Garden Club

Garden Dedication at the Pioneer School District

The newly dedicated Eagles’ Garden welcomed families on June 7th. K-8 students toured their parents around the garden that they helped build with the support of the Harstine Island Garden Club (HIGC). During this first year back after COVID had closed schools, the students actively built garden beds and paths; shoveled piles of soil and woodchips; direct sowed cool season crops and potted up warm season basil, peppers, and tomatoes; cared for the garden; and were able to pick and eat the harvests of their labor! In addition to proudly showing family and friends the results of their efforts, they were able to participate in activities provided by the HIGC: rock painting, flavored-water tasting, and taking home a potted plant. It was a fun evening for all thanks to the hard work of the Pioneer School District staff, the HIGC members, and support from the community.

New welcome sign for Eagles’ Garden
Raised beds planted by students
Flavored-water tasting station
Garden Club

Getting to know your Mason Bees

This month’s meeting of the Harstine Island Garden Club featured a presentation from Mason County Master Gardener, Mary Dessel on mason bees. The presentation focused on the benefits of how encouraging these native pollinators to take up residence in the garden can improve your plants. There was an overview of the mason bees lifecycle, reproduction, housing needs, threats to their health, and ways to mitigate those adversaries. Below are some photos from the presentation, and links to more resources on the topic of mason bees.

Mason County Master Gardener, Mary Dessel, displaying the different options for mason bee houses.
Mason bee pupation pods, after they have been removed from the bee house tubes or blocks, cleaned, and ready to store in upper chamber when the adult bee emerges. Washing the pupae pods help prevent mites, fungi, and other threats to mason bee health.
Examples of mason bee blocks (top left) and tubes (bottom left) that are used in different types of mason bee houses to lay eggs, foster larvae, and store food for the larvae.
An example of a mason bee house utilizing the block style of egg/larvae housing. When the larvae enter pupation, these blocks are removed, the pupae cleaned, and then transferred to the top chamber with the two holes. The adult bees will exit from these two openings and begin pollinating the fruit trees and garden.

More resources on mason bees:

Resources on this topic from the Timberland Regional Library:

Click to see resources on this topic with

Garden Club

Square Foot Gardening

The topic for the January 2022 Garden Club meeting was Square Foot Gardening, presented by member, Laurie Williams. The HIGC is partnering with Pioneer School District in creating a sustainable garden program.  Laurie shared a system that will be implemented in the garden’s raised beds.

Square Foot Gardening is a gardening method developed by Mel Bartholomew to grow a lot of plants in small spaces. In fact, square foot gardening utilizes only 10% of the water of a traditional row garden, making this method extremely efficient. No machinery, fertilizers, or heavy tools are ever needed, and no skills or horticulture experience is necessary.

Some benefits:

  • Vegetables can be tightly spaced
  • Weeding is greatly reduced or eliminated
  • Use less seeds
  • Grow up to three crops annually in each square (cool weather crop, warm weather crop, and a second cool weather crop)
  • Conserve water
  • Easy companion planting to reduce pests and disease
  • Grow quality produce organically (using Mel’s recommended mix: 1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 peat or coir)

Resources to start:

Square Foot Gardening Website

Purchase Mel Bartholomew’s Books about “Square Foot Gardening”

Reserve Mel Bartholomew’s books on “Square Foot Gardening” at your Timberland Regional Library.