Monday, July 16, 2012

What's Growing Today?

With the heat, and lack of rain the garden is getting a bit, well... crunchy. This crunchiness has come despite the efforts of myself and my fellow waterers to keep everything hydrated. We have pretty sandy soil!

However, things continue to grow and one crop in particular is getting crunchy and dry right on schedule:

The garlic patch will be harvested very, very soon!
One of the first peppers (a serrano)
First ripening tomato

First (hopefully of many!) zucchinis are on there way.
Beets are visible above the ground and getting bigger.

Lots more tomatoes to come!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


For various reasons, food pantry donations have gotten off to a late start this year, but even even these first couple have had a great variety of veggies. So far we are harvesting kale, collards, chard, scallions, carrots, oregano, rosemary, and sage for the Project Soup!

We have enjoyed a lot of iced tea made from lemon balm and sage at coffee hour as well as a chard dish.

There was also a plentiful harvest of garlic scapes that I mixed with basil from the garden and made into pesto. Garlic scapes are the flowers of garlic plants and it is essential that they be removed before they mature so that the heads are allowed to grow. Thankfully, they're also yummy!

See the curly young garlic scape or "flower"?

July 3rd - the first donation of the season with 2 bunches of collards, 2 of chard, 7 of kale, and a small amount of carrots, sage, rosemary, oregano and scallions

July 10th donation is very similar to the first, but with fewer greens, and bigger and more carrots and scallions. Yum!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Early Harvests!

Happy June! It's time for this blog to be active again. The garden is up and running - not completely planted, but well on its way. Squirrels, birds, and passersby have been enjoying strawberries for a little over a week and this Sunday they will appear on the coffee hour table en force!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Garden Grief

We have been blessed in our garden this year with a beautiful, bountiful harvest despite a great many issues with tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, beans. This in large part due to a abundant quantity of gorgeous leafy collards and kale. When Elizabeth and I planted them, I saw their bounty stretching far into November, December, even popping up next spring. (I plant one variety of kale known to withstand tough New England winters).

This dream is no longer.

(cue funereal music)

Tragically, sixteen kale and collards plants were brutally stabbed and killed this past weekend. They follow five of their brothers and sisters, who were mysteriously murdered earlier in the summer, to leafy green heaven. Investigators had originally believed that this initial act of violence was the work of a mysterious four-legged creature. We are now all too aware that the perpetrator was not only human, but carrying a sharp object with the intent to kill...

OK. So, seriously. I am very upset by this. (It's not improved by the fact that my husband and I also recently had the majority of our winter squash stolen from our community garden).

We would have been able to bring at least 20 (this is a super modest guess) bunches of leafy to the food pantry before the end of the growing season had these plants been left intact.

I have been cycling very quickly through the stages of grief:

1. Denial
- That animal attacked our leafy greens again?
- Well, at least they left some of the stems intact. Leaves will grow out of them eventually.
- Maybe somebody was hungry and didn't know how to pick greens properly. We have invited many people in our community to pick vegetables for themselves.

2. Anger
- Why the @#$% would anyone need 16 plants worth of leafy greens? Did they even eat them? What the %$*#?
- It's one thing to steal from our community and the hungry people we feed, but how dare they be so DESTRUCTIVE about it!!
- There is no way the plants will recover before the end of the growing season.
- Not only is today's harvest ruined, but all future harvests are ruined as well!
- And they took so much of the variety that would have produced in the spring! And so little of the collards which will not last too much longer!

3. Bargaining
- Maybe if I put up some signs today saying how to properly pick kale (so that the plant survives) it will protect the last remaining plants.
- I'll give them more water and extra TLC and they'll bounce back, right?

4. Depression
- Well, I guess we'd better not put any greens in next year. They have been such a target of destruction and nobody really likes them anyway.
- Why do we even do this if our stuff's just going to get stolen and destroyed?
- Maybe I should see what it would take to put that lawn back in. It was nice too... I guess.
- The vandalism's just going to get worse anyway.

5. Acceptance
- Yes, there are things we can do to try to keep this from happening again next year, but absolutely nothing I can do right now.
- Because this happened, the growing season will be over quicker and I will find other things to do with my time that I will enjoy too.
- Giving food to the shelter is not the only important mission of our garden. It is a beautiful symbol of our community's aspirations and hopes and it will continue to be so even without these particular plants.
- Even a possible four dozen bunches of greens loss is very little compared to the problems of hunger in this country and the world. There are other things we can do to help until we are able to grow again in the spring.

What our greens patch should have looked like today:

What it did look like:

Fully uprooted with a second piece of stalk on the far left.

This is certainly not the first time I have experienced garden-related grief. This year, the vast majority of my first attempt at growing seedlings indoors were mowed down by a neighborhood woodchuck. We had high winds that knocked down most of the tomato plants and insured their early demise.

But these griefs are not the same. Woodchucks and storms are acts of nature and I am unfortunately certain that this was the act of at least one human and as much as I hope it was an act of ignorance... I suspect my hopes are wrong.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Feeding the Body

Invitation to enjoy our bean teepee!
We're beginning to come to the end of the harvest season in the First Church garden. The tomatoes seem to putting great effort into many last efforts towards reproduction with tons of ripening fruit, but also tons of brown, crunchy leaves. And everything seems to be growing so slowly. Not like the beginning of the summer with unbridled joyful growth that you can almost see happening from moment to moment.
Our veggies made multiple appearances on Sunday at coffee hour and at our happening neighborhood-oriented block party, so the harvest for the food pantry this week was small, but beautiful.

I am most proud of our broccoli harvest this week. I had to spray tons of aphids off the plants in order to bring these beauties to the food pantry, but broccoli is a finicky (delicious) thing to grow. Check them out:

(Yes, I am FOUR-pictures proud of this harvest!)

We also donated collards, hot and sweet peppers, a little kale, some beautiful tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, parsley and sage:

Another reason that this week's food pantry donation was small was that some of our produce once again went to help the lovely folks who cook for the homeless shelter down the street each month! (Thank you, Megan, Shannon and everybody else!) They made an awesome smelling meal that included a quinoa dish with lots of kale, chard, bell peppers, and basil. Check out their pictures:

Cooking greens
The finished product!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Feeding the Body

Today it was dribbling out, so I brought the veggies into Duhamel Hall to be sorted before bringing a big load over to the food pantry. This was a pretty large delivery, but well within the typical range.
Today we donated the following (listed approximately top to bottom):

- 6 bunches of collards
- 5 bunches of curly kale
- 2 bunches of dinosaur kale
- 4 bunches of purple kale
- 2 bunches of chard
- one small bunch of broccoli
- 17 serrano peppers
- 10 sweet banana peppers
- 12 small bell peppers
- a big pile of green beans
- a pile of yellow beans
- a pile of basil
- 7 cucumbers
- 26 tomatillos
- about 40 small tomatoes
- 1 extra large bunch of sage
- 1 extra large bunch of parsley

Friday, September 2, 2011

What's Growing Today?

The Autumn plantings are doing well!

'French Breakfast' radish seedlings

Lettuce Seedlings

Arugula Seedlings

Carrot Seedlings

Bok Choi seedlings

Tiny bush bean forming

'Scarlet Runner' Bean flower bud
Bean flower bud
Fall pole bean blossoms