Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Clean Up Day

We had a successful fall clean up at the garden yesterday, with me, Tracy, Sarah, and Alexis all pitching in. Four pairs of hands made the work go by quickly--we pulled vines off the fence, raked leaves, picked up a little trash, and filled four big paper yard waste bags. Yvonne stopped by and said we could dump them in her compost bin a few blocks away, so I used my granny cart to ferry the bags over once we were done (and the Patriots were done with Tampa).

One pleasant surprise--we found two large cucumbers and two smaller ones buried under the leaves along the fence. There were also at least a pound of green beans to be picked (we had our share for dinner last night).

We pulled all the spent vines, but decided to leave a few of the greenest pole bean plants still attached. It just seemed a shame to pull them while they're still alive and kicking, and they provided a luscious contrast to the vibrant yellow maple trees dotting parking lot by the fence. In a few weeks, they'll die back and we'll go back and pull them out. We left the signs on the fence for now, but we need to print some new ones that will be more appropriate for the winter months. Next year, the new planting scheme of doing ten-foot blocks of the same plant along the fence should make clean-up a lot easier.

We had several people stop by and thank us for the garden (one woman went away with a cucumber and a handful of beans). We made sure to mention that we could use more help next year--I hope they'll follow up.

It was a perfect day to spend outside and a great reminder of why this whole project is worth doing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Work Day on Sunday, October 25

We're planning to have a work day on Sunday, October 25, starting at 11am. It'll be time to clean up most of the vines from the fence and rake up leaves and pick up trash. Shouldn't be too tough. There's a chance we might have some bags of compost to add to the soil, but I'm not sure we'll have the resources to get them in time.

If you're in Brookline and want to meet some fellow gardeners and help with the project (and chat), please come on by. (99 Kent Street)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Green Brookline Expo, 11am-3pm, Oct 18

I'll be at the Green Brookline Expo at Brookline High School tomorrow from 12:30-3pm, helping staff a table for Bountiful Brookline, and also there to talk to anyone who's interested in the 200 Foot Garden project (trying to recruit more helpers for next year). If you're at the Expo, I hope you'll stop by and say Hello.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cool Nights

The cool nights seem to have put an end to any thought of additional squash, but there are still cucumbers on the vines. I counted at least five, though I suspect they'll be growing very slowly. There are still lots of green cherry tomatoes (can they be fried?) and plenty of pole beans that need picking. The rain this weekend was helpful, and we're expecting more tomorrow. I was actually surprised that the vines still look as good as they do, despite the chilly weather. We'll probably see the first frost in another week or so, which means it'll be time to clean up the die-back soon. For now, I'm enjoying the green we've still got.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

beans, beans, beans

Last Friday, I picked and gave away four bags of beans, which was fun, as well as a few cucumbers. This week, I've been crazy busy and haven't had a chance visit very often. I know the beans need picking and there are a few cukes almost ready. The weather's gotten cold enough now that I don't think we'll see any more squash.

I had my first negative comment about the garden last week, when I was picking beans. An older Russian woman came up to me and said (in a heavy accent), "I hope you're not going to eat those."

me: "Well, maybe. Or else I'll give them away."

The woman went on to say that it wasn't healthy for me to eat these vegetables because it's close to the street and that heavy metals from the cars get in the veggies. I tried to reassure her that we'd had the soil tested and that the plants are safe. She continued to press: "What sort of degree do you have?" I told her that I was trained as an engineer, but that I have a degree in humanities.

"Vat kind of degree?" she demanded. "Bachelors? Masters?"

"Just a bachelor's degree, from MIT."

"I have two masters degrees," she claimed. "In engineering."

I told her that I disagreed with her assertions. She said she liked the garden, that it was beautiful, but that she didn't want me eating the food. I told her to show me some studies proving that the plants were taking up harmful amounts of heavy metals, and I'd believe her. She walked away, muttering about how crazy I am.

So, does she have a point? I don't think so. The soil tested clean. The air is the same air she's breathing in her apartment. The street sees traffic, but not huge congestion, and the garden isn't right up against the street--there's a sidewalk and a whole parking lane between the plants and traffic. She's probably more in danger from directly breathing the car exhaust than from eating plants from the 200 Foot Garden. And even if it was possible for them to take in metals from the exhaust, no one eating from the garden consumes more than a handful of produce from it. Not enough to even fill your belly, let alone kill you.

Oh, well. You can't please everyone. Interesting.

On the same day, however, another old Russian lady was going on about the garden as I showed her the plants and the veggies. "I was thinking about moving away," she told me, waving at our project, "but now I'm going to stay."