Monday, June 1, 2015

Lettuce Harvest those Strawberry Fields

Weekday Strawberry Picking
On Wednesday and Friday evenings this week, May May 27 and May 29, members stopped by to harvest the strawberries that are ripening faster than we have been picking them. We will continue to harvest strawberries every other day while they last. 

Workday - May 31, 2015
It was a hot workday with 31 households attending today.  It was decided to make the change and begin workdays at 9:00 moving forward now that the hot weather is here.  Work that got done today included weeding the asparagus bed and sprinkling the bed with road salt to kill the weeds - but not the asparagus. It seems asparagus like salty conditions. Weedblock fabric was installed with staples near the northern perimeter of the perennial bed to halt the Canadian thistle from taking over. A crew worked the composte bin and augmented mushroom composite, adding this mixture to several of the beds.

Lots of harvesting was done  -  the majority of lettuce and cauliflower, all the arugula (which had started to flower), beets, pea pods, and strawberries. There was a large surplus that was transported to Our Daily Bread in Larry’s pick up truck.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 17th and May 23rd. New Signs and New Crops are in.

Workday, Sunday, May 17, 2015
We harvested  a row and half of red lettuce, all of the spinach, some radishes, and planted tomatoes and peppers. We also cleaned the chard bed of leaves that had Leaf Miner bugs and covered the row with a white cloth to keep them out. Robin will be spraying the beets and the chard to try to keep them off.  Pyrethrum spray is used, a natural, botanical insecticide made from chrysanthemums.  Extra lettuce and spinach went to Our Daily Bread.

Workday, Saturday, May 23, 2015
We worked this Memorial Day weekend and were greeted by wonderful new community garden signs on the front gate as well as over the shed door and the back of the shed as well.  Many thanks to Debra for commissioning the making of the signs and for contributing them to the garden! They are fabulous.
We planted leeks, butternut squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. There was harvesting of kale, lettuce, arugula, beets, Swiss chard, strawberries, and herbs. The new perennial flower bed was planted, tubular stalks were cut from the rhubarb plants, and all the tomato plants and pepper plants had cages staked around them. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Saturday, April 25, 2015
Beds with seedlings were gently cleaned of wood chips and debris.  Arugula plants were thinned and transplanted. Flowers were pinched off 
the rhubarb plants. Creeping Charlie was weeded from the strawberry plants. Tomato cages were gathered and secured along the fencing. 
Spinach was harvested for all.

Sunday, May 3, 2015
It was surprisingly warm this morning. Leek seedlings were planted as 
well as bush bean seeds and Roma bean seeds. More arugula plants were 
thinned and transplanted. Labor intensive work was done digging deep 
to remove the Canadian Thistle weeds by the fencing along the 
perennial beds. Perennial flowers were planted along the southeast 
corner of the garden. Lots and lots of weeding was done in the beds 

and pathways, and a major harvesting of both spinach beds was done 
making a contribution to Our Daily Bread possible. Thanks to Catherine 
for making the delivery.  Mushroom compost will be delivered next 
week.  No workday next week as we're well caught up and it will be 
Mother's Day weekend.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Garden in April!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

March 29th work day. Still cold.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Twenty families arrived this morning and learned the ground was frozen so seeds could not be planted. We finished covering all the garden pathways using a newly arrived pile of wood chips, weeded, and cleaned the beds.  We are ready for planting and this is scheduled for Saturday, April 11.
In addition, a new perennial flower bed was staked out amidst the peach trees today and perennial flowers will also be planted this spring in all four corners of the garden.

Staking out the Perennial Flower Bed:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Finally Spring (sort of): The 2015 Season Begins!

What happened at today's first workday of 2015 - March 22 :

Thanks to all who came out for today's first workday of the year. The weather was glorious and "many hands made light work" as a most impressive wheel barrow brigade of untiring workers distributed two huge piles of wood chips throughout the garden. We were done in two hours time. In addition, cardboard was put down in weedy areas before wood chips were spread, lots of weeding was done, the peach trees were pruned, the raspberry bushes supported, and pea pod seeds were planted.  It was too wet to do any other planting.

Right now it is unclear if we'll have a workday next weekend or not. It depends if Larry is able to purchase the plants this coming week.
I'll keep you posted.  


13 new households have joined the garden and we have a new high of 62 household memberships this year.
Amazing when you realize we started with 24 households in 2011. And yes, there is still a wait list. It's down to 6 households at the moment.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Work Days for the Rest of the Season

Below are the workdays for September and early October, 2014. 

Saturday, September   6
Sunday,   September 14
Saturday, September 20
Sunday, September   28
Sunday, October 5*
Saturday, October 11 

*Note: There are 2 Sundays in a row because Yom Kippur is on Oct 4.

It remains to be seen how far into the fall season we'll continue. Last year we worked into November, harvesting butternut squash for Thanksgiving.  You never know.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Garden notes from 8/23/14: Lots of Tomatoes!

Here's the latest.

Saturday, August 23, 2014
There continues to be lots to harvest and today garden members went home with tomatoes, pepper, beets, broad beans, Rainbow Swiss chard,  eggplants and Japanese eggplants, and some kale. A small number of the  first okra were also picked.
As summer ends we're starting to plant some cold crops. Two rows of  bean plants were pulled after harvesting with plans for garlic to be 

planted next week. Spinach seeds were planted in an additional bed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Catching up on July's blog workday blog posts

Between vacation and baking zucchini bread, I've fallen behind on the blog.  And this information from Naomi does not include our most recent work day!  But here goes, anyway, with some pics:

June 22, June 28, 2014 

Vegetables picked:
Beets, Lettuce, Turnips, Red and Green Cabbages, Kale, Purslane, Rhubarb, Zucchini, Herbs, Green Beans, Sugar Peas   ----All the vines were pulled out, sugar peas were removed
Strawberry and Asparagus Beds 
Weeding and thinning in other areas (butternut squash, eggplant, tomatoes, okra, etc.)

Seeds Planted:
Cucumber seeds were planted on  north side of wire fencing where sugar peas were.
Bush string beans were planted on south side.

July 6 

There were only 18 households on July 6, due to the holiday weekend but lots still got accomplished. Most of the cabbage was harvested, some parsley, lots of lettuce, beets, hugs zucchini, beans, paddy pan squash, all the broccoli, kale, and our first substantial looking carrots ever. The bean plants were cleared from bed 14 and a succession crop will be planted. Straw was placed in the butternut squash and strawberry beds to help contain the weeds and keep moisture in. Wood chips were spread along the east side of the garden. 

July 12, 2014
Our numbers were back up with 34 households working this past weekend. In spite of the heat a garden crew planted 6 peach trees along the south end of the garden - including 4 dwarf trees. Larry purchased them on sale at Home Depot and we can expect our first harvest next year. A hose was extended to the trees with the water on a timer and a ground-level sprinkler installed to keep the roots moist. 
Short cages were made for eggplants and some taller ones for the few heirloom tomatoes donated by Anne. Wood chips were spread along the west fence line. 
Straw was spread in the asparagus beds. The cumber plants were thinned to one plant per foot.
Beet seeds were planted.
Lots of weeding got done and while there were crops to harvest, the output was on the smaller side than usual. However, a donation was still made to Our Daily Bread with thanks to Martha for delivering it.
Crops harvested: zucchini, Swiss chard, broad beans, heat tolerant lettuce, parsley, herbs. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

How to Grow Vegetables: Notes from Larry's Talk

Larry Kloze gave a talk at the garden on Monday evening, June 16, 2014.  This is a summary of some of the points of his tour and talk:

Raised beds provide additional root space for plants.

We utilize wide row, intensive planting; plants are close together so it’s difficult to see the soil, and therefore there are few weeds as the sun is blocked.

Kale, Swiss chard, and collards are planted in the spring and last though the summer.
Due to a very cold winter this year we anticipate far fewer bugs.

Succession Planting  (a kind of rotation planting) uses the same bed for several crops;  e.g. After a bed of lettuce is harvested beans are planted in the bed. After the beans are harvested beets are then planted.

Horse radish serves as a “catch crop” for bugs.
Bush beans require no support. Pole beans, which are equally prolific, don’t require you to bend over to pick them.

In our organic garden, no chemical fertilizers or pesticides are used. Plants need food and the mushroom compost helps replenish the plants.
The text, Crockett’s Victory Garden, describes mixing in new compost to renew nutrients when one crop is finished.
Mulch can be used in beds to both suppress weeds and retain moisture.
Triangulate planting takes up less space and maximizes the number of plants per bed.
Companion Planting – when two plants go well together and can be planted simultaneously; e.g. bushes under trees, or shallow rooted plants (tomatoes) with deep rooted plants (carrots) There is a text with the title Carrots Love Tomatoes.

Garden water Is provided by the city and we currently use dozens of connected hoses to access water from down the hill. As a result there is very low water pressure making it impossible to water the entire garden all at once.  To solve this problem the water timers are set to four different zones in the garden. It’s best to water at night. If there’s no rain we water every other day. One inch of water a week is sufficient for the crops. There is a simple measuring device in the garden to keep track of how much water the garden gets each week.

This year Swiss Chard was protected this year from leaf miters that tunnel into the leaves. This was done by covering the crop with a spun fabric, reemay, that still allows water, sun, and air to penetrate. This is in contrast to last year’s problem with cucumber beetles. This crop can’t be covered because it needs to pollinate – and the crop was lost.

There are two kinds of tomato plants, determinate and indeterminate. Determinate plants stop growing while indeterminate plants keep growing. This ever-growing kind of plant is typical of those producing big sandwich tomatoes.
You can freeze whole tomatoes in a plastic bag. You can freeze peppers after pulling the seeds out.  There’s no need to blanche these vegetables before freezing and they can be used for spaghetti sauce upon defrosting.

Tomatoes and peppers like acidic soil (low ph) and we augmented the soil with lyme when planting them this year. For high ph soil, add sulfur in the form of match tips.

Plant tomato plants on their side. Take off all but the uppermost leaves. Dig a trench. Pillow the soil for the leaves. Tomatoes sprout new roots from their stems and this process will increase the root area and produce more vigorous plants.

 It takes 6 feet of space for 3 watermelon plants in a bed vs. the very dense plantings that beets and beans thrive on – consequently yielding much more food per sq. ft.
Containment is an important concept, particularly in urban gardening (maximizing land use); e.g. have peas grow up on a fence in order to use less land. 

Cucumbers grown on the ground become yellow on the bottom side that lies on the dirt. This is not the case when they are grown on trellises.
To avoid the time consuming, pain staking process of thinning carrots, mix the seeds with rice or sand and then sprinkle the mixture to plant the crop.

In the past you could never make a BLT sandwich using the L & T from the garden as they are harvested at different times. This year the heat tolerant lettuce should make this a possibility.

The composter is the “heart of the garden” and needs to be cared for as you would a pet. You “work” the compost; it needs to be turned in order to aerate it, chopped, and watered. It is a habitat for micro-organisms. No oil products should be added to the compost - they keep the material from breathing. Don’t let weeds go to seed before adding them to compost. Otherwise a temperature of 160 degrees F. should kill the weed seeds.

Peas won’t survive into summer as they are a cool crop vegetable. Cucumbers will be planted in the pea bed after the peas are harvested and the trellis used again for the cucumbers.

Beets are a wonderful crop to interplant as they have shallow roots and grow low. They also are heat tolerant and grow all summer.
 Pyrethrum and diatomaceous earth, organic products, are being used on the eggplants to battle bugs. (Thank you Robin!)

 Last year’s zucchini crop was destroyed by vine borers. One solution is to slit the stem and remove the borer.

 Zucchini, okra, and cucumbers may grow so fast as to warrant a mid week harvest.

 The Perennial Garden:
When you cultivate perennials in a regular vegetable garden, you risk disturbing the perennial plants when planting annual crops. Therefore the garden has designated separate beds for perennials.
 Asparagus take three years to establish but live 50-60 years.
Rhubarb leaves are POISONOUS.  Just eat the stems.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Workday, June 14, 2014

Workday, June 14, 2014

Planted half a bed with okra seeds
Finished making cages and staking of tomato plants
Thinned and harvested both types of heat-tolerant lettuces.
Flea beetles have damaged the eggplant crop and Robin continues to try 
and combat them with organic spray. We may plant additional plants - 
if they can be found.
Evenly redistributed the butternut squash plants that have emerged and 
spaced them out evenly.
Spread woodchips by the squash beds.
Finished staking the asparagus plants.
Weeded, and weeded, and weeded.
Harvested snow peas, beans, cabbage,beets, turnips, all the remaining 
kohlrabi and red lettuce.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Growing right along.....

Saturday, May 31, 2014
Lots got harvested today including broccoli, butter crunch and romaine lettuce, beets, all the arugula, all the radishes, and all the kolhrabi. The turnips were thinned as were the carrots and the heat-resistant lettuce.  Falling pea plants were trained, derby beans planted, compost turned, wood chips spread, and cages were placed around the pepper plants. The perennial beds were weeded and shaped.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Let the Harvest begin!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Another busy and productive workday. We harvested the spinach which was getting closer to bolting and going to seed. A clear sign of this can be seen as the spinach leaves take on a more pointed shape. Buttercrunch lettuce, arugula, radishes, and kale were also harvested. We were able to make our first contribution of the year to Our Daily Bread and appreciate Maria delivering the food to them. 
We began planting summer crops including pepper plants, eggplants, zucchini, basil, Early Girl and Celebrity and Roma tomatoes, heat tolerant lettuce, and Patti Pan squash.  Sulphur was sprinkled in each hole prior to planting the pepper and tomato plants to increase the soil acidity for best results. 
Many thanks to Larry and Vicki for driving out to Papa John's (aka Schillinger's Farm) in Severn, MD this week to purchase our summer-harvest plants at wholesale prices.  It's another reason why our expenses remain so low.
Thanks also to our garden planners, Jane, Kathy, Laura, Roberta, and Phoebe, for helping to make order from chaos. It's a challenge to design the placement of the crops to maximize the yield for 59 households and they continue to work on it weekly, adapting to both the health of the plants and ever-changing harvest schedules, as well as plant availability. 
And more thanks to Robin who has created a clever design for beautiful signs for all the crops that she has hand-made. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Garden Workday Schedule -2014

Garden Workday Schedule -2014 

Saturday, May 3
Sunday, May 11 (Mother's Day)
Saturday, May 17
Sunday, May 25 (Memorial Day Weekend)
Saturday, May 31
Sunday, June 8
Saturday, June 14
Sunday, June 22
Saturday, June 28
Friday, July 4 - Garden/Parade Activities
Sunday, July 6 
Saturday, July 12
Sunday, July 20 
Saturday, July 26
Sunday, August 3 
Saturday, August 9
Sunday, August 17
Saturday, August 23
Sunday, August 31
To be continued... 
(Last year we were still working in the garden late into October and even had a pre-Thanksgiving harvest.)

As always, the schedule is subject to change

Monday, April 28, 2014

April 27th and Arugula Pesto

April 27, 2014:
Robin came by this past week and surprised us with new, beautiful 
installed signs for the beds!
Leeks were planted today
Chives, oregano, and thyme were transplanted to the new perennial 
garden bed
Compost was added to all the perennial beds
Dill seeds were planted
The 13 newly planted trees were watered

Spinach and chives were harvested

Correction:  13 city trees were planted last week (not 18)
Next workday, Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

And Chester sent a link to a recipe for arugula pesto:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Today the city delivered 18 trees that were planted along Enslow 
Avenue.  Most of the work was done by the garden members though word 
had gone out that this was to have been a community event. 
Regardless, tupelos (sweet gum), persimmons, red buds, hackberries, 
swamp white oaks, and white oaks were planted, two of each, and one 
white pine as well. Garden members will be watering the trees weekly 
during the next several months.

Garden work that got done today included: Finishing the bed 
preparation for the perennials; Planting strawberries;  Adding compost 
around the cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower plants as they had not 
been planted deeply enough; Cleaned up the radicchio bed, leaving the 
plants and interplanting turnip seeds in the bed; And harvesting 
spinach - enough for all the 34 households who worked today.

Many thanks to Jane who produced two magnificent water-proof boards 
illustrating all 21 beds and chronicling what was planted where and 
when. They serve an additional purpose as they were used to indicate 
what work needed to be done today by tacking on post-its indicating 
what tasks needed to be done. It worked very well and is most 
appreciated.  We're so glad that Jane has just retired!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 5th Workday

We were successful in getting all the plants planted and most of the seeds as well during our long 2 1/2 hour workday this morning.  Plants included kale, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, red and green cabbage, romaine, buttercrunch, and red leaf lettuce. In addition the perennial beds were weeded and amended with compost.  Some beds still had to be tilled and amended with composte to prepare them for planting and repairwork was needed and completed on the tiller. Gentle watering was done to all the crops, of course. Thanks to the 36 households who were able to come and work today.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Rained out, Maybe next week.

Mushroom compost is for sale again at the same bargain price of $5 for a a garbage bag full. 
Pick it up at your convenience and pay up when you come to a workday.

And here's a summary of what was accomplished last Sunday:

33 households showed up including 5 new members! Lots of compost was worked into the garden beds. About a third of the new mushroom compost supply was used along with our own home-made compost. Lots of weeding was done and, sadly, it appears the harsh winter destroyed our garlic crop. In response to a call for volunteers, Jen agreed to take the lead in working with our new strawberry crop and Allen will do the same for the raspberries. Jodi, Todd, and Paula are interested in working on weed control, and we continue to need someone to be in charge of the "automatic" watering system. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring has Sprung (we hope)

2014 Workday Schedule
We meet at 10:00 a.m.  
Sunday, March 23
Sunday, March 30
Saturday, April 5
Sunday, April 13
Saturday, April 19
Sunday, April 27
Saturday, May 3
Sunday, May 11
Saturday, May 17
Sunday, May 25

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Garden That Keeps on Giving -Sunday, November 24, 2013

For those who were available and brave enough to weather the cold,  there was a pre-Thanksgiving workday today. 12 households turned out, all bundled up, and harvested Swiss chard, beets, spinach, leeks, celeriac, radishes, and a handful of shitake mushrooms (the first  yield ever for this crop).  Luise and Allen donated raspberry bushes and these were planted in  one of the beds in the newly expanded garden area. There were enough crops left over for a contribution to  Our Daily Bread.  Many thanks to Donna and Lee for making the delivery.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Few More Weeks To Go.....

October  24, 2013

We have continued to consistently have weekly workdays and the garden 
keeps on giving. We'll even be doing more harvesting and composting  this Sunday, October 27.

This past month we have gradually been putting the beds "to bed" by  cleaning them up and planting clover seeds for the winter.  Last week tomatoes and eggplants were fully harvested, the plants removed, and 
tomato cages stacked by the side of the fence.  The beds were weeded, 
composted, tilled and raked -- in preparation for next season's 
planting.  The compost was turned as the plants from the eggplants and 
tomatoes were broken up and added to the compost.

Harvested:  tomatoes, eggplants, chard, arugula, spinach, beets, 
herbs, marigolds, jalapenos