Welcome to January 2018.  Ruth Stout finds renewal in the January garden:  ”There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you...In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself."  Family harvests have long since been taken into root cellars or stored via canning, freezing, or dehydration. Stove-wood has been laid aside for the certain snowy, northern nights now upon us. Gardeners radiate a sense of energy, still seeking refreshing periods in the brisk winter air.

Questions or comments are always welcome.  We'll try to get back to you right away.  Email us, Cathie Draine and Brad Morgan at gardeners@blackhillsgarden.com

Gardeners are always eager to learn more, and…well, have we got a deal for you...My view is that there is value in planning the garden to deliver pleasure. For example one might consider planting the lovely double or ruffled hollyhocks to be part of an afternoon spent in the garden making hollyhock dolls and having a tea party with a favorite neighbor child or a grandchild.  more

2018 Kitchen Garden Seeds by John Scheepers. A fun-to-read illustrated article for coordinating a WHOLE GARDEN approach, starting with seeds, then into the garden, next the kitchen, finally encompassing cooking and eventual eating.  more

 Gardening Seminars. The Hill City Evergreen Garden Club will once again be sponsoring a series of winter gardening seminars, starting Wednesday, January 24, with Liz Albrecht from Jolly Lane Greenhouse.  more

On Saturday morning, January 27 the Rapid City Public Library will be hosting an event to celebrate National Seed Swap Day. In addition to the planned seed swap, Linda Hasselstrom will be presenting on Protecting our Grasslands, and Cindy Reed will speak about the activities of the Great Plains Native Plant Society. I will be talking about and demonstrating vermicomposting in a worm bin. Check with the library for the schedule and more detailed information.  poster, more

Spring Fever, the all-day gardening conference, is Saturday, March 3, 2018, featuring Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott from the Washington State University Extension. She will talk about "Evidence Based Gardening Information" and "The Root of the Problem--When Plants Don't Thrive".  The SDSU Extension professional for Spring Fever will be John Ball talking about trees for Western South Dakota.  Our Table talk topics will be: Vegetable gardening in containers on your patio or deck (Mel Glover); Using Compost and Mulch in your garden (Beth-Ann Ferley); Care of House Plants (Shannon Lockett); and Methods of conserving water in the garden (Harley and JoAnn Paulson with Bill Atyeo).  moreRegistration Form

2018 Gardening in the Black Hills Classes. 
February 27-April 3. Tuesday evenings, 6:30 to 9 pm.  Held in the basement of First Interstate bank across from Menards.  Cost for series is $35.   more

As garden articles speak of winter care for tools, I want to stress the importance of timely maintenance and appropriate care of the gardener...As I garden now, I remind myself I was born in the last century, or put more gently, am over the age of 21.  I have become the target of anxious glances as the cautionary words “…a person of your age…” come my way. more
We who enjoy our gardens know there is a season for all things. We anticipate and then lament the natural rhythm of the gardening year as spring with its catalogs and warming seed beds gives way to productive plants and the harvest and then, as days cool, to making a new compost pile and spreading the old one.  And then we read.  more

Why leave the large, upturned clods of soil in vegetable and annual beds that are replanted every spring, rather than breaking them up? more

 Preserve the Harvest  When fall approaches, that could mean only one thing—harvest! If you’re like us, you have more than you can eat in a week. So we’ve been thinking about all the ways we can preserve our harvest to enjoy in the months to come.  more

Let's face it, we all like happy endings...most gardeners I know who love and grow the heirlooms are passionate about the history these plants carry, their toughness, their value to the horticultural industry and their place in history. Promoting the Sylvestris tulip brings me no closer to Thomas Jefferson who grew these tulips at Monticello, but it does give me membership in the generations of growers who have loved this little plant since the 1500s.  Plant some history this fall. Be thrilled in the spring.  more

No-Till Gardening -- If You Love Your Soil, Ditch the Tiller. Tillers seem to be that go-to tool we’ve always used for what it was made 

to do - break up the earth. We till 

to clear a plot to start a garden, 

turn weeds under, or just mix up the soil.  more


High Mountain Gardening. To escape stress-filled days of work in Rapid City, my husband and I endure a daily 50-mile round-trip commute to our home on a mile-high mountaintop near Seth Bullock Peak in the central Black Hills. We value our peace and privacy. Neighbors include chipmunks, deer, elk, coyotes, Ponderosa pines and sky. We call our acreage "Southern Exposure." The sun shines here when it shines nowhere else. And the wind blows, sometimes as a gentle Chinook, sometimes as a blizzard whirlwind.  more

Gardening in Spearfish means small farms and produce outlets now using online technology to promote community awareness, including Lookout Gardens, Moonrise Mountain Ranch, and Good Earth Natural Foods.    more

Black Hills Guide to Landscaping with Deer Resistant Plants. According to Jolly Lane Greenhouse, "As gardeners, we all know what it’s like to feel protective of our plants. For that matter, we all share a desire for keeping animals out of the garden bed. In the Black Hills region of western South Dakota, there’s a handful of native wildlife to be found throughout the region, occasionally rummaging through the contents of your garden. Although coyotes, rabbits, mountain goats, and mountain lions all report regular sightings throughout the season, the biggest threat to your garden is mostly likely the whitetail and mule deer."  Check deer resistance by plant name


January gardening tips.  One tip is to “Check stored fruits and vegetables such as potatoes and apples for bad spots which may lead to decay. Remove and use those which show signs of spoiling. Separate others into slotted trays or bins to increase air circulation and reduce decay possibilities.” more


Winter ranching, farming, and gardening in the hills.. We think of the Black Hills of western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming as the perfect place for family-sized ranching.  But all through the hills, there are small-scale farms with limited production of commercial crops, orchards, and greenhouse-protected growing of vegetables, fruits, and flowers during the winter.  more


5 Super-Early Vegetables to Start in Winter


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Not everyone is always in the mood to read text when visiting the computer for the latest about gardening.  We can’t forget that just hearing and seeing is the oldest way of knowing about the world.  


YouTube also has the informality and spontaneity and honesty of ordinary people presenting garden information, perhaps refreshing for those tired of the slick segments common on TV.


If you can put up with the accent of an English gardener, you might find this YouTube video motivating and easier to digest.