The new location for the Pelican Rapids Community Gardens is now north of the West Central Turkeys plant, beneath the newly painted city water tower.

Autumn has arrived once again according to the calendar. We had better close the windows when we retire for the evening or the furnace will be operating when we awake from a good night’s sleep. At our home, we try to make it until October 15 before turning on the furnace for the  season. Some years it is accomplished and others years not, as I say ‘uncle’ and turn the thermostat to a warm 62 degrees F. Most years that date is reached, although there really is a limit on how many sweatshirts a person can wear!

As the leaves turn brilliant colors (due only to the lack of daylight) we are in awe of God’s beautiful creation. Visitors frequent Maplewood State Park by the thousands and tour the countryside looking at basically the same colors, but in many different arrangements and patterns. Truly an artist’s delight! I often wonder if today’s youth collect leaves, place them in a big thick book to press them dry and then put them in a scrapbook for future reference?

We now notice that harvest time is here for farmers and gardeners alike. Flower gardeners prepare their flowers for a long cold winter. Some flower varieties are left bare, others are covered with a blanket of leaves and other varieties’ bulbs are dug up and stored in a root cellar until spring planting arrives next year. Farmers are harvesting many varieties of crops in hope of a high yield. Some crops are fed to farm animals during the winter months. Some are sold and then stored at farm or elevator locations to then be distributed in the global market.

Locally, gardeners are also gathering their bounty of produce. Vegetables and fruits of assorted sizes, colors and shapes are the reward for the sweat and toil of the summer gardening efforts. Some produce is sold at the Farmer’s Market or given to the local food shelf for distribution to many people. Other produce is prepared at a home setting by cleaning, cutting, cooking and eating.

Some produce is frozen for future consumption. While still other produce is cleaned, cut, pressure cooked and canned in glass jars. Who remembers the days of coming home from school in October, entering the kitchen where the atmosphere was hot and humid with moisture clinging to the window panes? All due to mother’s pressure cooker doing a tap dance on the kitchen range, in everyone’s fears that the top would blow off through the ceiling!! Yes, those were the days my friends.

Several of our local residents once again prepared the soil, planted the seeds and plants, pulled the weeds and harvested their own produce at our Pelican Rapids Community Gardens. These garden plots are such a positive influence in our city and community.

This is a place where gardeners young and elderly can gather to work the soil, get their fingers dirty, gather produce at harvest time, meet new acquaintances and create new friendships. Thus it all becomes a time of work and pleasure.

Our community gardens were relocated this year from the Cecil Femling property to land north of the city water tower. A majority of the 26 ft. by 30 ft. garden plots were occupied this year and plans for 2018 are to increase the number of garden plots. A $20 donation is requested for each garden plot which is used to offset the community garden maintenance costs. Thanks go out to the Femling family for the use of their land for so many years!

All of the above takes gardeners, volunteers, time, patience and money. Several volunteers have given of their time and talents to make our community gardens a reality. Hats off to them! Grants from PartnerSHIP 4 Health and Walmart have covered some of the expense for the purchase of lumber, hoses and plumbing/irrigation equipment. Grants will continue to be sought for future expenses.

We know that gardening takes the process of planning of crops to plant, the purchase of plants and seeds, tilling the soil, planting the plant and seeds, watering, weeding, and much patience. Then at the end of the growing season we enjoy the reaping of the bounty. If you are interested  in a garden plot for next year, please call Julie Tunheim at 218.849.1426 to make these arrangements.

The growing season of 2017 proved to be a successful venture for many people at the Pelican Rapids Community Gardens. With revised and improved planning for the 2018 growing season, more citizens of our community will have the chance to plant and harvest garden produce. Therefore, 2018 is the time for future gardeners to join us at our community gardens.

Please come and garden with us in 2018. See you there…