Welcome. All hail the robust advance of the growing season, watching nature slowly retake the business of rebirth, the quickening of gentle rains, mothers being celebrated, and fallen soldiers remembered. This is a busy time for humans and ticks alike. Dreaming of cooking from upcoming harvest bounties is exciting...with, perhaps a wistful memory of long ago summers. 

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

Raised Beds.  Several years ago my good friend Tammy Glover had knee replacements. While acknowledging gratitude for after market body parts, she realized that working in the garden on her knees was no longer an option. She wanted a garden bed about the height of a kitchen counter. I am not certain that Tammy’s “bunkers” were the first raised beds in Rapid City but they are surely the best known. The plans for those are on blackhillsgarden.com as “30” high raised bed” under the Soil and Water tab.   more

Gardening with age.  I have mentioned that LeRoy and I are experiencing that grand adventure of “downsizing” by choice. He is 80 and I am 77. We have no need of a large home, outbuildings, a small barn, large garage and extensive gardens.  We do have a need for a smaller garden for me, a workshop for LeRoy and a slightly smaller home that will continue to welcome family and friends.

             As a gardener and a garden writer I talk with many persons about their gardens or the pleasures of gardening. What saddens me are those who sigh, “I had to give up the garden,” or “I really miss gardening”, or sadder yet,  “I guess I am too old to garden.”  more

Numbers and gardening.  Every now and again I get numbed-out by numbers. For example, thanks to television political talking heads, don’t we all know by now the significance of 1237?  more

Smells of Spring.  While some folks sing about April showers and others write poetry, I am out in the garden smelling these spring rains. Actually I am smelling the fascinating chemicals that are released by the soil, the rain, the soil bacteria and the electricity of a spring thunderstorm.  more

Spring violets and mulch more. I am delighted when various seemingly unrelated bits of information suddenly come together to deliver a clear message… like seeing the image finally form in a complicated table puzzle. That happened recently.  Recently the Journal ran an article about garden violets (and ants).  more

It's time to talk about soils…because they are all different. Gardeners who start from seed look for bags of Seed Starting Mix (with NO added time-release fertilizers.) Germinating seeds do NOT need the fertilizer.  more

"Six amazing cooking tips." Unique garden-to-cooking tips using a jar.  watch video

Check the free garden classified page on this site.  The latest addition features Top Soil - 4 yards $50 or best offer. Located in Piedmont/Summerset. You load and haul. Easy access to dirt sitting in driveway. I bought too much. Call/text 605-415-3516.
     Is gardening still a puzzle at times?  If so, explore this newly recommended site on flowers and gardens and start to put your gardening life back together again. 

The lead article under the Soil and Water tab is from the Leopold Center (named for famous ecologist Aldo Leopold). It is an excellent discussion of the NEWEST research on soil health,  beneficial bacteria and the importance of microbes in the soil It also quotes Sir Albert Howard who proved the value of composting and developed the "Law of Returns." 

Spring gardening activities ... Look for Upcoming Events under the Welcome tab. 

Become a student of the soil.   We should be familiar with tenets of soil physics — the dynamics of physical soil components — solid, liquids and gases. We might understand a bit of soil chemistry — the study of the chemical characteristics of soil affected by mineral composition, organic matter and environmental factors. But the study of soil ecology is recent.  more

The handplant tree order form from the Pennington County Soil Conservation District is now available online.  Most trees and shrubs now cost $2.  A Rapid City phone number will answer questions and sign you up for the printed "District News" newsletter.  more

May gardening tip.   See May on green tab above.  One tip is to "Lawns maintained at the correct height are less likely to have disease and weed infestation. Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue should be mowed at two or three inches in height. Mow frequently, removing no more than one third of the blade at each cutting." more