Girl Scouts Donate Food to Franklin Community Center

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Annabelle Shuck from Girl Scout troop #3359 harvested 19 pounds of fresh produce from plots the scouts tend at Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.  All summer, the Girl Scouts have watered and weeded and yesterday the organically grown vegetables were delivered to Franklin Community Center’s food pantry. Kudos to the girls and to  troop leaders Carolina Mitchell and Jess Clauser for a job well done.

Deer Fencing Installed Around Gardens

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 6.59.45 AMYesterday we installed an electric deer fence to protect the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens. The fence is on a timer and will be turned on from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

If you come to the gardens and see the fence cording is still up across the front walkway, enter through the alley between the Gardener’s Shed and Bill’s Barn.

OR

If the timer is off, you can lift the handle and disconnect the cord from the barn and walk through.

If you are in the gardens in the evening, and the last to leave, please re-hook the cord handle to the barn.

If we work together, we should be able to thwart the threat of deer entering our gardens.

So you know, deer hoof prints were seen in the parking lot and deer have been in other parts of the farm – sweet potatoes and the event garden. We took this action to protect the community gardeners from loss.  Please help us to keep the fence up and running.

Thank you.

And thank you to the team who helped us to install the fence: Nora, Jim, Gus, Andy, Mark, Bill, Ken and yours truly.

Natalie

 

Great Turnout for Butterfly Program

There were about 50 parents, children and volunteers in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens this morning for the Sunflower Hour reading and art program held each Saturday through August 11.

The topic is different every week and today Faye Mihuta, a retired teacher, read books about butterflies to her audience.  The community gardens has a Monarch butterfly way station planted near the garden entrance that is filled with nectar rich flowers that support butterflies and caterpillars. The children searched for fluttering butterflies to earn a sticker.

After the reading program, those who wanted to participated in a butterfly craft and coloring project. They made clothespin butterflies coloring the wings and also a cloth bag to carry vegetables.

The reading program is open to everyone and starts at 9:30. It is free. The garden activity begins at 10 a.m. and there is a materials fee of $5 per child. There are two more sessions remaining.

In addition to the program, some of the children checked on their entries in the sunflower contest. Screen Shot 2018-07-28 at 2.11.09 PM

And others did garden chores. Thank you all. It was a great morning in the gardens. Screen Shot 2018-07-28 at 12.52.08 PM

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

Girl Scouts Grow Food for Franklin Community Center Pantry

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 10.55.38 AM.pngBrownie troop 3031 has a plot in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens and recently donated green beans to the Franklin Community Center’s food pantry.

Troop leader Jen Kirchhnerr has found that recycled plastic containers are a great way to deliver the beans and other vegetables to the pantry.

These are the sort of container that strawberries, blueberries and the like are typically sold in at the supermarket.

Kirchhnerr cleans and washes the containers and reuses them when harvesting for the food pantry.

“They are a convenient size for handing out to a family,” she said.

It’s a good tip. If any gardeners have containers like these and would like to share them, you can leave the cleaned containers in the garden shed. We will use them when harvesting and sharing.

Thanks Jen for your tip!Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 10.55.19 AM

Children Make Worm Farms at Pitney Meadows Community Gardens

Screen Shot 2018-07-07 at 2.35.57 PMSunflower Hour at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens this morning began with story time and ended with children making worm farms to take home.

After the stories children held wriggler worms and set some free in the gardens. Those children who wanted made farms from empty soda bottles and layers of sand and soil.

Watermelon was added as worm food and dark construction paper wrapped the bottles to simulate underground conditions. Later this week, children can remove the paper and study the underground tunnels made by the worms.

Sunflower Team

Screen Shot 2018-07-07 at 2.41.30 PM.pngFaye Mihuta read the books. Retired teacher, master gardener and worm composter Jay Ephraim lead the hands-on worm program for about 10 children. And the team, both of whom are community gardeners,  worked together with Jess Clauser, also a community gardener, to create the worm farms.

It was terrific. The children were delighted and eager to participate.

Blueberry jam

Next week, the reading program will focus on blueberries and  the activity will be making blueberry freezer jam with Diane Whitten from Cornell Cooperative Extension. The jam class, at 10 a.m., is $5 which covers all supplies. The story time is free and begins at 9:30 a.m.

Please let us know if you are coming to make jam. The class is open to both children and adults. We will be purchasing supplies, and need a head count by Tuesday.

Thank you, Natalie Walsh

Garden Director, Pitney Meadows Community Gardens

natalie.walsh@pitneymeadows.org

A Wheelbarrow of Fun

Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 11.48.30 AM.pngThe family of Bill Pitney, our farmer at the Pitney Meadows Community Farm, donated this wonderfully sturdy, child-size wheelbarrow to the gardens.

And it didn’t take long for one of our youngest community gardeners to find it and put it to use holding the stones he collected in the pathways.

Thank you Kate Gaba for this great addition. And thank you Ethan for your hard work. Be sure to put your time on the volunteer sheet.

 

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Pitney Relatives From Kansas Visit the Farm

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It was just good luck that I was in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens when a portion of the Pitney family from Kansas dropped in.

Pictured next to Bill are our farmer’s distant cousin Russell (in the middle) and his wife, Wanda, from Abilene, Kansas where some of Bill Pitney’s ancestors settled in the late 1800s. It was great talking to them and hearing about the research they are doing on the family tree.

 

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!

Launching a Squash Bug Campaign

You know you’re a plant geek when you lounge poolside, frozen watermelon mint lemonade in hand and research organic methods of trapping squash bugs.

One google search “Are squash bugs attracted to light?” brought a positive result.

Gardeners reported their porch lights attracted squash bugs and this got my wheels turning.

Maybe I could create a trap that lured squash bugs using a light source and somehow keep them from crawling back out.

So I took a large plastic soda bottle and cut the top one-third off. This funnel shape would be placed spout side down into the bottle. I had tiny tea lights that I could use as a light source and put one at the bottom.

With luck, the squash bugs would see light at the end of the funnel and follow it to their demise.

Then I headed to the community gardens. Martel gave me the OK to use her plot for the experiment. We caught squash bugs there in the last two days.

I was concerned the squash bugs, because of their size, could manage to get out of the trap so I used sticky Tanglefoot to coat the outside of the funnel. This helped also to create a seal between the funnel and the side of the bottle.

Next, I put some tape strips around the bottle to give the squash bugs something to crawl on. A ‘pathway’ to the top of the bottle and into the trap just in case the plastic bottle is too slick for them to cling to.

I dug a hole and inserted the base of the bottle. The hole is under the zucchini leaves as this is where squash bugs hang out.

Now, I wait.

Tomorrow morning I will head to the farm and count how many bugs we catch.

Our other experiment, the yellow cup faux blossom traps caught near 100 cucumber beetles in one plot alone.