Cleared, Cleaned and Prepared for Winter

winterready.jpgOur gardens are tucked in and ready for winter.

In the last two weeks, the plots have been harvested and cleared of plant debris. Organic compost has been added to improve the soil and the plots have been planted with a cover crop of annual rye.

The rain has helped and the rye is sprouting. This cover crop will improve our soil structure and provide erosion control during the windy months to come.  On the west side, the sunflower stalks were left standing to block the wind and provide a soil erosion control.

Even bare, the garden looks nice, tidy. Thank you to the Navy volunteers, our community gardeners and all the others who have come to help.

This season has been wonderful.

And, yes to those who have asked. I’m already thinking of next year and how our community gardens will continue to grow.

 

 

Advertisements

Thank you Navy volunteers!

The Navy has been volunteering in the community gardens all summer. What a joy to have them come every week to rake, weed, move gravel, paint and more.  They are willing hands and much appreciated.

Last week, I wanted to send a little sunshine their way and told them to gather a bouquet of the sunflowers to take home with them. And, they did.

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 11.13.12 AM.png

One volunteer gave our scarecrow a sunflower for his pocket while picking some for himself.

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 11.12.45 AM.pngThank you to all the volunteers who helped in the gardens.

You all contributed to the success and sense of community. Thank you.

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

 

 

Work on the Community Gardens Shed Progressing

Work on the community gardens shed is coming along and many hands have helped.

Rich T. restored the windows. He and Chris framed and installed the windows and door. George W. put in an entry set to secure the door from blowing with the wind. Volunteers from the Navy primed the interior and siding. Chris C. advised on what paint to use. Today, Tom G. put plywood in the former windows on the east wall. And tomorrow, I paint.

The color is white so the interior will be bright. If anyone wants to help, I will be there around 9 a.m. and hope to get one coat done Sunday and another Monday morning.

Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. – A.A. Milne

Once the paint dries, we can begin to organize the tools by hanging them on the east wall and tracing an outline around each tool onto the wall. That way we will all know what belongs where and if something was left in the gardens. You know, a place for everything and everything in its place.

While the east wall will be dedicated for tools, the west side will have a potting bench, storage and a library. We are still looking for a small cabinet with doors that we can use for books, a seed exchange area, a magnifying glass, etc.  If you have one that is 4 feet tall or less to donate, let us know. Small is good as space is limited. We will put it to good use.

Pigeon Update: As of yesterday, one pigeon baby had flown the coop but not the other. I’m hoping the young bird leaves soon so we can finish priming and move forward.  We are letting the birds rule the roost until they fledge. But truly, I hope they are close to leaving. Pigeons might be where the expression “dirty bird” came from as in meaning something that soils its own nest. Yuck.

Volunteers Make it Happen!

20170720_094607.jpg

It’s only noon, but in the last three hours so much has happened.

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 12.52.47 PM

The area was graded so it won’t flood. Gravel was leveled and stone dust put in place.

The Navy volunteers came, nine strong helpful people, and they put down gravel and stone dust for us, dug a trench for a water line, and removed stake fencing and plastic.

And it only took them a couple of hours!

These were heavy, hot jobs. They made it look effortless. Teamwork is a wonderful thing. Thank you all. And thank you to Leading Petty Officer Richard Keitz for sending them our way.

Also sincere appreciation to those volunteers who provided drinks, snacks and lunch. It was hot and humid out and having refreshments was very helpful indeed.

Saratoga Bridges

This morning Saratoga Bridges visited the garden. They are regular visitors and entered the “Grow the tallest Sunflower” contest. Today, they watered their entries and we walked around the garden. Some were willing to taste Ruby lettuce that was ready to be harvested even though they weren’t sure they would like “salad.” Some did.

Charming Mini Farm

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 12.53.13 PM

The fences are made from clothespins and popsicles stick. How creative!

Garden volunteer Judy Brunner made this dollhouse barn to the delight of everyone. You have to look at this.

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 12.52.25 PM

Judy setting up her mini-farm for all to enjoy.

Judy, a retired Saratoga Springs teacher and artist, designed a mini farm with little animals, outbuildings and pasture. She remodeled a dollhouse into a barn and created silos. It is a work of art.

Parts that she couldn’t find, she made out of clay.  Little ducks sit on a pond, a flock of chickens wander a little pasture, there are horses, pigs, sheep and cows. And even a green tractor like the one on the farm.

Look at the fences. Recognize what they are made from? Clothespins and popsicles sticks. This is a wonderful addition to the garden for children to play with. And it wasn’t set up for more than 30 minutes before it was field tested by a boy, who said he liked it very much. And began to play.

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 12.54.36 PM

The first visitor trying out the new mini-farm play area.

I will next be in the garden on Saturday morning from 9 to 11. Come talk to me if you have a question.

If you are in the garden and I’m not there, please water the newly planted sunflower area. And the troughs, the cosmos in the back and the pumpkin patch all need lots of water. It’s been hot and dry this week and everything (and everybody) appreciates a tall, cool drink on a day like this.

Thank you all, Natalie

The Navy Came Through

What a great morning.

Volunteers from the Nuclear Power Training Unit in Ballston Spa came to give us a hand and were able to set beds in place, lay down landscape fabric, line the pathways with fabric, then gravel, and rake it out. They also filled the raised beds with soil and the sandbox with play sand.  What they did on one hot, humid morning would have taken us a day and a half. Thank you.

And, a thank you to all those who dropped off drinks and snacks and to Barbara for bringing lunch from the Putnam Market.  Every bit was appreciated.