The best things in life aren’t things

What an amazing year 2018 was at the Keystone-Monon Community Garden at Arsenal Park! We want to thank all in our community who made it such a success: our gardeners, our generous sponsors, and our community supporters. We are so grateful for you!

What was new in 2018?

  • In August, our second Neighborhood Garden Tour raised over $430 for the garden. Close to 20 participants visited six gardens, and we welcomed the support of 13 local business sponsors!
  • We hosted a weekly by-donation yoga series, Yoga in the Garden, all summer. Huge thanks to instructor John-Payton Rowley, SoBeFit. We welcomed almost 300 yogis-in-training of all ages and raised nearly $1,000 in donations for our instructor and the garden. 
  • We built a new welcome and communications area: a planting table, outdoor message board, and arbor to create more growing space and shade. Huge thanks to our construction guru Liz Laughlin, owner of Limelight Coffee, and the Marion County Master Gardeners Association, whose generous grant helped support these exciting infrastructure additions.
  • We partnered with the IBG Youth Outreach Program during its pilot summer, hosting a weekly gardening and nutrition class for youth from our neighborhood.
  • We hosted a seed giveaway, cover crop workshop, essential oils workshop, and seedling sale, open to all in our community, raising over $560.
  • We hosted two big work days and expanded our perennial wildflower plantings. The monarch butterfly caterpillars found us this summer! Not only do flowers add beauty, but they greatly increase the biodiversity of pollinators in Arsenal Park. 
  • We partnered with so many in our community! We would be nothing without our community partners and supporters. Please support them year-round and during this holiday season. And the biggest thanks go to Indy Parks and Recreation for their continued support of the garden.
  • We gardened – and our gardeners’ beds were simply gorgeous this year! 20 gardeners grew fresh, organic produce all summer long.

What do we have planned for 2019?

  • Updated garden signage to tell our story and help community members connect with the garden and each other when they visit.
  • Website updates, including a recipe corner, virtual garden tour, gardener biographies, and other activities.
  • Expanded efforts to make a deeper impact in our neighborhood. And more yoga!

 

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Want to garden with us in 2019? Applications now available!

Set your 2019 resolution today: join your neighborhood community organization with a serious love for gardening! Online applications are now available for the 2019 season.
 
Last year’s gardeners have first priority until 2/15/19, and then we will assign remaining garden beds on a first-come, first-served basis. Total cost is just $35 ($25 to help cover operating costs, $10 maintenance deposit refunded once beds are cleaned up at the end of the season).
 
Get all the details on our “Garden with Us” page, then apply today.

I get by with a little help from my friends: Companion planting herbs

So many times, we fall into the trap of making an herb “section” of our garden and putting all the herbs together. We love this article we just stumbled across on companion planting herbs – or planting them alongside certain vegetable plants to yield a stronger, more productive garden.

When you companion plant with herbs, you can:

  • increase yields
  • repel pests
  • encourage pollination
  • provide shelter for beneficial insects

Learn how to use dill, marigolds, chives, basil, parsley, lavender, and rosemary for a stronger – and tastier – garden this summer:Companion Planting with Herbs for a More Robust Garden” by Chris Dalziel on Attainable Sustainable.

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Garden with us in 2018! Applications now available

2018 marks our third growing season at the Keystone-Monon Community Garden at Arsenal Park, and we invite you to grow with us! 

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Please visit our “Garden With Us” page for full details about the application process. You can also contact Christie and MaryAnna at KMCommunityGarden@gmail.com with questions.

What’s so special about the Keystone-Monon Community Garden? While growing our own fresh, organic produce brought us together, even more than that we are a community organization. We believe community gardens:

  • Grow community strength and cohesiveness
  • Normalize urban agriculture
  • Provide a place to grow food and learn together
  • Celebrate the power of people as we work to build knowledge, empower, and engage the full diversity of our community
  • Increase neighborhood pride and beauty; decrease crime
  • Build new connections among community members, increasing care and concern for others

If you are interested in growing your own food and getting involved in your community, join us in 2018!

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FIRST EVER Neighborhood Garden Tour: Special Promotion, Save $2!

You’re invited – and for four days only, you can save!

Use this link to save $2 per ticket for our upcoming NEIGHBORHOOD GARDEN TOUR on Sun., Aug. 20 from 2-5pm: https://keystonemonongardentour.eventbrite.com?discount=Save2
WHAT IS IT? 5 amazing gardens, 1 great cause – and free admission and parking for the last evening of the IN State Fair! Get your tickets by Monday at midnight to save.
Adults 16+: $8 (Reg. $10)
Kids 8-15: $3 (Reg. $5)
Kids 7 and under: FREE
MORE ABOUT THE TOUR: On August 20 from 2-5pm, the Keystone-Monon Community Garden will host a garden tour highlighting FIVE amazing gardens right in our neighborhood. Keystone-Monon Grows is part neighborhood garden tour, part community gathering, part garden fundraiser, and ALL fun.
The event features a bicycle tour (automobiles also allowed) of three home gardens in the Keystone-Monon neighborhood, the community garden at Arsenal Park, and the gorgeous demonstration gardens at the IN State Fairgrounds – and free admission and parking for the last evening of the IN State Fair, thanks to our Presenting Sponsor, the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Event Center! We’ll meet the gardeners, tour their gardens, and learn more about the many unique ways people have launched their own growing spaces across our community.
BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY AND SAVE! All proceeds support the Keystone-Monon Community Garden, an entirely volunteer- and community-driven project. https://keystonemonongardentour.eventbrite.com?discount=Save2
Thank you for your support, and we’ll see you on Sunday, August 20!

The Return of the Squash Bug! (Cue Horror Film Music)

Here in Central Indiana, there is one thing that is a near-certainty for every garden: the inevitable infestation of the squash bug. Each year it never fails: your summer squash plants are gigantic and producing like crazy. And then one day, you might notice a handful bugs. The next: a few more.

The next day? Your once-beautiful squash plant is crawling with bugs, and the entire plant has died, apparently overnight. Not only can they do a crazy amount of damage to squash plants, but they can also attack other cucurbit varieties (cucumbers, melons, and pumpkins).

 

Photos courtesy of University of Minnesota Extension

So what can you do about these evil little jerks? We decided to take a very scientific survey* to find out what area organic farmers and gardeners do to beat squash bugs into submission. Since this issue will likely befall your garden at some point, we thought we’d share everyone’s feedback here for future reference. Enjoy, and may your squash plants live long and prosper!

Tips for maintaining your squash plants – and sanity – against squash bugs, straight from Central Indiana farmers and gardeners:

  • “So far its daily physical intervention, inspecting leaves, removing eggs, and adults, and treating with Diatomaceous earth around base of plants where they hide. Dr. Bronner’s castile soap with peppermint will work mixed with water and sprayed directly on insects. You can also use floating row covers early in season (you will have to pollinate yourself).”
  • “I pull all leaves with eggs or midges on them and throw them in the trash. The chickens seem uninterested. I second, or third, the drowning them in soapy water method. Hand picking seems the best way.”
  • “I recently purchased a book called “The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener.” The author, Tammi Hartung, is great and one of the ways she suggests repelling squash bugs is to sprinkle black pepper around the plants. I haven’t done this yet but did spray the plant with neem oil mixed with dish soap. That has helped.”
  • “I have a spray bottle filled with soapy water and cayenne pepper and spray the leaves. So far it’s kept them off this year. If I find one I just squish it. Same with the eggs.”
  • “Transplant as early as possible is my tip. Squash bugs are inevitable.”

Have you had issues with squash bugs? What’s your favorite method of saving your plants?

 

*”Very scientific” means we asked our Facebook friends – but, hey, many of them are organic farmers and gardeners with extensive firsthand squash beetle experience.

Tickets Now Available and Going Fast! You’re Invited to Our First Neighborhood Garden Tour, 8/20/17

We are THRILLED to invite you to Keystone-Monon’s FIRST neighborhood garden tour! “Keystone-Monon Grows” will be part neighborhood garden tour, part community gathering, part garden fundraiser, and ALL fun. TICKETS ARE LIMITED, SO ACT FAST!
 
WHEN: Sun., August 20 from 2-5pm
WHAT: The event will feature a bicycle tour (automobiles also allowed) of several home gardens in the Keystone-Monon neighborhood, an insider’s look at our new community garden at Arsenal Park, and a tour of the gorgeous demonstration gardens at the IN State Fairgrounds. The tour will end with FREE admission to the last day of the IN State Fair, thanks to our presenting sponsor, the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Event Center.
 
PURCHASE TICKETS TODAY! Tickets are limited, and we only have 23 adult tickets left! Don’t miss out: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/keystone-monon-grows-neighborhood-garden-tour-tickets-35711710688

ADULTS (16+): $10
KIDS 8-15: $5
KIDS 7 and under: FREE

Can’t attend but want to serve as a founding supporter? Donate today: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/keystone-monon-garden-tour-founding-sponsors-2017

 
We can’t wait to see you!
All the best,
The Keystone-Monon Community Garden coalition
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