Volunteer Projects

Botanical Garden Update

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Our new Botanical Garden is going to have an amazing visitors center!

Our new Botanical Garden is going to have an amazing visitors center!

If you have not yet heard, the area around The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is getting a Botanical Garden! The Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan (MGANM) is an official part/partner of the Traverse City Botanical Garden Society, and we are excited to share some news about this amazing and one-of-a-kind project. Read below for their first big update of the year. Links to their site and Facebook are also provided. Happy gardening!

Botanic Garden at the Historic Barns Park Update 2014

By now most everyone knows that our Visitor Center is up and running and ready for rental.  If you have been following us on Facebook you already know what the upstairs venue looks like.  It is bright and airy with amazing vistas out the windows.  The upstairs will accommodate 74  people for an event with tables and comfortable chairs.  There is a small kitchenette equipped with a coffee maker and small refrigerator and dishwasher.  This space has been used for several meetings and is also equipped with a large-screen TV monitor and the hook ups for power point presentations.  Keep us in mind if you have need of a venue for rent.

The downstairs will encompass a small gift shop, which is being planned as I write.  It is due to open this spring.  You will want to check this out as well.  Some plantings have taken place around the Visitor Center with the help of several Master Gardeners volunteering their time.  Of course there will be more plantings to take place later when our snow disappears.

So, you might ask….what is in store for 2014 at The Garden?  Be on the lookout for the water feature to be constructed using one of the old silos.  There will be numerous plantings around this area and when finished, will be a beautiful, calming space to enjoy.  In addition to the water feature, work will begin on the walled garden with paint removal and repointing of the stone foundation.  All of that will have to be done before the cement “floor” is removed making the inside area ready for planting.

Do check us out, especially when spring comes to see all the daffodils in bloom.  And…don’t forget to like us on Facebook!


RSVP here for the 2013 Volunteer Recognition Dinner

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New Board Positions!




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Open board positions!

Open board positions!

The MGANM board is pleased to roll out several new board positions in the interests of better sharing the volunteer work load and in having more energy (and fun!) at the board level. There are three new full board positions, and four advisory positions (non-voting, board meeting attendance optional but encouraged). Most of these positions will work by supporting existing committees or groups of volunteers in their efforts, though as first year positions you’ll also have freedom to define your roles. Please contact a board member or our coordinator, Matthew Bertrand, with any questions about these positions.

If you’re interested in fulfilling any of the positions or would like to nominate someone, please try to let us know by Sunday, November 3rd. We expect to hold elections at the annual Volunteer Celebration on November 6th.

Position Descriptions

  1. President – The President will preside over meetings of the general membership and the Executive Committee. The President will oversee the enforcement of the by-laws and policies as adopted by the membership of the Association.
  2. Vice President – In the absence of the President, Secretary, or Treasurer, the Vice President shall assume the duties of said office. The Vice President shall oversee all standing committees.
  3. Secretary – The Secretary shall take minutes of all Executive Committee and Association general meetings. At each meeting the secretary will have published or will read the minutes of the previous meeting. A copy of all minutes will be forwarded to the Advisor at the MSUE Leelanau County office. The secretary shall be responsible for maintaining complete records of all Association minutes attendance and correspondence.
  4. Treasurer – The Treasurer will be responsible for managing all Association income, expenses and bank accounts(s) according to the policies and procedures of the Association.
  5. Education/Events – Chairperson will be responsible for the initiation, planning and public relations for educational and other events.
  6. Communications – The Chairperson will be responsible for all internal communication amongst MGANM members and external communications with the public, including the Real Dirt newsletter, the Association website, and other opportunities as they arise.
  7. Development – The Chairperson will be responsible for strategies leading to increased membership and funding opportunities for MGANM and its activities
  8. Advisor – Master Gardener Coordinator – The Advisor will serve as a non-voting, ex- officio member. The Advisor is responsible for assuring the Association carries out its stated purpose in accordance with the educational mission and policies of Leelanau County MSUE and the Michigan Master Gardener program. The Advisor is the liaison between the Association and MSUE.
  9. Advisor – Environmental Stewardship — The Advisor will serve as a non-voting member. The Advisor will serve as a community liaison between the board, association members, community partners, and the public with the goal of improving Environmental Stewardship outcomes in the community.
  10. Advisor – Youth Gardening — The Advisor will serve as a non-voting member. The Advisor will serve as a community liaison between the board, association members, community partners, and the public with the goal of increasing support for Youth Gardening activities in the community.
  11. Advisor – Food Security and Hunger — The Advisor will serve as a non-voting member. The Advisor will serve as a community liaison between the board, association members, community partners, and the public with the goal of meeting community needs for Food Security and Hunger.
  12. Advisor – Beautification/Social Benefit — The Advisor will serve as a non-voting member. The Advisor will serve as a community liaison between the board, association members, community partners, and the public in order to meet community goals for Beautification and other Social Benefits that our gardens provide.

New events for the week of 9/2/13

Part of The Commons still in disrepair

Part of The Commons still in disrepair (by Whitney Miller)

Here are a few events we would like you to know about.

  • 9:30 tomorrow morning (Wednesday 9/4/13) the Herbal Renewal group will be touring the BGS site, including the visitor center.
  • The Art Center’s Art in the Garden grand opening reception  is this Friday at Building 50’s north Mercado from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – the Botanic Garden will have a display so you’re encouraged to drop by, view the artwork and have a snack.
  • As I mentioned, you’re also welcome to join us at the Visitor Center Saturday morning at 9:30 to select tables and chairs.
  • Anyone willing to help with the advertising/marketing piece for our Revolutionary Gardens benefit is encouraged to come to the home of Karen Schmidt this Thursday at 5:30 p.m.  I’ll provide hot dogs, lemonade and homemade pie and we’ll pass out posters and contact information.  Folks will be asked to help by delivering a poster or two to a specified place, contacting a garden club or other group, or following up with a newspaper, radio or TV on a press release.  Anyone who could help would be greatly appreciated.

Discount for Revolutionary Gardens Conference Available!

As a thank you to Master Gardeners for their involvement with the Botanic Garden, on September 3 at Ciccone’s MG’s enjoy a one day Revolutionary Gardens registration discount opportunity of 10% on individual lectures, the 1-day package or the full conference, a savings of up to $40. MG’s unable to attend the regular September 3 meeting may call Fountain Point at 231.256.9800 to reserve tickets and pay by credit card. Otherwise, bring a check to the meeting. Peter Hatch was just in town getting interviewed by Ron Jolly. So was Warren Byrd. For those who cannot go themselves because of weekday lecture times, this series makes an extraordinary gift to any lover of gardens, horticulture and history and is a doubly rewarding way to make a contribution to your community botanic garden.


Nourish–July/August 2013

Contents

Growing Minds Need Growing Gardens
Beans

Growing Minds Need Growing Gardens

Sonia Clem

Food Gardens North tomatoes

Food Gardens North tomatoes


Oftentimes we can trace our love of gardens, whether food or flowers, to a specific point in our lives.  Read about the misadventures of a child, and the path she took.  Also, learn more about the efforts of Mike Davis, Kirsten Gerbatsch, Mike Kiessell, Ellen Lapekas, Trina Ball, and so many other MG’s for their heroic efforts in creating community and school gardens especially for children.  Be inspired and stay informed about the creative school gardens and MG-Seeds Demonstration garden project, and get involved if you can, here.

Beans

Michele Worden

Gourmet Bean Blend

Gourmet Bean Blend


So what is a bean? Think you know? “Bean is a common name for large plant seeds used for human food or animal feed of several genera of the family Fabaceae (alternately Leguminosae).” From that point, it gets tricky. It doesn’t help we commonly call things beans that are not beans but look like beans, such as cocoa beans, coffee beans and vanilla beans. It also does not help that botanists keep reclassifying legumes and beans to be in different families and genera. Also, the term bean is sometimes used as a synonym of the word pulse, which is an edible legume. Confused yet? Read on…

First, a clarification: the term “pulse” is usually reserved for leguminous crops harvested for their dry seed such as lentils or mung beans. This excludes green beans and green peas, which are considered vegetable crops. Also excluded in the definition of pulse are crops that are mainly grown for oil extraction (oilseeds like soybeans and peanuts), and crops used exclusively for sowing (clovers, alfalfa).

So here is what I have surmised in my bean research as an overview. The Fabaceae Family (or Leguminosae), commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family, is a large and economically important family of flowering plants. This group is the third-largest land plant family and is divided into several large genera.

Beans from the Old World are in the genus Vicia (broad and fava beans, vetch), the genus Cicer (garbanzo beans or chickpeas), and the genus Pisum (peas). Asian beans seem to be in the genus Vigna (mung beans, yard-long beans, black-eyed peas) and Glycine (soybeans) but botanists keep changing their classification. Beans from the New World are the genus Phaseolus, which includes green beans, scarlet runner beans, and lima beans.

For simplicity sake, the remainder of this article will focus on Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean that we plant in the garden in the summer.

Latin Name: Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean

Botanical Family: Fabaceae,

Description: Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean, is a herbaceous annual plant, grown worldwide for its edible beans, which are eaten both fresh as unripe fruit and as dried seeds. It is considered a vegetable. Phaseolus vulgaris includes string bean, field bean, flageolet bean, French bean, garden bean, haricot bean, pop bean or snap bean. Kidney bean, navy bean, and wax bean are types of Phaseolus vulgaris named for their fruit and seed characteristics.

All varieties bear alternate, green or purple leaves, which are divided into three oval, smooth-edged leaflets. The white, pink, or purple flowers give way to pods 3-8 in long. The pods may be green, yellow, black, or purple in color, each containing 4-6 beans. The beans are smooth, plump, kidney-shaped, and range widely in color, and are often mottled in two or more colors.

Common beans are classified into bush and pole (running) varieties. Bush beans are short plants, growing to approximately two feet in height, without requiring supports. They generally reach maturity and produce all of their fruit in a relatively short period of time, then cease to produce. Gardeners may grow more than one crop of bush beans in a season. Pole beans have a climbing habit and produce a twisting vine that is 6-9′ in length.

There are many varieties of beans that are cultivated primarily for a dried seed product such as kidney beans, pinto beans, and cranberry beans. Green bean varieties have been bred especially for the fleshiness, flavor, or sweetness of their pods. Haricots verts, French for “green beans”, may refer to a longer, thinner type of green bean than the typical American green bean. The first “stringless” bean was bred in 1894 by Calvin Keeney, called the “father of the stringless bean”, while working in Le Roy, New York.

Origin: Beans are one of the longest-cultivated plants. The oldest-known domesticated beans in the Americas were found in Guitarrero Cave, an archaeological site in Peru, and dated to around the second millennium BCE. Phaselous vulgaris was grown by native peoples from Chile to the northern part of what is now the United States.

Phaseolus was first seen by a European when Christopher Columbus, during his exploration of what may have been the Bahamas, found them growing in fields. Five kinds of Phaseolus beans were domesticated by pre-Columbian peoples: common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) grown from Chile to the northern part of what is now the United States, and lima and sieva beans (Phaseolus lunatus), as well as the less widely distributed teparies (Phaseolus acutifolius), scarlet runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) and polyanthus beans (Phaseolus polyanthus). These beans were taken back to Europe where they became staples in European cuisine. Cannellini beans in Italian cooking are actually Phaseolus vulgaris from the New World.

Cultivation (how and where grown): The common bean is a warm season crop and can be planted directly into the garden when the soil temperature is above 65 F. Beans germinate very quickly, usually in 3-5 days. Harvest can occur in 50-75 days, depending on the variety. Beans are legumes, so they acquire their nitrogen through an association with rhizobia: species of nitrogen-fixing bacteria that attach to the roots of the plant. Legumes are often used in agriculture as the next crop to replenish soils that are low in nitrogen when crops are rotated.

As the bean pods mature, they turn yellow and dry up, and the beans inside change from green to their mature color. As a vine, bean plants need external support, which may be provided in the form of special “bean cages” or poles. In more recent times, the so-called “bush bean” has been developed which does not require support and has all its pods develop simultaneously (as opposed to pole beans which develop gradually). This makes the bush bean more practical for commercial production.

The commercial production of beans is well distributed worldwide, with countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, South and North America all among the top bean growers. Brazil and India are the largest producers of dry beans while China produces, by far, the largest quantity of green beans.

Fun Facts: Beans are a heliotropic plant, meaning that the leaves tilt throughout the day to face the sun. At nighttime, they go into a folded “sleep” position.

Phaseolus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including Common Swift, Garden Dart, Ghost Moth Hypercompe albicornis, Hypercompe icasia, the Nutmeg and various caterpillar species.

Nutrition: Beans were an important source of protein throughout Old and New World history, and still are today.

Fresh beans have higher values for vitamin C and vitamin A. In general, the common bean is high in starch, protein and dietary fiber and is an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folate. Beans also have significant amounts of fiber and soluble fiber, with one cup of cooked beans providing between nine and 13 grams of fiber. Soluble fiber helps lower blood cholesterol.

Culinary Uses: Green beans, wax beans (yellow) and purple beans are delicious fresh or steamed. They can be used in sautés, stir-fried or baked in casseroles. Shelling beans are beans removed from their pods before being cooked or dried. Fresh shell beans are nutritionally similar to dry beans, but are prepared more like a vegetable, often being steamed, fried, or made into soups.

Dry beans will keep indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place, but as time passes, their nutritive value and flavor degrade and cooking times lengthen. Dried beans are almost always cooked by boiling, often after being soaked for several hours. While the soaking is not strictly necessary, it shortens cooking time and results in more evenly textured beans. In addition, soaking beans removes 5 to 10 percent of the gas-producing sugars that can cause flatulence for some people. The several methods include overnight soaking, and the power soak method, in which beans are boiled for three minutes and then set aside for 2-4 hours. Before cooking, the excess water is drained and discarded.

In Mexico, Central America and South America, the traditional spice to use with beans is epazote, which is also said to aid digestion. In East Asia, a type of seaweed, kombu, is added to beans as they cook for the same purpose. Salt, sugar, and acidic foods such as tomatoes may harden uncooked beans, resulting in seasoned beans at the expense of slightly longer cooking times.

Dry beans may also be bought cooked and canned as refried beans, or whole with water, salt, and sometimes sugar.

Medicinal Uses: Herbal medicine websites say that beans are a diuretic and that bean pods are effective in lowing blood sugar levels, if eaten in large quantities, to treat mild cases of diabetes. A bean pod diet for this purpose would mean eating 9-16 lb. of pods per week be cooked like vegetables. Bean pod tea is useful for dropsy, sciatica, chronic rheumatism, kidney and bladder problems, uric acid accumulations, and loss of albumin in the urine during pregnancy. Externally, bean tea promotes healing of ulcers and sores. Prolonged use of the decoction made from the beans is recommended for difficult cases of acne. Bean meal can also be applied directly to the skin for moist eczema, eruptions, and itching.

My favorite varieties: Dragon’s tongue (purple spotted), Beurre de Roquencourt (yellow wax), purple-podded pole bean.

Impact on Culture: “Beans, beans the musical fruit” is a popular children’s rhyme. Many edible beans, including broad beans and soybeans, contain oligosaccharides, a type of sugar molecule, which are digested in the large intestine by bacteria. A by-product of the digestion process is gas and flatulence.

Beans, squash and maize constitute the “Three Sisters”, planting companions that provide the foundation of Native American agriculture. In the “Three Sisters”, the tall cornstalks act as support for the beans, while the squash provide a living mulch for the roots of the corn.

Appearance in Literature: Jack and the Beanstalk is a famous fairytale.


Volunteer at the Boardman River Nature Center Gardens

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Thursday, June 20th, 5-7pm

Boardman River Nature Center, 1450 Cass Rd.

Master Gardener’s maintain the native plant gardens at the Boardman River Nature Center. Learn basic gardening skills and explore one of northwest Michigan’s premiere native plant gardens. To register, contact Matthew Bertrand at the Grand Traverse Conservation District, mbertrand@gtcd.org.


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