Building Garden Structures with Sticks and Saplings

Screen Shot 2019-01-17 at 9.16.05 AMThis is my idea of fun.

Patrick Doughtery, a carpenter and sculpture, is creating a huge stick sculpture at the Mounts Botanical Garden in Palm Beach County, Florida from truckloads of saplings.

Dougherty, who is based in North Carolina,  has created his Stickwork projects in Scotland, Japan, Brussels and all over the United States, including Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art.

I’m looking at this and thinking…Hmm. Can we scale this down and make a sapling sculpture in a community garden? What would you create?

A tunnel for hanging gourds? A playhouse? A secret room?

Has anyone made one? If so, let me know about it please! And send pictures!

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Have Questions About How to Use What You Have Grown?

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 11.07.38 AMTwo 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.

Sunflower Art at Pitney Meadows

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 8.34.27 PM.pngNineteen 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 natalie.walsh@pitneymeadows.org.

 

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.

 

What Should We Name Our Scarecrow?

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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?

Straw-berries!

Vegetables Donated to Franklin Community Center’s Food Pantry

kaleIn 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.

 

Welcoming Butterflies

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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?

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.

Girl Scouts Rock the Herb Garden

Earlier this season, the girl scouts made colorful rock markers for our community herb garden, which is located near the garden shed. Each rock bears the name of a different herb.

This weekend, with the help of friends and siblings, the girl scouts placed the markers in the raised beds, planted herb seeds and watered them in.

Thank you all. The markers look festive and happy in the raised beds. A job well done.

All PMCG gardeners are welcome to come and cut a few herbs from these two beds as soon as they grow a little. We have parsley, sage, dill, thyme, lemon verbena, rosemary, cilantro, borage, chives, basil, savory, Greek oregano, marjoram and more growing for all to enjoy. Take a look next time you are in the garden.