Whatcha Growing?


Find out what’s growing at the Farm at St Joe’s! 

Watch seedlings grow-up and become tasty vegetables sold at the  St. Joe’s Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays at 11:00am in the main hospital lobby


Spring is a busy time at The Farm.  All those seedlings that were planted earlier at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens are ready to be planted. First the beds are prepared with compost, then tilled and aerated.  String helps keep the rows straight.  Below, the Swiss chard and kale seedlings are now small plants that we planted in the back hoop house.

Beds prepared  chard being planted  Kale being planted

Our group of volunteers worked on harvesting mature white turnips.  The hoop houses are warm, even in the cold spring showers. Turnips being pulled

The baby tomato plants are ready for planting–look for fresh, vine ripe tomatoes at the St. Joe’s Farmer’s Market later this year!  Drip lines are added after the tomatoes are planted for irrigation.  Tomatoes like to be watered from below; this minimizes leaf diseases.

Below are the front of the three hoop houses.  The red hoop house on the left is the Eisenhower – St Joe hoop house.

Inside of the Eisenhower hoop house are the peas that were planted a few weeks ago.  All of the beds are planted are ready for patients to tend to.

Peas growing  Eisenhower hoop a

eisenhower hoop b

Remember those baby carrots and onions that were directly sowed into the front hoop house?  Here they are freshly weeded and growing like, well, carrot tops.

carotts and onions



Spring is in full swing at The Farm at St. Joe’s!  The hoop house beds will soon be prepared for planting.

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Above, the hoop houses still let in a lot of light to warm the plants, even on a stormy day.

There is plenty of garlic growing at The Farm (below)– this is a field of garlic growing near the hoop house closest to the parking lot.  It will be ready in about July or August. This is a compost pile, below, that will eventually turn into rich soil (compost) that can be used to feed the beds.

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Above is the front of the Eisenhower hoop house, a joint project with SJMHS, at The Farm at St. Joe’s. This hoop house features a wooden wall with automatically opening doors, to make it more user friendly for people who use wheelchairs or walkers.

Sign and Tractor


This week our group of volunteers worked at the Farm, while the seedlings that we planted bask and grow in the warm greenhouse at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.  Amanda and other groups of volunteers have been busy getting the two hoop houses empty, so that the soil can be prepared.


This compost, below, will be moved by hand with wheelbarrows onto the beds and tilled in, after the beds have been aerated.

Right now, there are leafy greens growing.  For the past few weeks it has been harvested and sold at the Farmer’s Market and given to the Food Gathers for those in need in the community.   That’s kale flowering in the far row, below.  This field is the Staff Community Garden where some garlic is over wintering.  The garlic will be ready in June/July — look for it at the Farmer’s Market.


Below is the Eisenhower hoop house at the Farm at St. Joe’s.  This is an accessible hoop house for rehabilitation patients.  We helped plant some of the beds with young plants.


The onions and carrots, below, were planted from seed in the hoop house and are weeded by volunteers.  The hoop houses stay warm from the sun and these are plants are okay with colder temperatures, as long as the ground does not freeze.

These are peas, below, that we planted in the Eisenhower hoop house with a small trellis for the peas to climb.  More vegetables will be added to the beds and then cared for by patients receiving rehabilitation and by people who use wheelchairs.



Our small group of regular volunteers went back out to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens to plant the next batch of seeds for the Farm.  Staggering the planting of seeds is necessary as seeds germinate at different lengths of time and grow at different rates.  Staggering helps ensure all of the plants are ready to plant in the hoop houses at the same time. Below are the seedlings that were planted in previous weeks– they are so cute at this age!  Below, are some baby sunflowers and more peppers.

Here (below) are the seeds we planted, as well as more from previous weeks. That’s baby kale, below.

Below is baby chard (middle)– you can tell by the colorful red stems.

Here is the group transplanting flats of peppers into bigger containers.  The peppers were originally germinated in open flats.


Below are those sprouts from last week!

The Matthaei Botanical Gardens is a fascinating place to explore.  We got to see a glimpse of the behind-the-scene parts of the belly of the complex.



The Matthaei Botanical Gardens in northeast Ann Arbor at 1800 N. Dixboro has an amazing conservatory, trails, gardens, a gift shop, and on-going classes and events.  It also offers help getting seedlings growing for local non-profit groups, like the Farm at St. Joe’s.  Each Spring, the Matthaei Botanical Gardens generously provides space in their greenhouses, equipped with heated seed germination tables, and provides care for tender young seedlings.  A small group of regular volunteers headed out in a Spring downpour to plant the second batch of seeds for the Farm.  Once the seeds grow into small plants, they will be moved to the Farm and planted in the hoop houses.



That’s Amanda (above) recording the seeds into a crop log. Then  the fun starts- spraying the soil down and mixing it up with your fingers!  Volunteers help pack the soil into empty containers and plant the seeds.  That’s the greenhouse at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens (above) where the seeds are then placed onto heated tables.


Above is a gardener of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens who tends to the seeds after we plant them.  Above are some chives planted earlier that are sprouting. Below are more seedlings planted previously for the Farm at St. Joe’s, including some peppers that have there first leaves. The sprouts on the end are another group’s seeds.