Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Community Garden Workday for October (2019)

The morning was cool and cloudy
as we began our efforts at our monthly workday
for the Community Garden in Denver, NC.
There were still a number of beds with goodies yet to harvest.



sweet peppers


Doesn't this lettuce look scrumptious?

It looks as if a lot of the okra went unpicked,
but it will still get used.
One of our volunteers is using these mutant pods
to fashion holiday ornaments!

The loofah took its time producing fruit,
(it did the same in my garden),
but it's growing gangbusters now!
Soon they will be harvested so that we
can work on our fundraising project.
Our group creates soap scrubbies with them
and sells them to the public to raise money for the Community Garden.

One of our main focuses on this workday 
was to rebuild a few of our boxes that had deteriorated over time.
A handful of volunteers used saws, rebar and some wood
to save a few of our boxes from disrepair.

The rotted wood was removed,
and using these cement corner pieces,
replaced with new lumber.
The wood boards slide right into the side slots
on these corner blocks.
(I use these in my own garden.)
Hopefully, they will last a good, long time.

Aside from the usual weeding,
we also set out to plant a bed of garlic,
which will be donated to the local food bank.
The cloves were planted 2 inches deep,
about 6 inches apart,
then covered with straw for winter insulation.

We amended the bed with some worm castings
we found in the shed.
It'll be curious to see if it makes a difference.

Our chores are winding down in this garden,
but we look forward to any time spent here.
A dynamic work crew helps the job get done faster.

"Everyone is trying to accomplish something big,
not realizing that life is made up of little things."
~Frank A. Clark

Friday, October 25, 2019

Garden Friday

2019 garlic

It's Garden Friday once again!
The weather has been absolutely stunning,
with much-needed rain helping our parched beds.
The fall garden is underway.

Last weekend, I was able to plant some of our garlic.
These are the heads you see in the first photo.
We had a beautiful harvest in May and used these same heads for planting a new crop.

The largest and most pristine cloves were chosen.
There were only a few cloves that were saved to use for cooking
because they were smaller than what I wanted to plant.
Using the best cloves will ensure a better harvest next summer.

The heads were separated just before planting,
so that they didn't dry out too much.
These are some seriously dense cloves,
originally acquired from Sow True Seed in Asheville.

I decided to use half of the hugelkultur bed to sow the cloves.
Last year, I used one of the 4X4 raised beds,
and it just wasn't enough garlic, so I needed to go BIG!
Using a tape measure, I planted every 4 inches along the row.

This California soft neck variety was planted about 2 inches deep,
making sure that the root end sat on the soil.
It has a mild garlic flavor,
and is perfect for those who say they don't like garlic's pungency.
Garlic is one of the most satisfying crops to grow
because it has virtually no pests, it overwinters easily,
and yields a whole head for each clove planted.
The gifts just keep on a comin'!

Using baling twine, I separated the other two rows that I planted with the same variety,
obtained from another source.
(I waited too long to order more garlic and Sow True sold out.)
All together, I should have almost 40 heads coming up,
so next year, there will plenty to eat, 
and enough to plant in the garden.

The other half of the hugelkultur bed has already been planted
with chard, kale, lettuce and spinach.
When I'm getting ready to sow,
I take the seeds packages out from my storage spot
and place them in this bin,
along with tags I've made myself from plastic water jugs,
and my favorite garden marking pen.
That way, everything's in one place and I can get the job done efficiently.

More spinach, as well as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower
are the next things to go in.

This garden marker is the best I've ever used.
It doesn't fade, no matter how long it sits outside.

One of the 4X4 raised beds is now filled with seeds.
This is the first time I'm really putting an effort into
creating a design with the plantings.
As the 4 foot width is a bit of a challenge for me,
(I'm on the wee side),
I decided to plant those crops that require less picking in the center,
and things like spinach, which are picked almost daily on the perimeter,
resulting in less reaching across the span.
(All of our new beds are 3 feet across for this reason.)
The nasturtiums are still doing well,
so we'll leave them in place.

The straw bales have been lacking any interest for a good bit.
The holes were filled with good soil and some worm castings.

These bales have already produced cucumbers, flowers, and okra
over the summer.
Now they will host new veggies and some parsley,
which I think will overwinter just fine.
Once we harvest these crops,
the bales will be taken apart to use as mulch
and a new batch of bales will be put in place.

The Egyptian walking onions are slow growing,
but I'll be happy with any I get,
as it's the first time I've grown these.

Leeks have successfully been grown at this time of year,
so I decided to plant a tub's worth.
This is one of my favorite veggies to use for soup.

 Speaking of dining,
someone's been enjoying the sunflower heads left out.

 The lemongrass and aloe vera were watered well,
so that they can be brought into the house for the season.

 The loofah is piling up!

It's always so exciting awaiting the seedlings' arrival!
With more rain predicted, 
here's hoping we get to see them before the next Garden Friday!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Lincoln County Apple Festival 2019

It's that time of year again.
Our annual Apple Festival here in Lincoln County,
a small town event with big flavor!
The day was cool and overcast, 
but it didn't seem to deter folks from coming out!

The Master Gardeners shared their knowledge with those seeking answers.
Our booths were part of the Ag City display,
the spot where rural folks come to gather.

It was fun to be a part of the event last year,
so I was happy to volunteer again.
Our booths had the usual information about soil testing, bee-friendly gardening,
fire ant solutions and a sign-up sheet for the next Master Gardener class.
We also repeated our display about square-foot gardening,
including this handy-dandy chart one of our members created.
There was a hands-on activity for gardeners of every age,
planting seeds in toilet paper rolls, fashioned into wee pots.

New this year was information about hydroponics.
One of our members employs this method in his own garden,
along with raised beds and containers in which to grow.
It was wonderful to see how folks gravitated to certain things.
We're always happy to share gardening with others,
and find that we have as much to learn as to teach.

The alpaca booth was popular, as always.
These sweet, soft creatures manage to draw a crowd every year.
Their owners sell clothing made from their fabulous fleece.
I've heard they also give away some of their alpaca poop to gardeners!
Great stuff that, as it can be used right away.

Although I didn't get to wander around much,
(we were absolutely swamped with visitors!),
I did manage to take a few minutes to check out this display.
What a noble calling, finding heritage apple varieties!

Of course, this vintage 1940's milk truck caught my eye.
After speaking to the owner,
I discovered that his grandfather drove one similar.
He gave me a looksee and it was love at first sight.
The back section of the truck was floor-to-ceiling stainless steel,
with enclosed benches where the milk would sit during delivery.
On top of the benches was where the ice stayed,
keeping the delicious dairy cold.

These Master Gardener undertakings are always so much fun.
Not only do we catch up with each other,
we meet new gardeners and get to talk shop to our heart's content!
What could be better!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Garden Friday

Welcome to Garden Friday!
Last weekend, I spent a bit of time
helping a friend plant her garlic.
These first few shots are of her fabulous homestead.
Yep, she's a chicken lady.

Her husband is a handy guy who fashioned this chicken tractor.
I love that it provides ventilation, shade 
and protection from both rain and predators. 
The best part is that it's mobile,
so they can graze wherever you move it.

Handsome fellow

white sweet potato bed

 Back at our place,
I did manage to plant some snap peas along the arches,
which promptly came up in about 5 days.
Another bed was filled with chard, kale, lettuce and spinach seeds,
and we're still waiting for them to germinate.
We were blessed with almost an inch of rain this week,
with more predicted for Sunday.
We welcome it.

 All of the sweet potatoes were harvested this week,
and are now curing for 10-14 days.
The orange sweet potatoes yielded only 3 pounds,

while the white variety offered up 18 pounds of spuds.
It was difficult to dig these up because
they got so long that they embedded themselves into the clay
beneath the bed.
When I grow them again, I will be sure to make the bed one layer higher
so that they will be easier to harvest.
Next year, I'd like to plant a lot more,
so that some can be donated to our local food bank. 
These will not last us too long,
as C and I eat them often.
Live and learn.

dried loofah gourds

Today I plan to plant the garlic cloves I grew last year.
It's a highly satisfying crop,
and the result was the best garlic we've ever tasted.
I'm hoping to get some beets, broccoli, and more kale planted as well.
With the weather finally cooperating,
it's just a matter of time before we have goodies
from the garden again.