Nothing says Summer like a Juicy Watermelon!

This big, beautiful watermelon was successfully grown in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens by two of our gardeners.

If you’re interested in having a plot in the gardens next season, put your name on the waiting list now.  Applications go out early in 2019.watermelon

If you want to know more, come visit the gardens or get in touch by commenting here.

Hope to see you in the gardens, Natalie

Did We Reach 100 lbs of Donated Produce? I’m Betting Yes!

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 8.58.05 AMI was in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens very early today and picked two eggplants for the Franklin Community Center food pantry from a plot with permission.

One was quite hefty and I think together they weigh at least a pound, maybe more.

It being early and Labor Day, no one was at FCC when I left them on Carolyn’s Bench outside the entrance.

But I hope they find them when they come in because I believe it will put us over the 100 pounds of donated fresh, organically grown vegetables for the season.

We are only a half pound from this milestone. Abby, Julie….let me know!

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Another 9.1 lbs of Produce For the Food Pantry

Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 1.37.40 PMThis morning Jacob S. harvested 9.1 lbs. of tomatoes and cucumbers for the Franklin Community Center’s food pantry.

That brings the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens total to 99.5 lbs. of donated produce this season.

Thank you to all the gardeners who gave us permission to harvest from their plots while they are away.

UPDATE:  Our farm director donated an additional 33 pounds from the farm garden!

 

 

Navy Helps with Event Preparations

Screen Shot 2018-08-28 at 11.58.50 AMThe Navy is good to us and willing to help in so many ways.

Screen Shot 2018-08-28 at 11.52.06 AMToday, volunteers painted Bill’s Barn and worked on some of the colorful face boards that will be displayed September 22 at the Fairy Gathering.

They also harvested vegetables and started scraping the horse barn.

A lot was going on. And that was all before noon!

Thank you all. We couldn’t do it without you.

 

Growing Buckwheat to Improve Soils

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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.

Picture Perfect Sunday in the Gardens

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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.

I am grateful, Natalie

Pretty Milkweed Caterpillar

This is a photo of a milkweed tussock moth.

It looks like tufting from an oriental rug.

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.

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Thanks, Jess for finding this beauty and sharing its picture.