 2012. God bless.
Mark Van Till P.S. Look for our first monthly newsletter in January 2012! Enjoy the rest of the winter.