It’s All About Community

This morning, a group from Saratoga Bridges ACE program came by the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens to tend to their plot, which by the way is growing nicely.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 9.20.39 AM.pngTiny bean sprouts have started to poke their heads through the soil.

Saratoga Bridges is an organization that enables people with disabilities to live enriching lives.  After taking care of their raised bed, and watering the sunflowers, the group agreed to help harvest vegetables for the Franklin Community Center’s food pantry.

With brown grocery bags in hand, we went around the garden and harvested basil, which everyone smelled, and Swiss chard and kale, which some tasted.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 12.08.00 PM.pngIn total 7 bags were filled and went to the Franklin Community Center’s food program where each week people in need share in the free harvest.  Julie Slovic, Food Program Administrator with FCC, was pleased to pick up vegetables for her clientele who she said enjoyed having delicious, fresh produce. In addition to the harvest from the community gardens, yellows beans, herbs, chard and radishes were also donated by the farm.

In the next few days, arugula and lettuces will be planted in the now harvested spaces in the raised beds. And, when ready, share with the food pantry.

We also took a photo by the sunflowers.

They are glorious. If you want to see them or take a photo, come to the community gardens, which are located at 233 West Avenue in Saratoga Springs.  It’s a beautiful sight.Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 12.25.09 PM.png

 

 

 

When to Pick Patty Pan Squash

screen-shot-2017-08-15-at-11-00-01-am.png

This Patty Pan squash won’t be ripe until its color changes from green to yellow.

I had a gardener ask how she could tell when a Patty Pan squash, a type of summer squash, was ready to be picked.

 

The best indication a squash is ready to be picked is when the color changes from green to golden yellow AND the fruit is between 2 and 4 inches across. They can grow almost twice that size, but they get tough.  Better to pick them small and enjoy the delicate, buttery flavor.

Not sure you know this vegetable? Patty pan squash (Cucurbita pepo) is a small flattened round squash often with defined scalloped edges.  They can be prepared many ways including roasted, sautéed, and stuffed. And, they are delicious.

 

 

 

Herb Class Wednesday in the Gardens

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 2.58.53 PMKim London will be leading an herb class Wednesday night starting at 7 p.m. in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens, 233 West Avenue.

Kim, a well known chef, and will share her knowledge on using herbs in the kitchen to flavor our meals.

The program is free and there is no registration necessary.  Just come and enjoy.

 

Cucumber Question Answered

Gardeners have asked about yellowing cucumbers.

There are some varieties that are yellow skinned not green. For example,  Chinese Yellow Cucumber or the heirloom Lemon cucumber. We are not talking about those.

We’re talking about when a green skinned cucumber turns yellow. Most often, this can be attributed to a cucumber that has become over ripe.

Yellowing can also be the result of a nutrient imbalance or virus.

How can you figure out what is up with your plant?

If  your plant looks healthy, but the cucumbers are turning yellow, first suspect the most common problem, which is over ripening. A cucumber that is a little bit yellow is all right to eat but the more yellow it is, the more bitter it is and not fit for consumption.  You can tell a cucumber is ready to pick when it is firm, green, crisp and generally about 6 inches in length.

If the entire plant doesn’t look healthy suspect a nutrient deficiency.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed some of our vegetables needed fertilization and recommended using Plant-tone (organic).

If the application of fertilizer didn’t alleviate cucumber yellowing, please let me know. There are viruses that cause yellowing of cucumbers and leaves. Generally it is pretty obvious that something is seriously wrong. If you’re not sure, get in touch. We can figure it out together.

 

Tomato Hornworms in the Garden

screen-shot-2017-08-14-at-9-38-54-am2.png

This morning, I found tomato hornworms, Manduca quinquemaculata, on a single tomato plant in one of the raised beds.

These are destructive caterpillars that will defoliate a plant very quickly and decimate your tomatoes. They also like to devour peppers, potatoes and eggplants.

Here’s what to look for: black turds, defoliation of the tender top leaves and a green caterpillar that is both fascinating and disgusting at the same same.

Usually there are many turds on a leaf or on the ground. If you see this, start looking for the hornworms, which can be up to four-inches long. They are called hornworms because they have a black “horn” on the last abdominal segment.

Handpick hornworms from infested plants and remove them from the garden.

Hornworms become a moth commonly known as a hummingbird, hawk, or sphinx moth.

screen-shot-2017-08-14-at-9-39-28-am1.png

Enter a captionDamage down by Tomato Hornworms

 

 

 

Come to Our Gardens and Meet the Sunflowers.

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 3.45.03 PMThe Pitney Meadows Community Gardens sunflowers have started to bloom. Come and see.

The community-at -large is welcome to bring along a sketch book or easel and paints and capture the beauty. They are incredible and so cheerful.

This coming Saturday, we will have an hour long class for children where they will create paper sunflowers with retired teacher and local artist, Judy Brunner from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The following weekend, Aug. 26th, there will be a drawing the sunflowers and plants class for children ages 6 to 14 taught by Martel Catalano and Nancy Hicks at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens, 233 West Avenue in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Both classes begin at 9 a.m. and will last an hour. Artists may stay longer to finish their work. An adult must accompany the participating young artists. Register by contacting natalie.walsh@pitneymeadows.com.

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 3.44.36 PM