A Day at the Providence Hospital Garden: Harvesting Garlic - Part I

The Providence Hospital Garden is a special aspect of the community garden program at Garden City Harvest. Patrick and I, as Community Garden Coordinators, have the unique opportunity of planning, planting, maintaining and harvesting fruits, veggies and herbs for this therapeutic space. The garden is intended for the use of patients in recovery; and we get to witness patients practicing rehabilitation in this space almost daily. The garden is also intended for the use of Missoula community members, and I find that few know this special resource exists. Although I spend many working hours at the hospital garden, on weekends I’ve found myself bringing lunch or coffee and a book, picking bouquets of flowers, and meeting friends there to catch up.  It is perhaps my favorite shared place in Missoula.

Some background on how this space came to be:

In 2014, Garden City Harvest and Providence St. Patrick Hospital/Foundation agreed to partner in building a therapeutic community garden intended for Providence Center patients, staff and the greater Missoula community.  Garden City Harvest staff worked with Green Path Herb School to choose native perennial plants, such as  lamb’s ear, lavender, mint and thyme, among others, that entice the senses and offer a place for healing and recovery. Nine raised beds line the inner portion of the garden, planted with a variety of fruit and veggie crops. The veggie beds yield around 1,500 pounds of produce per season, which is donated to the Missoula Food Bank and others in need.

The bounty I gathered one sunny weekend at the Providence Garden. Lavender, Beebalm, Yarro, Lambsear and others which are either aromatheraputic, can be used medicinally, or are sensory to the touch.
The bounty I gathered one sunny weekend at the Providence Garden. Lavender, Beebalm, Yarro, Lambsear and others which are either aromatheraputic, can be used medicinally, or are sensory to the touch.
Bouquets, delivered to the staff at the Providence Center.
Bouquets, delivered to the staff at the Providence Center.

A typical day at the Providence Garden ~ Harvesting Garlic Tutorial Part I:

It’s that time of year for harvesting your long-awaited garlic. Today, Patrick and I harvested the garlic at the Providence Garden. Here’s a step by step guide for harvesting your own garlic –

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  1. When the top of your garlic looks like this, i.e. dried and yellow, you know it’s time to harvest.
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  3. Harvesting is pretty simple, gently pull your garlic bulbs out of the ground and shake off the dirt. Try not to disrupt the roots too much, there’s no need to clean your garlic prior to drying.3. Bundle your garlic in groups of five or six and hang-dry them in a semi-aerated place such as a shed or back porch. An ideal temperature for drying garlic is around 80 degrees.4. Let your garlic hang for at least two weeks. In a few weeks I’ll post Part II which will continue instructions for harvesting garlic.
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FullSizeRender (13)

Emy & Patrick, just a couple o’ garlic-heads. 

Make sure to come visit this hidden garden-gem located behind the Providence Center, on the corner of N. 3rd and Ryman Streets.

Don’t miss these upcoming events at the Providence Garden!

- Learn how to grow, harvest and use herbs. Join Northside Community Garden leader, Sarah Johnson, for an Herb workshop next Thursday, 7/21, 5:30 – 6:30 at the Providence Garden.

- Don’t miss our First Friday Event (7/5) at the Providence Garden. Refreshments, garden-grown foods, live music by Ali Solomon, local art by Candice Haster and more, will all be waiting for you. August 5th, 5:00 – 8:00 pm.

MAP the Providence Garden.