Workday Recap: November 2018

First, some news:

Our next workday will be Dec. 8 from 9-11.

ALL are also invited to attend two events:

    Community Thanksgiving – after church at the Nor’Kirk on Sunday, November 18
    Harvest Party – Dec. 8 at 6:30, hosted by the Hines! Please consider bringing a favorite dish to share.

Workday Recap:

Well, it didn’t rain, but we had a barn-stormer of a big workday!

Our original goal was just to focus on harvesting–and we had a lot to harvest! Even before adding our total from the workday, we have donated more than 2,200 pounds to local food pantries.

We also harvested and donated at least 200 pounds (estimated) on Saturday–100 pounds of that was JUST sweet potatoes!

(One was as big as our youngest gardener!)

Because we had so many helpers, we were also able to work on breaking down our very impressive clippings pile.

We also cleaned up the garden beds in preparation for the cold days ahead!

  • In addition, on Sunday the Young Men’s Service League and several hardy gardeners came out to the garden for a bonus workday!
  • The volunteers did a lot of work! Groups worked on trimming down the massive green clippings, weeded and cleaned out the blackberry bush beds, piled on a protective layer of mulch for cold-sensitive perennials, and tackled the compost and mulch piles.
  • If you haven’t seen 25 15-year-old boys with shovels, clippers, and pitchforks, you haven’t lived!
  • It was a LOT of work, and we appreciate all who made it out!
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    Sunny Workday This Saturday

    It’s time for another workday, this Saturday from 9-11.

    The good news: it’ll be plenty sunny so we can finally do some serious work in the garden!

    And–you’ll have an excuse to find your winter coat! Temperatures are expected to be just above freezing. Wear layers, including gloves, and, thanks to the wind, expect it to be a little colder in the garden than at your house.

    We have lots to do and we’re eager to see you there!

    Workday Recap: October 2018

    Rainout, three months in a row!

    But we still had a great turnout, had a good discussion, and got some important work done. We don’t let rain get us down!

    We started with a quick harvest. Can you say “holy bumper crop of sweet potato vines”?! We got some of the sweet potatoes up and set up all three compost bins in phase one of the decomposition. We sure had plenty of material!

    We also harvested 67 pounds of sweet potatoes, including two enormous potatoes in LeeAnn’s plot. One weighed 18 pounds by itself!

    We also harvested about 35 pounds of other produce, bringing our current total to over 2200 pounds–even before we finish the sweet potato harvest!

    But we weren’t outside too long before the skies really opened up, so we all rushed inside–but not before getting absolutely drenched.

    Inside, we talked about best bets: it’s time to transition to cold season crops, and expect your summer crops to die back as temperatures drop.

    Because we have had so much rain, we will have an extra (optional) workday Sunday, Nov. 11, with the Young Men’s Service League. We’d love to see you there! (Time to be determined)

    We also learned that we won a $1,000 grant, so start thinking about the type of greenhouse we should get! This will help us propagate seeds, overwinter plants during a frost, and generally give us more options.

    Finally, Mark your calendars for Dec. 8–Garden holiday party! Craig and Lynne have generously offered to host again, and all are welcome. Details to come soon.

    Our next workday is November 10, from 9-11 a.m. Remember to check in on your plot–sometime when it is less wet out!

    Workday Recap: September 2018

    We met inside due to rain and flash flood warnings, so it was a damp informational meeting instead.

    Three things to do when you check in during the month:

    1. Weed- weeds are starting to get out of control. While you water, weed your plot and the area surrounding. This is important!
    2. Harvest- Thanks to a bumper crop of peppers by Elric and eggplant and okra in the garden, we eclipsed last year’s donations in the month of August! But that doesn’t mean we can rest easy; keep harvesting and don’t forget to weigh what you donate.
    3. Add compost- our plots are productive, but that means our compost level in the plot has plummeted! So we have bought Texas Pure compost (the dark-colored pile), so please add enough compost to your plot to replenish up to the top of your wood barrier. This helps feed your plants, makes watering last longer, and protects against the cold.

    Sweet Potato Special

    It isn’t yet time to harvest our sweet potato crop, but in the meantime, you can harvest the sweet potato leaves! The crop will tend to overgrow plot boundaries, so it’s great that you can harvest the leaves. They can be cooked and eaten like spinach or collared greens.

    Swiss Chard Recipe

    Mike encouraged everyone to grow Swiss chard. It’s a long-growing plant that is a great healthy green! Mike recommends the following recipe:

    • Harvest the leaves and stems
    • Grease a pan with bacon grease or similar.
    • Chop the stems into one- to two-inch pieces and sauté in the grease for about ten minutes or until soft
    • Meanwhile, roughly chop the greens, then toss into the pan.
    • When the greens are partway withered, create a small hole in the nest of greens. Crack an egg into the space and top with crumpled bacon.
    • Put the lid on the pan and wait for the egg to cook. Serve the greens on the side and enjoy!


    It’s okra season, and as such we need new rules!

    Though we generally encourage you to not harvest other people’s plots, this rule DOES NOT apply to okra season!

    Please, please help your neighbors! Harvest okra when it is about two inches long. However, Al conducted a science experiment comparing okra from many different plots and found even the larger spears are edible or even delicious! So if in doubt, harvest and donate!

    Crop Switch

    It’s time to make choices about your crops. If your warm season crops aren’t producing or look unwell, pull them up. Pull up or till under any “placeholder” crops such as basil or black-eyed peas. Look to plant cold season crops such as Swiss chard, kale, carrots, radishes, turnips, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts. Check your best bets list to see if you should plant from seed or transplants. If you wait until it gets cold to plant cold season crops, you have waited too long.

    Thank you Christina for sharing the jujubes (also known as “Asian apples”)!

    Workday Recap: Aug. 2018

    Rain, rain, stay all day!

    Today’s workday was technically rained out, but we had a long indoor meeting instead. We talked about best bets, strategies for squash bugs, opened conversation about whether we should investigate getting chickens for pest control and fun, and met new gardeners.

    A few even braved the rain to harvest what little produce has survived the summer heat. It’s time to pull up any sick or dying plants to make room for winter crops, particularly beans and “cole crops.” Look to plant in the next few weeks.

    If you have any ideas for the garden, we’d love to hear from you!

    The next workday will be Sept. 8 from 9-11 a.m. See you there!

    Workday Recap: July 2018

    The few, the brave, the heat-resistant!

    Our workday was earlier than usual to beat the heat, which only worked somewhat, but we didn’t let the heat defeat us!

    We have hit the “survival mode” months, when a harvest would be nice but we all just have to focus on keeping our plots alive through the summer. Water often and consider adding cover crops like basil or black-eyed peas. You can also add a layer of mulch to absorb water and reflect back some of the heat. If you can keep your plot alive until fall, you’ll have a good harvest!

    The Young Men’s Service League helped us turn the compost and we expanded our donation of cardboard (thank you, USPS!) with a layer of mulch in the overgrown paths. We worked hard to keep the garden in good shape!

    Many thanks to Aaron for being our compost champion! He helped break up and move the heavy and thick compost at the bottom of the first bin.

    Gardeners, when you visit the garden, please consider turning the compost! If we don’t introduce oxygen and water, the compost breaks down poorly and we end up with a muddy sludge. We appreciate your help!

    There are new sprayers in the shed. If your plot needs one, feel free to try them out.

    Squash bug season is upon us: if your plant is infested, it may be time to pull it out! Topical sprays of soap+water help, but any leaves with squashbug eggs must be removed and thrown into the trash to slow the incursion.

    It’s a good time to “rogue” or remove plants that are dead, damaged, or diseased. Please do not put diseased plants in the compost; trash them!

    Our next workday will be August 11, with another early start. See you from 8-10!