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issue #, date February 2012

NILES COMMUNITY GARDENS Niles Community Gardens is proud to announce the

Growing Together

First Annual “Run to Grow 5K” Help Support the Niles Community Gardens in the First Annual Run To Grow 5k. Challenge yourself while Helping others produce their own enjoying the scenic trail along the river in Niles as fruits and vegetables while you run the 5k. If walking is more your pace, a 1 learning how to live more mile, untimed event is also available for your sustainably in Southwest enjoyment. All proceeds from this event will benefit Michigan Niles Community Gardens, helping fund educational programs and helping the Niles community produce their own food. The run will take place at the Niles River Walk Trail (Niles Amphitheater) on Saturday, April 21st 2012 at 9:00 AM. Registration is available online until Monday, April 16th 2012 at: Just click on ‘Find A Race’ and the Niles Community Gardens Walk to Grow link is listed under April 21st 2012. For more information, see the flyer attached to this email. Registration forms can also be requested by email at: We hope to see you all supporting your community on April 21st!

Niles Gardens Nominated to Compete for DeLoach Community Garden Award Niles Community Gardens has been selected to be one of fifteen nominated gardens across the country to compete for the 2012 DeLoach Community Garden Award through Organic Gardening magazine! The top five gardens given the most votes will receive a grant of $4,000 and will be announced in Organic Gardening magazine in the December 2012/January 2013 issue. This is exciting exposure for the city of Niles and

our growing gardens! Please spread the word and start voting once daily between March 6th and August 6th, 2012. Please visit the website for more information at: And remember, voting begins March 6th!

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issue #, date February 2012

Letter from the Director Dear gardeners, The bleak mid winter has its own beauty. The snow is quiet and peaceful and makes my lawn look just as good as my neighbor’s. The winter gives us more time for reflection and planning, like which warm place I would like to retire to. The trees are dynamic in their nakedness and uncovered provide a better view of our fowl friends. Try to find pleasures in this season; ski, snowshoe, build a snowman, make a snow castle or fort with your kids or go sledding (my wife who is 60 still does this with or without the grandkids). I usually get talked into several rides down the hill. It’s great! She keeps me young. Despite the weather, here are a few things we can do indoors to keep on growing (in addition to reflection): 1) Grow sprouts (the instructions are on the next page). Seed sprouts are one of the healthiest things you can eat and they are tasty. Here are a few you might try: alfalfa, chickpeas, beets, lentils, mustard and cress, green peas,





snow peas, adzuki beans, fenugreek, and mung beans. You can buy seeds at local health food stores. Dry foods. A dehydrator is a good investment. Keep an eye open for meat, veggies and fruits to dry that is on sale at the grocery store, or you can dry the surplus food from your garden. You can easily use your dried food to make your own trail mix, jerky, soup stock, seasoning, etc. Plant flower bulbs in a bowl. You can use tulips, daffodils, paper whites, narcissus or other flowers that you find attractive. Place about 2-3 inches deep of pea gravel in any size bowl. Place bulbs in the gravel about 1-2 inches apart. Water to the bottom of the bulbs and enjoy early spring flowers indoors. Make sure to keep enough water in the bowl to touch the bottom of the bulbs. Plant some onions or pepper seeds in a flat in late February or early March under lights or in your windowsill. You can transplant these into the garden in mid-May. OR- just rest! Grow in wonder, Mark Van Til

Kid’s Corner – The Multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle The various colors and spot patterns of the multicolored Asian ladybeetle. Photo by B. Ree, Texas A&M University, Courtesy of

A Good Bug with Some Bad Habits! The multi-colored Asian lady beetle is a native of Asia and is relatively new to Michigan. Like many exotic species, it has readily adapted to climates and habitats in the U.S. As with most lady beetles, it is a highly beneficial predator of insect pests, feeding mainly on aphids. It therefore helps protect gardens and crops from these and other pests. Asian

lady beetles create trouble when populations build up and large numbers enter buildings in the fall to hibernate. During warm winter days and in early spring, the beetles wake up and crawl into areas often inhabited by people. Unlike the native lady beetle, the Asian lady beetle can bite! Since lady beetles are a significant natural defense against aphids and other pests, it is important to correctly identify the Asian lady beetle and use restraint with the use of pesticides or other management tactics. Distinguishing Asian Lady beetles from other lady beetles The adult is oval-shaped and about ¼-inch long. The color of its back ranges from mustard-yellow to bright red-orange but may be entirely black. The number of black spots on its back may be from zero to over 20. Distinguishing feature: The area on the insect’s back just behind the head is “W” shape when viewed from the front (see top lady beetle in picture to the left). The Asian lady beetle larva resembles a small, spiny alligator with a blue-black body and two rows of small orange to reddish spots on its back. Newly hatched, they are about 1/8-inch long and grow to about ½-inch. Information and support: MSU Extension and the Michigan Dept. of Agric.


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February 2012 issue #, date


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A Bit of Laughter . . . “What can you make from baked beans and onions? Tear gas!“

Mark’s Organic Pest Control: Cutworm Protection Cutworm protection is most important around peppers and the cabbage family, but it can be used around any transplant. The only problem I have had with cutworms was with the peppers. A plastic or paper cup with its bottom removed makes a simple cutworm collar. Push the cup, wide end down, about 1 inch into the soil around each plant. Cutworms can’t climb over or dig under the collar. When the plant stem is well established and tough, you can remove the collars. Other items that work as collars are toilet paper tubes or newspaper wrapped around the stem (2 or 3 times) as you put the plant in the ground. Make sure at least an inch is below the soil. I have also used carpet tubes (which are very heavy) cut into about 3-4” collars and large plastic drinking straws. I cut the straws about 3” long and then slit them lengthwise. This way, I can just open them up, snap them around the stem and push them about an inch into the ground. We didn’t lose a single pepper. If you would like to volunteer in the gardens or on special projects, or if you haven’t gardened with us but would like to, please email Mark Van Til at or call at 269-815-5034. If you are not on our email mailing list and would like to receive our newsletter, please send your email address to Sarah Markley via email at or USPS at 2642 Holland St. South Bend, IN 46619. If you do not have email, you can get a copy of our newsletter at the Niles Public Library, City Hall or the Ferry Street Resource Center. To make a monetary donation, please make checks payable to City of Niles/ Niles Community Gardens and mail to: Niles Community Gardens P.O. Box 1 Niles, MI 49120 4

issue #,2012 date February

Quote of the Month: “We cannot solve our problems with the same kind of thinking we used to create them.” Albert Einstein Words of the Month: Annual- A plant that grows, flowers, produces seeds and dies in the course of a single year. Biennial- A plant that flowers, produces seeds, and dies in its second growing season. Carrots and beets are biennials, producing seeds in their second season. Perennial- A plant that lives for three or more years and generally flowers each year. Asparagus and irises are perennials.

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February 2012 issue #, date

Niles Community Calendar NCG Nutrition Classes

These classes are a fun and free way to learn about nutrition, gardening, cooking and more! Ferry Street Resource Center: Northside School: 2020 North 5th St. February: 22 & 29 from 2-3:30 March 7, 14, & 21 from 2-3:30

First Annual ‘Run to grow 5K’

February 27 from 6-7:30 March 12 & 26 from 6-7:30 April 16 & 30 from 6-7:30

Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 9:00 AM 5K Run or 1-Miles Fun Walk Niles River Walk Trail (Niles Amphitheater) To register, go to: Click on ‘Find a Race’ and Niles Community Garden Run To Grow 5K is under April 21st.

NCG Spring Kickoff March 24th 2012 10 AM-Noon at the new Niles fire station on Main Street Come and join us for the kickoff of the 2012 growing season! A fruit breakfast will be provided with yogurt and coffee! For more information you can call Mark Van Til at 269-815-5034

Round Table Forum Tues Feb 28th 2012 at 11:30 am (lunch served) Mt. Calvary Baptist Church 601 Ferry Street, Niles, Mi 49120 Moderator Rev Bryant L Bacon Mt Calvary Baptist church and the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan invites you to “America’s Sunday Supper.” Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned a ‘beloved community’ where brotherhood is a reality and does not allow poverty, hunger, and homelessness to exist. It symbolizes: community participation, conversation, and cooperation. Please join use to engage in a round table discussion, share a meal and discuss: “How do you see you and your organization as an ‘agent of change’.” “America’s Sunday Supper” will consist of discussion groups lead by: faith-based community, law enforcement, education community, business, city government, and healthcare. Sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan. Please RSVP to Mary Cross at 269-470-1574. If any of you have stories, jokes, poems, recipes or anecdotes that you wish to share in our monthly newsletter, please send them to Sarah Markley via email at or via U.S.P.S at 2642 Holland Street, South Bend, IN 46619. 5

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Niles Community Gardens wants to thank all of our 2011 donors and volunteers. Thank you for helping us make 2011 a successful year!

2011 Donor List

in random order

Martin’s Supermarket Klug’s Nursery Vite’s Greenhouse Vicini Farms

Michigan State Extension Citgo Petroleum All of our gardeners Meijers

Shelton’s Varner’s Nursery Marschke Farms Niles Garden Club 4-Flags Garden Club Chemical Bank 5th/3rd Bank Teacher’s Credit Union Gateway Foundation Plym Foundation Johnny’s Selected Seeds Burpee Home Gardens Robert’s Service Co City of Niles Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency

Jim Hippler Terry Holloway NCG board members NCG Pumpkin Committee Nothside Child Development Center Cindy Wickham Ferry St. Resource Center

Jeff Saylor Dana F. Cole Mt. Calvary Baptist Church Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Niles Community Schools Wal-Mart Lowes Rural King Tractor Supply H.U.D. Block Grant “Feed the Hungry” Niles Education Foundation 6

Niles High School Greenhouse and ecology club Kiwanis Club kids Ring Lardner kids Girl Scouts Bob and Jay Clancy Joe Rosser Elaine Metzger Dr. Dick McCreedy Bill Martin Jerry Jollay Veterans Niles Daily Star South Bend Tribune W.N.D.U. Ralph Wood- Andrews University Barbara Craig- Lake Michigan College PSI IOTA XI

NCG Newsletter - Issue 2  

Niles Community Gardens February 2012 Newsletter

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