Week 12: July 22 to July 27 – Frosty Weather and Food Sharing

Topics:

  • Bolting vegetables

Summary of the Week:

  • Transplanted rhubarb
  • Third potluck of the summer
  • Garden maintenance
    • Mowed clover
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Delicious cherry tomatoes were harvested this week.

It was a busy week at the Community Teaching Garden as we transplanted, weeded, and shared great food. After last week’s heat wave, the crisp weather was appreciated at the garden with most students staying each night until the last bit of sun was setting.

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Gardeners work on a shared plot.

We started the week by utilizing the unused space at the back of the Community Teaching Garden by transplanting rhubarb from the Ethan Allen Homestead site. It will be exciting to have plentiful rhubarb at both garden sites in the future! Here’s a look at our process.

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The rhubarb roots and plant before transplanting.
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Rhubarb needs space, which was provided by digging deep and spread out holes.
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The deep, wide holes needed for rhubarb.
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Filling in the garden with rhubarb.

The third Community Teaching Garden potluck of the summer was a success with lots of delicious food to share from savory to sweet choices. There was a great mix of students from both classes with friends and family joining us, too. The potluck was a great way to end a beautiful week at the garden.

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Some of the delicious dishes at the potluck.
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Getting ready to dig into the yummy meal.

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Week 11: July 15 to July 20 – Garlic Scapes and the Sunset

Topics:

  • Garlic scapes

Summary of the Week:

  • Garden maintenance
    • Mowed clover
    • Cut down buckwheat
    • Weeded sweet potatoes
    • Worked hard on own plots and shared crops
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Sun setting on the garden.

Vermont’s first heat wave of the summer hit the garden this week but did not stop the hard work at the Community Teaching Garden. Despite the hot weather and bugs, of course, the students were eager to weed and enjoy the sunshine this week. We were able to mow the clover in the center circle and cut down the buckwheat at the border of the garden with a modern-day scythe. We were able to fit in a good work out and maintain the cover crop by using the scythe. The tool was used in the past for mowing and cutting and is still used around the world today. It’s hard to imagine using one on a whole field’s worth of crop; it took about five of us to finish the strip along the garden!

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The dry beans, Good Mother Stallard, which are Denise’s favorite kind, are starting to grow, and will continue to shoot up with the new pole bean trellis structure created by the students.

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The potatoes are starting to flower, which means that they are getting closer to harvest time!
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Garlic.

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A garlic scape.

Here are some ideas on what to do with garlic scapes when cooking: http://www.mnn.com/food/recipes/blogs/5-recipes-for-garlic-scapes

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Cutting down the buckwheat.

We enjoyed some gorgeous sunsets at the garden this week. One followed picture-perfect weather and the other brought a short storm on Wednesday to a beautiful close. The summer weather kept the gardeners and plants happy this week and we cannot wait to see what starts popping up there next week.

Week 10: July 8 to July 13 – Fresh Peas and a Field Trip

Topics:

  • Succession planting

Summary of the Week:

  • Enjoyed a potluck with the Visiting Nurses Association
  • Weeded many areas in the garden
  • First use of the new Community Teaching Garden shed
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It’s all smiles at the garden, especially when you are done weeding.

The Community Teaching Garden students started the week by accepting the kind invitation by the Visiting Nurses Association to join their potluck on Monday night at the Ethan Allen Homestead garden site. With a mix of kids and adults from the VNA and CTG, there was lots of delicious food and garden stories to share. After enjoying the mix of foods on a beautiful summer evening, we listened as Denise spoke about succession planting. Succession planting is important to keep in mind when planning your garden at the start of the summer and after you have been able to harvest several crops. Succession planting keeps your garden full and is an efficient way to use all of the space your garden has to offer. Keep in mind that some crops complement each other better than others and should be planted in succession. Despite the heavy rain that has caused some damage to their gardens, the VNA gardeners’ spirits were still up and they gave the teaching garden students a tour of their garden beds and favorite plants to grow. The Community Teaching Garden students enjoyed the field trip and were very grateful to the VNA gardeners!

After a field trip and a few days away from the Tommy Thompson site, the gardeners came back to a brand new shed; built just for the Community Teaching Garden. The new shed now holds all of our tools or other garden needs and is accessible to all teaching garden students! After checking out the new shed, the class was able to stick it out on a gorgeous, breezy night that was almost bug-free and weed until the sun was close to setting.

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Students dotted the garden to weed before the bugs came out.

There are lots of healthy plants to admire this week at the Community Teaching Garden between the individual plots and shared beds. Check out our progress!

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Winter Squash.
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Leeks.
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Sweet Pepper.
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Hot Pepper.

Week 9: July 1 to July 6 – Taking Care of Tomatoes

 Topics:

  • Maintaining tomatoes

Summary of the Week:

  • Learned about and dealt with potato beetles at their various life stages
  • Hilled potatoes
  • Enjoyed some fresh peas!

After a delicious potluck on the weekend, the Community Teaching Garden students were back to work on weeding, fighting mosquitoes or pests, and learning about caring for tomato plants. We looked at the different types of cages and trellises for tomatoes again and how to build our own. The different variations we are using to allow our tomatoes to keeping growing tall are cages, bamboo trellises, and stakes. To promote healthy growth and support for the tomatoes, we will keep adding twine to the structures as the plants become larger.

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Adding stakes and twine for the tomatoes.
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Using a tomato cage.
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A tomato trellis.

Another aspect of tomato care to keep in mind is pruning the suckers. The suckers are small side shoots that grow between the main stem and the branch in the “armpit”. It is easy to pinch these pieces off to keep your tomato plants healthy.

With a few light showers to accompany the muggy weather, we worked away on the garden while the sky lit up with a mix of pink and purple as Burlington prepared for the fireworks and holiday festivities.