March 23 potluck topic: Testing your garden soil

What do you know about your soil? Do you know its pH, organic matter content, texture, or nutrient content?  These are critical soil properties that determine how well a garden will produce.  They are elements of building soil in your garden.

Gray Henderson, retired soil scientist and avid gardener, will lead a discussion on how to test your soil, what labs to use, what it will cost, and how to interpret the test results.  Soil test bags will be available at the potluck for you to use.  Information will be provided on which tests to request and how to fill out the test forms.  Informal discussion will be encouraged to answer any soil and gardening questions you might have.

Join us Thursday, March 23rd, at 6 PM for a community potluck and presentation.  Bring a dish to share with 6-8 people.  This event will be held in the basement of Trinity Lutheran Church, Bonners Ferry.  (Enter the church’s Fellowship Hall via the door on the Northwest corner of the church).

Pruning demonstration at the Sandpoint Organic Orchard on Monday, March 13 at 1pm

Credit: https://www.uidaho.edu/cals/sandpoint-organic-agriculture-center/

GROW! has arranged an orchard pruning class and demonstration at the Sandpoint Organic Orchard on Monday, March 13, at 1pm. Kyle Nagy, manager of the orchard, will give a short classroom presentation indoors followed by a demonstration in the orchard, so please dress for the weather!  Please join us at the University of Idaho Sandpoint Organic Ag Center, 10881 N Boyer Rd, Sandpoint, ID 83864. The entrance to the orchard is on the east side of Boyer just north of Schweitzer Mountain Road. 

If you haven’t visited this extraordinary facility, you are in for a pleasant surprise! This beautiful facility and extensive organic orchard was acquired by the University of Idaho in 2018. For more information, see https://www.uidaho.edu/cals/sandpoint-organic-agriculture-center/about.

GROW! Potluck featuring Gardening in North Idaho Presentation and Discussion

Please join us on Thursday, February 23, at 6pm at the Trinity Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall!

Temperatures are going to be in the single digits but the days are getting longer and today the sun is shining (part-time).  Spring is not too far away.  SO, THAT MEANS GARDENING SEASON IS AHEAD!

Edward and Julie Newcomb from Cloud Eleven Mountain Farm will tell us about their experiences gardening in North Idaho and managing their certified organic market garden.  They will talk about what has worked for them and what their challenges have been.  Julie and Edward are a wealth of knowledge and have learned the “tricks of the trade” first hand.  You won’t want to miss their presentation and be prepared to engage in an informal discussion by bringing your questions and experience.

It’s a potluck.  Bring a dish to share with 6-8 people and enjoy the camaraderie with other gardeners.

6 PM, Trinity Lutheran Church (Bonners Ferry), Thursday January 23.

GROW Annual Meeting Honors Marciavee Cossette, Discusses Fruit Orchard Production in Boundary County

Marciavee Cossette, long-time GROW! Board Member and Vice President, is honored at the GROW! Annual Membership Meeting and Potluck on January 26, 2023.

Marciavee Cossette was surprised with a bouquet of roses at the GROW! Annual Meeting and Community Potluck held in the Trinity Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall on January 26, 2023. In addition to working with GROW!, Marciavee is active in numerous organizations in Boundary County, from Rotary to her Catholic Church. You can always count on Marciavee to show up to help with a smile on her face!

GROW! Board Member and orchardist Art Church was the featured speaker at the potluck. Art spoke about the new 40-tree community orchard planting at the GROW! community garden that was planted under his guidance and with the help of many volunteers in the summer of 2022. The orchard is already thriving, with a drip irrigation in place and heavily mulched for weed control and mushroom production. Art spoke of his experience creating several large orchards in Idaho, and about both new and heirloom fruit varieties that thrive in Boundary County.

Two additional community potlucks are scheduled for the 4th Thursdays of the month in February and March, February 23 and March 23, at 6pm at the Fellowship Hall in Trinity Lutheran Church in Bonners Ferry. The February potluck features Julie and Edward Newcomb, of Cloud 11 Mountain Farm in Moyie Springs. They will lead a discussion on gardening challenges in North Idaho. The March potluck features Board Member and Professor Emeritus Gray Henderson, who will lead a discussion on enhancing your garden soil and soil testing. All are welcome to attend these potlucks and learn more about GROW!

GROW! Annual Membership Meeting and Community Potluck on Thursday, January 26, 6pm, at Trinity Lutheran Church

Art Church’s Copeland area orchard included mulched tree rows

Please join us on Thursday, January 26, at 6pm at Trinity Lutheran Church’s Fellowship Hall for our GROW! Annual Membership Meeting and community potluck featuring Board Member Art Church. Art will lead a discussion on growing fruit trees in Boundary County. Art planned and designed the GROW! Community Garden’s new 40-tree fruit orchard, which was installed in 2022, complete with a drip irrigation system. He will discuss sources for outstanding tree fruit stock as well as adapted and innovative new varieties for this region. The orchard includes peaches, plums, aprictos, European and Asian pears, pluots, pluerries, nectaplums, pawpaws and jujubes.

Please bring a dish to share and RSVP to kate@growboundarycounty.org for planning purposes. GROW! will provide beverages and place settings.

Giving Tuesday, an international day of giving

What comes after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday? Giving Tuesday! This is a worldwide generosity movement encouraging people to donate to their local communities and favorite nonprofits. This year, GROW! is asking for help to pay for ongoing operating expenses, including the water bill, mulch for the orchard, soil for the raised beds, the porta-potty rental, and grounds upkeep.

Each year, GROW! donates hundreds of pounds of fresh organic produce to local food banks. The community garden also provides low-cost garden rental plots and raised beds. In addition, GROW! has created about 40 Little Free Gardens distributed throughout the county where the public is invited to sample garden produce at these business locations (see https://www.littlefreegarden.com/map).

All these activities would not be possible without the support of community organizations, local businesses, and volunteers. GROW! Volunteers and local Idaho Master Gardeners generously donated over 1000 hours of their time to these projects in 2022. For the past 13 years, Trinity Lutheran Church has provided the land for the GROW! community garden on their property. This generous arrangement allows GROW! to continue its work in Boundary County, where our motto is Helping Feed our Neighbors in Need.

Your tax-deductible donations to GROW!, a 501c3 nonprofit, can be done online here or via mail (PO Box 1433, Bonners Ferry, ID). We will send you a receipt for donations of any size!

For those of you who are required to withdraw a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from an IRA, there is a way to avoid paying taxes on that amount and benefit a charitable non-profit organization at the same time.  As an alternative to having the withdrawal come directly to you, it can be distributed to a 501c3 non-profit directly in what is called a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD).  This distribution can satisfy all or part of a RMD and thus eliminates that amount being taxed at your marginal tax rate.  If this is a way you would consider supporting GROW!, we would be happy to provide you with additional information on this type of donation.

For more information, contact Gray Henderson, GROW! President, at gray@growboundarycounty.org, 520-561-0643 cell/text or Kate Painter, GROW! Board Member, kate@growboundarycounty.org, 509-432-5755 cell/text.

Trinity Lutheran Pastor Andy Hinderlee blesses the new fruit tree plantings at the Open House

Pastor Andy Hinderlee, center, with GROW! Board Members Art Church, left, and Gray Henderson, right.

Pastor Andy Hinderlee blessed the new 40-tree orchard at the GROW! Community Garden at the 2022 Open House on Sunday, August 28. Several dozen community members, including many young families with children, enoyed the festivities, which included refreshments, children’s activities, and tours.

Community Garden Work Day on Saturday, August 6, at 9am

Garden Work Day, 2021

Many hands make for light work! We will be spreading bark, weeding the new orchard, organizing the garden shed, and working on the compost bins on Saturday, August 6, at 9am. Please join us for a fun work day and see how all the new fruit trees have grown since we planted them last spring!

You can also check out our 35-variety tomato test garden and sample some of our produce! Herbs will also be available from the Little Free Garden.

We will have tools, snacks, and water. Questions? Contact Board President Gray Henderson, gray@growboundarycounty.org, 520-561-0643.

Spring class series includes classes on roses, tomatoes, and mushrooms in the garden

Spring 2022 Growing with GROW! classes will be held on Thursdays from 2-5pm starting May 12. Topics include planting for pollinators, growing tomatoes in North Idaho, growing roses in North Idaho, and growing beneficial, edible mushrooms in your garden. All classes will be held at the Kootenai River Inn and Casino’s Ktunaxa Room in Bonners Ferry. Classes are $10 per person for current GROW! members, $20 per class for nonmembers, or as noted, payable at the door. All proceeds support the GROW! Community Garden. A detailed schedule is available here.