The Pleasures of a Garden

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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!

Sunflower Contest Has Almost 60 Participants

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June 14th is the last day to plant for the sunflower contest. So far we have 58 participants who have planted a seed and who will tend the plants all summer.

The person that grows the tallest sunflower and the person who grows the biggest flower head will each receive a prize. Plants will be measured in the fall. Details to follow.

Want to enter the contest?

Come to the garden Wednesday afternoon between 4 and 7 p.m. or Thursday from 8 to 11 a.m..

Hope to see you there, Natalie

Frosty Morning marks the End of Growing Season

 

Last night’s temperature dipped to 29 degrees, and our garden showed the impact this morning.

The icy crystals on the remaining plants and herbs reminded me of crystallized flowers that decorate cakes.  It is very pretty to look at as the frost clings to the edges like lace on a party dress.

It’s time now to clear the beds, we will be sowing annual rye next week and tucking the garden in for the winter. The compost is scheduled to be delivered and the bags will be placed on gardener’s beds on Thursday.

I will be in the garden Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday mornings.  If you are available to help organize the shed and a few other chores, I would appreciate the help.

We tallied the volunteer hours logged and some gardeners haven’t volunteered for the six  hours of service required of every gardener, this would be a way to make up the difference. Remember, you have to have your hours in to be eligible to keep your plot for next season.

See you at the meeting tomorrow, Wednesday night, 7 p.m. at Spring Street Gallery, 110 Spring Street.

Warmly, Natalie

 

Together, Volunteers Made it Happen

Last night I realized there was no way I could get all the landscape fabric down and pinned in place before the Navy volunteers arrived between 8:30 and 9 a.m. this morning.

The Navy was coming to move gravel onto the fabric below the pathways and then level the pathways out with a layer of stone dust.  This is hard, heavy work and I am grateful to have their help.

With the help of Jim Gold, the areas were marked out for fabric earlier this week. What needed to be done was the rolling out of the 6 ft. fabric, cutting the strips to fit, and pinning it in place.

Should I get up at 4:30 a.m. and head to the gardens? That’s what I was thinking. Could I get it done in time? Gulp.

I quickly put out a call for early morning help. The response was fabulous.  At 8 a.m. our volunteers showed up, ready,  willing and prepared to laid down the landscape fabric around the area where the pergola will be.

Thank you to early bird heroes Gus, Jan, Jess, Dan, Kim, Buster and Andy for their help.

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 1.49.54 PM.pngJust as they were finishing up, 11 volunteers from the Navy base stepped into the gardens up wearing their yellow shirts and immediately pitched in. Smooth, flawless transition.

As Bill moved the gravel in place with his tractor, the Navy volunteers raked it out.  In no time, the pathways were covered with a layer of gravel and then stone dust.  They worked like a well-oiled machine, making sure there were no low spots and adding stone dust until it was as level as possible. Taking pride in their efforts.

Two other volunteers who couldn’t work in the gardens, but wanted to contribute, brought drinks for the group and bought lunch from Putnam Market, which was received with enthusiasm.

Thank you all.  You are the community in our community gardens and I appreciate every thing you do for us as we make our gardens grow.

P.S.  Here is a photo of the color-coordinated Navy volunteers in front of our sunflowers.  Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 1.58.10 PM.png