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Metra Project Update 2017

planting at METRA

Sprinkler System Overhaul and Planting at Metra Park

The Master Gardener Education and Demonstration Garden at Metra Park has seen some upgrades as of July 2017. The existing sprinkler system has been completely rebuilt to include two pop-up sprinkler zones and seven dedicated drip line zones for each of the individual gardens in the project. Each zone can be adjusted for the needs of the plants in that zone through use of the new A/C powered RainBird timer. This system is more reliable, accurate, flexible and expandable than the one used in the past that relied on a four zone battery powered timer.

Over 200 hours of volunteer time was expended to complete the installation of the sprinkler system. The installation was extended largely because of the need to excavate all the trenches by hand due to the many existing under ground pipes, hoses and wires that needed to be avoided and sidewalks to be dug under which precluded the use of a trenching machine. Many thanks to Kelly Glasser, who came all the way from Wright Wyoming to help with the project, and Gordon Lockwood for soldering the copper back flow prevent valve.

Planting of the gardens was delayed due to the installation of the sprinkler system, which took nearly a month. Most of the gardens were planted by Amy Grandpre, Dana and Joann Glasser with flowers donated this year by Nana's Bloomers. Gloria Irvin and Marilyn Lockwood have planted the raised bed gardens with gourds, radish, corn, squash, beans and other unique vegetables.

Many other projects were completed or begun in 2017:

  • A stone walkway was installed between the wheelchair accessible raised bed garden and the future grassy knoll area.

  • The fence posts surrounding the project were adjusted in length and solar light fixtures were installed at the top of the posts.

  • Hours of weeding were put in by volunteers and Master Gardeners to prepare the beds for planting.

  • Clean up of the compost bins has begun.

  • Sealing of the raised beds with linseed oil has been completed.

  • The south side of the hoop house has seen the installation of square foot gardens and a revamped dedicated drip system.

  • The hoop house has been given a clean up.

  • Concrete edging was poured and a stone (donated by Master Gardener Sheryl McCandless) retaining wall garden was completed.

  • The children's garden sand box was built.

Check out the photos on the left for details of some of the work.

garden overview

Our Corporate Sponsors

The YCMGA would like to express its gratitude to the generous 2017 corporate sponsors for their support in the development of this project.

  • ConocoPhillips

    After volunteering with a qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, eligible ConocoPhillips employees and retirees can maximize their community impact by applying for a U.S. Volunteer Grant. With this program, ConocoPhillips will make a monetary contribution of $500 for every 20 hours an eligible participant volunteers and $1,000 for every 40 hours a team of four or more eligible participants volunteers. Individual non-profit organizations can receive up to $6,000 per year from the company. Joann Glasser, a ConocoPhillips retiree, has secured multiple grants for this project.

  • Hill Masonry

    Hill Masonry, located at 68 Parkway Lane in Billings (406) 656-5955, has donated all of the stone which was used to construct the patios, walkways and edging of Education and Demonstration Garden. There was over 32,000 pounds of material that was donated and utilized in the project.

  • Nana's Bloomers

    Nana's Bloomers, in Laurel, provided plants for the flower beds.

  • EKO Compost

    EKO Compost, based in Missoula, donated compost for the flower beds and the green house vegetable garden. EKO products are now available at all local WallMart stores.

A heart felt THANK YOU to all our corporate sponsors of the Yellowstone County Master Gardener Education and Demonstration Garden at Metra Park!

A Brief History of Gardening

View the 2015 Update