Work on the Community Gardens Shed Progressing

Work on the community gardens shed is coming along and many hands have helped.

Rich T. restored the windows. He and Chris framed and installed the windows and door. George W. put in an entry set to secure the door from blowing with the wind. Volunteers from the Navy primed the interior and siding. Chris C. advised on what paint to use. Today, Tom G. put plywood in the former windows on the east wall. And tomorrow, I paint.

The color is white so the interior will be bright. If anyone wants to help, I will be there around 9 a.m. and hope to get one coat done Sunday and another Monday morning.

Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. – A.A. Milne

Once the paint dries, we can begin to organize the tools by hanging them on the east wall and tracing an outline around each tool onto the wall. That way we will all know what belongs where and if something was left in the gardens. You know, a place for everything and everything in its place.

While the east wall will be dedicated for tools, the west side will have a potting bench, storage and a library. We are still looking for a small cabinet with doors that we can use for books, a seed exchange area, a magnifying glass, etc.  If you have one that is 4 feet tall or less to donate, let us know. Small is good as space is limited. We will put it to good use.

Pigeon Update: As of yesterday, one pigeon baby had flown the coop but not the other. I’m hoping the young bird leaves soon so we can finish priming and move forward.  We are letting the birds rule the roost until they fledge. But truly, I hope they are close to leaving. Pigeons might be where the expression “dirty bird” came from as in meaning something that soils its own nest. Yuck.

Composting Lecture in the Garden

MarciaMartin

Marcia Martin, master gardener, started our summer lecture series with a lively and informative talk about composting last evening.

The Pitney Meadows Community Gardens is composting its plant debris and will be collecting plant matter for composting in bins placed between the shed and the barn.

More lectures are planned.

On August 16, a class on Using Herbs to Make Our Food POP! with Kim London, chef and PMCF Board Member. Come hear how a local chef uses herbs to enhance favorite dishes.

Later in August, Murray Penney will lead a class on tomato growing. The date for this class is August 23rd. The lecture will be followed by a tomato taste testing with Chef Rocco Verrigni.

On Aug. 31 – Your Garden is a Sensational Success…. Now What?  Pattie Garrett RD and Nicole Cunningham, RD will discuss familiar and some unfamiliar ways to prepare and preserve your bounty. There’ll be taste testing and recipes to enjoy.

All lectures start at 7 p.m. and will meet at the Pitney Meadows Community Farm. No registration necessary.

 

 

The Garden At the Start of Summer and Now

This is what our gardens looked like on June 24th.  The field was just being graded, volunteers were busy building raised beds, placing them in this field and filling them with soil. It took several weeks for all the beds to be made and placed.

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And here’s what the garden looks like now. What a difference a month has made. 

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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.

Geologist Update on Rock Found in Garden Topsoil

A couple of weeks ago Kim Fonda found this rock in the topsoil.  green rockWe took images and sent them off to the New York State Museum geologist Dr. Marian Lupulescu.

His first reply asked us to see if it scratched glass.

Kim tested and it did. That told us it was quartz. We let him know and this was his second reply:

“The quartz sample could come from a pegmatite (igneous rock with very coarse crystals) or from a quartz vein from the metamorphic rocks. Both are common in Saratoga County.

“I think that the sample you have is from a pegmatite because of the black quartz (we call it smoky quartz) that is common in pegmatites. The green stuff could be the result of some lichens or algae infiltrated in the crystal through microscopic fractures.

“It is possible to find more rocks like this in the soil.” he wrote in an email.

It’s fun to know.  Keep an eye open, there may be another.

 

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.

Sunflower Contest Update

A total of twenty-six people registered for the Mammoth sunflower contest.

Mammoth sunflowers are large with cheerful yellow petals with a brown center. The flower blooms of this type of sunflower can be a foot across, and the plants can reach a height of 9 to 12 feet. To give children an idea of how tall that is, the ceiling in most homes is about 8 feet from the floor.

The little grey striped seeds we planted are now safely tucked into the soil and will germinate in 7 to 10 days. As you know, we planted two seeds in each hole. When the plants are about an inch tall, one of the seedlings should be snipped off at ground level to give the other plenty of space to grow.

Each time you visit the garden, give your sunflower a drink of water and maybe a few encouraging words. Don’t fertilize. We took care of that and in mid-summer we will invite you to the community gardens to feed your flower a low-nitrogen fertilizer. When you come,  you can enter the sunflower playhouse and feel free to walk inside the sunflower garden pathways.

In September we will measure to see which sunflower grew the tallest.  Maybe it will be yours.

Registration for the contest is now closed. Thank you all for joining in the fun.

 

 

 

Art work by the Young Gardeners

Avery2Sometimes it is just so hot and humid that the young gardeners retreat to the shade of the pine trees adjacent to the Moreau Community Garden.

Sitting in the shade, cooling down and having a drink of water is always an option. Some days, some gardeners feel it is just too hot to be in the sun. For them, paper and crayons are always at hand.  All I ask is that the drawings be of the garden.

In the artwork above, Avery has captured the big tree and the raised beds where we grow carrots, kale, sugar snap peas, green peppers, green beans, yellow beans and purple beans, red Norland potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, spearmint, peppermint and lots of  herbs including sage, basil, oregano, parsley and thyme.

When I looked at these masterpieces recently, I loved the perspective.  You have all seen my photographs of the garden. Now enjoy the artwork of the youngsters that work in the garden, weeding, watering and growing vegetables.

That’s our scarecrow, Luigi. He watches over the garden.

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It’s a big job as there are many raised beds.Avery

In addition to vegetables, we grow flowers for the pollinators.

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This is a picture of a wooden crow that rests in our garden.

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And here is a picture of me, Natalie, in my yellow hat.

Thank you young gardeners — or, should I say — young artists for the drawings.

I especially love the drawing Hannah did of me and I appreciate the poem she wrote on the back. Thank you. It is a great pleasure teaching all of you how to grow food.

Natalie

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Hannah'snote

Final Week for the Young Gardeners

sunflowersIt has been a wonderful season with few problems and lots of produce.

Today the gardeners harvested the remaining wax, green and purple beans. They also filled a box with edible nasturtiums — They love to eat the bright colored orange flowers which have a peppery flavor. They also harvested tomatoes, kale, beets, celery, carrots and a few radishes.

I’d call that a productive day…wouldn’t you?

Over the past few weeks the vegetables brought back to the camp were cleaned and prepared by staffers for snacks. Some vegetables got better reviews than others.

The young gardeners told me of all the carrots — the purple, white, yellow and orange — the orange had the best flavor. They ate the carrots with a chive dip. The chives came from our garden.

In addition, some of the beans were steamed before serving though a fair number were eaten raw straight out of the garden.

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The scallions were used in a Mexican dip served with chips. The potatoes were cut up and cooked with onions. The kids also made zucchini muffins.

And the rapini was cut up into a salad and served with ranch dressing. Every last bit was eaten.

The favorite vegetable has to be the sugar snap peas. Everyone enjoys those. Who wouldn’t. They are as sweet as candy when ripened on the vine.

This was a great season. As we were leaving the garden today the young gardeners told me how much they enjoyed learning about the bugs, the plants and what it takes to grow food. Some told me their families have started gardens.

“What’s your favorite thing to do?” I asked.

“Harvesting,” they shouted.

“I liked everything we did. Every week,” one young gardener said. “The lemonades..strawberry, watermelon and basil,” said another.

One young fellow said he loved everything to do with the community garden.

“Even weeding?” I asked.

“Yes, I even like the weeding,” he said, adding “I will see you next year.”

The gardeners initiated a group hug and said “Goodbye.”

That was a great good bye. The garden grew a lot of vegetables, but also a love of growing food together.  And that’s a good life-long skill.

Thank you to all the gardeners and to everyone that made this program possible.

Our Abundant Harvest

Carrot harvesting was fun and a bit of a treasure hunt for the purple, white, yellow and orange carrots hidden beneath the soil.  We counted and compared the different color carrots and found purple were the most robust. The carrots were sent back to the community center where they will be served as snack.

Carrot harvesting was fun and a bit of a treasure hunt for the purple, white, yellow and orange carrots hidden beneath the soil. We counted and compared the different color carrots and found purple were the most robust. The carrots were sent back to the community center where they will be washed and served as snack. For the gardening record: approximately 80 carrots were gathered from one bed.

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We harvested so many beans...hundreds! The young gardeners picked the bed clean of purple, yellow and green beans. A large bag full was sent back with them but the young harvesters also sampled as they went.  What's better than a bean right off the vine!

We harvested so many beans…hundreds! The young gardeners picked the bed clean of purple, yellow and green beans. A large full bag was sent back with them but the young harvesters also sampled as they went. What’s better than a bean right off the plant and warmed by the sun!

The first time we harvested beans, one young gardeners asked what a bean looked like.  Now he knows!

The first time we harvested beans, one young gardener asked what a bean looked like. Now he knows!

We cleared the harvested bean bed back to the soil. But the beans we planted a few weeks ago are doing well.

We cleared the harvested bean bed back to the soil. But the beans we planted a few weeks ago are doing well.

The celery before the young gardeners harvested.

The celery before the young gardeners harvested.

Celery being trimmed of roots before being sent back with the young gardeners for snack.

Celery being trimmed of roots before being sent back with the young gardeners for snack.

The robust harvest was celebrated with strawberry lemonade, which is easy to make. Simply clean and trim a cup of strawberries and add them to a blender with 2 cups of lemonade. Pour this mix through a strainer and into a pitcher of lemonade.

“I don’t like it,” one young gardener said, teasing . . . “I LOVE IT.”

A pleasant way to end a good gardening day.  Happy gardening.