Yankton Community Garden Snapshots

Yankton community gardens were filled with vegetables and flowers on this balmy evening in early August. Warm and cool spring had slowed early development of some plants like tomatoes and carrots but warm summer days and some rain bolstered plant growth.


Community garden organizers are the Healthy Yankton members with the help of other volunteers and partnership of the City of Yankton.

Visit with gardeners at their plots this evening. You will find gardening tips from what they have experienced, what is growing well now, and their joy of gardening here.

Romaine and Chuck Wiebelhaus Outsmart Deer

 “We can’t have a garden at our house,” Romaine said. “Deer would eat everything.”

“We put 25 canna bulbs out this spring at home and the deer mowed them off. So now we have most of the flowers on the deck,” Chuck said. “We’ve seen them on their hind legs eating out of the flowerboxes. They’re cute to watch but expensive.” They said deer haven’t been a problem at the community gardens.

“Green beans, tomatoes both cherry and regular tomatoes,” Romaine said, are their standout producers here so far. They’re waiting for peppers and getting ready to make salsa.

“She’ll can at least 25 – 30 pints and then quarts of spaghetti sauce,” Chuck said.

“It’s our first year for sunflowers,” she said. “If they grow, they grow. We’re still going to the farmer’s market. Gardening is relaxing.”

“We moved from Iowa, after retiring and can do it at our leisure,” he said. “We stop and visit. It’s a gathering place.”


Gary Engel and Kids

Kids from 6 years old to toddlers are playing in and around the truck parked next to his garden plot.

“I like to bring the kids. Teach them what is a good plant and a weed. They don’t pull all the weeds; but some. They help plant and dig potatoes.” Today it’s a bit muddy so the truck is home base.

“Best green peppers I’ve ever had,” Engel said. See them below. He purchased the plants at Menards.


Today is the first day to harvest tomatoes.

“I think the tomatoes will do well. It was a wet spring; that’s how it goes,” he said. He noticed some animal bites in the red tomatoes. “We do tomato sauce and salsa.” He has many tomatoes ready to ripen on his vines. He points to his neighbor’s plot.

“They just took their onions out. I have tiny ones and they had big monsters,” he said.

As we talk he notes a butterfly and alerts his daughter who goes to inspect it closer. 


Karsen’s Rocket Ship

While his father is showing me standout potatoes and carrots, son Karsen is squashing bug pests.

“I put him on patrol, his dad said.

“(Full size) tomatoes haven’t developed yet,” he said.

Broccoli has holes in the leaves from cabbage loopers (caterpillars) and the small white butterfly adults fly about. “I tried Sevin powder on the leaves, he said. “We went on vacation and I waited to pick them. When I got back they were blossoming.”

“Eggplants are doing great. I had to give some away. Same with cherry tomatoes.” His produce adds up.


“Karsen gets bored here,” his dad continued, digging potatoes. Karsen grabbed one of the potatoes.

“Dad, it looks like a rocket ship,” Karsen said. His photo is below.

“Good imagination,” his dad replied.



We have more community garden snapshots and gardeners to visit. Beth Preheim and Michael Sprong grew luna gourds like those used as kitchen or bath scrubbers. See their story in the link below.


Laura Bremer and her husband grew giant sunflowers to make natural seed feeders for birds. See their story in link below.


Mad Hussein grew hot peppers for chili and other seasoning. See his story in the link below.


Brad and Sara Bies’ produce harvest today includes okra they learned to grow, beans and squash. See their story in the link below.


For the rest of  the  garden snapshots, go to the Yankton Press & Dakotan link below.


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