Chef Kim London’s Herb Class a Hit

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 1.48.20 PM.pngKim London, chef and PMCF board member, showed 25 participants how to use the herbs they grow in the garden or purchase at the market.

The group, which met in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens, listened as London talked about the many different uses of herbs.  Then the group walked into the farm garden. They had the opportunity to smell and taste samples of the many different fresh herbs growing there. After answering audience questions, London treated the group to sample foods, such as herb butter, herbed roasted vegetables and a mint tea.

It was a beautiful evening at the farm, and thoroughly enjoyed by all participants.

More To Come

The next lecture, which is on growing tomatoes, will be lead by Murray Penney and held next Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Community Gardens.

Our tomato taste testing with Chef Rocco Verrigni has been delayed because the tomatoes haven’t ripened. We will have a tomato tasting and have tentatively re-scheduled it for the evening on September 13.  Lectures are free and no registration is required.

On the next two Saturdays, free art classes for children ages 6 to 14 will be held in the gardens. Registration for these classes is necessary so we have enough supplies on hand. You can register by emailing natalie.walsh@pitneymeadows.org or calling 587-2304. Classes start at 9 a.m. and an adult is asked to accompany the participants.

This Saturday, August 19th, children will make sunflowers out of paper. The following Saturday, August 26th they will be drawing and painting with local artists.

Don’t Miss This

Our sunflowers are blooming, come to the garden to meet them and take a photo. They are magnificent.

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Good News, Not So Bad News, Bad News

The good news is our gardens are looking good.Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 11.09.55 AM

The not-so-bad news is there is still some septoria leaf spot and powdery mildew, so we need to stay on top of it.

Bad News

Multiple masses of squash bug eggs were found (see image below) on the underside of a patty pan squash leaf but they also will go after winter squash, zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers and melons. Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 11.06.21 AM

These need to be removed promptly before the squash bugs hatch.

I take a tissue or paper towel and scrape the eggs off the plants.  Look for clusters of reddish eggs on the undersides of leaves and often close to the ground, but not always. Be thorough. Squash bugs can be a real pest to gardeners. They are aggressive feeders and will cause a plant to blacken and die.

If you find one cluster, examine the entire plant. There are likely to be other clusters.

Thank you, gardeners. By acting quickly, we should be able to control this pest.

 

Art Classes for Children

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Art classes for children age 6 to 14 will be held on August 12, 19 and 26th at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens starting at 9 a.m.

On August 12 and 26, children will be able to draw and paint flowers and bugs in the garden under the guidance of two local artists Martel Catalano and Nancy Hicks who are also gardeners in the community gardens.

On August 19th, Saratoga Springs artist and retired teacher Judy Brunner will lead a class on creating huge sunflowers out of paper. They are gorgeous. Children will be able to enter the sunflower house and see how the walls are growing.

Parents are expected to stay during the art classes which will run an hour, and everyone is welcome to remain in the garden after the class to complete their art work or just enjoy the surrounding beauty. Supplies will be provided, but if you would like to bring your own, that’s fine too.

The art created can be entered in the Sept. 16th art show in the Community Gardens.
Screen Shot 2017-07-29 at 12.23.49 PM.pngThe show will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Paintings, drawings and photographs are all eligible. To register for the classes or enter the art show contact Natalie Walsh at natalie.walsh@pitneymeadows.org

Class size is limited so early registration is advised.

Adults and children are welcome to come draw, paint or take photographs in the garden anytime from dawn to dusk.

The garden is lovely and the farmland is breathtaking. Sunflowers just started blooming this week and will continue to bloom until fall.

Come see.

Good Morning in the Garden

Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 12.49.37 PMIt was a very pleasant morning in the community gardens.

Bailey and Esmee came to water and weed.  Jessica and Margie thinned annuals and transplanted along the edge of the sunflower garden.

Margie anchored the pumpkin patch sign Judy made into the ground. Paul did the last bit of the irrigation on the northwest side of the community gardens before going to work on the high tunnel.

Tom and Jim were busy nailing siding to the barn and Chris C. painted at a steady pace. George drilled drainage holes in an old trough and then planted it with flowers. He also help with the making of the scarecrow as did Judy B., Bailey and Esmee. Bill came over and gave us a pair of jeans for the scarecrow to wear.

All the while, gardeners came and took care of their plots; weeding, watering and saying hello. They shared ideas and tools. Some folks – like Kim and Karen – helped to water the newly planted sunflower area and the cosmos bed along the back of the garden.

There was community in the garden today. You got to love that.

Volunteers Make it Happen!

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

Today in Our Community Garden

It’s good to be back from vacation. Thank you to Margie I. for everything she did this past week. In spite of mid-week concerns, the garden looks wonderful and much was accomplished.

The issues that came up like the Septoria leaf blight and oriental beetles on leaves are common for this time of year and the weather we have had. And the cultural practices all ready outlined during the week are precisely what we should be doing.

Practices such as removing the diseased leaves, mulching under the plants (straw is in the shed), watering from the bottom are all good advice.  Washing your tools afterwards is prudent to prevent spreading of the fungus.

Pumpkin PatchScreen Shot 2017-07-15 at 4.44.54 PM

Today, gardeners created a pumpkin patch. Thank you Joanne K. for sharing the Jack-o-lantern pumpkins she started on July 5th.  They should be ready to harvest right about Halloween.

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 4.45.43 PMAnd thank you to Ed S. for roto-tilling and Margie, Kate, Chris, Anne, Jeanmarie, Sarah, Susan, Joanne, and Heather who raked, transplanted, and moved wood chips around the young plants to suppress weeds.

Take a look when you visit the garden.

The pumpkin patch just beyond the sunflowers.  This is a good location as some of the insects troublesome to pumpkins will be lured away from the pumpkins by the cheerful yellow of the sunflowers. This gardening strategy often used and, in this case, the sunflowers are the lure crop.  There are other plant relationships like this, such as nasturtiums planted near watermelons and other cucurbits to deter chewing insects. Or marigolds, especially  fragrant ones, planted near and around squash, pumpkins, melons and cucumber plants to keep beetles away.

Hot PeppersScreen Shot 2017-07-15 at 4.47.23 PM

There were hot pepper plants that didn’t find a home this past week, so we created a barrier planting at the Northwest corner that we hope will keep any unwanted animals from entering the garden. FYI – There was one plant in one bed that may have been nibbled. It could have been a broken branch. We aren’t certain.

While I look into solar fencing, the peppers will create a “barrier.” If they don’t, there are recipes online for a spray we can make from hot peppers that keeps wildlife away. We win either way. Of course, we can use the hot peppers to eat, too.

Jim F., pictured above, planted over 250 pepper plants. Thank you.

Tomatoes

The garden was buzzing today. Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 4.45.16 PM

Our Saturday morning gardening 101 class was about how to trim, train and care for tomato plants. We removed all leaves and branches at the base of the plants up about 6 inches from the soil line by cutting the branches off with a clippers or scissors. If any were infected with Septoria leaf blight they were thrown in the trash and the scissor/clipper cleaned.

Anyone who wanted to had the opportunity to practice trimming up tomatoes on the community garden plants we are growing for our tomato taste testing potluck. And then, with a little experience, they took care of their own plants in their own plots.

We also made certain the tomato stems were well supported and tied so they weren’t rubbing against the sides of the cages. This can cause damage to the stem. Our farm is windy and this could happen in a day, so keep an eye-out in your own plots. If you need to see what was done, look at the plots with tomatoes and marigolds that are close to the barn for an example. Those are the tomato taste testing plots.

I will be in the garden again on Monday from 8 to 11 and plan to fill the five new beds with soil and the pathways with gravel. Come if you can. I appreciate your help. Thank you, NatalieScreen Shot 2017-07-15 at 4.46.36 PM.png

 

My How You Have Grown

 

Sunflower

Our sunflowers are really taking off. Planted on June 17th, this one now measures 7 3/4 inches tall.

This week Margie and a group of volunteers will be weeding and putting wood chips down as mulch between the rows and inside the Sunflower house. She will be posting for help, and your efforts are appreciated.

When you visit, you will notice the morning glories planted along the “walls” that will become the “roof” of the house have germinated and before long will be climbing the stalks of their neighbors.

In my imagination, we will be able to run a light string from the top of one sunflower stalk to another and “train” the glories to span our roof.  Think it will work? Time will tell how this gardening adventure ends. Stay tuned or better yet, come see.