MSU Yellowstone County Extension, North40Ag, and MetraPark have teamed up to create a unique garden at the MetraPark facilities.
A space covered with a cement pad for over 20 years will someday sustain several Montana crops that are common in Montana and specialty crops that may not be grown as commonly in our area. The crop garden will have corn, sugar beets, wheat, and some uncommon crops such as grapes, hops, and several varieties of berries. This space will be used for education, such as the Ag in The Classroom program, The Soil your Undies event, and Master Gardener and Horticulture classes.
Visitors at the MontanaFair will have the chance to tour the space, and local producers will be showcased with their stories of growing crops in our community. Harvest Haven will be developed in stages.
For the summer of 2023, the space will be cover cropped with peas; in an adjacent garden area, we will plant small boxes of local crops such as corn, wheat, and alfalfa. In addition to Harvest Haven, Yellowstone County Extension will provide garden space and resources for local youth and their families. The hope is that this space can benefit community members from across the county, with opportunities for agriculture and horticulture education and skill building.
The project was initiated in early 2023; Harvest Haven is 220’ x 72’; initially, it contained remnants of the old concrete pad, and the soil conditions were poor. This spring MetraPark staff utilized footing from horse barns to fill the space.
Once the cover crop is planted, it will be left until next year, when it will be incorporated into the soil before planting again in 2024.
With the addition of peas to the area, the cover crop will fix nitrogen and add additional nitrogen needed when we seed our future crop garden. This will be a multi-year process as we build off the soil’s productivity and plant shrubs, trees, hops, and more in the non-traditional crop area. We will continue to document the process and encourage everyone to go check out the space at the upcoming fair in August of 2023.