Workday Recap: Jan. 2021

New year — new garden projects! We had a frosty morning in the garden, with one major project—expanding the garden to make room for all our new members!

It’s a great “problem” to have, but most of our gardeners from last year are returning, plus we have several newbies who wanted to join. But we were out of plots!

Not anymore! We spent the morning with hammer and drill and a lot of teamwork to convert several of our experimental beds into formal garden plots!

Dan shows how the new garden beds should be constructed

When work is complete, we will have 10 new beds. Some will stay as community areas, but several are open to new gardeners.

Construction underway

We also took time to collect money from new and existing gardeners to reserve a plot. If you missed us this time, please attend in-person next month and bring your $35/plot donation! (Cash or check please)

Frosty cabbage

We also did some tidying up. It wasn’t a good day for planting because of the impending snow and freeze, but we discussed best bets for January. We even had some beautiful cauliflower and cabbages to harvest!

Now is the time to plan your plot for the year. Some crops take a long time until harvest, so plan ahead so you reserve space for other things. (For example, radishes are ready to harvest in as little as a month, but potatoes planted now won’t be ready until June!)

Good plants for January are onions, English peas (and similar varieties like snow or snap peas), and white potatoes. It’s a good time for root vegetables like carrots, turnips, and radishes. Also consider leafy greens such as leeks and spinach.

A great group of gardeners

See you at the next workday, February 13 from 9-11!

Workday Recap: Dec. 2020

What a year of gardening! Despite everything, we grew and donated more than 2,570 pounds of produce! Thank you for doing your part to help your community!

Now is the time for returning gardeners to choose their plots! Returning gardeners in good standing can have up to two plots. If you want a specific plot someone already has, consider talking to them: maybe you can trade!

We will open the garden to new gardeners at our January meeting. You must be present at our January workday to choose a plot. Please bring $35 cash or a check per plot.

Of course, gardeners are always welcome to help on our community plots.

This month’s workday focused on cleanup. The frost has given us a lot to do! Our summer and fall crops needed to be removed, and we needed to care for our overwintering plots and winter vegetables.

We also had a lot to shred to improve our compost! Thank you again, Doug and Mike, for your shredding expertise.

A broccoli was taken out of this plot. Please do not harvest other people’s crops.

We had several large vegetables removed from their plots. Please do not harvest other people’s crops. If you see someone harvesting another person’s plot, please do speak up and remind them of this rule.

However, we do know that unfortunately some people may be hungry this season, and we are unable to prevent all thefts. So please just be courteous to your fellow gardeners and respect our plots so we have more to donate.

We had a lot to clean up in the garden

Please also be careful with our hoses and faucets. With the cold weather, our faucets are more likely to leak. Please be sure to disconnect them and wind them carefully!

See you at our next workday, Saturday, January 9 from 9-11 a.m. Because of the pandemic, we will be working outside. Please dress warmly!

Gardeners are also invited to Christmas events at The Nor’Kirk, including a winter festival next weekend and Christmas Eve outdoor services. Check the Nor’Kirk’s Facebook page @thenorkirk for service information.

Workday Recap: November 2020

It was a beautiful day to be at the garden!

Our main focus was harvesting! We had a lot to harvest! Now is the time to remove any of your summer crops—we anticipate a freeze sometime soon, and the cold temperatures will zap your plant and turn your harvest into inedible jelly. Remember you can donate whatever you don’t need — area food banks really need the help!

Check out the mega squash! 23 pounds! Wow!

We had a bountiful harvest from just community plots and the gardeners who were able to attend. Thank you!

Our cabbage and broccoli crops are loving the cool weather.

Now is a good time to plant cover crops like black-eyed peas or plan for winter crops. Make sure to turn your soil and add compost.

We also worked hard on mulching our paths. It’s a constant effort but helps keep our garden tidy!

Volunteers help with harvest and mulching paths

Please remember to DRAIN your water tower and disconnect the hoses. When we get a freeze, any connected hoses on these towers will burst, ruining the tower. We put a lot of work into these this year — help us keep them around!

Disconnect and drain your water tower

Please also be mindful of hoses and faucets as it gets cold. Do water your plants — just be sure to help us maintain our water system!

Disconnect faucets and hoses to prevent freeze damage

We will select new plots in January, so plan ahead now! Please continue to follow safe covid guidelines. We are currently planning to meet outdoors December 12. Please wear a mask and dress for the cool weather.

Thanks to Mike for our first Garden Wine, created with Grow & Share grapes!

Harvest Celebration

Celebrate your year at the garden!

Saturday, November 14th

6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Join us in the garden for a Harvest Celebration! We will mark a successful gardening season with an outdoor bonfire and s’mores.

Please bring a guest, your chair, your drink, and your mask for this socially distanced, outdoor event. Bring six copies of your favorite garden recipe to share with your fellow gardeners in our recipe swap. How did you prepare all that okra?

Come sit and relax fireside after our Saturday workday (in the evening). Enjoy a crisp Autumn night as we discuss the harvest year we are completing and develop plans for the Grow and Share Garden in 2021. Plan to share your best garden stories. Tell us about your favorite crop. What was a success and what was your biggest failure? We hope you will be able to join us!

Remember, we will assign garden plots on Saturday, January 9, so this is a good time to plan ahead with your fellow gardeners!

Workday Recap: Oct. 2020

The garden was lush, the weather was great, and everyone was happy to be at the garden!

We focused on harvesting: sweet potatoes and leaves, eggplant, okra, and more! Thank goodness we had the YMSL volunteers: we had a lot to do!

A sea of sweet potato vines

Even before our HUGE harvest today, we had donated 2,100 pounds to local food banks. We’ve had an incredible year!

Massive donations!

Best bets right now are switching over to our winter crops. If your summer crops are looking sickly, give up on them now to make room for our winter cole crops. Keep harvesting okra!

Tool time

A moment for tools: be sure you use the new sprayers correctly—turn the water on and off using the blue metal poles (not at the hose), and use the gasket when adjusting the water. Avoid changing the setting while spraying!

As frost season approaches, be sure to turn off the water AND remove the sprayer to avoid ice damage.

Gardening brings us together

In many ways, a garden workday is more important to us right now. Many of us have cleared schedules and nowhere to go. We don’t get to see anyone’s smiles or chitchat in the office. While we still require masks for safety, the garden gives us an opportunity to see others, to move our bodies, and feel the sunshine. And we get to do all that while helping others.

Thank you for the help, YMSL!

Thank you, gardeners. Our next workday is November 14 at 9. We will be there, whatever the weather!

Garden Water: Tapped Out!

NOTICE: the leaks in the garden have gotten more severe. We will be turning the water to the garden on and off, to try to reduce the flood. If you go to the garden and the water is turned off, please return at another time. The water will be on intermittently as we work to quickly repair our leak(s). Now is a good time to use your water tower!

Use your water tower to passively water your plot while we repair our faucets.

Special thanks to Bill, Daryl, and Scott for bravely accepting the water repair challenge!

Thank you gardeners for your patience!

Workday Recap: Sept. 2020

Finally a cool morning! It felt great to be in the garden, and we had lots to do!

The garden is looking great! Please do not trim the grapevine; it needs the space!

The garden is lush with our summer sunshine and rain. Our first focus was harvest! So far this year, we have donated 1,800 pounds of produce to area food banks! (And that doesn’t include our melon harvest at the workday!)

We had a large group at the garden

We had a large group of volunteers, so we divided into groups. We had a brave group of compost-carers, water-tower construction crew, and a herd of “buffalo” in our wildflower prairie.

“Buffalo” hard at work in Parr’s Prairie

Our wildflower patch supports native wildflowers, which would have been trampled by herds of buffalo before we all moved in. To replicate the buffalo, gardeners grabbed hoes and shovels to break up the soil. These “hoof prints” make a great place for the wildflower seeds to germinate. The bees appreciate the efforts!

New water towers are “on the level” thanks to our efforts!

We are working to add new water towers to each plot. Remember, a water tower is not a replacement for regular watering; they help even out the water and keep our soil moist even on hot days. Additionally, some of our water spigots are leaking. We are aware and will make time to repair them all at once; unfortunately the repairs will be a challenge and will require shutting off all water to the garden, so please be patient and avoid using the damaged faucets for now.

Thank you to the hardworking compost crew!

Now is the time to plant “cole crops,” such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. It’s nearly time to harvest summer crops like black-eyed peas and basil. If you were able to keep your tomatoes alive this summer, look for a fall harvest soon. Keep harvesting okra! Remember, okra is the only crop that we can help our neighbor gardeners harvest—some will be ready to pick every day!

Pull up diseased and damaged crops, or to make room for new cole crops

Our next workday will be Oct. 10, 9-11 a.m. See you there, and happy harvesting!

See you at the next workday!

Workday Recap: Aug. 2020

It sure feels good to get to the garden!

The garden is looking lush!

Despite the early workday and the heat, we had a great crowd. The focus of our workday was adding cardboard and mulching our paths, harvesting produce, and working on the compost heap. A special thank-you to the Young Men’s Service League for working so hard on cleaning up our compost bins!

Thank you Young Men’s Service League!

We achieved a lot and were able to make some nice donations to the food bank. It feels good to be able to share our bounty!

We are entering The Epoch of Okra! Normal rules about harvesting other plots are suspended now that it is okra season—okra needs to be harvested almost daily, so please help your neighbors harvest!

We are also welcoming volunteer food delivery drivers, so please let Dan know if you are interested in helping.

Special shout-out to Abdel, who is helping us procure barrels, and to Scott, for designing and building our new “water towers.” Each pair of plots will eventually get a water tower, which will help conserve water while helping our plants stay damp even in the heat.

The new water towers will help us passively garden, keeping our plots watered even during high heat!

We will have our next workday starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, September 12. See you there!