Moreau Community Garden Plans, Plants and Progress

MCG-3Gardeners from the Moreau Community Garden met Thursday for a garden seminar and hands-on planning and planting as part of the Family Gardening Program aimed at teaching parents and children how to grow food and flowers.

The Family Gardening Program is funded by the South Glens Falls Central School District which received a Carol M. White federal grant to promote fitness and nutritional programs over a three-year period. One of the programs is the Moreau Community Garden allocation of 15 plots to be used by families and their children. MCH4

The goal is to teach children and their families how to garden under the guidance of Garden coach Natalie Walsh, a master gardener and the writer of this blog. Each week, Natalie has been answering questions and coaching gardeners on organic methods of growing, disease and pest control.

For example, yesterday we discovered aphids on pepper plants. These appeared as small white specks on the underside of the leaves. This pest can usually be dislodged and discouraged with a strong spray of water. The proper way of fertilizing tomatoes, eggplants and peppers was demonstrated and proper watering techniques were taught. All of these things together are vital to healthy plants and an abundant harvest. MCG.6.6.13

In addition, the group weeded and reviewed the techniques of square foot gardening, a method of gardening that is especially helpful to new gardeners and gardeners with disabilities as each square within the bed has a specific number of plants allocated to it depending on what vegetable or flower is planted. This helps gardeners with plant spacing, air circulation around plants, fertilizing and weeding.
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In the beds, gardeners have planted tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, lettuces, endive, spinach, beans, zucchini, carrots, cucumbers as well as zinnias, sunflowers, cleome, and marigolds. These colorful flowers will attract beneficial insects. Summer plans include growing and then using vegetables in healthy, child-friendly recipes such as salsa, pizza toppings, refreshing drinks and a tomato taste testing in August when the tomato crop ripens. MCG5

There are still a few plots available. If you are interested click on Moreau Community Garden Application tab in the menu bar, print it and mail it to: Recreation Director, Moreau Town Hall, 61 Hudson Street, Moreau, NY. The program is free for residents and each Thursday in June at 4 p.m. there is a lecture and hands-on activity in the garden, which is behind the recreation building at the Moreau Recreational Park off Jan Avenue.

All Moreau Community Gardeners or any gardener from the community is welcome to come and listen to the garden lectures. Bring your questions.

We also invite you to follow our progress through my blog
“WhatsNatalieDoing.wordpress.com” where I will be chronicling the garden.

Natalie Walsh, Garden Coach

Rainbow Chard, Collards and Kale

Look at this harvest of chard, collards and kale!

Jack, the gardener of plot #4, said he is a first time gardener and a passionate cook.  “It’s a thrill to begin growing my own,”  he said. This year’s crop includes: five tomato plants, four basil, three hot pepper, rainbow chard, kale and collards.

These greens went right from the garden to the kitchen and Jack graciously shared his recipe. “I like to prepare them in a simple Ethiopian style. I saute a little garlic in olive oil, add a thinly slice onion and cook until translucent. Add a chopped tomato until softened, add a bunch of chopped cilantro, stir until wilted, add a bunch or two of chopped chard with 1-2 TBS water, covered and steam until done to your preference. Balance with salt and pepper and a little vinegar, if needed. Delicious!”

There’s more to come, too. Look at Jack’s plot at the community garden.

Weeds in the Garden

If you haven’t been out to the garden, you might want to come prepared with gloves and a weeding tool. With the weather we have had, the weeds are flourishing.

Here are the two main types of weeds I’ve spotted.

Several different grasses – Easiest to hand-pull when young or remove with a stirrup hoe if  you prefer to stand while working.

Lambsquarters –  This is the most prevalent weed in the community garden. It is very common weed in the Northeast perhaps because a single plant can produce more than 50,000 seeds. As you weed, be sure to get the entire root.  As it grows the lambsquarters develops a short, thick taproot. At the tender size it is now, it can easily be removed with a hoe.

Not every raised bed has weeds growing. Check out how beautiful this bed looks. Kudos to the gardener!

Herb Garden Report – Dill

I noticed the dill seed I planted in plot #41 is sprouting.

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a member of the carrot family. In ancient times, dill was used to treat insomnia and digestive problems. The name dill means “to lull” and I was once told that during colonial times, dill was given to restless children during long Sunday services.

Today, dill is added to salad dressing, fish, vegetables, soups and used to pickle vegetables such as cucumbers.

While, I enjoy adding it to meals, I also like the way the feathery foliage looks in a garden. This is one herb that can be grown between perennials for its delicate texture and yellow flowers, which are long-lasting in a bouquet.

To grow dill, plant the seeds in full sun. Once a couple of inches tall, the seedlings pictured below will need to be thinned to one plant per every three inches.  The seedlings need to be watered regularly, but once the roots are well established, dill should only need a good soaking once a week.

What’s growing in your garden?

Mark, a garden regular

I stop by the garden pretty regularly. I check the plants, water and hoe any weeds in the Welcome Circle. More often than not I run into fellow gardener Mark, pictured below with the plants he’s tending. He has some tomatoes, peppers, a few flowers growing. We talked and agreed nothing beats the taste of a homegrown tomato. They are looking great, Mark.

A Family Affair

I was watering early this morning and ran into a few fellow gardeners.  Deb Czech showed up with her son and parents to plant their plot.  Mom Nancy is a master gardener in Maine who has been involved in the creation of two community gardens. She and husband Frank brought some healthy looking tomatoes for their daughter’s plot.

There’s Still Room

It’s not too late to get a plot at the Saratoga Springs Community Garden at Wesley. As of this afternoon, there were about 14 beds remaining of the 51 beds that make up the garden. Five of the beds are 26 inches high making them easier to reach for people in wheelchairs. If you are interested in a plot, click “Application” in the menu bar and print out a form and mail it to Susan Bokan (584-8142 ).

Today, the progress  at the garden continued.

Volunteers from the Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit filling one of the five raised beds that were built to     accommodate the needs of wheelchair gardeners.

Pat, one of the tireless volunteers, constructing a raised bed.

Caught in a rare moment of sitting down, Susan Bokan is the force behind the garden.

Raised Beds!

About a dozen people, including volunteers from the Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit and friends of Susan Bokan, started working on the raised beds today.

The raised beds are made of a rot resistant hemlock. The volunteers constructed the beds, moved them into place, leveled them and got them ready to be filled with soil.

Everyone worked hard and by the end of the day more than a dozen raised beds were constructed and the planting of the ‘Welcome Circle,’  a butterfly garden, was started. The garden is beginning to take shape. Hats off to the volunteers!

A crew will be at Wesley tomorrow continuing the job.

See the mound of soil in the second photo? It won’t be long before we are filling the beds and planting our first crops.