On This Rainy Day…

We may think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us – Jenny Uglow 

Nurturing images from Pitney Meadows Community Gardens this morning before the rain.

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Questions from the Garden

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 11.07.38 AMThe Pitney Meadows Community Gardens are looking lovely and gardeners have been out all week tending their beds.

A few questions came up that everyone may want to know.

When can I pick my lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard?

The outer leaves of  loose leaf lettuce can be cut close to the base when the leaf reaches 3 to 4 inches.  Use a scissor or knife and cut straight across the bottom about an inch to two inches from the plant’s base.  The inner leaves will keep growing.

You can also harvest the outer leaves of young, tender spinach and Swiss chard leaves this way. Use a scissor or sharp knife. Don’t break it off, cut it.

To keep them fresh at home,  put the greens in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Do my tomato plants need cages?

Yes. The plants look small now but will grow quickly. Putting the cages on now is easier on you (you won’t break any branches) and the plant.

You can also trellis some of the smaller varieties of squash, cucumbers, and beans to save space and promote healthy growth. Some squash grow into large sprawling plants. Plan ahead by reading the label and give your plants enough space in your plot.

How often do I water?

The rule of thumb is plants need an inch or two of water each week and will grow best with deep, infrequent waterings rather than more frequent shallow waterings. A good soak encourages deeper and stronger root growth.

NOTE: Newly planted vegetables and seeds need more frequent waterings to become established.

In our gardens, the soil is sandy, which drains quickly. This is why we added compost and turned it into the soil. The compost holds the moisture and helps our plants grow stronger and healthier.

Here’s how you can tell if you need to water.  Use your finger and feel for the moisture in the soil about an inch or two deep.  If it is dry, water. If not, wait another day.

The best time to water is morning, but late afternoon is fine as long as you keep the foliage from getting wet. Wet foliage can lead to fungal issues later in the season. Get in the practice of watering low to the ground and your plants will thank you with an abundant harvest.

If you are using a blue stake, be sure to pull it out when you are back from holiday.

See you in the gardens, Natalie

Mulching the Garden Beds Means Less Stress for You and Your Plants

Three reasons to mulch:

You won’t have to water as often.

There won’t be as many weeds to pull. And your plants will be healthier.

Gardeners have long known to use straw for this purpose and not hay, because hay has seeds.

But I learned from Bill, our farmer, that not all straw is equal.  “Farmers know that wheat straw is best,” he said.

The reason is it contains fewer seeds than oat or rye straw.  If you already put down rye straw, you still did a good thing for your plants. It will keep the soil moist and if weeds sprout, they will be easy to pull.

I believe in the saying, “When you know better, you do better.”

In the future let’s see if we can source wheat straw for our gardens.  Since wheat straw is used for horse bedding, we should be able to source it locally. After all, Saratoga Springs is all about the horses.

I’ll ask around. If you know of a source, let me know and I can share it with everyone.

 

 

Fairy Houses on Exhibit Until Monday

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Just in case you didn’t get to see them at the fairy gathering, the houses made by the Girl Scouts will remain on exhibit in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens until Monday, May 28th.

Come see and be enchanted. These delight little dwellings are sure to charm.  And it’s not just houses, our fairy-in-residence artist, Jess Clauser, has created a neighborhood with branches, slices of logs, mushrooms and more.  The area has cultivated mini-landscapes with tiny bridges, terra cotta pots and lounge chairs.  It looks like fairies live there.

And, at least one young visitor at the fairy gathering over the weekend, said he saw one in one of the houses.Screen Shot 2018-05-23 at 5.48.40 AM

If you haven’t come to see the fairy garden, please do. It is located at the end of the pathway on the northern edge of the community gardens where the wide path ends and the field begins.

According to legend, fairies have the power to bring happiness. Considering all the smiles I’ve seen on the faces of adults and children as they explore what is in this little village, the legend is true.

Fairy Gathering a Huge Success

I left the gardens about an hour ago, but the smile on my face will likely last for days

What a wonderful day for the gardens.  We had about 125 fairies and friends of fairies participate in the fairy gathering at Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.

Thank you to Susan Rivers, our fairy godmother, for her generous support of this event.

A big round of applause to Jess Clauser, our girl scout badge coordinator, who organized the fairy house decorating with over 30 scouts. The houses were delightful and many are still in the gardens for everyone to enjoy. I’m so fortunate to have someone of such extraordinary talent and such a kind heart in the gardens.
Thank you Charlotte. You are such a joy. Your willingness to lend a hand in so many ways is deeply appreciated.
Thank you Kim Fonda, one of the fairy village landscape architects, who worked along with Jess. You both did amazing work.  There were constant “ohhh and ahhs” by everyone as they walked along the border. Thank you for all you did from planting to planning and for selling T-shirts for the farm.
Thank you to Jan DeMeo for your help with the signs.
A big thank you to Judy B., who helped make pretzel fairy wands, decorated with a magical touch and made the treats table look enchanting. And, who with Sharon S. and Kathy R. from the Senior Center were hostesses at the treats tables. We served fairy water, cookies, enchanted eggs, pixie stix and these incredible cookies made by Heather V. that were admired by everyone. Look an the image of a fairy admiring one below. Her expression says it all.
Music for the Fairies
Thank you to Andy Roth for playing music with his guitar and harmonica for us.  Andy, the children loved it and one parent made a point of telling me how the music added to the “vibe of the day.”  So true. Thank you.
To Anne Curtin, our sunflower contest coordinator, for helping the children plant seeds for the sunflower contest.  She had many fairies lining up to plant to the delight of everyone.
And for our energetic fairies, Chris Marsh organized ball games in the field. It was a delight to see the fairies with their wings running after the ball. Siblings of fairies were out there too having fun.
What a day. I will treasure the memory. Thank you all. I couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you.
You make the community garden work. You made this a magical day.
And, I am grateful.
Natalie