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Lyon County

Patti Mitchell - 637 Lawrence

Patti has been an avid gardener for over 40 years. She has been creating her little garden on this corner for years. First, as a renter, Patti started out in five-gallon buckets. As it progressed, tilling became involved. Patti’s landlord told her as long as no one complained she could keep on gardening. No one complained…which could be why most of her yard is a garden. Now Patti is the property owner and gardening brings her joy.

In the first few years building up a compost system and figuring out what kind of fertilizer to use were important issues. One year Patti tried fresh cow manure and ended up with the prairie as her garden. A very majestic prairie coneflower did survive and has lived in the front flower bed for about 8 years. Lately rabbit manure has been the fertilizer of choice. Patti’s composting method is one she developed through the years. It consists of three bins made from pallets. Each year one is dumped and then refilled. About three years is the right amount of time for one bin to compost enough for her without turning it. Patti calls this the grandma method.

Her great grandsons love being in the garden. This year Patti created a garden for kids, a space of fun and learning. Most everything they’ve planted is in yellow mineral buckets to keep from getting trampled by little feet. The spring garden had lettuce, carrots, spinach, broccoli and peas. The peas were grown on pieces of tree branches creating little pea trees. Now in the garden are green and yellow beans, yummy cherry tomatoes for snacking, little cucumbers for little fingers, a potato, mini watermelon and mini cantaloupe. A gourd is planted for an arch that is decorated with birdhouses made from gourds grown last year. They were painted by friends and kids. A slide for sliding but also for getting up high to check the tops of those plants for grasshoppers also is in the kid’s garden. The addition of the pool is handy for watering as well as

On the other side is grandma’s garden, which is a little bit more traditional. There Patti is growing some corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and a few other good things to eat. Grandma also has a secret hideout in the corn.

Patti loves to make scarecrows. This year, the scarecrow is a KTA Toll Collector as a tribute to this being the last year of individuals manning the toll booths. Patti worked for KTA for many years and is a retired toll collector.

The tunnel between the gardens is planted with cardinal vine. Last year, Patti grew miniature pumpkins on the tunnel. One of Patti’s favorite flowers is the Coneflower. This beautiful Kansas native blooms purple all over her yard throughout the summer. Patti has been working on the bulb and perennial garden in the front yard. This is still a work in progress. It will continue along the south side of the house under the walnut tree to the back. Spring phlox, crocuses with wild violets galore is already growing back in there. Eventually, it will look like a natural area. Though, it is challenging growing under the shade of a walnut tree.

Mitchell Tour