Workday Recap: August 2019

Who says August can’t be a great time to harvest?! The Grow & Share gardeners best the heat and the odds and harvested 100 pounds of produce to donate — in one workday!

A big crowd turned out for an earlier/slightly less hot workday, and we accomplished so much! We even welcomed a new gardener, so all of our plots are full. Well done!

Ty showed off his new watering technique. DO keep watching regularly, but please be sure turn off the water when you leave! Even when it rains, we need to keep our plants watered if we’re going to get a fall crop.

Now is the time to think of fall! You must plant now in order to have a harvest when it is cooler. You can directly seed many crops like Pole or bush beans, kohlrabi, swiss chard, carrots, and “greens” like mustard, collard, and spinach. Winter, summer, or pan squash can be planted from seed or transplants. The “cole crops”: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower are best from transplants.

Keep helping your neighbors harvest okra! All okra must be harvested every day– if you see okra longer than 2 inches, harvest it!

Make room in your bed by pulling up dead, diseased, or damaged plants, or those that are underproducing. Do not put diseased plants in the compost; use the trash can instead to avoid spreading disease.

Every time you add a plant or pull up a plant, add compost! Now is also the time to add some slow-release fertilizer to help give your crops a boost. And remember, keep watering!

Thanks to all who made it out! Our next workday will be 9-11 a.m., Saturday, September 14! See you there!

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Workday Recap: July 2019

Today’s workday was buzzing! Thanks to those who came out on an unusual date and despite the heat. We had a good crowd–and even gained a new gardener!

Today’s workday focused on harvesting for the Sack Summer Hunger program, weeding, and adding mulch to our paths.

Notice: It is the beginning of OKRAPALOOZA! Though we typically ask that gardeners only pick from their own plots, okra is an exception! Okra grows so fast that it needs to be picked EVERY DAY, so help out your garden companions and harvest okra when you visit.

Any okra longer than 2 inches is ready to be harvested! We estimate there are 40 okra plants in the garden, so that is a LOT of okra!

We also talked about the importance of watering, and planting cover crops. Black eyed peas and black beans are recommended to try; they like the heat and may help distract critters from your tomatoes. You can harvest the beans or mulch them under as green compost.

Basil is also a great cover crop that is very popular with the pollinators!

Keep tending your plots (check out the amazing long squash!!) and start to think about your fall crops. It’s nearly time to plant!

See you next month, Aug. 10 from 8-10 to beat the heat!

Workday Recap: May 2019

The good news: we did not have to water today!

The rain provided more than enough! Our group met inside for an hour before braving the elements — you can’t keep a gardener from the dirt!

Now is the time to pull up any winter crops and switch to summer crops. The lettuces, turnips, beets, spinaches aren’t likely to last once the heat comes–and we know it’s on the way! Swiss chard is an exception: leave the center and continue to harvest the outer leaves, and it may last all through summer.

Keep an eye out for pests. This turnip looked healthy on the top, but the underside of the leaves shows small black dots–eggs! Use ONLY organic controls in the garden: diatomaceous earth, insecticidal soap, etc. to discourage pests. Harsher chemicals can affect the good critters we want to encourage in the garden, like pollinators and earthworms, so it is important we protect them by using organic methods.

We also had sad news: this may be the Hines’ last time at the garden. They are moving in June, but have a gift to remember us by: a bug hotel to make their new garden happy!

This is a great time to plant a bunch of things: welcome to peak planting season! Bush beans, peppers, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, eggplant, okra–the list goes on! You can start harvesting onions and garlic or wait a few more weeks. Hold off on harvesting potatoes until the tops of the plant turn brown.

Thank you Loan and Al for the seed donation, and thanks you’re the garden team who sorted and organized all of them! Remember, you are welcome to our donated seeds for the garden or for your home plot!

The weather cleared and we ventured out. Go team onion!

The air around the cleaning table was practically onion soup–that’s good eats!

Mark your calendars for July 4; we plan to once again march in the Homestead neighborhood parade. More details to come. Bring your ideas for a float design!

Our next workday is June 8. See you there!

April 2019 Workday Recap

The winds did blow, the rain did fall, the hail did hammer–but the workday went on! A truly stalwart group attended this month’s savage weather workday, and we accomplished way more than expected!

Gardeners are hardy!

Spring has arrived (with its strange weather). Our Best Bets list is pretty long; now is a great time to plant a wide variety of things, including peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, herbs, squash, green beans, cantaloupe, and, yes, even some okra! Remember, label your crops with the variety, so we can learn from your successes!

While the weather was more clear, we added mulch to the paths, mounded our community potatoes, and added compost to the tires, which we planted with luffa! (Yes, the thing you use in the shower!) We tended the beds, but we didn’t need to water–Mother Nature took care of that for us!

When the weather turned severe, we headed indoors to talk. Mike introduces his compost-sorter; keep an eye out for further improvements! Our engineering minds are continuing to develop the concept.

We also got an update on the greenhouse: unfortunately, the city of Carrollton says there is nothing we can do. The zoning codes for our garden are odd and there are no workarounds for community gardens at this time. Long-term, we can work to either change the city code or get an exception approved by City Council, but that can take a long while. In the meantime, we cannot have a greenhouse. However, we will talk about additional alternatives as a group.

See you at the next workday, Saturday, May 11!

Workday Recap: March 2019

We had a truly marvelous spring day and it was great to see so many of you there!

Also, a special welcome to our four new members! We’re so glad to have you with us.

We began with harvesting, turning compost, and tidying up some community beds. Thank you to the Young Men’s Service League for helping us with our big compost job!

We also filled beds with compost where it was needed. Remember to add compost and turn your soil as you add plants; compost provides great nutrition!

Despite being very early in the season, we donated 26 pounds of produce yesterday, and we have nearly doubled donations from last year!

Greenhouse Update

After conversations with Carrollton’s zoning staff, we have decided to see about getting a special permit for the garden as a whole, including the placement of our greenhouse. Megan is meeting with the city at the earliest availability and after that the process is expected to take 30 to 60 days. The good news is the zoning staff member seemed to think we had a high likelihood of getting our request approved!

We also discussed best bets and current activities. We are most likely past the frost risk, so it is time to start planting for spring! Now is the time to start tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, peppers and much more. As it warms up, this is the optimal time for many varieties.

Remember to grow UP instead of OUT and add something strong for your tomatoes to grow into. The tomato cages at big box stores are NOT strong enough for our bounty!

This year, please pull up any “volunteer” sunflowers you find–let’s only keep invited guests as last year we got a little out of hand for our sunnies. Please also remember to label what you plant to help us when we want to identify the most successful crops.

Our next workday will be Saturday, April 13. See you there!

Workday Recap: February 2019

The air was chill and the sky overcast, but the gardeners were hardy and eager to get to work!

The Young Men’s Service League came out to help, focusing on turning and tidying our compost piles. It was a lot of work but our bins are now in great shape!

Gardeners tidied up beds and laid mulch on weedy areas–our constant battle against Bermuda grass!

We also found some produce to harvest: leafy greens, radishes… and one 11-pound turnip! Way to grow, Scott!

After we got chilly, we went indoors to discuss Best Bets and other garden business. Now is the time for leafy greens, peas, carrots, onions, and potatoes. Plan ahead to leave space for what you will be planting when spring arrives (soon!). If you are germinating seeds at home, try to work on tomatoes. Otherwise, keep an eye on your cold-season crops at the garden.

We discussed the greenhouse situation. After a vote, it was decided we would continue to try to get a variance from the city and hope for a full-sized greenhouse. We are open to your good ideas!

See you next month, March 9, 9 to 11 a.m.!