Welcome. The little ones are busy with books and pencils and protractors, while the big ones find solitary moments reflecting in the late garden. Goblins and mysteries are knocking at the door.  Family harvests offset takeovers by the sugar industry.  Some cooler days mean putting up stove-wood for the snowy, northern nights ahead. Gardeners radiate a sense of restfulness, proof of more periods spent outdoors. Wild creatures offer us free tutorials about food storage. 

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

This abandoned root cellar in Philip, South Dakota, was once a hub of family food preparation and storage activity.  Today the families are returning again, thanks to the historical preservation of this Prairie Homestead site.  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

Free class on dehydrating food, Sunday, October 29 at 1 pm. Rapid City.  more

Recently I picked up a copy of  “Boomers” magazine, Volume 1 issue 1, and found to my delight a timely discussion of how we can help save pollinators written by Master Gardener, Louise Hespen Engelstad.   more

As if to finish summer with a  flourish, during the last ten days, many gardens in  the Rapid City area hosted full flights of the Painted Ladies that came to dance on the flowers. The Painted Ladies are, of course, butterflies that resemble small Monarchs. Those seen in this area are part of the genus Vanessa and are, according to some sources, the most common butterfly in the world.  more

Let's face it, we all like happy endings...most gardeners I know who love and grow the heirlooms are passionate about the history these plants carry, their toughness, their value to the horticultural industry and their place in history. Promoting the Sylvestris tulip brings me no closer to Thomas Jefferson who grew these tulips at Monticello, but it does give me membership in the generations of growers who have loved this little plant since the 1500s.  Plant some history this fall. Be thrilled in the spring.  more

No-Till Gardening -- If You Love Your Soil, Ditch the Tiller. Tillers seem to be that go-to tool we’ve always used for what it was made 

to do - break up the earth. We till 

to clear a plot to start a garden, 

turn weeds under, or just mix up the soil.  more


For all practical purposes growing for the season is wrapping up and harvesting and evaluating the garden has begun. Our new garden has provided generously for us – all the summer squash, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, chard, kale and lettuce our hearts could desire. The pollinator garden thrived and is reseeding for next year. more


The summer has delivered brain-boiling heat followed by sanity restoring coolness with 48-degree mornings. But what we still feel is heat. That’s HEAT. We have had it in blistering amounts and one can find dire pronouncements that 2017 will be the hottest year on record. That is at least since planet Earth was a bubbling molten mass. more

Growing healthy soil for our new garden over the winter and spring for a functioning summer garden took trust in what I knew, faith in the process and a lot of interesting help…from earthworms, compost , fungi, woodchips and some hungry birds.  I admit in moments of irrational desperation I considered chemically killing the sod on the 40 x 50 foot proposed garden.  more

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) is encouraging residents to check any newly purchased nursery stock for Japanese beetle.  The adult Japanese beetle is under one-half of an inch long and has a shiny, metallic-green body with bronze-colored outer wings. more

Gardening in Spearfish also means a Farmers Market as well as 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

An updated guide to "Growing Tomatoes in South Dakota" is now available for download.  "Few vegetables inspire us more than home-grown tomatoes, bursting with vine-ripe flavor. Tomatoes are easy to grow in containers or in the ground, and are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, as well as cancer-fighting lycopenes."

Black Hills Guide to Landscaping with Deer Resistant Plants.  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.  More


October garden tips.  One tip is to “Cure pumpkins, butternut and hubbard squash at temperatures between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit for two or three weeks immediately after harvest. After curing, store them in a dry place at 55-60º F.”more


Take some time this October to read to a young teen in your family about the perhaps-forgotten pleasures of gardening and domestic life in the country.

 "we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, a door. Where? When?" (T.W.)


How To Store Potatoes For 20-Plus Years

     read now


If 20 years sounds like a long time to store potatoes, then it might surprise you to know that “fresh” potatoes in the grocery store are often 11 months old when you buy them. Modern developments in commercial food storage allow growers to store produce with a chemical (1-methylcyclopropene), which extends the shelf life of vegetables.


Of course, fresh potatoes won’t last 20 years, but you can dehydrate them to get that kind of long-term shelf life while maintaining nutritional value.

Now save carrots for 20 years with a dehydrator