Welcome to February
"Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle,” writes Barbara Winkler about February, “a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl.  And the anticipation nurtures our dream." Family harvests--that have long since been taken into root cellars or stored via canning, freezing, or dehydration--now seem fresh and delicious.  Stove-wood valiantly holds in check the 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

For gardeners there is more to February and March than wistfully turning pages of distressingly beautiful catalogs or going compulsively through the stash of seeds or drooling shamelessly over pages of photos of tomatoes good enough to eat.  more

On Saturday, March 3, the Pennington County Master Gardeners are hosting Spring Fever! their annual daylong antidote for the winter dismals.  Registration Form, more 

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). Call 605.394.1722.  Cost for series is $35.   more
Hill City gardening Seminars. The Hill City Evergreen Garden Club is once again sponsoring a series of winter gardening seminars on Wednesdays. The next will be on February 28, featuring Hügelkulture with Joe Hillberry.  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

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

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

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

How to build a very cheap greenhouse from old windows.  Greenhouse kits can be expensive and daunting to put together.  They won’t last long, and they blow away in the wind.  Glass and wood are best.  Old windows from your own remodel or from a neighbor's redo are typically thrown into a dumpster.  You don’t have to be an experienced carpenter to use these plans.  They will bring out your creativity as you piece together various window shapes and sizes.  Even better, your gardening will open new vistas in extending seasons and starting seeds.  more


February gardening tips.  One tip is “If bird feeding has been a favorite activity this winter, order trees and shrubs which provide cover and small fruits for your feathered friends. Consider species such as crabapple and hawthorn which can help lure hungry birds from cultivated fruits, if planted on the opposite side of the yard.” more


What are the forgotten foods the pioneers ate midwinter?  In our modern kitchens, we hardly feel the passing of the seasons. We have the luxury of New Zealand apples, Chilean grapes and Hawaiian pineapple, all cheap and plentiful even in January.

For our ancestors, winter meals were a very different thing. They were limited to whatever they could store, hunt or harvest. Those same food traditions survive in our modern cooking, in wintertime “comfort foods.” Foods heavy with flour, fat and salt.  more


6 Delicious Edibles You Can Grow Indoors All Winter


Most homes are heated to a comfortably warm temperature range of 65 to 75F during winter. This is ideal for growing many vegetables, so the winter cold is not as much of an issue here as low-light conditions. Your choice would be limited unless you provide sufficient grow lights to imitate the sunny outdoors.

    As a general rule, leafy vegetables can manage with much less light than root vegetables. Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes and eggplants need more light to ensure a good yield.


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