Tuesday, July 26, 2011

rant from YA author John Green about lawns

I love this video blog from one of my favorite YA authors, John Green, about the silliness of lawns and his desire to have lawns converted to vegetable gardens.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

good work day

We had a good work day at the garden this evening.  Keff, Yvonne, Tracy, and our daughter, Kira, were all there.  Lots of hands helps spread the work around nicely.   We did some weeding, watering, and I spent more time tying up tomato branches and trimming tomato plant leaves off the ground (we want to avoid blight).

The garden looks truly amazing.  All the plants are vigorous at the moment.  The squash and the cucumbers are reaching up towards the top of the fence.  We've had a little bit of powdery mildew, but not too bad, and some blossom end rot, so we put down some crushed egg shells around the tomato plants. 

I think people have already picked the first tatume squash and cucumber.  I had my eye one one of each yesterday, and today they were gone.  Neither was quite ripe--I'm tempted to put up a sign that says "please don't pick the cucumbers until they're round at the bottom."  The cucumbers are blooming like mad--if a good fraction of them set fruit, there will be plenty of cukes to go around.

The mustard is enormous.  I'm talking to a group of senior citizens at the 99 Kent Street apartments tomorrow, so I think I'll pick some mustard greens and bring them with me to hand out.  I wish I was going to have more to give out, but the big stuff isn't quite ready yet.  I think we've got at least one more week until the tomatoes are ripe.  The good news is that there are easily more than 100 tomatoes on the vines right now, and with 7 cherry tomato plants there will be lots of snacks for passersby.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

the peas are gone, here come the cucumbers and squash

On Tuesday, we had a busy work day, taking down all 180 feet of snow peas off the fence.  Tracy and I snipped the vines at their base, so that we could leave the roots with their nitrogen-rich nodules in the ground (as natural fertilizer).  We hauled the vines into a big pile, where Noah, Keff, and Yvonne helped remove the last few pea pods (we got at least another 1-2 pounds).  Hannah was a first-time volunteer, and she helped me water while Tracy joined the others in sorting through the rest of the peas.

We ended up with a huge volume of spent vines, a pile almost as big as a car.  Luckily, Yvonne has access to a large compost pile, and I was able to take two loads over in the back of the Subaru that we have the summer, to add them to the pile.

Here's Keff near the pile of pulled vines.  This was just the start--the final pile was TWICE this big!

Some of the lovely, sweet snow peas.  (These are actually some we picked on July 2nd.)

Here's some of the chard that's growing in front of a row of cucumbers (and you can see the old peas in the background, too).

I was over at the garden today, and spent about two hours tying up tomato and tomatillo plants to the fence--they're already so big, they're starting to need some extra support.  We have lots of tomato blossoms and some small tomatoes already growing.  I've seen a few tiny tatume squashes already forming, and the cucumbers are starting to march up the fence and setting out plenty of flowers.  We had some rain last night, which is helping everything continue to put out some very large, healthy leaves.

Many people stopped by while I was working today, to express their gratitude for the garden and to chat about it.  One young guy visiting from Michigan said it was one of the high points of his visit to Boston so far.  That kind of feedback certainly makes working in the hot sun a lot more enjoyable (though I'd do it anyway).

I wonder how long it'll be before the first cukes, squash, and tomatoes are ready to pick?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

work day today

We'll have our regularly scheduled work day at the garden today at 6:30pm.  Today we need to take out the snow peas, to give more room and light to the cucumbers, squash and tomatoes.  Plus the snow peas are almost done, anyway, because they don't like this heat.

If you're in Brookline tonight, please stop on by.  We could really use the extra hands.  (I promise you'll leave with some delicious snow peas.)

Here's a photo of us all hard at work on the June 21 work day--lots of weeding that day.  You can see the snow peas climbed all the way to the top of the fence and beyond:

and here's a closer look at some of the snow peas (from a few weeks ago):