Monday, July 26, 2010

Visiting Students

This morning three high school students taking part in a Bountiful Brookline teen summer program came with BB intern Marianna, to take a look at the 200 Foot Garden.  They were good listeners, as I explained the philosophy of our garden and walked them through all the plants.  We even picked and ate a couple ripe lemon apple cucumbers.

(left to right:  Pema, Jamie, Dexter, and Marianna)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Very cool worm composting site

I'm trying to pack up and make sure I'm ready for tomorrow's PlanetHugger-Boston expo (I'll be giving two talks on vermicomposting (worms) and two on the 200 Foot Garden).  In looking for cool web sites about worms, I found this one:

This guy is amazing.  Talk about someone who is thoroughly exploring and experimenting.  If you're thinking about doing worm composting, check out this site.

Making Worm/Compost Tea

A lot of people have asked about how to make worm tea.  Here's a video from YouTube that lays it out pretty well.  I saw this and started following his process, almost exactly.  It seems to be working pretty well so far.  One thing to be cautious about is letting it sit without aeration for too long--it'll start to ferment and get smelly.  You can buy expensive gadgets that'll do this same thing (for hundreds of dollars), but you can set this up for about $20.

Another good workday

On Wednesday, we had another productive work day at the garden.  Jeff and I were there (along with my son, Noah) to water and feed the plants.  We were joined by a Carleen, a neighbor on her way home from work, who pitched in and helped me get worm tea on the plants and haul water, while Jeff tied up the cucumbers to the fence to keep them off the peppers.  One of the things I like most about the 200 Foot Garden is chatting with neighbors and having people just jump in and help.

We picked a few beans, but not many.  The cucumbers are looking good, as are the squash.  If we get enough pollinators in, I think we could have quite a crop.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Come to PlanetHugger this weekend

At the World Trade Center this weekend in Boston, you can come check out the PlanetHugger Boston event, which is:

PlanetHugger Boston 2010 is dedicated to educating, inspiring, and empowering children and adults, individuals and families, urbanites and small town folks to come together in their communities and workplaces to create a more sustainable planet for future generations. This year’s PlanetHugger Boston festival will be held at the Seaport World Trade Center on July 24th and 25th.
I'll be there on Saturday, talking about the 200 Foot Garden and leading a few workshops on composting with worms.   There will be all kinds of speakers, including Ed Begley Jr. and Tom Chapin, and lots of booths and exhibits.

Could be fun and informative.  Plus I'm sure there will be green swag.

Come check it out.  (And be sure to come say Hi.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

great article on a teen who's farming her yard

My friend Tina, sent me info on this article in the NY Times about a Michigan teenager who is farming her yard and has set up her own CSA.  (Of course, it helps if you have a yard enough to dig up a half acre of it for a garden.  A half acre!  That sounds like a dream come true for me.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Slightly Wet Work Day

Despite the drizzle this evening, Jeff and I put in some time for our regular work day at the garden.  Today our big focus was on tying up tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash that were flopping over on the short front row of peppers and eggplants and smothering them.  But some twine will help train everything back up to the fence.  And the tomatoes are looking great--nice thick stems, lots of leaves and fruit.  It should be an excellent harvest in a few weeks.

Speaking of harvest, we did pick two perfectly lovely lemon apple cucumbers.  Absolutely gorgeous.  Jeff kept one and we gave another away to a man who gardens at the local Korean church--he'd never seen a lemon apple cucumber before, but we assured him it really was a cucumber (he was skeptical).  We also found one red cherry tomato, and picked a few handfuls of beans.  The beans don't get a lot of sun (they're on shady fence blocks), which is probably suppressing the harvest.

The rain over the past few days has really been a boon for the garden.  The leaves on the plants are green and huge.  The eggplants look especially promising.  We fed some of the plants with my high-powered worm tea, though the tea had been sitting without aeration for all of today, and you could smell that it was beginning to ferment, sort of like a mead or worm beer (okay, that's a little gross, I know, but I'm hoping the plants will love it).  It's been nice to have a break from watering, but the 10-day forecast shows lots of hot, sunny days ahead, so it'll be time to get the watering cans back out soon.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

More Harvesting (and lots of watering)

We're getting sprinkles right now, but no serious rain.  We haven't had more than a quarter inch of rain at a pop for more than a month.  Luckily, we have a core of volunteer waterers who keep helping keep the plants alive and thriving.

Yesterday, I watered the whole garden in the evening.  Of the three lemon apple cucumbers I'd seen on Wednesday, only one was left.  So I picked it.  It's a beauty, and I think we'll have it in our salad tonight.  I heard that there were some red cherry tomatoes, but they had been picked.  Someone had harvested some of the dinosaur kale, too, which is great. 

Kelly was planning to water this morning, and I asked her to pick pole beans while she was at it.  As long as we keep up with them, they'll keep producing.

I need to get over there with some twine this week and start tying the tomato plants up to the fence--they're starting to smother the peppers and eggplants.  And some of the cucumbers are really working their way towards the sidewalk, too.

I saw a bunch of friends while watering last night, and also met Barbara, a resident of the nearby apartment building.  She was happy to chat and informed me that she was 82 years old .  I picked her a bouquet of golden chard leaves and told her how to give them a quick stir fry with olive oil and garlic.

If we can pick up a moderate amount of rain, the plants will really surge, even more.  I look forward to sharing more veggies with the neighbors.  (Note to self:  I need to update our signs.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Good Work Days (stuff is growing!)

I've been remiss in reporting on progress at the 200 Foot Garden.  Two weeks ago, Leslie and Tova brought some friends to help out on our Wednesday work day, and we watered and did some weeding and picked snow peas.  This past Wednesday, Jeff and I were there for the work day, and we watered with some of my new high powered worm tea, and we also took down the snow peas, which were mostly finished for the season.  Taking them down gives some light and room for the squash behind them to start growing and climbing.  In the process of taking them down, Jeff and I each were able to harvest a good amount of pea pods.  (I cooked ours up for dinner tonight, and they were delicious!)

Here are some photos from this week's work day.  Here you can see that it's greened up nicely.  Here we have squash about to hit the fence and cherry tomatoes in front, with a scattering of marigolds.

Here is our best looking dinsoaur kale, with more to come soon.  This one started in the greenhouse.  The tomatoes, some of the kale, and the eggplant all seemed to have survived the greenhouse experience pretty well.  The cucumbers and squash did better being started outdoors, from seed.

Here is some of the golden chard that's thriving.  (It also started in the greenhouse.)  For some reason the rainbow chard hasn't done as well yet.  A mystery.
Behind the chard, you can see pole beans starting to work their way up the fence (they're already producing beans).

The tomatoes are setting fruit very nicely now.  Eggplants are starting to finally leaf out, with the hot weather.  The cucumbers, especially the lemon cucumbers, are also really starting to hit their stride.  I think we've got two or three more weeks until we start harvesting much of anything besides pole beans (and even that isn't much).

Right now our biggest challenge is water.  There's no rain in the forecast for a while, and the spigot we were using got so leaky that they capped it.  Hopefully they'll repair it.  For now, we have to use the bathroom at the apartment building, which is just a little bit tougher.  But we'll figure it out.

We're at the garden every Wednesday at 6:30 pm for watering, weeding, and picking, so please come join us.