This is the second crop of buckwheat growing in the area where we will likely add new garden plots next season. Soon, this field will be blooming in white and buzzing with honeybees.
Gardeners have asked what does buckwheat do for us?
It improves it by providing quick cover and suppressing weeds, it attracts good insects, and it makes otherwise unavailable phosphorus available.
“The roots of the plants produce mild acids that release nutrients from the soil. These acids also activate slow-releasing, organic fertilizers, such as rock phosphate. Buckwheat’s dense, fibrous roots cluster in the top 10 inches of soil, providing a large root surface area for nutrient uptake,” a publication of the Cooperative Extension system. Complete article: https://articles.extension.org/pages/18572/buckwheat-for-cover-cropping-in-organic-farming
We will be tilling the buckwheat into our soil to add organic matter. The nutrients will enrich and enhance what we have. In the meantime, honeybees and other beneficial insects such as hover flies, predatory wasps, lady beetles visit the buckwheat and help maintain the garden’s health.
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.
This is this caterpillar’s pretty stage. When it matures, it is a brown gray tiger moth. Dull and uninteresting.
What is interesting about this hairy caterpillar is that, like a Monarch, it feeds on milkweed. And the cardiac glycosides in the milkweed make it an unappealing meal to its primary predator, the bat.
But the really curious part is the milkweed tiger moth emits an ultrasonic signal that is readily picked up by bats. The bats have learned to associate that sound with a bad taste in their mouths and avoid the tiger moth as a meal.
Thanks, Jess for finding this beauty and sharing its picture.
The Navy has consistently been a big help in the community gardens and we thank them for all that they do.
Today, we painted the barn, raked the pathways. edged the grandmother’s gardens, weeded and artistically painted a monarch face-cut-out-board for the Fairy Gathering on Sept. 22. There’s no challenge they can’t take on.
Note in the photo above how they wore their sunflower yellow shirts. It doesn’t get better. Thank you.
A few days ago, this young horse lover found a white toy horse missing a leg in the Pitney Meadows Community Garden’s toy farm. She also found the leg.
Taylor, who frequents the garden with her mother Lauren, asked is she could take the horse and leg home to see if she could do “something to help.”
This morning, the five-year-old brought the white horse back. She explained that surgery had been necessary and had gone very well. Taylor, who hopes to be a veterinarian one day, told her mother this had been “her first real work.”
She did an outstanding job. To mend the break, she crafted a rod from a paper clip and inserted it into the hollow leg. A glue was applied. Back in its corral on the farm, Taylor made sure the horse had water before leaving.
Well done Taylor. You are on your way to being a fine vet and your gentle, loving care was greatly appreciated.
Yesterday, Emily Burkhard from WNYT News Channel 13 spent the afternoon at the Pitney Meadows Community Farm and did a great segment that included our beekeeper, Jenn Dunn; the plans for the 166-acre farm and the flourishing community gardens.
Burkhard and her videographer, Josh, were at the farm interviewing and enjoying the gardens and butterflies for several hours. During that time, Burkhard learned the process of extracting honey from bee hives, toured the community gardens, spoke with gardeners and asked great questions about plans for the farm’s future that were answered by Farm Director Ken Kleinpeter.
It was fun to be able to share what has been accomplished at Pitney Meadows in just a year.
The videography on the story captures the beauty of the farm and the continuation of its agricultural legacy.