Friday, March 10, 2017

March: Seeing our Plans Through

March 1, 2017

At our March meeting, we sowed our spring crops:  radishes, a mess of different peas, and a bonus:

Seeds of Bachelor's Buttons, collected off of our plants from last year.  We talked a little about saving seed from our plants, so that we have something to grow for the next year.

We were recently gifted some lettuce seeds from Slow Food's Ark of Taste.  This was timely, given our discussion about saving seeds.

This variety, Grandpa Admire's butterhead, used to be grown in a family garden, but has almost been lost forever.  Food varieties can (and do) go extinct, if no one grows them any more.  This is happening a LOT, especially the home garden varieties that taste wonderful but do not harvest easily with modern equipment, or do not ship well.  They are not planted any more, given our current harvesting and distribution methods.   These seeds were collected and given to Seed Savers Exchange in 1977, and are named after the person who grew the lettuce, George Admire, a civil war veteran.  His granddaughter donated them.  
It is now sown in our garden!  I'd better go check on them, actually... I don't want to miss out on the opportunity for our club to literally taste history.

We also built a trellis, weeded, and tended our compost- a student thought (rightly so) that it was too dry and she added a little water to the mix.  I'm so glad I have so many helpers keeping things running smoothly!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

January- Spring Planning

At our January meeting, we discussed the importance of planning in the gardening world.  (Is this something I do religiously?  No.  But let's admit, it's a GREAT way to do things).  

We considered whether we wanted to have early spring crops (before our summer crops) and the answer was a resounding "YES!"

Then, we voted on what we would like to have- radishes? Peas? Early start on tomatoes?  Beets?

The winners were:  Peas

                               And Radishes

And, we'll definitely get plenty of flowers planted too, for the pollinators.  This is a must!


We decided, in our planning, to amend the soil at our upcoming workday, to allow the soil to rest a bit, and sow our crops after that.

Pea Growing Requirements:

Students realized that peas will need trellises.  We will build a trellis for the peas, or use our one from last year, made of fallen branches.  We might need a teepee greenhouse for cold snaps.  Also

  • twine
  • maybe more branches
  • pre-soaking seeds before sowing
  • watching the weather and covering and watering accordingly
Radish Growing Requirements:

We discussed the importance of loose soil with growing root crops. Therefore, our plans for this crop include
  • preworking the soil, to ensure it will support rapid, unrestricted growth.
  • plenty of water
We also agreed to keep communicating with each other, to stay on top of our planning.  Not an easy task, with our busy school days, but I can't think of anything I'd rather do than talk about gardening with this group of optimists.

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. 
-Helen Keller

Saturday, December 3, 2016

December 1, 2016


What do to with the extra sweet potatoes that didn't go into our gumbo?

These beauties were of varying size, some larger than my hand, others smaller than an egg.
But if you roast them whole until they're tender and moist, peel them and mash them up together, it doesn't matter that they weren't uniform.

So that's what I did.  And to gild the lily a bit, I also added vanilla and a small amount of sugar (but honestly you could opt out on the sugar), placed them in a buttered dish and topped them with a crumbly mixture of oats, butter, sugar and molasses.  This got baked for about 40 minutes, right up until our meeting.  

Most (but not all) of us dug into the warm, creamy, crunchy dish of goodness- a delightful treat on a chilly morning before school!  The highlight of the experience being the gorgeous, organic, TMS homegrown sweet potatoes that these students planted, watered, and harvested- an ongoing project since May.  Some gardeners remember the exact potato they harvested, wondering if it went into the gumbo or the casserole.  How's that for following from garden to plate?