top of page

Community Gardens Progress Report 🍁 Fall 2023

The mission of the Wellington Heights Community Gardens is to bring people together to grow, cook, and share nourishing food, with the goals of cultivating community and alleviating hunger. (Inspiration from the Nashville Food Project)

Welcome to our fall montage vlog update for the Beautification Committee Community Gardens for Wellington Heights Cedar Rapids, Iowa #WHCRIA


Please Like and Subscribe on YouTube to help grow a better community together


Favorite Comment of the Season

"Are those the peppers in the jar", ~Deandre, an elementary student's first garden experience with banana peppers.


Gardening with Youth

We're strategizing for children's activities while summers are in full swing. Those interested learn all the phases of gardening. Take bags of food home to their family they harvest themselves. Learn about healthy tasty ways to enjoy the produce.


To help with this effort several members are attending a course with the same name, Gardening with Youth hosted by the Master Gardeners June 17 - 19th. Master Gardeners bring a vast experience to these opportunities.


Learn by doing

This was a year of learning what works. Adjusting ideas. Growing as a community. To stay up to date with the changing efforts please follow our YouTube channel and check back for blogs.


In 2024 we will send progress reports out seasonally or quarterly via YouTube plus Instagram and X formerly known as Twitter. We also meet with neighbors who don't have the internet to share the bounty and give updates socially.


Seed-to-Table Cooking Show ideas morphed into Seed-to-Table Recipes for sharing ways to use produce. Pizza ideas. More. Current efforts to create and try recipes with the food made are underway. Stay tuned by subscribing to our media on YouTube, Instagram, and X.


With our recent partnership with City View High School stay tuned for Seed to Table Cooking Show developments.



Discovering the true meaning of Green Thumb. Last harvest before the first frost.


Elder neighbor on a Fixed Income Recommend

Pick green tomatoes. They ripen through winter.


This family, for decades, picked produce from the Wellington Heights gardens to eat through colder months. Now, on a fixed Social Security budget the gardens returning to the community for personal use make it affordable for our families to enjoy organic produce throughout the year.


Another way to enjoy produce in the winter is canned or frozen. Depending on the food determines the process. YouTube has many recipe options and tutorials.


How to

When the larger projects of garden rehab are completed more time to showcase recipes and storage of fresh produce via the Seed-to-Table Recipes vlog will be made available.


Production is limited to time availability. Priority is on establishing the beds and ground spaces for perennial growth in our gardens. Establishing trellises. And other necessities like landscaping. More.

Gifts from Neighbors

Thanks to Tommi Karma for gifting three Aronia bushes. They are happily flanking the pathway in Peace Corner on each side past the entrance and in the back by the future strawberry field, grape wall, and potato garden.


Tiny Beginnings

Aronia grows to about six feet tall and wide. Flower then fruit. Though known as bitter are quite tasty mixed with other produce. Very nutritious. Will partner well with our strawberries, raspberries, and rhubarb once every plant establishes itself in abundance.



Volunteers

Thanks to the many dozens of volunteers who helped throughout the season with one-and-done projects like bed building in both gardens to grow parties and much more. Including introducing neighborhood children to organic gardening.


Our partnership with the Linn Country Master Gardeners and support from United Way among other groups like the prison residents who help grow seedlings for us, and neighbors and others from Linn County who assist make this dream plausible. One grant, event, and seed at a time.


First Year Success

Long Story Stats for 2023:

  1. 753 pounds of Organic Food Distributed to families, veterans, and the elderly plus volunteers and those who stopped by to help and harvest.

  2. 103 volunteers totaling 418.5 hours of project and plant help. Ages ranged from elementary school through Social Security retirees on a fixed income.

  3. Four grants helped buy materials and supplies gifted from the Master Gardeners. Creating and rehabbing twenty beds.

  4. Multiple organizations supported this effort. WHNA provided land owned by the neighborhood and a couple of small supply reimbursements. United Way gave volunteers and guidance for volunteer organizing. Lowes donated $200 of Peat and Perlite. Master Gardeners and their partners like prison reform provided seeds, spouts, guidance, volunteers, and materials with grants. Gift of paid attendance to the winter fair for the BC community garden facilitator.

  5. Special thanks to the children who offered curiosity and time to clean and harvest for their families.

This unexpected outcome for less than a year of effort blessed all involved and impacted. Future statistics will improve. We are learning as we go what could help secure independent water sourcing and grow support.


Final Season

Our fall montage vlog shows one-and-done projects. Like, the generous donation from another grant and bed build in Peace Corner. Annual fall tidy and prep. Fall garlic planting. Various produce from our bounty. More.


Short Story Stats for 2023:

  1. 753 Pounds of Organic Food Distributed

  2. 103 Volunteer Signature Moments

  3. 418.5 Volunteer Hours

  4. 20 Beds Built and rehabilitated

  5. Six Ground Spaces Developed for Perennial Produce

  6. Eight Pollinator End Caps Built


Priority Focus

Veterans, the elderly, families, and children. Limited delivery within a block of gardeners at this time. Anyone and everyone is invited to participate in projects, weeding, planting aka grow parties, and beautification.


Volunteers get first preference for harvest when produce is available. We appreciate your support. It pays to help!


Variety

We may not grow certain food to ensure space to create more bounty for more people.


For example, a single cabbage can go to one family and may regrow a time or two. In this same space, we can grow banana pepper plants. Producing dozens upon dozens of tasty fruits for the most amount of people.


The More You Know

Fun fact, peppers are fruits but classified as veggies for culinary use 😁


Options

If you want more than the garden offers check at the corner of 4th AVE SE and 16th ST SE. A community fridge is maintained at the WHCC and filled periodically by Feed IA 1st.


New Discovery

Master Gardeners sponsor the gift to attend #MasterGardenFair2024 and treat to lunch.


Classes bringing new ideas to the Community Gardens:

  1. Hugelkultur and Water

  2. Permaculture Basics

  3. Vertical Garden

  4. Organic Vegetable Gardening

  5. Kids in the Garden

  6. If You Build It, They Will Come



The Whoa app where we signed up helps socialize, organize, and prioritize. Took full advantage. This led to our ranking at the top of the engagement among 571 enrolled. Gave us extensive exposure. Met wonderful people before the event. Helping bring more awareness to the community gardens.


Experiment

Other gardening options: Kratky Method, Hydroponic, and Aquaponic. Plus, compost gardening. Opportunities for any neighbor, whether renter or homeowner in any size dwelling to grow food.


With as little as repurposed household food containers. kits for purchase. Even repurposing a couple of fish tanks or dish basins to feed a home garden with a few modifications. Stay tuned for videos and blogs in the future sharing results. How you can grow your salad indoors year-round.


These are being explored to learn and teach neighbors how to have their home gardens. Regardless if a renter or owner. Inside, on the porch, pots, and more.



Master Gardener Phil Phister's DIY hydroponic salad bed was created in a dish pan with a few grow lights and a basic frame. No soil is required. Nutrient mix and water.


Committee Meetings

No meeting until Spring. Date TBA.


Day of Caring, Garden Club, and preparing for spring meetings in progress.


Vlog and media updates

YouTube channel, media, and blog updates occur seasonally or four times a year. Other video shorts and Seed to Table Recipes will be more often as time permits.


Subscribe to the channel for visual updates arriving between blogs. Watch on TV for Wow will ya look at that effect ❤️


Thank you

For the generosity of people, donations of materials, and a lot of one-and-done projects to set up the gardens. We appreciate volunteers.


Working on strategies for laying the foundation of community gardening based on what works and adjusting when needed. New blogs and vlogs will include updated changes as needed.


We appreciate your dedication to keeping up to date by subscribing to our YouTube channel vlog and visiting the blog 😁


Sharing is Caring

At this time the Free Farmers Market build is on hold as we reevaluate the many updates and new goals with the larger number of beds and gardening spaces.


***The idea is to set up extra produce stands for 24/7 distribution within the community based at the garden. Overstock transferred to Feed Iowa First or composted. Seeds for the FOMO Seed Library. These are still on the list, but for now, in 2024, the focus is on filling the new beds at Peace Corner and continuing to improve the spaces.


Whether a weed queen, king, whatever your interest, or a cash donation we appreciate any support you can offer.


🌱Volunteers get first dibs on delicious organic produce. It pays to donate time ❤️


Questions or interest in helping text or call (319) 308-8808. Please share your name, email, and the best time to chat.


Kind regards from the Beautification Committee, our affiliates, and all our many members throughout the city. We welcome all regardless of ability or background. See you soon 😁



Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page