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E-mail-A-Friend: Green thumbs giving back to the community

  • Subject: [cg] E-mail-A-Friend: Green thumbs giving back to the community
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 21:29:25 -0500

Green thumbs giving back to the community
By KAREN HERZOG, Bismarck Tribune 

The love of growing things often starts young and stays forever.
Monica Cade-Skye, of Selfridge, remembers growing zinnias and sweet peas when she was a little girl. Sharon Tschider, of Bismarck, remembers going to the river bottoms as a child to help her grandparents tend their "victory garden" during the 1940s. Debbie Dennison, of Bismarck, has been gardening for almost 25 years and is dreaming of gardening on a bigger scale.
They are three of the nine people who, in the fall of 2003, took master gardener classes offered at the Burleigh County Extension offices in Bismarck. As much as they love and practice gardening, there's always more to learn, they say.
To earn a certificate as a master gardener from the North Dakota State University Extension Service, the gardeners also are required to create a community service project.
Dennison, a horticulture assistant at the Extension office, is helping students at Jeanette Myhre School in Bismarck start a youth garden.
Tschider helped create public wildflower plantings, including the high-visibility corner at Bismarck High School on Seventh Street, for the community to enjoy.
Cade-Skye and her husband, who live near Selfridge, have been part of a community garden project for several years. Sitting Bull College sponsored her master gardening class to help her encourage people on Standing Rock to grow gardens.
Dennison's students at Myhre will grow a "salad garden" of lettuce and cherry tomatoes; planting zucchini will show kids the meaning of the word prolific. Nutrition is part of the project, too; the fourth-, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders of the Kids' Club summer program at Myhre will get some new taste experiences, too, she said, trying foods such as artichokes, jicama and eggplant.
And Dennison has some fun ideas -- children can write their names on baby melons and watch them expand as they grow. Or put a cucumber in a pop bottle, cover it with protective layer of newspaper, and end up with a mystery -- a big pickle in a small bottle. They can make sun tea and mint tea and discover which plants attract butterflies.
Cade-Skye starts by going into classrooms on Standing Rock reservation and having the students plant seeds and start a garden journal.
The community gardens grow the traditional Indian "three sisters" -- corn, beans and squash. This year the couple went into all eight districts of the reservation and passed out an heirloom variety of Hubbard squash. Heirloom seeds taste better, she said. They buy theirs from Seed Savers Exchange, a "bank" for endangered varieties, she said.
Instead of pesticides, Cade-Skye uses centuries-old, time-tested techniques. Corn is a natural pole for beans to climb, the beans fix nitrogen, and squash acts as a living mulch, she said. The garden is sustainable and 100 percent natural, she said.
"We have such biodiversity that the prairie chickens eat the grasshoppers," she said.
Last year a big harvest festival fed 300 people from the garden, she said. The festival included buffalo stew with Hubbard squash and pumpkin pie.
Dennison raises vegetables, roses, flowers and herbs in a 50-by-50-foot plot but will soon expand that space in a new home at Washburn. She's thinking about getting into farmers' market gardening, she said, since last year she got 300 pounds of tomatoes from 12 plants.
Her interests have bloomed to include trellis gardening, raised bed gardening and cover crops, techniques that produce more with less work.
She's also interested in heirloom varieties of plants.
"They taste so much better," she said, but they lack the disease-resistance of many hybrids. That has led her to explore organic techniques of disease and insect control.
Tschider's grandmother always had a big garden, and her mother grew roses, she said.
Wherever Tschider lives, a garden blooms. In addition to the perennial beds, potted plants, and container gardening at her Bismarck home, she maintains two giant gardens near Lake Isabel, which includes a small apple orchard and grapevines, and is now plunging into a whole new world of semi-tropical gardening at her family's Florida home.
Since gardens are always evolving, Tschider is getting into shade gardening as her trees cast longer shadows.
She loves begonias and geraniums in the summer. If you fertilize them every 10 days or so, and deadhead them, they remain stunningly pretty throughout the summer, sometimes into October, she said.
(Reach Karen Herzog at 250-8267 or krherzog@ndonline.com.)


Green thumbs giving back to the community

The love of growing things often starts young and stays forever. 

Monica Cade-Skye, of Selfridge, remembers growing zinnias and sweet peas when she was a little girl. Sharon Tschider, of Bismarck, remembers going to the river bottoms as a child to help her grandparents tend their "victory garden" during the 1940s. Debbie Dennison, of Bismarck, has been gardening for almost 25 years and is dreaming of gardening on a bigger scale.

For more of this story, click on or type the URL below:

http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2004/06/19/news/life/lif01.txt


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