Category Archives: Vegetables

FAITH FARM UPDATE

I’m not a vegetable gardener.

Sure I’ve dropped a few in the middle of my flower beds

But I’ve never committed a block of space

Totally to vegetables.

So a few years ago

When my favorite non-profit Loaves & Fishes

Took over a vegetable garden called Faith Farm

I knew I was in over my head.

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This year we were determined to get an early start.

So around the third week of February

We began.

Hundreds of onion starts were planted

Along with carrot seeds.

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We’re working with Michael’s new theory

On growing these cool season veggies.

Last year he noticed that when we planted carrots

Along the edges of the beds

They did much better.

So we planted one end and one edge of

Of each raised bed to onions.

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The remaining end and edge was planted to carrots.

Our suspicion is that the soil along the edge

Warms more quickly than the soil in the middle of the bed.

And results in glorious onions and carrots.

Now, after a few months of growing

We are being rewarded.

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The onions have started maturing

Last Wednesday we pulled 64 lbs.

 

Thinking it would last through 2 days of pantry.

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But within 2 hours of Wednesday’s pantry

They were gone.

Onions are popular.

Carrots will take a little more time.

But if this year’s crop is anything like last year

We’ll have many happy clients

We call this

Gardening for good.

And it is.

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Carrots, Community Garden, Onion, Raised Beds, Uncategorized, Vegetables

GARDENING FOR GOOD

This summer I’ve been dividing my gardening days

Between two gardens.

It’s the first summer that Faith Farm

Has been an all volunteer effort.

It was a leap of faith.

What a fun

And rewarding leap.

We started the season with a plan

Put together by my fellow gardeners

Jim & Michael.

It’s an ambitious three season plan

Since we have a 9 month growing season.

We started harvesting lettuce

In March.

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And we haven’t stopped.

200 lbs of lettuce

120 lbs of gorgeous carrots

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More basil than all of Italy

and almost 900 lbs of cucumbers.

Wow what a year.

We have literally grown well over a ton of vegetables.

All of this done by a dedicated group

Of volunteers.

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Including a few Master Gardeners.

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Twice a week they harvest this bounty

And take it to Loaves & Fishes

Where it is then given

To our hungry neighbors.

Several times a year

Jim offers  gardening classes

To the L & F clients.

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And every so often

We have a Saturday work day

To catch up on the big jobs.

Yesterday was one of those work days.

We had an ambitious list

OK…we had an impossible list.

Thanks to a few new volunteers

We got most of the big jobs done.

Morning glories pulled off the fence

Before they set seed.

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Bolted basil pulled, dried and ground into mulch.

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Ground pecan hulls put on the paths.

And soil added to beds.

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Then there was the shed.

Michael spent the morning organizing it.

Thank goodness.

These are not glamorous gardening jobs

But they are essential.

And feel good to have done.

Along the way we made a few new friends

Loaves & Fishes board member Randi

Brought her family.

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Including her son

Who got to meet Charlotte

Our resident Orb Spinner Spider

She’s been “hanging” around

Since July.

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He also found caterpillars and praying mantis.

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It’s always a good day when you can introduce

A child to the wonders of nature.

And do a little

Gardening for Good.

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Basil, Bugs, Carrots, Children in the Garden, Community Garden, Compost, Cucumbers, Fall Vegetables, Garden Planning, Gardening Friends, Herbs, late summer garden, Lettuce, Morning Glories, Nature, Orb Spider, Uncategorized, Vegetables

LIVING ON THE EDGE

Planting home vegetable gardens

Is experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

I think it’s great.

Especially if home gardeners

Share their abundance with a local food pantry.

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But for some reason

I haven’t been able to convert even a section

Of my perennial border

Solely to vegetables.

I convince myself this is OK

Since my abundance of flowers

Supply the nectar

For hundreds of bees.

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I’m thinking they are pollinating

Vegetable plants all around town.

I also consider flowers

“Food for the soul.”

But the truth is I’m not that great at growing veggies.

This season alone

I’ve gotten a total of 5 tomatoes from 3 plants

One of which has now been eaten

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By a tomato hornworm

May he rest in peace.

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And something ate my three brussel sprouts plants

I am good at leafy greens.

Leaf lettuce and arugula are my favorites.

I can also grow radishes galore.

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So I’m doing my bit for the local food movement

Planting the edges of my garden.

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And a pot here and there.

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I have a hard time remembering

When it’s time to plant things.

So last winter I took the local Extension Service calendar

And input it into my personal google calendar.

Which means when it’s time to plant something.

It pops up on my calendar.

Now I remember it’s OK to plant my fall garden

In August.

Last weekend I cleaned out the spaces

Where there were weeds

And sprinkled seeds for

Carrots, radishes, arugula and lettuce.

They I planted peas around the dahlia cages.

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It’s not the vegetable garden of my parents

With neat rows and room for towering corn plants.

But it works for me.

Fitting in things along the edges.

Finding the time and place to grow the things

I really want.

And not trying to force myself

To fit it into a standard mold.

Life changes with time

Finding the time and place

For those changes

Can be challenging.

When we figure out how to do it.

It’s wonderful.

Gail

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Filed under Arugula, Bees, Brussels Sprouts, Bugs, Carrots, Fall Vegetables, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, late summer garden, Lettuce, Radishes, Seeds, sugar snap peas, Tomato, Uncategorized, Vegetables

THE BASIL RITUAL

There’s a rhythm about fall that seems to be well, common.

At least among my friends.

With our first freeze predicted for Halloween

I began cutting basil on Thursday

And again on Friday.

Buckets of basil.

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I always plant too much

Which means I have basil to spare

For months on end.

I use it during the growing season.

But by October it’s giant and going to seed everywhere.

Yet I feel that none of it can go to waste.

I either have to dry it

Or make pesto

Or find it a home.

Pesto is my first plan of attack.

So on Friday

When the weather men were issuing their threatening forecast.

My sister Ann called and said.

“So I’m guessing you’re making pesto.”

And I was.

She’s in the same place I am.

With way too much basil.

But she has the advantage of being able to feed her extra.

To her bunnies.

I on the other hand

Do not have hungry bunnies living at my house.

So when a friend dropped by with  a cape for Coco to wear for Halloween.

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She was rewarded with bonus basil.

Others who dropped by were also given the chance

But most declined.

I thought of bagging it up in little bags and giving it out

To the 400+ kids who came trick or treating.

But there might be potential for misunderstanding there!

I’ve now made 3 batches of regular pesto

3 C. packed fresh basil leaves

1/3 C. grated parmesan cheese

6 cloves chopped garlic

6 T toasted Pine nuts

4 T olive oil

Put all ingredients into food processor.

Pulse till well chopped but not a puree.

Spray ice-cube tray with non-stick cooking spray.

Freeze.  Then store cubes in plastic bag.

It’s about a tablespoon or 2 of pesto.

And a couple of roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomato pesto.

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3 medium red bell peppers 0r 1 jar .

12 sun-dried tomatoes – soaked and drained

1 clove garlic chopped

3 T roasted pine nuts.

a handful of fresh basil leaves.

A handful of fresh Italian parsley

Juice of 1 lemon

2 T grated parmesan cheese.

Prepare like basil pesto

I’ve also been roasting and freezing the last of the ripe tomatoes.

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All of which is giving our house

A rather Italian aroma.

Now…what to do with all those

Peppers and green tomatoes.

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And in the end

It didn’t even freeze!

Gail

The other fall ritual I love

Is sharing plants with friends

Kay and Tori came by on Saturday morning.

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To dig the last of the ferns.

New plans for this area

Come spring.

 

 

 

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Filed under Basil, Fall Vegetables, Gardening Friends, Green Tomatoes, Herbs, Peppers, Pesto, Pettit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Tomato, Uncategorized, Vegetables

FAMILY VOLUNTEERING DAY V.2

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Yesterday was time for fall clean up

At Faith Farm.

It’s been an astounding first year of

“Gardening for Good”.

We will soon surpass 3,000 pounds of fresh organic produce

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Grown for Loaves & Fishes

And given to our hungry clients each week.

Freshly picked, organic produce

Given to people who otherwise might not have food on the table.

Week after week, Charity and a small group of volunteers

Have harvested literal 1 1/2 tons of food.

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And it’s a good thing

Since July was the busiest month ever at L & F

Serving 954 households…YIKES!

But we want to do more

With the space we have.

So yesterday we began a simple transition

From less ornamentals

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To more raised beds.

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We moved some from L & F

Over to Faith Farm

And set them in place

With the help of Jim

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Our perennial volunteer

And a couple of friends from the Air Force base.

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We were also joined by a group of young women

From the 2020 club at Chisholm Middle School

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They’ll graduate in the year 2020

Which gives us lots of time to train them

As gardeners.

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They have great potential

Because even a big ole tomato horn worm

Didn’t scare them.

Instead they were fascinated.

Gotta love girls who likes bugs!

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They were all great help

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So I hope they’ll be back

Another day

For another installment

Of this great adventure.

Feeding the hungry

Fresh, organic vegetables

And lots of love.

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Community Garden, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Lettuce, Raised Beds, Uncategorized, Vegetables

SEPTEMBER’S SONG

I have long loved fall.

You would think as a passionate gardener

That would not be the case

With the season winding down and all.

Certainly I know what is coming

An end will come with its inevitable freeze.

But here in the middle of September

Winter is still a bit out of reach.

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And what a September it is.

Endless days of crisp air and sunshine.

This is the time of the year

That the garden slows

And so do I.

My weekend gardening days

Move at a more reasonable pace.

Which gives me time to observe.

Bumble bees in flight.

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Baby praying mantis

Blending in with zinnia leaves.

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Even a large praying mantis

Outside the kitchen window.

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Orb spider spin their amazing webs.

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Butterflies bask in the soft fall sun.

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And peppers finally have their day.

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This is also the time of year

That pots come into their own.

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They begin to ooze over the side

With the fullness of the season.

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I’m not great with annuals

But September makes me look like I know what I’m doing!

Plants that were cut back in mid summer

Are coming into full bloom again.

 

Smaller…more contained than their spring version

But just as lovely.

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The last few years

I’ve taken a new look at fall

As a time to plant.

As I pull up things that are spent

Cockscomb mostly

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I plant seeds in their place.

So mixed leaf lettuce, arugula and carrot seeds

All were planted today.

Not in tidy little rows

Like most vegetable gardens.

But in the empty spaces.

I know I’ve said it many times

But fall seems like the time to repeat

The value of taking time

To observe nature

It’s seasons

It’s changes

It’s lessons.

Enjoy the week,

Gail

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Filed under Arugula, Bugs, Bumble Bee, Butterflies, Carrots, cockscomb, container gardening, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Gloriosa Daisy, Orb Spider, Peppers, Seeds, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Zinnia

STARTING AND STOPPING

At long last we’re getting rain.

Not tons of it

But rain just the same.

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Soft showers

Interspersed with real rain.

Throughout this long weekend.

So my gardening has followed the rain.

Starting and stopping

As the weather allows.

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It’s actually nice.

Cool days

Soft soil

Perfect for weeding

And planting more seed.

So I’ve decided to run a little experiment.

Since we are having a bit cooler than usual spring.

I’m thinking I still have time to plant

Cool season seeds.

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Lettuce – Arugula – Radishes – Bush Beans

I know

It’s way past time to plant these.

But I’m experimenting with a little

Micro climate vegetable gardening.

So…as I’ve weeded the edge of the garden

And along the paths

I’ve planted all of the above.

Some in sun like I’ve always done

And this year in dappled shady areas

To see if I can have fresh greens

Later into the season.

We’ll hope it works.

I’ll let you know.

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And when it rained

I arranged flowers

In my friend Beth’s fun Fiesta pitchers.

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And oh yes…

There was this.

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While thunder rolled through the state

The Thunder rolled over the Spurs.

What a fun weekend!

Gail

P.S. I realize these pictures have nothing to do with the subject.

But pictures of seed packets and hoes just are all that much fun!

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Filed under Arugula, Bouquets, Flower Arrangements, Gloriosa Daisy, Larkspur, Lettuce, OKC Thunder Basketball, Poppy, Radishes, Seeds, Stella d Ora Daylily, Uncategorized, Vegetables