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Local community garden ready to harvest

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Friday, 29 August, 2014

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On right, watermelon ripe for the picking (Submitted photo)

Local community garden ready to harvest

Submitted by Danielle Gunn, UI Agricultural Extension Educator
Nola Cates, Fort Hall 4-H Program Director
FORT HALL – The first year of the Fort Hall Community Garden has been a great success, according to Danielle Gunn, UI Agricultural Extension Director.
“We are very proud of all the plots and the garden in general. Our community garden is one of the most beautiful, well-kept gardens growing in Southeastern Idaho. All of the gardeners who participated in the community garden did a fantastic job! The vegetables they have grown are beautiful and wholesome! A special thanks goes to Nola Cates and Virginia Monsisco for all of the work and leadership they provided for the 2014 garden season.”
The gardeners have been enjoying a bountiful harvest for several weeks. However, many fruit and vegetable plants will continue producing until the first hard fall freeze, which can occur on or before September 15-20.  Gardeners will be harvesting squash, zucchini, cabbage, leaf crops (lettuce), corn, tomatoes, and peppers prior to September 15, to avoid potential frost damage.  Carrots, potatoes, and onions withstand cold temperatures and can be left in the ground until the official garden-closing day.
The gardeners will let potato vines die before they harvest their potatoes. This practice allows the skins to set. They encourage harvesting products when they are younger and smaller so they will be more tender, which will result in food that is tastier and easier to prepare for cooking and canning. 
All of the garden plots will be cleaned by the garden closing date of Thursday, October 30. At this time, gardeners will remove plant debris, all fruits and vegetables, any trash, and gardening materials from their plots. All weeds will be pulled, placed in trash bags, and hauled away.  Plant materials, such as vines and leaves, will either be removed or tilled into the soil.  They do not work seed producing crops, such as squash, into the soil.
Gunn said it is amazing how many unwanted seeds germinate in the spring. Gardeners may be adding organic fertilizers, such as manure and compost, into the soil at this time.
“We want to thank our gardeners for doing such a great job. Our community and governing bodies should be very proud of what our community has built through this community garden project. The gardeners will be enjoying the bounty of their efforts the rest of this year. In addition, Virginia has been giving vegetables to the elderly nutrition program so elders can enjoy fresh, wholesome vegetables fresh from the vine,” said Gunn.
If anyone has questions regarding the community garden for the spring of 2015, or any other gardening related questions, please contact Danielle at 236-1046 or Nola at 236-1044.