Happy from my Head To-ma-toes!

This morning, the gardeners at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens donated 22 pounds of fresh, healthy, organically grown produce to the Franklin Community Center’s food pantry.

Twenty two pounds!  That brings our total contribution this month to about 40 pounds.

I’m so glad we are able to do this!

Thank you all and especially to those gardeners who are traveling this week and gave us permission to harvest ripe vegetables from their plots.

If you won’t be about next week, please let me know if we can harvest from your plots.

Gratefully,

Natalie

Children’s Sunflower Hour Program Had a Successful First Season

onion harvestEvery Saturday since June, children have been attending a reading and garden/craft program in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens we called the Sunflower Hour. Today was the last session of the season.

It has been wonderful with dozens of children coming over the summer to hear stories told by Faye Mihuta, a retired teacher, and experience life in the garden. Children sat in the sunflower house, which is just now beginning bloom and listened to books being read.

Over the last eight weeks the crafts they made with artist Jess Clauser included a fluttering butterfly, bee bracelets, and cards made with vegetable stamps. Other weeks, the children learned about sowing flower seeds, how vegetables grow, the importance of honeybees and the butterfly habitat we have to support Monarch butterflies. Jay Epstein came one Saturday to talk about worms and the children made worm farms from recycled bottles to take home.cly2

Today,  the project was to make a clay medallion by pressing the leaf of the herb sage into wet clay. The clay was trimmed with a round cookie cutter and set out to dry.  Once dry, they can be painted. Each one was very pretty and the children were please to take home several each.

onionfayeNext, we harvested onions. Each child had a chance to pull the onions from the ground and take one home.

Afterwards, we all tasted zucchini bread and basil lemonade. Both were delicious.

It was a great morning in the garden.

Special thank you to Faye and Jess for all the effort put into making Sunflower Hour a memorable experience for young community members.  You are deeply appreciated.

Natalie

 

Girl Scouts Create Pitney Meadows Patch

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 9.48.37 AMThe Girls Scouts have been working in the gardens the last two seasons and we are delighted to have them!

They have grown food for the pantries, created a fairy garden, earned art and outdoor experience and so much more.

Now, the scouts will be able to earn a badge for their work in the community gardens.

This is the patch that troop leader Jess Clauser designed. Note the Pitney Farm barn and silo.

Green thumbs up to all the troops!

Girl Scouts Donate Food to Franklin Community Center

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Annabelle Shuck from Girl Scout troop #3359 harvested 19 pounds of fresh produce from plots the scouts tend at Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.  All summer, the Girl Scouts have watered and weeded and yesterday the organically grown vegetables were delivered to Franklin Community Center’s food pantry. Kudos to the girls and to  troop leaders Carolina Mitchell and Jess Clauser for a job well done.

Deer Fencing Installed Around Gardens

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 6.59.45 AMYesterday we installed an electric deer fence to protect the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens. The fence is on a timer and will be turned on from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

If you come to the gardens and see the fence cording is still up across the front walkway, enter through the alley between the Gardener’s Shed and Bill’s Barn.

OR

If the timer is off, you can lift the handle and disconnect the cord from the barn and walk through.

If you are in the gardens in the evening, and the last to leave, please re-hook the cord handle to the barn.

If we work together, we should be able to thwart the threat of deer entering our gardens.

So you know, deer hoof prints were seen in the parking lot and deer have been in other parts of the farm – sweet potatoes and the event garden. We took this action to protect the community gardeners from loss.  Please help us to keep the fence up and running.

Thank you.

And thank you to the team who helped us to install the fence: Nora, Jim, Gus, Andy, Mark, Bill, Ken and yours truly.

Natalie

 

Great Turnout for Butterfly Program

There were about 50 parents, children and volunteers in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens this morning for the Sunflower Hour reading and art program held each Saturday through August 11.

The topic is different every week and today Faye Mihuta, a retired teacher, read books about butterflies to her audience.  The community gardens has a Monarch butterfly way station planted near the garden entrance that is filled with nectar rich flowers that support butterflies and caterpillars. The children searched for fluttering butterflies to earn a sticker.

After the reading program, those who wanted to participated in a butterfly craft and coloring project. They made clothespin butterflies coloring the wings and also a cloth bag to carry vegetables.

The reading program is open to everyone and starts at 9:30. It is free. The garden activity begins at 10 a.m. and there is a materials fee of $5 per child. There are two more sessions remaining.

In addition to the program, some of the children checked on their entries in the sunflower contest. Screen Shot 2018-07-28 at 2.11.09 PM

And others did garden chores. Thank you all. It was a great morning in the gardens. Screen Shot 2018-07-28 at 12.52.08 PM

Natalie

 

 

 

Jammin at the Farm

jamdiane.jpg
Blueberry Jam, that is, at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens in Saratoga Springs

Diane Whitten, Cornell Cooperative extension nutritionist, came to the farm and taught everyone how to make blueberry freezer jam.

Children arrived at 9:30 for the Sunflower Hour reading program and heard Faye Mihuta, a community gardener and teacher, read “Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey complete with sound effects such as the berries going “plink” into a bucket.

After story time, children and adults had the opportunity to make a freezer jam which was delicious.

 

Diane teaches many different classes on food preservation and nutrition including classes on fermentation, making jerky, canning salsa and tomatoes. Go to Cornell Cooperative Extension’s website  to register.

She has offered to teach a class on pickling vegetables in the community gardens. If you might be interested, let me know and we will see what can be arranged.

Natalie Walsh, Garden Director – Natalie.Walsh@pitneymeadows.org