It seems like just yesterday that we were beginning our program for the year. And yet, this month we will be wrapping up Build It Up for the season. We had a group of awesome gardeners that despite the pandemic, showed up throughout the year at zoom workshops and material pickups. Although this year was far from traditional, I think we made the most of what we had. If this year taught me anything, it was the importance of having a dependable community to garden with! 

We will have our last pickup for seed garlic and row cover in a couple weeks. And then, that’s it! It’s a bittersweet goodbye to our 2nd and 3rd year gardeners, but hopefully some of our first years will decide to join us again next year. 

In typical fashion, I have included a gardener story from one of our first year gardeners, Andrew.

Andrew’s Story:

“Hello! We are the Presnells, and we are so happy to be a part of the BIU program. Gardening has been something I have wanted to do for years. A few years ago, we bought our first house and tried our first garden here last year. We were able to harvest a small amount, but it was clear we had much to learn. With the help and encouragement of this program, we took on a much bigger garden with a greater variety of vegetables. Though we were still anxious to take this on, we have really had a successful first year of gardening!

The straight forward way of instruction and materials has really helped us feel like we have a clue what we are doing. Family, friends, and coworkers are probably tired of hearing us talk about our garden, but have not tired of the constant stream of food they get (lol). We are including a few of our favorite recipes below that we have made using the vegetables from our garden. Our kids have been excited about the garden and have loved to see what we can grow in our backyard. This has not been an experience for a season but instead is the start of a lifelong practice for the Presnell family. We are already discussing what we are learning this year (i.e. carrots and broccoli have not been worth the space in the beds; give tomatoes and cucumbers more room; plant lots more onions!!) to make our garden work better for us next year. We are so glad to be part of this program!”


Queen of the Night Salsa (Black Bean and Corn Salad)

  • 2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 ears of corn grilled and cut off the cob (or a bag of frozen corn)
  • 2-3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 purple onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 jalapenos, seeds removed if you don’t like it too spicy
  • 1/8 to ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt

Dump everything together, mix, and chill. Yummy with salty chips, on tacos, or as a side.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles (from

  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 6 sprigs of fresh dill
  • 2-3 pickling cucmbers

Add all ingredients except cucumbers to a jar and stir or shake to combine. Cut cucumbers to your liking and add them to the jar, and shake to combine. Refrigerate for a day or 2 and then dig in! Pickles will last about 2 weeks in the fridge.



See you again next year!