Waite Park Community Garden is maintained by the community of participating gardeners.

Author: Jessica (Page 1 of 2)

Sources for Seeds and Plants

Order seeds

Waite Park Community Garden Seed Exchange (Coming Soon!)

Johnny’s Selected Seeds– Very high quality seeds, catalog is worth getting just for the in depth planting and cultivation information. Seed packets tend to be larger.

Pinetree Seeds– Great variety of seeds, geared towards the home gardener. Smaller quantities in seed packets make seed more affordable.

Botanical Interests– Beautiful catalog with many unique varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

Buy plants

Local Farmers Markets

Mother Earth Gardens

Plant Sale at Northeast Co-Op

Be careful buying vegetable plants from some of the big box stores, they are often not taken care of properly and starting with a stressed out plant may lead to poor results.

10 Steps to Starting a Successful Garden Plot

Planning Stage

1. Know your zone

We live in agricultural zone 4b, that means that the last frost of the spring is around mid May and the first frost of the fall is around the end of September/first few weeks of October(who can tell really)

This mean we have about 140-160 days of reliably frost free weather in which to grow our crops! Keep in mind some of these days may still be too cold to encourage optimal growth for some plants.

Zone 4 Vegetable Planting Calendar

Another Seed Starting Calculator

2. Seeds or Plants?

Because of our limited number of viable growing days, some plants need a head start by being started indoors under grow lights and then be transplanted out. A prime example of this is the tomato plant, even transplanted into the garden the tomato plant probably won’t produce ripe fruit until end of June/beginning of July. These type of plants can be purchased from plant centers, or if you are adventurous started from seed in late winter/early spring.

Starting plants indoors

Other plants require less days to maturity and can’t be transplanted. Root crops are an excellent example of this. Carrots tend to take about 70 days, they do not transplant well because the taproot will be disturbed and become stunted and weird.

Growing from Seed

3. Reading the Seed Packet.

The seed packet contains all of the information you need! The main things to pay attention to are spacing(how far apart to plant, how deep to plant), when to plant (some seeds hate cold ground, like beans, others prefer cold and can be planted even before last frost, like radishes), and “days” or “days to maturity”.

How to Read a Seed Packet

Garden Glossary of Terms

4. Draw out a rough plan or map

Take into consideration spacing and days to maturity. When gardening in a smaller area like a community plot, you just need to pay attention to the plant spacing, not necessarily the row spacing. The row spacing is for large format gardens to allow room to walk and move through the garden. Part of your plan should include at least one path through your garden if you can’t reach all areas from the sides, but you don’t need to leave large row spaces between plantings.

Some plantings can be harvested and then replanted with a second crop. Maybe plant a lettuce mix in spring, harvest, then plant some beans. Try to avoid leaving bare earth as it will probably start to grow weeds.

Garden Layout

5. Prepare the Soil.

Loosen soil with garden fork or shovel. Dig out all weeds. It is very important to remove ALL of the roots of the weeds or they will regrow.

Use a large garden rake to smooth planting beds. Add a few inches of compost to the top. Make sure to break up any large chunks and get rid of any rocks.

6. Plant

You are ready to plant! When transplanting plants, carefully loosen the roots, plant firmly and water in.

For seeds follow directions on packet for spacing and depth. Carefully water in, making sure you don’t wash them away. Seeds will germinate the best if kept moist so monitor daily at this stage if possible.

7. Mulch

Now you have your garden weed free and planted with all your veg. You must mulch! Mulching will prevent weed seeds in the soil from sprouting, and also slow down more persistent weeds(quack grass, thistle). Mulching also helps the soil retain water, so you won’t need to water as often. If you leave the soil bare, new weeds will sprout and you will very shortly have a weed problem and your plants will suffer. If you mulch you will still get a few weeds growing, but it will be much easier to manage and won’t get out of control.

Mulching can also prevent soil borne plant diseases from infecting plants. Tomato plants get a fungal disease from the soil when water splashes dirt up onto the leaves when it rains or when watered. Mulching keeps dirt down and helps slow down this disease.

There are many methods of mulching. The garden provides leaf mulch that makes a great organic mulch that also feeds your plants as it breaks down. The only downside is that you may have to remulch at some point as the leaf mulch degrades. Other options are straw, coco mulch, grass clippings(from untreated lawns).

8. Keep watered

Watering is important. The experts say that watering deeper less often is better than shallow watering. Do your best don’t fret too much. When starting seeds is the most important time to keep consistent watering. Also during very hot weather try to water more.

9. Plant spacing and thining

Knowing what seedlings look like is very helpful. Google is your friend with this, also other gardeners. I always leave tiny seedling until I am sure if they are friend or foe.

Many varieties of vegetables instruct you to plant more seeds than necessary and then to thin them after they have sprouted and grown a few inches. This is very hard to do because you won’t want to murder your baby veg! Be brave and follow the recommended spacing and thinning directions, otherwise your plants won’t have enough room to grow and will be small and pathetic.

10. Keep Weeds out and watch for pests.


Standing With Our Community

Hello all,

I know that we are all still reeling from the murder of George Floyd and are looking for ways that we can support the Black community, our community, and our city.  We are a community of love, support, inclusion, and acceptance. 

Racism, prejudice, and inaction have no place here. Supporting this movement can take many forms, including protesting, volunteering, donating, and most importantly, actively speaking out against racial injustice. 

I am going to include links below to many important organizations who need our help and support, not just now, but ongoing. Please consider supporting our local businesses and organizations if you are able.

This article has a great list of both local and national organizations: https://nymag.com/strategist/article/where-to-donate-for-black-lives-matter.html

Includes organizations for:

  1. Victim memorial funds
  2. Bail funds for peaceful protestors
  3. Frontline funds
  4. Community restoration organizations and funds
  5. Community enrichment organizations
  6. Youth-oriented community organizations
  7. Policy reform organizations
  8. Police reform organizations
  9. Incarceration reform organizations
  10. Legal defense funds and organizations
  11. Black LGBTQ funds and organizations
  12. Mental Health

Additional resources that you may like to support

  1. Venmo directly to George Floyd’s fiancée Courteney (email me for her Venmo information)
  2. The Black Women’s Health Imperative: www.bhwi.org 
  3. The National Black Women’s Justice Institute: www.nbwji.org 
  4. HBCU College Fund: www.hbcufoundation.org 
  5. Rebuilding local business: West Broadway Business and Area Coalition: www.westbroadway.org and We Love Lake Street: www.welovelakestreet.com 

Black-owned local businesses

  1. Bella Nava Creations (Shakopee):  www.bellanavacreations.com 
  2. Selam Coffee (Minneapolis)
  3. Young Man (Minneapolis) www.youngmanmsp.com

Instagram feeds to follow

  1. Check Your Privilege (@ckyourprivilege)
  2. Black Lives Matter (@blklivesmatter)
  3. Shifting the Culture (@shiftingtheculture)
  4. Ava DuVernay  (@ava)
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