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Garden News 5-9-24

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May 092024
 

More Than 100,000 Vegetables Starter Plants Have Been Given to our Neighbors

Thank you to all who participated in the vegetable plant giveaway —more than 100,000 plants were given to home gardeners last month.  That’s not a typo – 100,000!!!! We wish you a bountiful year in your garden! And remember to plant an extra row to feed hungry people by donating some of your produce to your local food pantry.


Planting Update

The Faith & Grace Garden is now humming with planting activity. So far, we have finished planting potatoes, peas, shallots and onions and lettuce. We are in the process of planting cabbage. We plan to have 2,000-3,000 cabbages planted by the end of May. Tomato planting will also start in the next week or so.

The Faith & Grace Garden received about 2 inches of rain on Monday night. Thanks to the large amount of organic material worked into our soil, the garden handles rain like a sponge. Rainwater tends to sink deep. We are in the garden planting most days and really appreciate your volunteer help!


Can You Help? We Always Need Volunteers

Plenty of volunteer opportunities are available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. No experience necessary. Please sign-up HERE.

Why sign-up? By signing up, you help us plan to make your volunteer experience more enjoyable. We are also able to notify you in case of a cancellation. When volunteering in the garden, wear clothes that can get dirty and dress for the weather. Bring garden gloves if you have them; otherwise we can provide them. We have the tools you will need.

Large groups volunteer by appointment. School, church, civic, and corporate groups are always welcome in the garden by appointment. Send a message to info@growthefood.org to learn about volunteering as fits your group’s schedule. Thank you for your help!

Faith + Grace Garden 1020 24th St West Des Moines, IA 50266-2107 USA

 Posted by at 7:23 pm

Garden News 4-16-24

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Apr 162024
 

Rain and Volunteers Make the Garden Grow

It’s Tuesday and a wonderful rain is falling in the Faith & Grace Garden. That’s good because we are making great progress in planting this spring. So far, potatoes, lettuce, peas, and garlic are in the ground. We are starting to plant onions. Then comes the brassicas family: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale, and Swiss chard.

Warm Weather Plant Giveaway
April 27 & 28 and May 4 & 5

We will give away a wide variety of plant starts, including, tomato (red splicer, paste, cherry, and yellow low acid varieties), peppers, (hot and sweet), cucumbers, zucchini, winter squash, melons, and herbs (basil, thyme, dill, and rosemary). Bring a box to carry your plants to your car.

WHEN
Saturday, April 27 and Saturday, May 4 – 10 a.m. until noon
Sunday, April 28 and Sunday, May 5 – Noon until 2 p.m.
Donations accepted but not required.


“Name That Vegetable”
Each year we plant something new in the garden and have fun as people guess what it is. The vegetable may be one suggested by folks at the food pantries we serve or perhaps by a garden volunteer.

Below is this year’s new garden vegetable and this year’s prize. Let us know what you think our mystery vegetable is. The first person to correctly “Name That Vegetable” will receive a deck of Famous Plants of the Bible playing cards.

Hints: This vegetable is a native of South and Central America. Eaten raw, this vegetable has the crunch of an apple but it’s not as sweet. When cooked, it can be used in any dish as a low-starch substitute for potatoes.


Plants of the Bible Playing Cards

Famous Plants of the Bible Playing Cards include 54 beautifully illustrated plants, trees, and flowers along with their common and Latin names and corresponding Bible quotation.


Who Doesn’t Like Sun & Fun?
Be a Garden Volunteer

We continue working in the greenhouse transplanting and, weather permitting, in the garden planting onions. Plenty of volunteer opportunities are available Monday through Friday, 9–11a.m. and 1– 3p.m. No experience necessary. Please sign-up HERE

Why sign-up? By signing up, you help us plan ahead to make your volunteer experience more enjoyable. We are also able to notify you in case of a cancellation.

When volunteering in the garden, wear clothes that can get dirty and dress for the weather. Bring garden gloves if you have them, otherwise we can provide them. We have the tools you will need.

Large groups volunteer by appointment. School, church, civic, and corporate groups are always welcome in the garden by appointment. Send a message to info@growthefood.org to learn about how volunteering fits your group’s schedule.

Thank you for your help!

 Posted by at 4:24 am

Garden News 4-2-24

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Apr 022024
 

Community Plant Giveaway this Saturday

We’ll be sharing cool weather vegetable starter plants with the community again this Saturday, April 6, from 10am until Noon. We will giveaway cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, collards, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, onions, seed potatoes and cauliflower. Drop by the Faith & Grace Garden Greenhouse, pick up plants for your home vegetable garden, and visit with other gardeners.

Garden Season 2024 is Underway
Volunteer Now

We are working in the greenhouse transplanting and, weather permitting, in the garden planting onions. Plenty of volunteer opportunities are available Monday through Friday, 9am – 11am and 1pm – 3pm. No experience necessary. Please sign-up HERE

Why sign-up? By signing up we can better plan to make your volunteer experience more enjoyable. We are also able to notify you in case of a cancellation.

When volunteering in the garden, wear clothes that can get dirty and dress for the weather. Bring garden gloves if you have them, otherwise we can provide them. We have the tools you will need.

Large groups volunteer by appointment. School, church, civic, and corporate groups are always welcome in the garden by appointment. Send a message to info@growthefood.org to learn about volunteering as fits your group’s schedule.

Thank you for your help!

 Posted by at 9:39 pm

Garden News 3-20-24

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Mar 202024
 

Spring Planting

It’s springtime in the garden, and plants are popping up inside and out.
Volunteers transplanted 100,000 onions in the past two weeks, moving them from the greenhouse into cold frames outside, where their root structure has more space to grow. Warmer than average temperatures this year meant sunny and pleasant work, but we continue to pray for more rain. Meanwhile, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, cabbage, mustard, and other vegetables were started in the greenhouse. In the garden itself, volunteers planted the first lettuce and spinach.

As part of our continued community connections, Lutheran Services of Iowa brought refugee farmers to the greenhouse and garden for training and orientation.

And our annual cool weather community plant giveaway is scheduled March 30 and 31. Mark your calendars.

In preparation for transplanting, Mark Marshall built 13 cold frames, aided by his faithful assistant, Sadie.
In the Greenhouse

Jennifer Irwin (middle) gives hands-on training to beginning refugee farmers from Lutheran Social Services, with help from an LSI translator.

Sprouts were more than two inches high and ready to leave the flats for the roomier outdoor frames, with Ken Musser’s help.

Ray and Susan Meylor, Alex Raiche, and Mark Marshall (left to right) plant red cabbage and mustard.

It all begins with dirt. Dick Christiansen (Bottom) uses a wheelbarrow to fill empty trays and get them ready for plants
Community Plant Giveaway

We’ll be sharing cool weather vegetable starter plants with the community on March 30 and 31 from noon to 2 p.m. This will include cabbage, broccoli, collards, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, and cauliflower. Drop by the greenhouse, pick up plants for your home vegetable garden, and visit with other gardeners

Thank you for reading!

Questions? Contact us at: info@growthefood.org
Volunteer Today – Click Here
Copyright (C) 2024 Faith + Grace Garden. All rights reserved.

Faith + Grace Garden
1020 24th St
West Des Moines, IA 50266-2107
USA

 

 Posted by at 9:15 pm

Garden News 11-15-23

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Nov 152023
 

News from the GardenThe 2023 gardening season is now over. Whew!! What a year it was with a record 33,180 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables harvested to feed the local hungry. See end of this newsletter for details about what we grew and where it went.
Volunteers in front of the last of the garden debris collected into piles last Friday


New Fence – A major project this year was to install a 550 foot long fence around the new area of the garden. The fence is 7 ½ feet high to keep out deer. The bottom 2 ½ feet of the fence has ½ inch square wire openings to keep out rabbits and rodents. The fence is made of ‘critter-proof’ heavy gauge material and supported by sturdy steel poles.

The picture shows the tensioning wire being installed on the fence. This wire can be adjusted to keep the fence taunt and useful for years to come.

Special thanks to the BWA Foundation and the WDM Community Foundation for their financial support of this project.


Official garden dog, Sadie, is Mark Marshall’s constant companion. No rabbit or field mouse can rest while Sadie is on duty.

 Posted by at 8:25 pm

Garden News 10-31-23

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Oct 312023
 
News from the Garden – Celebrating 23 Years of Feeding the Hungry
We have surpassed our goal of harvesting and donating 30,000 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables from the Faith & Grace Garden.
This year…our total stands at 31,410 pounds as of October 28th, 2023 . See below for details.
This week we are harvesting cool weather crops and preparing the garden for winter.
This Friday is forecasted to be in the 60s and sunny. It will be a great morning to volunteer in the garden from 9am until Noon.
Please sign up here to volunteer on Friday.

Nicholas Byrum received the Garden Volunteer of the Year Award at Harvest Celebration last Tuesday evening.
Congratulations Nicholas – We are all so proud of you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Marshall presents Garden Volunteer of the Year Award to Nicholas Byrum Nick with parents Joe and Linda Byrum


Harvest Celebration Photos – Thank you all for attending!





 Posted by at 4:21 pm

Garden News 10-26-23

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Oct 262023
 

Help Needed

Temperatures are forecasted to dip well below freezing this weekend so we will be picking all the remaining peppers on Friday. This will be a big job as there are 780 pepper plants in the garden. Please come from 9-11am tomorrow and give us a hand!


Tools Wanted

This has been a hard year on many of our garden tools, particularly garden forks and drain spades. If you have forks or spades in good condition (wooden handles preferred) that you would like to donate, please drop them off at the picnic table by the parking lot north of St. Timothy’s.

 Posted by at 5:10 pm

Garden News 10-11-23

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Oct 112023
 

News from The Faith and Grace Garden – Production is slowing down as the weather turns cooler and heat-loving plants like tomatoes, eggplant and melons start to wilt. We will be harvesting sweet potatoes in earnest soon and look forward to a large crop. Brassics (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc) and peppers like cool weather and continue to produce well.

We are erecting a new ‘critter-proof’ fence around the north end of the garden. The new fence is 71/2 feet high and intended to keep deer out of the garden while the bottom two feet of the fence has a smaller one-inch square mesh to keep out rabbits.

In the picture at right, Dick and Mark are adding a tensioning wire to the top of the fence to keep it taunt.

We hope to finish the fence this month.


Tools Wanted

This has been a hard year on many of our garden tools, particularly garden forks and drain spades. If you have forks or spades in good condition (wooden handles preferred) that you would like to donate, please drop them off at the picnic table by the parking lot north of St. Timothy’s.


Garden Harvest Dinner Tuesday, October 24th 2023
Much of what we accomplished in the garden this year, as in years past, is due to our dedicated volunteers.

Please join us for an evening of fun and fellowship as we thank our garden volunteers at the Faith & Grace Garden Dinner.  This celebration is a potluck, so bring your best dish to enjoy! Details are below.

Tuesday, October 24 2023                                                                                             
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall
Doors open at 5pm. Dinner at 5:30pm.
Register & sign up to attend go  HERE. Then scroll to the bottom of the landing page and click the button below.


NICHOLAS BYRUM

Nick is a junior at Dowling Catholic High School who volunteered in the garden nearly every weekday this summer.
Nick is a hardworking young man and was a joy as a garden volunteer.
Nick will be honored for his service at the Faith & Grace Garden Dinner on October 24.

On average, about 300 people volunteer in the Faith & Grace Garden annually. Some of our volunteers are students earning service hours. Others are part of a church, civic, or corporate service team. More than a few of our volunteers are community members or neighbors who love to spend time in a garden. While we cannot thank all our volunteers enough, we can recognize a few of our volunteers and organizations here.


Covenant Presbyterian Church (Right- Kids) has been a partner in the Faith & Grace Garden for over 10 years.

Part of the Faith & Grace Garden sits on Covenant property. The church also supports the Faith & Grace Garden with many volunteers and financially. Children in the Covenant Kids program volunteer in the garden at least four times per year.


Des Moines University Students (Left)  Evan and Elizabeth have volunteered in the garden several times this year.

Evan and Elizabeth are just two of over a dozen Des Moines University students who have been volunteering in the garden since early in the spring.

Des Moines University students have volunteered in the garden for over three years.


Revision Church Volunteers (Right) can be found in the Garden on the fifth Sunday of the month (4 x annually). The volunteers are part of the ReachDSM ministry at Revision Church.

We look forward to being joined by Revision Church volunteers on October 29 as we ready the garden for winter.This picture was taken when church members helped mulch the garden in April.


Milton (Left) is a volunteer delivery driver on Mondays and Wednesdays for the Faith & Grace Garden.

Milton picks up produce just after it is harvested in the morning and takes it to WDM Human Services or Trinity Los Americas where it is distributed to hungry people usually the same day.

If you would like to help deliver garden produce, please contact Tim Goldman at timothyjgoldman@gmail.com


Bill Summers (Right) has been a faithful volunteer in the garden since 2009.

You can find Bill in the garden on Monday mornings.

When Bill is not in the garden, he is often painting nature scenes in watercolor or watching birds and other wildlife.


Joe (Left) is an avid gardener who keeps his own garden as well as volunteering in the Faith & Grace Garden.

Joe has been a garden volunteer for about 10 years.  Joe also makes some of the best tasting garden salsa on the planet.


Ken (Right) is now in his second year as a garden volunteer. He started in March helping transplant. Through his help and the work of many other volunteers, we had enough plant sets for our garden and 20 other local donation gardens. We also had two plant giveaways and provided free plant sets to the community. Ken also helped us in the garden this summer.


African eggplant, commonly called ‘African egg’, is new this year in the Faith & Grace Garden. When harvested, it is preferred to be about the size of a hen’s egg. It is a staple in central and west African cuisine and often used in curries, soups and sautes.

Nutritionally, the African egg contains fiber, potassium, beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, iron and calcium.

Culturally, African eggs were considered a sign of fertility in folklore, and often given during weddings and child naming ceremonies.

The African egg is becoming more popular and has been introduced in the Caribbean, Central and South America, southern Europe and the United States.


Red Okra. Photo by Pat Prijatel.

The food pantries we serve report a growing demand for okra.

Before the pods form, okra is one of the most beautiful flowering plants in the garden.

Next year we will plant more okra and some new varieties.


Become a Garden Volunteer…feed the hungry…..love your neighbor….live your faith….could it get any better?!

Volunteer hours are now reduced as we near the end of the season:

  • Mondays and Fridays only 9 am – 11 am

No experience necessary to volunteer in the garden. Bring a hat, water bottle and garden gloves if you have them. Wear clothes that can get dirty and hard-soled shoes. Sunscreen is a good idea, too.

To volunteer during our regular volunteer hours please sign-up here.

Large groups can volunteer by appointment. School, church, civic, and corporate groups are always welcome in the garden by appointment. Contact Tim Goldman at timothyjgoldman@gmail.com to volunteer as fits your schedule.

 Posted by at 10:17 pm

Garden News 9-26-23

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Sep 262023
 

News from the Garden – Special Volunteer Edition

As of September 18 we have harvested and donated 25,376 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables from the Faith and Grace Garden. This is our largest harvest by far, and the garden will continue producing more food until at least until the first frost.

Much of what we accomplished in the garden this year, as in years past, is due to our dedicated volunteers. 

Please join us for an evening of fun and fellowship as we thank our garden volunteers at the Faith & Grace Garden Dinner.  This celebration is a potluck, so bring your best dish to enjoy! Details are below.

Tuesday, October 24 2023                                                                                             
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall
Doors open at 5pm. Dinner at 5:30pm.
Register & sign up to attend go  HERE. Then scroll to the bottom of the landing page and click the button below.


MEET GARDEN VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

NICHOLAS BYRUM
Nick is a junior at Dowling Catholic High School who volunteered in the garden nearly every weekday this summer.
Nick is a hardworking young man and was a joy as a garden volunteer.
Nick will be honored for his service at the Faith & Grace Garden Dinner on October 24.


MEET NEW DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR SOCIAL MINISTRIES

ERIKA BATY

The Center for Social Ministries (CSM) has prepared many of our volunteers to live into their faith as volunteers in the garden and throughout their lives. We are deeply grateful to CSM for all their support over the years.

Erika Baty recently joined CSM as their new director. We are very happy that Erika will join us for dinner on October 24.


On average, about 300 people volunteer in the Faith & Grace Garden annually. Some of our volunteers are students earning service hours. Others are part of a church, civic, or corporate service team. More than a few of our volunteers are community members or neighbors who love to spend time in a garden. While we cannot thank all our volunteers enough, we can recognize a few of our volunteers here.

Refugee elders in Lutheran Services’ Global Greens volunteer in the garden on Friday mornings throughout the summer and fall, and have done so for several years

Privacy issues prevent us from including their faces in this newsletter.



Bev has volunteered in the garden for about 10 years. She is mainly in the garden on Friday mornings.
Friday is a busy time in the garden as we are harvesting vegetables which are delivered to Trinity Los Americus for distribution on Saturday morning.


First year volunteer Marie mainly volunteers in the garden on Friday mornings.
Celeste has been a garden volunteer for 15 years. She mainly volunteers on Thursday and Friday mornings.



Kristi joined us in the garden this spring on mainly Wednesday and Friday mornings.
Dick is back for his second year in the garden and can be found in the garden on most weekday mornings.


Lynn volunteers in the garden throughout the week and husband Randy helps with maintenance on our grounds and greenhouse.

Lynn likes to bring her grandchildren to the garden to help when she volunteers.


Mary has volunteered in the garden for the past two years usually on Monday and Friday mornings.

 

 

 

 

 

 


LeAnn and Chuck have volunteered in the garden for four years on Tuesday evenings as well as in the morning.


Sheila has volunteered in the garden for fifteen years. You can find her in the garden typically on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or whenever we really need help.


Name That Vegetable Contest 2023
Thanks for playing, but there were no correct guesses this year. The fruit below is Bitter Melon.
Bitter melon is in the gourd family and closely related to zucchini, squash, pumpkin, and cucumber. It is grown around the world, and a staple in many types of Asian cuisine.


Birdhouse gourds are a new addition this year in the garden.
Mark Marshall checks on the pumpkins growing on the north end of the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Become a Garden Volunteer…feed the hungry…..love your neighbor….live your faith….could it get any better?!

Volunteer hours are now reduced as we near the end of the season:

  • Mondays and Friday only 9 am – 11 am

No experience necessary to volunteer in the garden. Bring a hat, water bottle and garden gloves if you have them. Wear clothes that can get dirty and hard-soled shoes. Sunscreen is a good idea, too.

To volunteer during our regular volunteer hours please sign-up here.

Large groups can volunteer by appointment. School, church, civic, and corporate groups are always welcome in the garden by appointment. Contact Tim Goldman at timothyjgoldman@gmail.com to volunteer as fits your schedule.

 

 Posted by at 12:55 am

Garden News 9-2-23

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Sep 052023
 

Volunteer times revised for Tuesday evenings.
Gardening on Tuesday evenings is canceled until September 26.
Name That Vegetable Contest 2023 – Our Annual Contest is Back!
Can you identify the vegetable below? If so, please reply to this message. First person to correctly guess will win a prize. The winner will be announced in our next issue.
(Hint: It’s actually a fruit.)


Sweet potato greens – Delicious and Nutritious – Have you tried them?
Soon we will be harvesting a large crop of sweet potatoes. Their beautiful vines and leaves occupy a large section of the garden.
We are not donating sweet potato leaves to the food pantries yet. Most food pantry patrons do not know how good sweet potato leaves are to eat.
If you would like to pick some sweet potato leaves, please come to the garden during our regular volunteer times and help yourself.


Sweet Potato Greens Stir Fry
Ingredients
1 bunch of sweet potato leaves
1 tbsp cooking oil
3-5 cloves of garlic, smashed
Salt, as desired
1 tsp Fermented bean curd (optional)
Wash sweet potato leaves and cut off the stem area, leaving only the leaves and a bit of the tender parts of the stem.
Instructions

Wash sweet potato leaves and cut off the stem area, leaving only the leaves and a bit of the tender parts of the stem.
In a wok or cooking pan, add cooking oil and smashed garlic, and cook on high heat for just about a minute.
Add the sweet potato leaves into the wok/pan and stir fry until veggies are halfway wilted. Add the fermented bean curd (optional) and salt to taste.
Stir fry until veggies are soft, and then remove from heat immediately to avoid overcooking.

Sweet potato greens nutrition: Macronutrients

Carbohydrates, protein, and fiber
Low in saturated fat and cholesterol
Omega 3 fatty acids, which contribute to all tissues in the body functioning normally, including the heart, lungs, blood vessels, immune system, and hormone production
Sweet potato leaf nutrition: Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals)
Vitamins: A, C, K, B1, B2, B3, B9
Minerals: calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium. Also contains zinc, manganese, copper
Low in sodium


Become a Garden Volunteer…feed the hungry…..love your neighbor….live your faith….could it get any better?!

Regular volunteer hours for individuals and small groups:
Monday through Friday 8 am – 10 am through September 15
Monday through Friday 9:00 am – 11:00 am from September 18 through October 27
Tuesday evenings 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm from September 26 through October 24

No experience necessary. Bring a hat, water bottle and garden gloves if you have them. Wear clothes that can get dirty and hard-soled shoes. Sunscreen is a good idea as is bug repellent later in the season.

To volunteer during our regular volunteer hours please sign-up here.

Large groups volunteer by appointment. School, church, civic, and corporate groups are always welcome in the garden by appointment. Contact Tim Goldman at timothyjgoldman@gmail.com to volunteer as fits your schedule.

 Posted by at 10:57 pm