What a Great Morning in the Community Gardens

Screen Shot 2018-06-30 at 12.01.22 PMThere was a lot happening in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens this morning.

Faye Mihuta read books to about a dozen children as part of the Sunflower Hour held each Saturday in the gardens.

Then Jess Clauser helped those who wanted to plant flowers in the Children’s Flower Garden as well as in peat cups they could take home.  It was wonderful to see children participating in all aspects of gardening and exploring the plots.

Screen Shot 2018-06-30 at 12.01.35 PMAnd not everyone participated in the program. The sandbox, play farm and a toy excavator saw a lot of use much to everyone’s delight. Great photo opportunity for grandmother.

Compost Tea

We had the great pleasure of having Chris Cameron, an organic gardener and supporter of PMCG,  in the gardens this morning to talk about the benefits of compost tea and how to make tea at home.

Screen Shot 2018-06-30 at 12.17.39 PMChris explained how using compost tea improves the soil by promoting healthy bacteria and other microorganisms that nurture strong, robust plants.

Thank you Chris. Your enthusiasm is inspiring and your lecture was informative.

If you want a copy of Chris’ handout, it will be available in the gardener’s shed.

And if you see Chris on the farm, feel free to ask him questions about compost tea.  He has been brewing for years and can show you the positive results in the plants he has been treating in the community gardens.

I’m so glad Chris is part of the team!

Gardening Class

After Chris, my lecture for our Gardening class was about what to do to minimize damage done by the cucumber beetles, squash bugs, cabbage loopers and the cutworms we found in the gardens this week.

About 10 participants learned how to identify the insects, the different ways to apply diatomaceous earth as a control and all had access to the organic remedies to use. They also learned how to find squash beetle eggs on the underside of leaves and how to remove them.

Finally, we talked about fertilizing. It is now time to fertilize with an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion. Check your bottle, for my gardens I use 1 ounce in a two-gallon watering can and apply it to the soil every week for robust vegetables.

My bottle has an NPK of 2-4-1.  If the brand you have as a higher concentration of nutrients, you can treat it every other week. Watch your plants and how they respond. They will “talk” to you with a rich, green color, strong stems and vigorous fruiting.

Our next class is next Saturday.  All are welcome. 

Like today, we will walk through the garden and discuss what is happening and what we can do to keep the garden strong and robust.

I will also be working in the gardens on Thursdays from 8 to 11. You can come and see me then about chores to do or any garden concern.

Thanks for making this place great.

See you in the gardens, Natalie Walsh

Progress Made on Shed and Barn

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.16.38 AM

Notice what’s different on the barn?

The big barn door is back on and it slides easily to open.

Thank you to all who were involved.

The photo also shows the area that will be graded for parking spaces and handicapped access to the barn, which will be used for workshops and classes.

Shed

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 10.16.05 AM.pngAnd, check out the shed. Rich Torkelson has made the shed exterior come back to life and Jim Gold has been tireless with priming, spackling, caulking and painting.

Other volunteers worked on cleaning windows, sweeping, priming. fixing window boxes and more.

Thank you all.

The results are a building that went from worn to wonderful.

She looks pretty now.

Someone asked me how I know it’s a she. Because it’s a SHE d.

See you in the garden.

Natalie

Fairy Garden, Photo Exhibit and Art Show Today from 2 to 4 pm

Sun2There is a lot happening today at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens, 223 West Avenue in Saratoga Springs.

Local photographer Tom Stock has an exhibit of Pitney Farm photos exhibited in the barn.  The Girl Scouts have created an extensive fairy village within a colorful border of flowers with little houses, pathways and treasures sure to delight.

And the children who experience the garden through art will have their art work on display in front of the sunflowers. Prizes will be awarded.

We will also have organically grown, dried sunflower heads that can be used to feed the birds or for flower arrangements and fall centerpieces on sale as a fundraiser for future events including a Spring fairy garden with mini-daffodils.  Treat your birds to this protein and mineral rich food and help support the gardens.

Contest

The Mammoth sunflowers grown as part of the Grow the Tallest Sunflower Contest will be measured and prizes award. That happens at 2:15 this afternoon.

Come join the fun today from 2 to 4 in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens and see what has been accomplished the first season.

I hope to see you in the garden.

Natalie Walsh, Garden Director

 

Garden Tips

One of the observations our gardeners have made is how quickly our community garden soil dries out.

One solution to this is to mulch. You’ll notice some gardeners have placed straw or pine needles* around the base of the plants.

This is a worthy idea for a few reasons.

It will keep moisture down around the roots, weeds will have a harder time growing, and during rain storms the soil will not splash up onto the leaves which makes for healthier plants.

When you do water, water well to promote good strong root systems that go deep. This will help your plants be healthier and healthy plants are able to fend off troubles.

You can also plant flowers – like marigolds – around the base and carrots love to be planted near tomatoes. Beans are a worthy crop, too.

If you have other questions, let me know.

• Pine needles used around our plants as mulch will not impact the pH. The acidic level of dried pine straw (needles) is very, very low.

 

 

Moreau Community Garden

We had the first meeting at the Moreau Community Family and Children’s Garden this morning braving chilly temperatures and continuous rain. There are still beds available and if you want one free of charge, contact the Moreau Town Hall, 61 Hudson St S Glens Falls, NY 12803
(518) 792-1030.

The beds measure four by eight feet and are conveniently located next to the Recreation Building off Jan Street.

Our next meeting will be at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 30th. Gardeners should bring along garden tools such as trowels and a leaf rake, gloves and their plants/seeds as we will be working and planting in the garden. According to the weatherman, it should be a sunny, warm day. I certainly hope so.

As this garden is designed with children in mind, we are asking that anyone dividing the following perennials or with extra seeds make a donation to our new garden:

Flowers
Marigolds
Sunflowers
Nasturtiums
Nigella
Lavender
Cosmos atrosanguineus
Lemon scented geranium
Lambs Ear
Sea Holly – Eryngium

Vegetables
Bush beans
Swiss chard ‘Bright Lights’
Carrots
Cherry Tomatoes
Pumpkins
Potatoes

Fruit
Strawberries

Herbs
Spearmint
Chives
Rosemary
Basil
Lemon Balm

Thank you. I am looking forward to meeting everyone on Thursday.
Happy Gardening, Natalie

Sunflower Painting Progress Report

This week my focus has been on tweaking the composition, getting the sunflowers shaped and placed, and starting on the color of leaves, seed head and petals.

This is how it looks today.

It is far from completion, but you can see the painting’s direction.

If you haven’t been following the blog, I planted Van Gogh sunflowers from Renee’s Garden seeds in the community garden for the purpose of using the flowers as the subject of an oil painting. Last week I harvested and photographed the sunflowers.  I will continue reporting my progress through to the painting’s completion. I hope you enjoy watching it evolve.

— Natalie Walsh