Friday, May 18, 2012

Hunger First (and, still: tomatoes)

This morning I stopped by the garden to harvest Ms. Loulla's onions and take them to Hunger First. Here's a picture of Cindy, there, receiving them:

And here are a couple of pictures of the garden (using my good camera rather than my phone):

There are still some tomato plants left if anyone wants them. They may croak by the weekend if there are no takers.

Don't forget to mark your calendar for Sunday, June 24 at 6 p.m., when we'll hear from Master Gardener Phil Ramey! Be there, and bring friends, please!

Happy day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Yesterday's view

I stopped by the garden yesterday to check on the tomatoes (there were still a few as of yesterday morning) and to drop off a few extra plants left over from my garden to Mr. Tim at Interfaith Hospitality Network, and I snapped a few pics while there.

Anybody harvesting anything soon? Ms. Louella, one of our gardeners, has some onions she'd like someone to harvest -- if you're planning to go, let me know and I'll let you take these onions along with whatever you're picking.

Thanks again to Dan for the hose hanger, and to God and all of you for such a beautiful garden!

Happy day.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Late-spring planting: May 12

We couldn't have ordered a more perfect-weather day for our late-spring planting. The one thing I forgot to do yesterday I'll do today here: Thank you, God -- for our garden and our gardeners, for bringing us together, for providing all the gifts for growing and the gorgeous day to gather in.

Here are Ann and Christine, representing the Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church gardeners -- this bunch has their act together. One look at their lettuce and you can see. They decided yesterday to let their current crops go a little longer, and as such did some harvesting and weeding, and sharing of wisdom.

Karen and Nancy worked hard all morning, weeding and planting:

The New Vision Youth were a bunch of wonderful fresh faces in the garden -- they got their two beds squared away and weren't afraid to dig in and get their hands dirty (though when they learned what compost is, it might have given a pause : )!

Nancy D. plants some tomatoes:

Christine shared her tomato-planting wisdom with all of us -- here she's talking to the New Vision Youth. I brought home what I learned from her yesterday and used it on my own home-garden tomatoes, too. Thank you, Christine!

Father and sons Willie, Chandler and Zachary came to get their bed going. Here they are with Scott, weeding. Chandler was directing the efforts yesterday, and seemed to know a good bit about gardening (but also learned a lot, I think):

Sam and Nicole came to move out the early spring crops in their bed and get tomatoes growing. Sam was a great -- and smiley -- sideline coach!:

After most of the gardeners had gone home, Nicole's husband Danny, and her older son, Jack, came (after a fishing tournament where Jack caught his first fish) to build us a hose hanger. Here they are digging the hole where it'll stand. Big thanks to their family!

And here's the lovely hose hanger!

Happy Mother's Day, and thank you to all of you gardeners who are helping make mine extra blessed.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Planting Day tomorrow!

Hi folks! Tomorrow is planting day -- 9 a.m. at the garden. I hope I'll see lots of you there. Nancy's getting tomatoes and peppers and zucchini and other late-spring plants for us to put in the ground and I hope it'll be a beautiful, clear day.

We'll have some instructions on where to go with your harvests, some Master Gardeners on hand to answer questions you might have, and in general, some good fellowship with the soil and each other.

Please remember to bring some water to drink, whatever gardening tools you think you'll need, and some sunscreen or a hat. Should be a great day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Email one more time

I haven't heard from many of you re: this email, so I'm posting its contents for one more view ... Hi gardeners! Harvest of Hope is looking terrific. Thank you for your part in our success! Our garden steering group met this week and we have a few things to share with you. I'll number to make it easier for me: 1. Saturday, May 12 at 9 a.m. will be our late-spring planting day. Please join us at the garden (barring lightning and thunder) to plant your beds for the rest of the season. Most of the beds are already full of early spring crops, so some of you may want to take out cooler-weather items and replace them with warmer-weather things. A few beds haven't been planted yet -- now is the time to get them going! As before, we'll provide plants on the planting day, but if you miss that day you'll need to provide your own. Let me know what you want to plant from among this list: tomatoes zucchini peppers (bell or other variety) bush beans onions summer squash (be aware that summer squash will take up a lot of space in a raised bed!) cucumbers (to be grown vertically within a tomato cage so as not to take over or creep out of the beds and/or into other folks' gardens) sweet potatoes We'll have folks around on Saturday who can help advise you on spacing of plants -- for instance -- it's better to place tomato cages in your bed for tomatoes first, then plant the tomatoes in the middle of the cages -- then you know you have things spaced as they'll need to be to grow well. Remember that what looks small now will likely get a lot bigger as it grows! 2. Getting your harvest to the hungry. Some of you have asked us what the best way is for you to get your veggies to someone who needs food. We're working on establishing a process. By May 12, we should have some clear instructions for some choices as to where you can take what you pick, and we'll give you a sheet (and email it to you) on how that will work. If you have greens or radishes or the like in the meantime and don't know where to take it, please email me and we'll figure something out! 3. A new face. Last year's garden guardian angel, Paul, is out of town for an extended period. In his stead, we've got a new friend, Randy Hicks, who will be helping us. His dad, Rick, works at First Presbyterian. Randy will water what looks dry at least twice a week, and he will mow and trim around the beds. He will not weed or harvest from within the beds -- that's up to you. Also, if plants are "escaping" their beds, he may "flop" them back in in the course of his work. 4. Monthly gatherings. I'd like your suggestions as I work to set up a monthly gathering for gardeners (and open to our community at large). Like last month, I'll probably try to have these occur on Sunday evenings, include a guest speaker/educator, and include some time for us to work and talk together in the garden. At each of these I'd like to have some experts and/or Master Gardeners on hand so that those of us (myself included) who are less experienced gardeners have a chance to get our questions answered. I may let May 12 be our gathering for this month, since the end of the school year seems to be so hectic -- that is, unless you'd really like us to try to gather. Let me know. In the meantime, please send suggestions about what you'd like to learn about! Some examples: gardening with kids, succession planting, saving seeds, heirlooms, composting -- or we even have a friend who could talk to us about making goat cheese! The folks from UT Extension could talk to us about weed identification, or perhaps even give us an intro into food preservation. I'm sure there are many other topics -- I'd like to hear from you about what you'd like to know more about. 5. Poison Ivy. Larry says he's killed poison ivy near the fence at Harvest of Hope, so be aware that it's around. If you don't know what it looks like, Google it and make sure you have an idea of what to avoid! We'll try to keep it at bay so you don't have to worry about it, but it won't hurt to be aware. 6. Needs. We could use a small wheelbarrow or two, if anyone has an extra or would like to donate one. We've also talked about mounting a covered bulletin board to the side of the shed so that we can post information there for all gardeners to read (but that won't get messed up by rain or dew). Do you have carpentry skills you'd be willing to share? We'd also like to build two wood-post hose holders and "plant" them near the water spigot. Feel like building? 7. One more time, and I can't say this enough: Thank you for your part in our garden's success. This is Harvest of Hope's second season, and it's so promising because of you. Thank you for your patience and your support (and feedback) as we learn the ropes together. If you have any questions, feel free to email me and I'll try to respond in a timely fashion. God bless, Jennifer

Monday, May 7, 2012

Exchange Place

I meant to post this earlier -- here's a picture of the Exchange Place garden that I snapped last weekend when my family and I were at the Spring Garden Fair. Pretty, isn't it?

Also, here's a recipe for a low-sugar strawberry-rhubarb crisp that I made this weekend. There are some great strawberries on hand at the Farmer's Market these days, and I have a rhubarb in my garden that overwintered and then survived tilling, too!

Happy day!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Hot and watered

It's getting toasty these days -- don't forget to stop by and water! Randy is watering twice a week, but you need to check on things to make sure your beds have gotten all they need. It's best to water in the morning or at dusk -- watering at the peak of the day can scortch the leaves of your plants, and also is least efficient, because that's when the most water will evaporate. Also -- per my email -- mark your calendar for Saturday, May 12 at 9 a.m. We'll get planting again! This will likely be our last planting day for a while (we haven't thought about whether or not we'll have a fall planting for cooler-weather crops again -- that seems like a long way off now!). I'll post the contents of my email here soon. Happy day!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Garden at dusk

Good meeting last night, and afterwards, a walk in the garden, where we met Nancy, Lauren and Montana, watering and enjoying a beautiful evening. As of last night, I believe all the beds are adopted! We have a full garden, folks!

Our early spring crops are looking gorgeous, and ready for harvest soon, many of them. We'll soon have an answer to where you can take your crops when you harvest (if you don't already have a place in mind as you're helping feed the hungry), so watch for that in your inbox.

Also -- don't forget to mark May 12 at 9 a.m. on your calendar -- that'll be our late-spring planting day. Watch your inbox for info about that, too.

Happy day!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Meeting tonight

Quick, for I am behind on morning schedule, but: there have been a few crossed signals about our meeting tonight -- whether we should ask all of you to come or just have the "steering" folks try to assemble -- so I haven't sent out a broader invitation. Not because we didn't want to ask, but because I lack organization these days to the extent that I'm not sure which is right and which is left! I can do things well, but the more I get on my plate, the less well I do them ...

Anyway -- tonight if you can join us, there's a garden meeting at First Presbyterian Church (across from the garden) at 5:30. Child Care entrance. There will be more group discussion further down the month if you aren't able to attend, so please don't feel obligated (or slighted). But if you can come, we'd love to have you!

Happy day!