Benson’s Farm, Missoula, MT

Last Saturday (August 2nd, so yeah, I’m posting this a week late) we went out looking at various nurseries and stuff to get some ideas for the types of food we want to plant, as well as ground cover, drought-resistant grasses, etc. Our first stop was a place I had heard of but never visited: Benson’s Farm.

Benson’s Farm is right on the western edge of Missoula, just off Reserve Street — one of the busiest stretches in town. It’s very cool that such a large operation is right in the city; when I think of all the big vacant buildings along Brooks Street, I think of how cool it would be if they could be knocked down and turned into community farmland, especially since that is such an ugly stretch of the city. While North Reserve gets its deserved lumps for its bigbox sprawl, this stretch is still pretty much residential. I’d driven by the Benson fields before, obviously, but had never visited the nursery part. Here are a couple shots of the fields, viewed looking west:

The main grounds were breathtaking. Apple orchards, tons of flowers (and lots of bees, which I loved to see), hanging baskets, everything. It was kind of quiet, as I imagine they were probably at the Farmer’s Market while we were visiting.

What I liked best, and what was most helpful to us, is they have different sections where they will have a sign that groups different varieties of flowers together if you want to attract hummingbirds, or drought-resistant grasses or groundcovers (exactly what we were looking for!), and things like that. Now I know all of that information is readily available with a bit of research, but the way they have it set up is fantastic for neophytes like us.

In the next couple weeks we will be back to get some plantings, but mostly I’m excited for everything we are going to do next spring. It sometimes strikes me as odd how eagerly I look forward to this stuff; being interested in growing food is relatively new to me, and when I reflect on it I find it surprising. It’s just weird how life changes our perspective as we get older, I guess.

Hopefully next weekend we will get some topsoil delivered and our raised beds filled. Then we can start sticking some stuff in the ground!