Spring Garden Work Party

It is HOT out!

Garden water pump

Garden water pump

The hubby and I just got back from our garden’s Spring Garden Work Party.  When you sign up for a plot, you obligate yourself to go to a spring party and fall party to help start up and shut down the garden for the season.  If you can’t make your own garden’s party, you can go to any other garden’s party to meet your requirement.

Our party started at 9am and we immediately got to work cleaning up trash, turning over mulch, weeding, and cleaning up plots from last year.  We got to meet quite a few people and it is very multicultural.  Lev is our “next plot neighbor” and there is also Oksana and her husband a little ways away.  There was an young Australian guy named John, who was from another garden, along with Steve, who’s accent I couldn’t place – he was just there from GE.  LOL, I couldn’t figure that out.  GE is General Electrics, the major employer (or used to be) in Schenectady, and I don’t think Steve actually had a plot, he was just helping everyone out.

Our other “next plot neighbor” didn’t show up, and hasn’t been to his garden at all.  Apparently his name is Walter, but I wonder if he’s going to do anything, or is just waiting till later to start.

We also met Terry, Joe, Marissa, Joan, Sue, Pat, and whole bunch of other people that I can’t remember their names of, and I just met them.  Here are some pics from today:

Joe working on the mulch pile.

Joe working on the mulch pile.

Everyone pitched in to move this mulch pile to back fence.  This was going to be a new garden plot instead.

Lots of people pitching in

Lots of people pitching in

Cleaning up the plots

Cleaning up the plots

Sue working on her plot

Sue working on her plot

Lots of leaf bags everywhere

Lots of leaf bags everywhere

Hewitts, a local nursery, donates leaf bags to the CDCG.

Rhubarb plant

Rhubarb plant

Look at this huge rhubarb plant!  This is either Joe’s or Sue’s.

Weeding the flowerbed outside the garden

Weeding the flowerbed outside the garden

Everyone’s hard at work! This pic made me laugh because it reminds me of a Sprint commercial with those bars…

Veggie Mobile truck

Veggie Mobile truck

As we were weeding, a truck playing hip hop music really loudly came thundering through the neighborhood. We looked up to see this bright truck coming through.  This truck is part of the CDCG’s program to get fresh fruits and veggies to the inner city.  Here, many people don’t have cars and don’t have a full grocery store for many miles.  Lots of people rely on the corner store, which has lots of processed foods, but not a lot of fresh produce.  The Veggie Mobile is a refrigerated truck that runs on biodiesel and solar power!  It goes through these neighborhoods and gives out free, fresh produce.  We can grow extra food in our garden this summer and give it to the veggie mobile to pass out, or participate in the Squash Hunger program, which donates the food direct to the communities themselves.  CDCG is great!

Close-up

Close-up

There were so many people who showed up for the work party, we finished pretty quickly! And not a moment too soon – today is gonna be brutal!

44 Onions

I’m beginning to see the benefits of the “community” part of community gardening. 🙂

The hubster and I headed over to our plot tonight to get restarted on our actual plot, instead of working the plot of the guy next to us. 🙂  When we arrived we saw one of the CDCG staff, Jenny, working her own plot in the corner across from us.  She said hello to us, and suggested we actually split up our half-plot a certain way to maximize its usage.  It was very helpful!  Then she excused herself to go get some onions in before nightfall.  The hubby and I measured out the plot, staked it and started turning over the soil.  It didn’t have any cover planted on it so it was much easier to turn over than Lev’s plot had been! The hubby decided to go over to see Jenny’s plot while I started picking rocks out.  He came back with 44 onion plants!  Jenny had too many and she offered them to us.

Onions!

Onions!

So I’ve planted the onions now and hopefully at least some of the onions will actually grow.  So exciting!  We turned over a bit more of the dirt and plan to do some more tomorrow.  We told Jenny we were going to Pigliavento’s to look for heirloom strawberry plants tomorrow and she said to pick her up a strawberry plant if we got any.  After 44 onions – hell yes!

This is our REAL plot

This is our REAL plot

Yay for garden neighbors 🙂

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Planting tomatoes at the CDCG

Planting tomatoes at the CDCG

I’m home from the hospital and taking it easy this weekend. I don’t have results yet (will wait till early next week to hear from my doc) but I came through it ok. I think the next few days will be spent relaxing around the house and getting ready for Monday’s orientation meeting at the Capital District Community Gardens.

Louise's Leaves

Louise's Leaves

We picked up this locally-produced book at the co-op called “Louise’s Leaves.” It’s a cook’s journal that talks about which local foods will be ready and when (it was written for the Buffalo/Vermont area – so perfect for us). Even though we won’t be getting the fruits of our gardening for many moons yet, I took a gander to see what we local foods we could possibly be eating if we had a year long garden. Although the book “year” technically begins in May, I skimmed forward to the following April (the last chapter) to see what we could expect. Apparently the “big” items are kale and parsnips…doesn’t sound too yummy. But I am impressed that anything could be expected to grow in this tundra in early April. She recommends making a nice Kale slaw or stir-frying parsnips with some kale leaf and seasoning it with some chive and coriander. I’m already looking for some heirloom chive seeds to grow – I love onions and garlic a little TOO much.

We’ve been told that the most popular garden spot in Schenectady is still available, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for it! Our local community gardens have been tended for over 30 years, and currently there are 48 different locations through the Capital District Area. Most of the gardens do seem to be towards the… not as nice neighborhoods, but it’s a wonderful thing to bring gardening, fresh fruits and vegetables, and organic values to people who might not otherwise get to experience them.

The Capital District Community Gardens are organic – both in fertilizing and and growing methods. This is exciting because hubby and I don’t have to worry that our garden will be “contaminated” by commercial pesticides in the next garden plot over. The CDCG actually will give us free gardening classes and free seeds, but I’m enjoying looking at all the different seeds out there. We’re not sure exactly how big our plot will be yet, so I don’t want to make too many decisions before we know.

According to the seed planting schedule though, we can start planting the following plants in the next two weeks:

  • beets
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • cabbage
  • chinese cabbage (this and cabbage could have been planted this week, but we don’t have our plot yet)
  • onions
  • peas
  • potatoes
  • radish
  • spinach

I LUFF SPINACH!! It is my favorite veggie in the whole wide world. And it’s sooo expensive at farmer’s markets. I really hope I can grow lots of it this summer!