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Nurturing for Next Season – With a Winter Intermission, It’s All Cyclical

Well folks, as I sit here writing this, it’s a balmy mid-50s outside with a forecasted rise to 79 by this afternoon. We’re in the throes of transitional temperatures. In three days it’ll be October and all of a sudden, it’s fall. In an effort to avoid the usual autumnal rhetoric of reflection and nostalgia, I’ll keep my melancholy to a minimum. However I will say this; I’ve learned and experienced many new things during my first year as a community gardens coordinator, but witnessing the seasonal change through the lens of our ten community gardens has been the most radical of experiences. Missoula’s short growing season lends itself to vicious seasonal transformations, and with the quickly dying leaves and decrease in production comes a marked shift in energy.

Although it seems like our plants are asking to be excused from the dinner table, and if you’re anything like me, you’re also falling victim to the sleepiness in the air, fall does bring an element of new life. One aspect of this is soil. 2298564117_b9ba35d18c_o

Nurturing for Next Season

Like candy for your garden.
Like candy for your garden.

As you begin clearing your garden of tired plants, be sure to turn them back into the soil – despite a slowdown in harvestable goods, they still have much to offer. Fall is ideal for building soil health; it’s now that we’re surrounded with decomposing leaves, veggies, plants, and matter – you can smell it in the air!  Adding this naturally occurring organic material reintroduces nutrients to your soil, plus it’s cheaper than buying compost, and easier than hauling it to the compost bin or EKO. Be sure to chop up large matter before turning it in, as that will aid in decomposition. Read specific directions and tips, the benefits of fall soil propagation, as well as the science behind organic matter and soil health, here.

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Closing Day & Cold Temp Prep

With all this said, Closing Day is officially just around the corner: Saturday, October 22nd. Closing Day isn’t entirely what it sounds, it’s simply a deadline for you to prepare your plot for winter, and to have it clean and tidy. You’re welcome to continue gardening through the winter, so long as you’ve taken the steps to winterize. It is also a time for us to assess whether you’ve properly put your plot to sleep, and thus whether you will be receiving your $15 deposit. Follow these guidelines to ensure you properly prep your plot and receive your deposit. Every garden has Closing Day Guidelines posted, so be sure to check your garden’s blackboard/shed.  If you have any questions at all, please reach out to your Leadership Committee or Garden City Harvest Staff! We’re all here to help.

As we all know, and as I slipped into above, fall begs for reflection … which can be so useful for all of us. Please take a few minutes to complete our Year-End Community Garden Survey. This helps us prep for next season, helps us grow as coordinators, and mostly, it helps us nurture this program. Thank you all!

“Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower” – Albert Camus

Earlier this week Patrick and Northside Leader Brian, delivered straw to all the gardens. Use straw to help prep your plot for the cold temps ahead.
Earlier this week Patrick and Northside Leader Brian delivered straw to all the gardens. Use straw to help your plot retain moisture over the winter.
Emy Scherrer
Community Gardens Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at Garden City Harvest
Emy grew up on the rainy shores of Bellingham Bay, Washington, where she spent her youth gardening with her mom, grandma, neighbors and friends. Her love of the American West, and the Pacific Northwest in particular, led to her undergraduate degree in American folk art from Western Washington University. She later pinpointed her passion in historic preservation and the community development associated with saving historically and culturally significant places. She received her M.S. in Historic Preservation from the University of Oregon in 2015 and quickly moved to Missoula to settle down a bit, adopt a husky, build a chicken coop, start a garden, and enjoy all the great things about this amazing place.

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