New Lake Worth School Garden Prepares for the Season

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My husband teases that if there’s a community garden anywhere in the country, I’ll find it.

I can’t deny that it certainly seems that way but I think Community Gardens find me!

Yesterday morning, we brought our bikes to the Lake Worth, Florida and rode in a beachside historic district known for its very sweet and petite cottages. The entire neighborhood is one charming little house after another, some with pretty gardens, picket fences or sculptural banyan trees.

While we were exploring, I spotted a community garden buzzing with activity.  It’s planting time in zone 10 and the gardeners and helpers were busy in this revitalized garden located across the street from a school.

Lori Vincent, Managing Director of Aurora’s Voice, which provides opportunities for underserved youth, is lending support to the project which they hope will provide job training, business experience and give students hands-on gardening time to grow nourishing food.

Vincent, who has gotten other community gardens off the ground, said there is a real need in this community where 85% of public school students live below the poverty line.

Of course I shared information with them about the online resources for starting and organizing community gardens at the American Community Gardening Association website.

The new school garden is looking for volunteers and supporters. Jason Clements, head gardener, has many good ideas and if anyone in the area wants to lend their support, this would be a great place to be hands on.

You can get in touch with the garden organizers by emailing: Lori@aurorasvoice.org

Nothing says Summer like a Juicy Watermelon!

This big, beautiful watermelon was successfully grown in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens by two of our gardeners.

If you’re interested in having a plot in the gardens next season, put your name on the waiting list now.  Applications go out early in 2019.watermelon

If you want to know more, come visit the gardens or get in touch by commenting here.

Hope to see you in the gardens, Natalie

Picture Perfect Sunday in the Gardens

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The day was dawning, the air was calm with a bit of a chill foreshadowing what is to come as we approach September.

As the sun rose, the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens were a peaceful sanctuary abundant with vegetables and rows upon rows of blooming sunflowers.

I watered the spinach seeds planted yesterday for a fall harvest, tidied up the pathways and looked over the crops being grown in every plot. There is so much variety including kale, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, watermelons, zinnias and herbs.  The gardens look amazing, the harvest has been wonderful, and the butterflies breathtaking.

Thank you great gardeners who grow here for your helpfulness and your attention to your plots.

I am grateful, Natalie

Girl Scouts Create Pitney Meadows Patch

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 9.48.37 AMThe Girls Scouts have been working in the gardens the last two seasons and we are delighted to have them!

They have grown food for the pantries, created a fairy garden, earned art and outdoor experience and so much more.

Now, the scouts will be able to earn a badge for their work in the community gardens.

This is the patch that troop leader Jess Clauser designed. Note the Pitney Farm barn and silo.

Green thumbs up to all the troops!

Our Toy Farm’s Landscape was Tweaked

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 4.33.49 PMLook what is blooming in our toy farm garden!

I love the creativity. Thank you to the “garden pixies” that made this adorable scene. It put smiles on faces all day long.

Mom Visiting From Out of Town

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Mom, who is 90 years-old, has been hearing about the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens for months now with telephone updates on the progress of the crops, the  butterfly garden, the sunflowers and the activities. This week she came to see for herself.

Here she is harvesting basil for Franklin Community Center’s food pantry. She was a happy camper enjoying being outdoors, moving the chair a little at a time to work around the trough, and meeting the gardeners who came by.

She kept saying how peaceful she felt.  “It’s a healing sanctuary,” she said. “I don’t want to leave.”

And when we dropped the basil off at FCC she said how happy it made her feel to be part of the sharing.

It was a sweet morning in the gardens.

Natalie

Jammin at the Farm

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Blueberry Jam, that is, at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens in Saratoga Springs

Diane Whitten, Cornell Cooperative extension nutritionist, came to the farm and taught everyone how to make blueberry freezer jam.

Children arrived at 9:30 for the Sunflower Hour reading program and heard Faye Mihuta, a community gardener and teacher, read “Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey complete with sound effects such as the berries going “plink” into a bucket.

After story time, children and adults had the opportunity to make a freezer jam which was delicious.

 

Diane teaches many different classes on food preservation and nutrition including classes on fermentation, making jerky, canning salsa and tomatoes. Go to Cornell Cooperative Extension’s website  to register.

She has offered to teach a class on pickling vegetables in the community gardens. If you might be interested, let me know and we will see what can be arranged.

Natalie Walsh, Garden Director – Natalie.Walsh@pitneymeadows.org

Garlic Harvest at Pitney Meadows Community Gardens

EdGarlic.jpgEd S. planted his garlic last fall and today he harvested.

The aroma was wonderful and wafted through the gardens to the delight of all of us working there.

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Ed also collects the flowers of his squash that aren’t pollinated and fries them up for a meal.

If you’ve never had them, fried squash blossoms are delicate and delicious. You can stuffed them with ricotta and mozzarella, add basil and herbs. Lightly batter them, fry and add a little red sauce. Yum.

 

Harvesting Time

Look what we are harvesting in our gardens.

Thus far, the Pitney Meadows community gardeners have harvested loads of lettuce, kale, basil, dill, chives, Egyptian onions, sugar snap peas and there’s plenty more to come!