Save Ryan Street Community Garden

Ryan Street Community Gardens was built on Finlandia University property and is being sold. We are fundraising to purchase the land and become a publicly owned City of Hancock Park thus preserving the gardens for future generations to enjoy. If we meet our fundraising goal of $6,000 MEDC Public Spaces and Community Spaces program will match all donations. Click here to make a donation!/

Community Garden - Keeping Our Public Spaces

RSCG is located on the first block of Ryan Street in downtown Hancock.  We are working with community partners to retain the community garden space but need your help to: 

  • Preserve the current garden space for public use
  • Continue to provide educational opportunities
  • Provide means to feed over 50 community members a season
  • Creates a community space for all residents

The RSCG provides educational and volunteer opportunities 100's each season and builds a social network in the neighborhood.  Please help us to save this jewel in our community.  

How You Can Help 

To make an electronic donation click here:!/

If you prefer to give offline by cash or check please make/drop mail donations to the City of Hancock at: 
City of Hancock
399 Quincy Street
Hancock, MI 49930 

If you have questions or inquiries please contact Mandy Lounibos at

Gardening 101: Tips for Successful Growing in June

So you're a Yooper gardener, and June is a crucial month for your growing season. The weather has warmed up, and your plants are starting to mature. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your garden this month:

1. Plant Warm-Season Crops

June is the perfect time to plant warm-season crops like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. These plants need warm soil and air temperatures to grow properly, and by planting them in June, you'll give them plenty of time to mature before the first frost.

2. Water Regularly

As the weather heats up, your plants will need more water to stay healthy. Make sure to water them regularly, especially during dry spells. It's best to water in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid evaporation.

3. Fertilize

Your plants will need plenty of nutrients to grow strong and healthy. Fertilize them with a balanced fertilizer every two to three weeks to keep them growing strong.

4. Control Weeds

Weeds can quickly take over your garden if you don't keep them under control. Pull them out by hand or use a hoe to remove them from your garden beds.

5. Harvest Early Crops

If you planted early-season crops like lettuce, radishes, and spinach, it's time to harvest them. These crops don't do well in hot weather, so it's best to pick them before the temperatures rise too much.

Here are some guidelines for harvesting crops your early-season crops:

  1. Harvest early in the morning when the plants are still cool and hydrated. This will help preserve the flavor and texture of the produce.

  2. Use clean, sharp tools to harvest your crops. Dull or dirty tools can damage your plants and increase the risk of disease.

  3. Harvest vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers when they are fully ripe but still firm. For leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, harvest them when they are young and tender.

  4. For root vegetables like carrots and beets, wait until they are the size you want and gently pull them out of the ground.

  5. To harvest herbs, cut the stems just above a set of leaves. This will encourage the plant to continue producing new growth.

Remember to always handle your produce with care and store it properly to ensure the highest quality and longest shelf life.

Source: 1Michigan State University Extension. (2021, May 27). Vegetable Gardening - Gardening in Michigan.


  1. Michigan State University Extension. (2021, May 27). Vegetable Gardening - Gardening in Michigan.

By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to a successful growing season.

Happy gardening!

 Make a Difference Day 

Many thanks to the Make a Difference Day volunteers who helped our garden members put the beds to rest for the season. They hauled three truck loads of manure from our donor horse farm. We cleared out the raised beds together and worked in a layer of composted manure. Local volunteers and donors are vital to RSCG and we are so appreciative of your continued support!  

Two New Beds at RSCG

Plots available for 2021 season. 


RSCG thanks Portage Health Foundation. Their community garden grant funded our recent expansion adding two raised beds. 

Zachary Sommerville lead the construction efforts as part of his Eagle Scout Project. 

We appreciate all our volunteers who helped with this project including local Boy Scout troop and the Finlandia University Baseball team. 

is awarded an expansion grant from 
Portage Health Foundation

Click link to Finlandia University News


The Superior Health Foundation grant allowed us to continue offering free canning classes hosted by MSU educator Beth Waitrovich. 
July Strawberry Preserves Class 
August dilly bean class

Delicious roasted carrot and ginger soup

This fall Molly Cavaleri and her mother Roseann Terry from Rosian Catering hosted a soup-making class using immersion blenders.

We partnered with BHK Ryan Center Preschool again this summer. We helped the children grow their own seedlings in the classroom and transplant them into their playground garden bed. They helped water all summer. In August they came to Ryan House for a field trip and shared a meal made from the harvest. Thank you to all the volunteers who made this possible!

BHK Preschool Harvest Field Trip

Finlandia Baseball team volunteers showed up in full force this Fall. 

They mulched all the garden pathways, cleared a dump truck of yard waste, harvested apples, and made Ryan House updates.

Ryan Street Community Garden relies on volunteers and sponsors. Thank you for all your support!



During this first event of the season, Finlandia University volunteers helped garden members with the spring clean up project.  They built a new lattice for the front garden, cleared the yard, and installed the little library. Also volunteers cleaned and stocked the kitchen in preparation for summer canning and cooking classes. 

Thank you to Thrivent Financial for their generous donation. Funds were used to purchase a replacement side door for the Ryan House. 

Henry clearing the yard waste.

Front garden intsall 

Little helpers taking a ball break 

Bill installing little library 

Support from our community sponsors enable Ryan House to provide sustainability classes in 2019 

Giving Tree by Annah Smiddy : Finlandia University Arts and Design project at the Ryan House. This lovely donor recognition display is made from repurposed materials. Each donor to RHOSE (Ryan House Outreach and Sustainability Education) fund is recognized with an inscribed leaf.  



This fall Ryan House hosted our first canning class with guest speaker MSU Extension educator Beth Waitrovich.  She taught garden and community members the basics of canning safely at home and led a demonstration workshop using a steam canning technique. Steam canning is great way to preserve high-acid foods using a small amount of water that produces steam within the canner and around the jars. Below are the basic steps but be sure to check out these links for details on safe canning at home. Choose website recipes carefully from 1995 or later. USDA, State extension recipes, Mrs. Wages, and Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving are recommended.  Here are a few links below.

Basics of steam canning
Using, Storing, and Preserving Tomatoes
For more recipes see U.S. Department of Agriculture Complete Guide to Home Canning

Select ripe unblemished fruit

Rinse tomatoes then blanch in boiling water
for one minute to loosen skin.

Place in ice bath. Then peel, cut out core, and quarter tomatoes. Many hands make light work. 
Heat one pound of tomatoes quarters while crushing
 with a wooden spoon. Once boiling add
 remaining tomatoes. Bring to boil and boil 
gently for 5 minutes. 

Fill clean hot jars with tomatoes and lemon juice per recipe above leaving 1/2 head space. Remove air bubbles, wipe rim, and hand tighten lid. Process in steam canner per instructions (see link above).

Viola! After steam canner processing be sure to use tongs and keep jars upright while they cool. 
Special thanks to Beth for making the long drive. Her class was not only informative but loads of fun!

Ryan Street Community Garden partners with Ryan Center : Early Head Start and Preschool

RSCG volunteers helped Ryan Center preschoolers start seedlings indoors this spring. The preschoolers learned all about what plants need to grow.

Seedlings grown at Ryan Center including peppers, tomatoes, basil, and broccoli. 

Squash seedlings.

Already established strawberry plants.

RSCG volunteers prepared the Ryan Center raised bed and returned to help preschool gardeners transplant seedlings, plant seeds, and water all the new plantings.
Planting beet seeds. 

Ryan Center gardener watering basil plants.


Special thanks to the lead teacher Jaime Gariepy and the other Ryan Center teachers for supporting this project.

Cleaning up the house

The house
There is a house next to the garden and we now have acquired it for garden related activities.This past Saturday a bunch of us cleaned it up. It sat all winter and has been empty for some time so it needed a good cleaning.

It was hours of window washing, vacuuming, sweeping, scrubbing and mopping but in the end it is sparkling clean. There are still some things that need to be done but it is officially functional as a gathering place.

Thanks all for the hard work everyone. 

Sometimes cleaning is fun

Mandy and Beth working hard on the kitchen

Washing windows.

Readying for a New Growing Season

      As the snow begins to melt and the birds sing their songs the urge to garden grows and so us at the garden start making plans. Carrots, tomatoes, kale, broccoli, and so many more vegetables are on our minds.

The snow is starting to melt off the beds and new plants are starting to peek through the ground. Rhubarb is the first of those plants and is coming in nicely. This sweet and tarty plant is perfect for making pies, jams and even though the leaves are poisonous they can be useful. Concrete bird baths can be made with them and a mordant (a substance that combines with a dye or stain and thereby fixes it in a material) can be made for dying fabrics and yarns. 


Thanks to the weather the beds are almost completely snow free
A few more warm days and all the snow will be gone
This year the Community Garden is planning to have classes. Canning, food processing, and even learning how to dye with plants. Dates are not set yet but will be coming soon. Even some films about gardening will be shown.

Garden Work Days 2018
May 19th 10am - 1pm: First Garden Day: getting the garden ready for another growing season

June 16th 10 am - 1 pm 
July 21st 9am -12pm 
August 18th 9am- 12pm 
September 15th 10am -1pm 
October  13th 10am -1pm Last Garden Day: getting the garden ready for winter

Garden work days are when all the gardeners come together to take care of the communal areas of the garden. Weeding, compost, collecting fruits and herbs from the perennial garden, and working on projects.

This years projects include a rain barrel collection system and continuing work on the mosaic wall.

The Ryan Street Community Garden has acquired the house next to it and has big plans for the house. This will be were classes will be held (hopefully) and other activities. Fixing up and readying the house is one of the projects that will be a priority this year.

The public is welcome in our garden! Although please do not take any produce that has not been given. We work hard for our produce and do not appreciate theft.  Come enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and take a look around. If you have any questions about the garden please feel free to drop by on work days or email Amanda at