Schlafly Gardenworks in early June

The first Saturday of every month Jack and Nolan -- the gardeners at the Schlafly Gardenworks -- hold an informal gathering in the garden. It's a time to meet with other plant lovers and talk about what's working, show how they're doing things in this urban garden, pick up some tips, and share some experiences.

It was a small group this month, but everybody was eager to learn and see some impressive plantings. It's really a great way to get excited about gardening and growing your own food.


As you may know, Gardenworks was the inspiration for my own veggie bed makeover this year, and it's helping to keep me excited about my edibles.

I wish I had space for even one 20' row of tomato plants. They have several.

More importantly, these little get-togethers remind me that I need to pay as much attention to my veggies as I do my bamboo and ornamentals.

I have a hard time remembering that each summer, especially as things get hotter.

Here's their new "cucumber producing machine":

Nolan explained that cucumbers don't do well growing vertically (that's how I always do them -- is that why they never produce like I want them to?) and that they prefer to sprawl. The angled trellises will give them the ideal exposure -- or at least that's what Nolan thinks. Every year is an ongoing experiment in the garden, right?

Peppers, chard, kale, cilantro, and the big "hedge" of greenery is sunchokes:

Another view:

They have a constant stream of kitchen scraps from the restaurant for their compost pile:

And also lots of used hops from the brewery:

This is a beautiful beet plant gone to flower:

I need to find out what variety that is, because I may grow it just for the foliage!

Urban gardens have some advantages: no deer, woodchucks, or rabbits. I suspect they have some rats though, but Jack never mentions any problems with pests.

Click for much larger version.

The morning ended with a giveaway of extra plants. Some of the visitors shared extra seedlings with the group, and Jack had some tomato plants that P. Allen Smith brought with him when he filmed a segment there recently. So I picked up a couple of eggplants, a pepper, and a couple more tomatoes. I wish I had thought to bring some of my extra plants to share!

Next month I guess.

(I used my small point-and-shoot camera for these photos)


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sandy lawrence –   – (June 7, 2012 at 8:35 AM)  

That beet foliage is stunning! Good idea, and why not grow it as an ornamental; we do that with sweet potato vines.

Tails  – (June 7, 2012 at 9:16 AM)  

Cottonwool, soaked in peppermint/eucalyptus oil and placed in/around the compost heap and other such "rat nest/interest" places will keep them at bay :) Just replenish as needed. Humane and it works (not instantly, takes about a week or three and the rats move out) :)

Plant Stands  – (June 7, 2012 at 12:20 PM)  

What a great resource...and I'll bet the people are really nice, too!

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (June 7, 2012 at 2:24 PM)  

What a great place! I'd love to have access to that kind of information on a regular basis.

R.  – (June 9, 2012 at 10:33 AM)  

That is so cool! I also wish we had something like that around... I should go look!

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