Two programs on using all the delicious produce you have grown in the garden are planned in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.
The first is Thursday, August 31 at 7 p.m. when Pattie Garrett, R.D. and Nicole Cunningham R.D. will discuss familiar and some unfamiliar ways to prepare and preserve your bounty. There will be taste testing to enjoy.
And on Sept. 14, Barbara Biagioli, health and nutrition counselor, will discuss building a healthy lunch box. Barbara will share quick, healthy and kid-friendly recipes inspired by the fresh foods grown in the gardens.
Come join us. All lectures are free and start at 7 p.m.
Nineteen people participated in the sunflower making art class Saturday morning at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.
Working under the direction of Miss Judy and Miss Rose, the group sat at the picnic tables in the garden and made large paper sunflowers.
They also had the opportunity to play in the sunflower house, play with the miniature farm and enjoy being creative outdoors on a beautiful summer day.
Next week on Saturday, August 26th, there will be another free art class for children. This time, the participants will paint and draw sunflowers and other elements of the garden under the guidance of artists Martel Catalano, Nancy Hicks and Jess Clauser. Children 6 to 14 years old are welcome. If you are interested, registration is required. Contact Garden Director Natalie Walsh at email@example.com.
The good news is our gardens are looking good.
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.
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.
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.
Six names have been nominated for our scarecrow.
They are Bill, Mr. Pit, Fred, Field, Joe and Strawvinsky.
There is a chalkboard outdoors on the east side of the Pitney Meadows Community Garden shed and chalk on the sill.
Cast your vote by putting a check next to the name you like best. I will tally the results and post the winning name.
Another scarecrow joke:
What is a scarecrow’s favorite fruit?
In total, 5 grocery bags of beautiful greens and fresh vegetables from the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens were delivered to the Franklin Community Center food pantry this morning.
In the bags were several heads of lettuce, bunches of Swiss Chard and Kale leaves, a few tomatoes, some wonderfully fragrant basil, yellow banana peppers, and several pounds of zucchini and summer squash. Julie Slovic, FCC’s Food Program Administrator, was pleased to accept the fresh vegetables.
This was the Community Gardens second delivery to FCC. These vegetables are grown in plots designated for this purpose in the community gardens and tended by gardeners as part of an initiative to provide healthy fresh vegetables to those in need.
Kay S. took this image of a monarch caterpillar on a milkweed plant in her raised bed.
Monarchs have been on the decline due to extreme weather conditions that devastated monarch populations, loss of habitat and use of herbicides. Planting milkweed helps support these fluttering beauties as they need milkweed to survive. Their caterpillars, like the one pictured, only eat milkweed plants (Asclepias spp.). Monarch butterflies seek out milkweed plants to lay their eggs.
In the gardens this July, I spotted about a handful of Monarchs in total. Next year, why don’t we plant a bed of milkweed to support monarch populations and their migration? What do you think?