Monday, April 30, 2012

Hill o' taters

Last week I told you I wanted to show you the difference between Clarence's hilled potatoes vs. his nonhilled ones. Here's a picture:

Hilled in front, nonhilled in back. Wow, huh?

Also of note and to watch for this week, I took some pictures at Exchange Place of the garden there. Last weekend was the Spring Garden Fair -- I hope you got to enjoy it like my family did. Good stuff! And great weather for it!

I ran into Master Gardener Phil there, as well as friends Andrea and Jack Woodworth -- both parties said they'd be willing to come talk to our gardeners about some aspect of what they do (heirloom seeds, succession planting, goat-cheese making, etc.). And that reminded me of something I wanted to know: what do you guys want to learn about?

I'm working on figuring out when and what our May garden gathering will be, and will be doing the same for the rest of the growing season's months -- what do you want me to work on getting speakers about? Are there particular topics that intrigue you? Please let me know!

Also at Exchange Place my family and I encountered Sue, who spoke to us on Earth Day, and took a picture of my fam at Exchange Place, and we bought a book from Taylor Reese and Jack Pyle (and got them to sign it! Nice guys.) -- Raising With the Moon. Sue brought their book to show when she spoke to our gardeners.

I've got to go "raise with the sun," now, though, or we will be late for school.

Happy day!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Feelin' Groovy

Tried this smoothie today on the kiddos (and myself) for breakfast. It's a hit!

Groovy Green Smoothie (text links to recipe, so click on the words to get there)

One addition: add a few pieces of ice.

Happy day!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day in the garden

Happy Earth Day!

A good group of us braved the brisk April temps to gather in the garden and listen to Sue Cadwallader tell us a bit about companion planting. Sue had a cool handout on vegetable and herb companions, she shared some seeds, and most of all she shared her cheerful wisdom about gardening. Big thanks to Sue!

The garden is growing nicely, in spite of the roller coaster weather we're getting these days. See?

I meant to get a picture of the comparison between the two beds of potatoes Clarence planted -- one he hilled and one he planted randomly -- the hilled ones are doing a lot better than the non-hilled ones. I'll get some pics of that next time I'm by the garden.

More notes from Sue:
Companion gardening is about interrelatedness -- it's not a new thing, and in fact there's an Iroquois lengend about three sisters and the relationship that can exist among corn, beans and squash/pumpkins. Take a second to read it!  Companion gardening offers ways to discourage pests (for instance, horseradishes in a potato bed to drive away potato beetles) or ways to increase yield because of chemical symbioses (carrots and tomatoes, or roses and garlic). I am not a science-minded person, so don't ask me for more details on that, but there's plenty to be found in the books, I'm betting.

Sue also gave us some tips she's read and/or tried -- for instance, dust cabbages with ashes or cayenne (or both?) to deter rabbits. We talked about some books she brought -- Raising with the Moon was one, the authors of which are to be at the Exchange Place spring garden fair next weekend. Watch here for more info about that, but make space in your weekend to stop by, if you can.

Again, thank you to Sue and all the folks who showed up to share this afternoon. Happy Earth Day; grow well!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lots o' bits!

I am off today on an epic adventure, so I won't be posting much, if at all, for the next week.

I'll leave you with a few reminders:
This Saturday -- tomorrow! -- April 14, we'll be doing a second planting day for folks who missed the first one. If you missed us in March, join us! If you have planted already, it's still a great opportunity to meet and work with your fellow gardeners. 10 a.m. to noon. Master Gardener Nancy will be on the scene if you have questions, and if you need plants and/or seeds, she'll get them for you. (Thank you, Nancy!)

Next Sunday, April 22 at 4 p.m., please join us for Earth Day in the Garden. Sue Cadwallader will speak to us about companion gardening (pairing plants for insect resistence, higher yield, space savings, etc.). If I'm not back in time, someone please grab an extra copy of any info she hands out! I don't want to miss it!

April 28 and 29 (Saturday and Sunday) is the Spring Garden Fair at Exchange Place. Our friend, Master Gardener Phil Ramey is involved with the garden fair -- come out and have fun while supporting him! Saturday is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Lots of plants and seeds and farm/garden stuff going on. $1 admission for adults and $.50 children.

Finally, look for Harvest of Hope on Facebook -- search "Harvest of Hope Growing with Kingsport." If you haven't already, "like" us there. We still have about five beds left. Spread the word!

I'll end with a quote I heard from a wonderful speaker (Dr. Marcus Robinson) yesterday at the HEAL Appalachia Childhood Obesity Symposium:

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations."

--George Bernard Shaw

Happy day!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Food for Thought

Yesterday I met with a man named Don Moore, who is president of an organization called Community Food Project. Don is working to put together a community farm dinner to raise money to build and support a community school garden at Jackson Elementary School in Kingsport. I'll include more info about the dinner as it comes together. Good stuff, though.

He sent me some information about programs he hopes to emulate or that have inspired him, and I thought I'd share some of them here:

Dinners at the Farm

Outstanding in the Field

The Stop Community Food Center in Toronto

The Stop -- After-school program

Don's hope for the garden at Jackson is that it be a dynamic project offering better nutrition, strategic learning, emotional therapy and community building. Isn't that kind of what we're about at Harvest of Hope, too?

As Don and I, two marketing people (or marketing person turned mom in my case), talked about Harvest of Hope as a "product," we wondered what YOU want it to be, and how best to "package" Harvest of Hope as something that will uncomplicate your life -- and the lives of all those we hope to reach with our community garden. We know what our dreams are for the garden, and what we perceive as the need, but what do you dream? What do you perceive as the need?

Happy day!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I got two dozen fresh eggs for Easter-egg dying last week, so I have some left for cooking. This might be dinner:

Asparagus frittata

Here's another veggie-ful variation:

Vegetable frittata

And here's one more spring veggie recipe I tried last week. I doubled the pasta (in other words, I used the whole pound) and subbed in milk and a bit of half & half in place of the heavy cream. I'd also dial back the lemon by half if you feel like the full amount called for might be too lemony for you. Our family had mixed reviews on the strong lemon flavor.

Happy day!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter garden

Happy Easter, friends! He is risen indeed!

We stopped by the garden this morning after mass to soak in the sun, and to thank the son.

Thanks, too, to my dear Scott, who gave the garden its shave-and-a-haircut yesterday so that it'd be spiffed up for today's celebrations. He also put the hose and a watering can out, so those are finally out there for everyone to use as needed.

I'm gearing up for one of my life's goals: running the Boston Marathon. So I'll be out of pocket for a week here shortly.

Please remember: Another spring planting day is coming up Saturday, April 14 at 10 a.m. (till noon). Please be in touch before Friday if you need more info about this. Otherwise, we'll see you Saturday! Nancy will be getting some more plants and seeds for those who weren't able to make it on March 24, so if you need us to get something for you, let us know (comment here before Friday, or call Jane at the United Way at 378.3409 ext. 16).

Earth Day gathering: Sunday, April 22 at 4 p.m. at the garden. Sue Cadwallader, who is one of our gardeners, will be talking a bit on companion planting. If you want to, we can spend some time working together in the garden after that.

Happy day!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday garden

The fam and I stopped by the garden yesterday to peek, and I grabbed a snap that seems so Good Fridayish to me. Even the "keep out" in the background says: This is a day of hush and bowed head and fear and sorrow.

But. Look at that sign! This is the Harvest of Hope! Sow its seeds and watch them grow, right?

Scott and I have tentative aims to head toward the garden tomorrow sometime with our mower and weedeater, and make short work of the edgework that needs to be done there. Anyone want to come join?

Also: yesterday in our ramblings and errandings about town I thought: wouldn't it be cool if someone (First Presbyterian?) set up a kind of restaurant on the grassy lot next to the Harvest of Hope. They could call it Harvest Cafe. And it could serve local food -- a lot like The Harvest Table in Meadowview, Va. It could use stuff we grow in our garden. It could employ people who need jobs. There could be visions of a catering company, even. It could serve food to everyone using this model: SAME Cafe in Denver. Here's a story about the restaurant there.

These are my dreams. Are they too big for Kingsport? I don't think so. What do you think?

Happy day!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Water works!

Thanks be to all involved in getting the water going again -- I hear it was Larry, Jane, Margot, and the plumber from First Presbyterian -- not sure who all else got busy making sure we got our water back up and running quickly. I stopped by yesterday and chatted with Rick, also from First Pres, who showed me the part that, next fall, we have to actually remove so that the faucet is properly winterized and won't burst. It's a rather complicated system! But! It's in working order now -- yay! There are two valves you must turn before you can turn the knob at the spigot and have water, or open the valve at the big pump-type spigot and have water there, too. If you're trying to turn it on and get confused, look at this picture (you can click it and get it to show up bigger, too). On the far right, there's a red handle you have to turn. Then on the backside of the horizontal pipe, there's a blue handle you have to turn (not easily seen in this picture) and then you can turn the blue knob on the left (in the picture) to get water, or you can lift the handle on the bigger spigot (not pictured) and water will appear. Makes us realize what we take for granted, not having the water work for a few days.

We have hose in the shed. I can't remember if we left that out all the time last year or not, but I imagine it wouldn't hurt to have that out and at the ready, so look for that early next week -- if we need a new one, I can get that sorted and available between now and next week.

Also while there, I snapped a few pics of our new babies. The rain last night was a blessing to all gardens, ours included. Thank you, Lord.

Happy day!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New planting day

Happy Tuesday! A new planting day has been planned for the folks who weren't able to make it to our first one. It'll be Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to noon. Please come! I think one of the best things we've got going at the garden is community, but it can be hard to hold onto when we all pick different times to tend our bits of earth.

So -- if you missed March 24, or if you didn't but can come weed and piddle a while, please do.

No meeting tonight, remember -- but we'll get together on Sunday, April 22 to celebrate Earth Day. 4 p.m. Please let me know what topic you'd prefer to hear about: gardening with kids or companion gardening.

Have a great day!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Good book

I'm going to ease into Holy Week blogging, having spent a busy but fun week of spring break traveling. I've heard that the water is to be fixed today, so I'll pray that news holds and also thank God for the rain we've gotten lately to tide us over (or sprinkle us, as the case may be).

While I was away, I snagged a book belonging to my mom and quickly determined that it was of the can't-put-down variety. I've finished it already, in fact. I think you guys would like it.

See You in a Hundred Years by Logan Ward. Check it out!

Our meeting for tomorrow, April 3, is cancelled -- First Presbyterian asked us to hold off till after Holy Week -- so keep watching here and we'll let you know when another is scheduled. Our April 22 gathering may be it -- and that is on (we'll have to figure out some in-case-of-rain accommodations). Sue Cadwallader is going to join us at the garden to talk a bit and then we can all garden together, or chat, or some of both.

Sue can speak on gardening with kids or on companion gardening (which is how you can partner plants for insect control, better yield, etc.) -- place your vote here, or via email to me -- which would you like to hear about first?

Happy day!