I am always looking for fun and frugal activities to do with the kiddos, especially during the summer. I love to get them outdoors and if I can throw in something healthy or a learning moment, bonus points for sure! Just last week I finally took them on adventure I have been meaning to do for awhile and they had a blast.
Pikes Peak Urban Gardens is a non-profit that was formed in 2007 with the desire to increase the number of community gardens in the Pikes Peak Region. One of their projects, Harlan Wolfe Ranch is a demonstration garden, where they show organic gardening methods including: raised bed gardens, composting, organic pest maintenance and more. I loved looking at ways to improve my own organic garden, but my kids saw the adventure as a delicious snack and a fun place to explore.
In 1996 around 4-acres were left to the city by librarian Edna Rodabaugh to be used as a park, but the land was never developed and little more than a few neighbors even knew of the space. The Pikes Peak Community Foundation decided it would make a great location for a community project and in 2008 Pikes Peak Urban Gardens turned the area into a demonstration garden. It’s a low impact and educational area used to show gardeners different ways to garden.
For a beginner gardener like myself, it is a wonderful to see how others are finding success in growing organically. The helpful and friendly staff is happy to share their experiences and offer any advice, answer any questions, or celebrate your own successes with you. As a mom, it is incredible to have a location to bring little ones to, where they are free to wander with you, look at where the food comes from and how it grows. The staff was happy to show them plants they would recognize, like strawberries or peppers, and even let them pick a few on their own. (Just please make sure they only pick and touch what the staff says is okay to.)
Harlan Wolfe Ranch is open to the public, for Pick-and-Pay, on Thursdays and Saturdays from 9-12, until the first frost of the year. Last Thursday they had beans, peppers, chard, kale, tomatoes and more. It just depends on what is ready to harvest that week. I was told prices are “about $1 a handful” for most items, cherry tomatoes and beans are $4/1lb. and various other items are similarly priced. We came home with two huge bags of fresh organic veggies and a jug of fresh honey from a local apiary all for under $20. When you add in the fresh sunshine, the learning experience and the exploration for the kids–I’d say we made out pretty amazingly.
The next time you are looking for something fun to do, check out Harlan Wolfe Ranch’s Pick-and-Pay on Thursdays and Saturdays through the next month or so. It’s super fun!
Harlan Wolfe History
John S. Wolfe homesteaded the land in 1863 with his wife Mary Edna Harlan Worrell. The original deed had Ulysses S. Grant’s signature on it. Originally, the land extended all the way to the Broadmoor and Wolfe had many gardens and orchards on over 400 acres. The Historic Preservation Alliance has plans to restore the home and use it as a headquarters. The home will also display historical pieces to explain and showcase the area’s early agricultural history.