Family Gardening Program – Week Seven

3week7This was the last session for the young gardeners. We harvested carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and those vegetables that weren’t eaten on the spot went back with the gardeners for snack. We also picked bouquets of flowers and tried cucumber water.

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It was a marvelous season. There were about 80 young gardeners participating and they were very interested in learning how to grow food.

Over the course of the summer, we planted seeds, and learned about insects and diseases that threatened the harvest. Older gardeners who were interested learned about propagation of spearmint….which they enjoyed in lemonade. The gardeners also tried vegetables fresh from the garden – such as celery, sugar snap peas, carrots, tomatoes, green beans, purple beans and broccoli.

And were treated to recipes using fresh ingredients they harvested…such as the kale chips and herbs such as basil in lemonade. And a very delicious chocolate zucchini cake! and muffins!

The enthusiasm was wonderful. There was curiosity about insects, how to save seeds from one season to the next,  and diseases on their plants. We talked about organic gardening and how to keep garden troubles away through good gardening practices such as weeding, mulching, providing air circulation and improving the soil.

It was a wonderful experience all around.

Kudos to the all the young gardeners and Miss Vicki, Miss Laurie and Miss Nancy.

Thank you, Natalie

P.S. Cucumber water is simply slices of cucumber in water. Let it sit about an hour before serving. It is a non-sugar drink that is very refreshing. Those young gardeners that liked it, really like it and asked for seconds, thirds and fourths.

 

 

 

Family Gardening Program – Celery Harvesting and Tasting

CeleryThis was a busy, busy morning in the garden. The young gardeners pulled weeds, trimmed the herbs, moved mulch, harvested green beans and then trimmed the plants for the experiment. See previous post for more on the experiment.

They also tied tomatoes to the support stakes, removed spent flowers from a plot and collected Batchelor’s Button seeds for next year’s flowers.

But that’s not all!

Every group harvested celery. It wasn’t easy to pull from the ground but all ages showed teamwork and strength and got the plants out, shook off the soil and placed them in a wire basket.  Next, we trimmed off the roots, washed the stalks and ate them with a yogurt based ranch dressing.

Almost everyone agreed that this was good tasting celery. It couldn’t have been any fresher and it certainly had better flavor than the pale stalks we buy at the supermarket.  Even gardeners who thought they didn’t like celery, tried it and found they did.

Some of the young gardeners ate multiple stalks with and without the dressing.  The rule in the garden is you can take a small bite of a vegetable and if you don’t like it, you can politely spit it out.

“But if you are adventurous enough to try something new, you may be surprised you like it.” That is what I say every time a new vegetable is presented.

We also added freshly harvested and chopped parsley to the yogurt dressing and that also meet with approval. The willingness to try new things is terrific.

This was a great day.

I’m looking forward to next week…I’ve got something unusual planned.

 

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Cool as a Cucumber

What is that beetle?

Jap Beetle

For the person who put the beetles in a jar asking for identification. These are Japanese Beetles.

An easy way to battle them without pesticides – which we don’t use in our community garden – is to get a pail of soapy water and put it directly under the plant being bothered. If you tap the leaf, the beetle drops into the water and drowns.

If you do this early in the day when the beetles are the least active, you will greatly reduce the number of beetles in short order.

 

Family Gardening Program – Week Two

There is a lot to do in the garden this time of year.

Today 80  young gardeners worked on: starting a new flower bed, mulching the broccoli so it doesn’t bolt,  sowing beans, weeding and water. When each group finished their working bee, we relaxed under the trees with a glass of ice, cold basil lemonade made from herbs growing in our garden.

The basil lemonade was a hit. One camper said the flavor was “distinctive,” another camper thought it tasted “like the garden” and most campers enjoyed it and asked for second and thirds.

Here is the Recipe:

One packed cup  of basil leaves washed well. Put leaves into the blender with a cup of water and puree on high. Once done, put this mixture through a strainer and into a large pticher of lemonade. Add the basil mix little by little until you reach the flavor you enjoy. It is that easy and very refreshing.

EARTH MOVERS

We could use some help with the dirt pile near the parking lot. The goal is to level it off so we can plant flowers. It was hard work for the kids. Anyone willing to help, please do. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

PLANTS

If anyone is dividing plants, please think of us. We are creating a pollinator friendly garden.  The new bed is in full sun and we hope to  grow yarrow, coneflower, Liatris, evening primrose, phlox, and asters. If you have any of these plants and can share, they would be greatly appreciated. Thank you to all my generous gardening friends.

MAKING A BIRD BATH

At noon today adult gardeners made a concrete bird bath from a leaf.

Gna LeClair lead this project and started by making a sand dome on a sheet of plywood. This forms the bird bath. Plastic was spread over the dome and a hosta leaf was put face down on top.

Gina LeClair lead this project and started by making a sand dome on a sheet of plywood. This forms the  basin of the bird bath.
Plastic was spread over the dome and a hosta leaf was put face down on top.

Then you being to add the concrete on top of the host leaf.

Then you  adda moth textured concrete – not the kind with aggregate – on top of the hosta leaf.

Keep going until the leaf is completely covered.

Keep going until the leaf is completely covered. And then let it dry for at least 48 hours.

These baths look charming in a garden and attract butterflies and insect-eating birds.   I will take a photo of the finished project next week.

Hope to see you in the garden.  And thank you for contributing to the success of the garden.

Natalie, Master Gardener and Moreau Community Garden’s Garden  Coach

 

We Made A Scarecrow Today

You know the expression, it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it took a village to make this scarecrow.

Bob LeClair made the frame. The clothes came from the thrift shop. The houseplants we planted in the shoes came from my son,  Gina found the straw hat at a garage sale. The scarecrows’s stuffing was wood wool – packing material donated by Rocky Dale Nursery in Bristol, Vt.  and the buttons, felt and muslin came from the generous ladies in the craft room at the community center.  Thank you all.

The kids…about 60…  who are part of the Family Gardening Program participated in his construction.  It was a hot day but groups of kids worked hard to make him come alive. And, he looks darn good.

Here are some photos so you can see for yourself.

Here is the finished scarecrow.  That fine friendly face was made by Miss Nancy and her helpers.

Here is the finished scarecrow. That fine friendly face was made by Miss Nancy and her helpers.

We stuffed him with wood wool. It is easy to work with.

We stuffed him with wood wool. It is easy to work with.

We couldn't find boots so we laid his shoes with soil and planted two spider plants in them.

We couldn’t find boots so painted shoes purple,  filled his shoes with soil and planted two spider plants in them.

In the end he looked pretty darn happy.

In the end, he looked pretty darn happy and so did we.