Fort de Chartres Heritage Garden

Un journal d'un Jardin Potager du Pays des Illinois

Tag: Kgi

2016 Saison d’hiver

The FdC jardin potager. chicken, and garden shed from levee. Flood 2016, Jennifer Duensing photo.

The FdC jardin potager. chicken, and garden shed from levee. Flood 2016, Jennifer Duensing photo.

5 Février, 2016 vendredi

44 degrees, Partly Sunny

1 mph, ESE wind

This Illinois country winter has been generally mild but currently the season’s temperatures, if charted, would show a rise and fall equal to the surrounding land featuring the Mississippi River bluffs and bottomlands. Temperatures were mild in November and December before we finally received our first real snow mid-January. Now it seems each week brings a near record temperature only to quickly drop below seasonal norms. I would be remiss to discuss this winter without mention of the area’s flooding due to torrential rains which occurred in the week between Christmas and New Year. The Fort de Chartres site was closed and inaccessible for a few weeks while waters receded. Thankfully the site was spared from flooding and the standing water in surrounding fields and valleys has almost dissipated.

leaffork_with_text_580_0KGIRinging in the New Year, the fort’s garden has much more to be thankful for than receding flood waters. Thanks to the kindness of family and garden friends, we reached and exceeded our minimum KGI SeedMoney crowdfund goal of $400 for the Fort de Chartres Heritage Garden Project. And the good news doesn’t stop there-the jardin was one of the first of 75 garden projects to reach its $400 goal which qualified us for the additional $400 Challenge Grant portion of this crowdfund event sponsored by the SeedMoney Garden Challenge. The total amount raised for Fort de Chartres jardin potager through this event totaled $890.00. This support enables us to buy our heirloom seeds and begin the replacement of some our garden’s decaying raised beds-giving continued life to the Fort de Chartres jardin potager .

Garden volunteer, Jennifer Duensing working in the winter jardin.

Garden volunteer, Jennifer Duensing working in the winter jardin.

As new plans progress for the jardin potager, so do the days of the winter season. January was spent pouring through seed catalogs, and placing orders from our favorite heirloom seeds sources-Monticello, Baker Creek, and Seed Savers, to name a few. The first month of a new year is a great time to start some of those hard to grow rare seeds indoors, sharpen and clean garden tools, and review this year’s garden layout, rotating crops from bed to bed. Crop rotation is as an important step today as it was throughout the centuries to maintain a healthy garden and retain plant “vigor” by helping reduce pests and pathogens in our gardens. As we enter February, the lengthening days herald the move to the outdoors as some of the raised beds are cleaned of overwintered debris preparing for the sowing of peas and spinach later this month. Fruit trees are pruned and it is a good time to accomplish any structural work in the jardin potager.

We turn from the quiet days of winter as anticipation builds for the new garden year. The fine tradition of French kitchen gardens of the 18th and early 19th century serves to inspire us as remarkable horticultural examples. Firsthand accounts and those of early Illinois governors and historians remarked on French gardening in the Illinois country.

“It must be awarded to the French, and particularly the ladies, that they expended much labor and showed much taste in making nice gardens. They received not only much profit and comfort of living out of their gardens, but they also enjoyed the pleasure of rearing and seeing the beautiful plants and flowers growing in their gardens, which is so congenial to French taste.”

Early governor of Illinois, John Reynolds, The pioneer history of Illinois: containing the discovery in 1673, and the history of the country to the year 1818, when the state government was organized. 1852

FdC heirloom sample seed packets. Knife, John Hancock.

FdC heirloom sample seed packets. Knife, John Hancock.

To celebrate the beginning of the new garden year, two new Fort de Chartres jardin potager events are announced for early 2016. The garden will proudly host an event on Saturday, February 20, as part of Les Amis du Fort de Chartres new monthly workshop series-Art de vivre (Art of life). From 10 AM-noon, an heirloom seed exchange and swap will take place in the fort’s guard room. Free heirloom seeds and sample seed packets will be available, so bring your favorite or extra seeds to the fort and let’s exchange and share our seed bounty with area gardeners! Bring a lunch and at 1 PM we will move into the kitchen garden and learn how to prepare raised beds for the upcoming growing season as well as prune the garden’s fruit trees, their most important pruning of the year. The annual FdC Jardin Potager Weekend will occur Saturday & Sunday, March 26 & 27. On Saturday morning let’s meet again at 10 AM in the guard room for a discussion about direct sowing seeds in the garden. Some heirloom seed packet samples and informational flyers will be available to share with those traveling to the fort. An added bonus this year during the garden weekend will be March’s Les Amis Art de vivre workshop as part of Saturday’s activities. Darrell Duensing will lead l’habitants in a maple sugar demonstration from 9 AM-4PM. Saturday afternoon and on Sunday we will also continue work in the garden preparing raised beds and sowing seeds appropriate for late winter. Please join us at the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site during for these special events heralding the beginning of the new garden year. Follow this link for directions: Fort de Chartres State Historic Site.

La chance

WR jardin 4

Photo by Michell Baker, Winter Rendezvous 2015

13 novembre 2015 vendredi

56 degrees, Sunny

9 mph, WNW wind

Oyez. Oyez! The Fort de Chartres Heirloom Jardin Potager has been given the opportunity to compete for a $400 crowdgrant starting November 15th through SeedMoney 2015, a new grant program of Kitchen Gardeners International. With the state of Illinois historic site funding, your support is crucial in keeping the fort jardin potager viable. A huge thank you to Les Amis du Fort de Chartres, the fort’s not-for-profit volunteer organization, for agreeing to act as the sponsoring organization for this grant opportunity. All donations to the garden during this crowdfunding event are tax deductible. Keep an eye on the jardin’s facebook page for more details over the next few days. The grant event will go live between 1 PM and 2 PM CST on Sunday, November 15th and be active until December 15. The first 75 projects that raise their $400 in donations will receive a challenge grant from KGI for an additional $400. Your past support of the Fort de Chartres heirloom jardin project has been deeply appreciated and we hope that you will be willing to help us secure future funding to keep the garden alive and growing. More details to follow!

Photo by Renea Davis

Photo by Renea Davis

Update, Sunday, November 15: the SeedMoney Crowdfund Grant event has gone live: https://www.seedmoney.org/en/projects/25616-Fort-de-Chartres-Heritage-Garden

Monday, November 16: Thanks to the kindness of family and friends, we have reached and exceeded our minimum crowdfund goal of $400 for the Fort de Chartres Heritage Garden Project! It appears we are one of the first 60+ garden projects to reach that goal and should qualify us for the additional $400 Challenge Grant portion of this crowdfund event sponsored by the SeedMoney Garden Challenge. The final list of 75 Challenge Grantees will be announced on December 22nd.
Please note, additional donations to the Fort de Chartres jardin potager can be made until the end of this crowdfund event on December 15 and much appreciated. This support, along with current donations, gives continued life to the Fort de Chartres jardin potager and this gardener’s gratitude- reconnaissance du jardinier!