Flyers Ready for Fairy Gathering, Please Share

Come see dozens of fairy houses and cheer for the biggest sunflowers in the contest in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.

Admission to the farm is free. Donations are welcome. Visitors can buy lunch at the Nine Miles East Farm’s Food Truck, and enjoy ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s, play fairy games, listen to music, and follow the fairy queen as she tells a story and more.

If you want to wear your fairy attire, please do.

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We are in the News Today

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Children in the Saturday morning Sunflower Hour program made worm farms with master gardener Jay Ephraim last weekend.

Check out this article about the growth of Pitney Meadows Community Gardens in Saratoga Today by Marissa Gonzalez.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — In the last year, the community’s beloved Pitney Meadows Community Farm has made a lot of changes.

Since this time last July, the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens have become an official Monarch way station, created a large “Grandparent’s Garden,” started a reading and gardening Saturday program for children, increased the number of plots and now has more than 70 gardeners growing fresh healthy food in their gardens.

“It’s truly amazing. People who visit the gardens can’t believe it is only one year old,” said garden director Natalie Walsh, crediting the community of gardeners that has made the difference.

“They aren’t just tending their plots, but also are interested in learning organic gardening techniques, engaging children in the gardens, and extending a hand to each other and to the Saratoga community at large. It truly is a community in the gardens,” she added.

Last year the Community Gardens had 50 spaces available. This year, there are 72 beds.

“We are working to respond to what the community wants. When gardeners asked for bigger spaces, we offered them,” Walsh said.

Gardeners pay to lease the space for the season and the costs vary according to plot size.

In addition, Walsh added flowerbeds to draw pollinators such as butterflies, bees and beneficial insects. Of particular interest was offering habitat to Monarch butterflies whose populations have been in decline across the United States.

In the community gardens, a large garden was installed and planted with butterfly plants that have different bloom periods and provide nectar throughout the summer and into the fall. The milkweed provides the Monarch caterpillar with its only food source.

Engaging the community is a goal for Walsh, who traveled over 13,000 miles last winter talking to community gardeners across the country.

 

This year, the gardens offer programs for adults as well as children. “We were fortunate to have two community gardeners interested in working with children. One is Faye Mihuta, a reading teacher, and the other is Jess Clauser, an artist. Together they designed a reading program that meets once a week and is followed by an art or garden project,” Walsh said.

The reading program is free. The art or garden project costs $5 per child and includes activities including learning how to make jam, making art and learning how to plant and care for seeds. The program, which is held every Saturday morning starting at 9:30 a.m., has been very well-received as have the adult programs on topics such as growing tomatoes.

Also on Saturday mornings, Walsh will lead a gardening class for participants to walk around the gardens and discuss any issues, problems and receive tips from Walsh, who is a master gardener and holds a horticulture degree from SUNY Cobleskill.

The garden also saw the construction of a beautiful cedar pergola that was donated in memory of the late Charlotte Justin by her family and built by local craftsman Rich Torkelson and his son Arik.

The grandmother’s gardens were funded with a grant from the Soroptimists and multiple private donors who also purchased furniture for the space. In addition, the popular sunflower house has also been expanded. A sunflower house is an enclosed space that has “walls” of sunflowers.

Other organizations include the Waldorf school that illustrated signs for the butterfly garden, Saratoga Bridges who care for their own plot and help water others, Franklin Community Center, the Saratoga Senior Center, Saratoga Transitional Services, Saratoga Catholic Central, the Girl Scouts and the high school.

(Note: Sunflower measuring day and the Fall Fairy Gathering will be September 22 at 1 p.m. – this was left out of the article. Rain date September 23.)

That will also be the day the sunflowers in the annual sunflower contest will be measured for height and size of bloom. The biggest in each category will receive a prize. Last year, 26 people entered, this year there are 60 participants.

“There no doubt the garden is growing,” she added. “If you haven’t visited, come by on a Thursday or Saturday morning and I’ll show you around and tell you what we have planned for next year,” Walsh said.

 

https://www.saratogatodaynewspaper.com/home/item/8744-pitney-meadows-community-farm-continues-to-flourish

We have done so much in one year!

 

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

Thank you, Sunflowers!

 

Sunflowerface

Our sunflowers worked hard for us all season.

They lured artists in from everywhere to paint, draw and take photographs.

The seed heads fed the pollinators and then the birds.  They were harvested for a wreath making class this Saturday at Suzanne Balet’s greenhouse on Nelson Avenue ext.

They were part of a grow the tallest sunflower contest. And the winning image was printed on children’s T-shirts.

Bouquets of cheerfulness were shared with volunteers and brought one person to happy tears.

But as of today the seedbeds, which had finished blooming, were removed and just the stalks remain. This was done on the west side of the garden to hold the soil in place when the winter winds blow.

Even now, they continue to give by helping us preserve the garden’s soils.

 

 

Sunflower Contest Results, Fairy Garden, and Art Show in the Gardens

 

Wondering who won the Grow the Tallest Sunflower Contest?

It was three-year-old Carter M. with a Mammoth sunflower the reached a height of 95 and one-quarter inches. Congratulations, Carter, who can be seen above wearing a striped shirt.

In the photos, you can also see the crowd that gathered as our tall Sunflower Judges Rich Torkelson and Barbara Glaser, both PMCF board members, went flower by flower precisely measuring each for height and for the largest sunflower head from petal tip to petal tip.

It was close and there were moments of tense anticipation, but Carter’s sunflower ended up winning by three and three-quarter inches.

The award for the largest sunflower head went to Kaitlyn W., whose 85-inch -tall sunflower had a bloom that measured 16 and three-eighths inches across from petal tip to petal tip.  She took her mammoth flower home with her. (See the photo above).

Both Carter and Kaitlyn won sunflower kites.

Thank you to all those that participated. It was a great turnout.

Fairy Village

Enchanting and charming are two good words to describe the 20 houses made by the Girl Scouts for the fairy village, which was tucked between a colorful border of cosmos and zinnias.

The girls, under the direction of Girl Scout badge coordinator Jess Clauser, created the houses using natural materials. Early Saturday they placed their houses in the fairy village and embellish the village by adding twigs, pebbles, acorn caps, moss, shells, log slices and more.

Some of the girl scouts earned the brownie outdoor art creator badge and the junior outdoor art explorer badge doing this project, which is one of several that they have completed in the Community Gardens this season.  Many more are planned including a Spring fairy garden with mini daffodils and tulips.

 

Art Show

Another project the Girl Scouts and other children from the community did this summer was draw and paint in the garden classes led by gardener Martel Catalano and Judy Brunner.

In August, young artists created paper sunflowers. On another Saturday, they went into the garden to decide what they would draw and paint.Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 6.55.42 PM

Some drew the flowers. Others focused on vegetables and still others did studies of the insects they found.

More than 30 paintings were created. And, for the art show the artworks were displayed clothesline style in front of the sunflowers.

The following painting of sunflowers by Girl Scout Mae Austin took first place and in addition to winning a medal, will be used on the Community Gardens greeting cards and T-shirt.  Congratulations to all three winners. Second place: Aurora Davis and Third Place: Lucy Ploss.

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Fairy Garden, Photo Exhibit and Art Show Today from 2 to 4 pm

Sun2There is a lot happening today at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens, 223 West Avenue in Saratoga Springs.

Local photographer Tom Stock has an exhibit of Pitney Farm photos exhibited in the barn.  The Girl Scouts have created an extensive fairy village within a colorful border of flowers with little houses, pathways and treasures sure to delight.

And the children who experience the garden through art will have their art work on display in front of the sunflowers. Prizes will be awarded.

We will also have organically grown, dried sunflower heads that can be used to feed the birds or for flower arrangements and fall centerpieces on sale as a fundraiser for future events including a Spring fairy garden with mini-daffodils.  Treat your birds to this protein and mineral rich food and help support the gardens.

Contest

The Mammoth sunflowers grown as part of the Grow the Tallest Sunflower Contest will be measured and prizes award. That happens at 2:15 this afternoon.

Come join the fun today from 2 to 4 in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens and see what has been accomplished the first season.

I hope to see you in the garden.

Natalie Walsh, Garden Director

 

Egyptian Walking Onions

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 3.44.53 AMA Vermont community gardener shared a handful of Egyptian Walking Onions with me when I was in his garden plot recently. I added them to our community herb garden yesterday.

Do you know this plant?

The scientific name is “allium proliferum” which gives you a hint about their nature.  As the name suggests, they are prolific. Next season and for as long as we grow them, community gardeners will have these mild flavored little onions to add to meals.

Walking Onions are a top setting onion and hardy, emerging in the spring often through snow.  The leaves are a bluish-green, hollow and grow about 3 feet tall.  After the first year, a cluster of bulblets will form at the top of a leaf stalk as the summer progresses.

When the bulblets mature, they become heavy and bend the leaves to the ground where the bulblets take root. That’s how they get the name walking onion. If left to their own devices, they will “walk” across the garden.

Fortunately, they have a good flavor and are easy to keep in check by harvesting the bulblets, which can be up to an inch in diameter. They are tiny but tasty.

Thanks to all the great help in the gardens yesterday, a lot was done in preparation for the photography, art and fairy houses exhibit this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m.

This Saturday at 2:15 the entires in the sunflower contest will be measured and a winner announced.

Hope to see you there.