Volunteers and Gardeners Make the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens Look Fabulous

The pictures say it all. Volunteers were at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens this morning weeding and watering.  Thank you all. It looks beautiful.

If you’d like to see the gardens for yourself come on Saturday morning when we will be having a reading program for children. This week’s topic is worms and the reading program begins at 9:30.

At the same hour, Natalie Walsh will give a talk on succession planting and walk around the gardens answering questions.  All are welcome.

Midsummer’s Eve Celebration in the Gardens

What a delightful night in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens as about 50 gardeners and families gathered to celebrate the first night of summer and the one year anniversary of the gardens.

It’s hard to believe that only one year ago, the garden was just getting underway with the construction of raised beds. Now, we have plots in three different sizes, a lovely pergola, a beautiful gardener’s shed, a Monarch butterfly habitat, a grandparent’s garden, a fairy garden and 72 gardeners who help make the experience terrific.

Tonight was our first potluck and so many delicious offerings were available. Thank you to all who made this a success. This garden has a wonderful community for which I am  very grateful.

Our next potluck will be in July when the garlic is harvested.  It will be our Vampire Slayer feast.  Recipes should have at least some garlic as an ingredient.

Until then, see you in the gardens, Natalie

Preregistration Required for Jam Making Class

On July 14, the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens Sunflower Reading and Activity will be books about jam and then a jam making class.

Community Gardener and Teacher Faye Mihuta will read two books starting at 9:30 a.m.

At 10 a.m., there will be a Children’s Freezer Jam Making Program with Diane Whitten, from Cornell Cooperative Extension. Children must be between 5 and 12 years old to participate.

Due to the anticipated popularity of this class, pre-registration is required.

If you are interested, please sign up your children up before July 7. Cost is $5. per child and space is limited.

We also need 5 adult volunteers. One per table to work with the children. These volunteers will need to be in the garden at 9:30 a.m. for a brief training session.

If you’re interested, sign up in the garden shed and leave contact information.

Children will be taking home a container of blueberry jam.

You can also register by contacting Natalie Walsh, Garden Director at natalie.walsh@pitneymeadows.org before July 7.

Welcoming Butterflies

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 7.12.37 AM

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

Screen Shot 2017-07-29 at 4.42.14 PM

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.

What Should We Name Him?

Screen Shot 2017-07-29 at 4.23.44 PM.png

With the help of Charlotte and George and the addition of a little more stuffing and a hat, our scarecrow is looking better.

He is standing guard over the tiny sunflowers on the west side of the garden.

And so far, no crows have landed near him. Good work Mr ???

Our brave scarecrow needs a name. What shall we call him?

Scarecrow Joke:

Why did the scarecrow get a promotion?

He was outstanding in his field.

Got another joke?

 

 

Scarecrow

 

 

Garden Tips

One of the observations our gardeners have made is how quickly our community garden soil dries out.

One solution to this is to mulch. You’ll notice some gardeners have placed straw or pine needles* around the base of the plants.

This is a worthy idea for a few reasons.

It will keep moisture down around the roots, weeds will have a harder time growing, and during rain storms the soil will not splash up onto the leaves which makes for healthier plants.

When you do water, water well to promote good strong root systems that go deep. This will help your plants be healthier and healthy plants are able to fend off troubles.

You can also plant flowers – like marigolds – around the base and carrots love to be planted near tomatoes. Beans are a worthy crop, too.

If you have other questions, let me know.

• Pine needles used around our plants as mulch will not impact the pH. The acidic level of dried pine straw (needles) is very, very low.

 

 

Today in the Community Gardens

Fourth of July and the Pursuit of Happiness

The in-ground plots have been staked and everyone has been assigned a bed. I can’t begin to tell you how good that feels.

It might not be exactly what the founding fathers meant by life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but it makes me really, really happy to know each and everyone of us can get our plants in now.

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 12.16.01 PM.png

The irrigation water is on and tomorrow I will bring hoses and watering wands to the garden.  FYI: The irrigation water is from a well and meant for the plants. Humans should drink from the city water spigot in the family barn or the spring water in the refrigerator in the garage near the house.

We had lots of activity in the gardens this morning. Some came just to check if any of their seeds sprouted, others to transplant and still others were planting seeds like our young gardeners pictured here. Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 12.16.34 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-07-04 at 12.16.20 PM.png

Plastic Edging

Tom and Jim installed some lengths of this black plastic edging to temporarily hold the gravel and stone dust in place for this season but we need more. Does anyone have any of this edging at home that they wouldn’t mind donating?

It’s the sort of thing that sometimes ends up in a garage unused.

If you have it, and you would like to donate it, bring it when you come next.  Thanks.Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 12.17.25 PM.png

Tomorrow I will be in the garden in the morning starting at 8 a.m.  I hope to see you there.

Natalie