Winter Prep

As the breeze blows colder and the days grow darker, activity in the garden inevitably winds down. The next two weeks will be focused on preparing the garden for winter. Today, we covered beds with row covers and hay to keep what’s alive warm, and took out the skeletons of the fall crops. We also raked leaves and put compost on our Gilmer plot. Our favorite faculty family came by again, probably this fall’s most enthusiastic and dedicated gardeners. 

Come by for the last workday of the semester: Sunday, 11/17 at 3 pm

A potluck may or may not be in the works…

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UVA Community Garden Honored by the P.U.M.P.K.I.N Society

That’s right! The UVA Garden was recognized this past month by the P.U.M.P.K.I.N. Society, one of the secret societies here at UVA. In recognition for the garden’s commitment to the wonderful gourd, the P.U.M.P.K.I.N. Society left us the intricately carved pumpkin pictured below (it’s a fancy “P” if you weren’t sure!) and letter of recognition. What an honor! Definitely one of this fall’s highlights.

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Carvin’ in the Garden 2013

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Another fall harvest, another Carvin’ in the Garden! Would it really be October without it? One of our favorite events to host and participate in, this year’s definitely didn’t disappoint. Lots of amazing food was shared, including warm apple cider and (of course) pumpkin pie, and pumpkins carved. Thanks to all who came out!

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Love and Emilia getting into the Halloween spirit! 

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The art of seduction, carvin’ style.

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Cool, indeed! 

Happy fall everyone!

 

 

 

Bye Bye, Beans

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Hello fall!

Today was just one of those fall days that makes gardening great: warm light, crisp air, and plenty to harvest. We picked the last of the beans and then pulled the plants out to make room for winter’s cover crops. After rototilling two of these beds, we planted a cover crop assortment of alfalfa and clover. We also trellised late ripening tomatoes and thinned some baby lettuce.

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Bye, for now!

Another Day, Another Harvest

We spent most of today’s workday picking beans, peppers, eggplant, and digging up carrots! It’s getting too late in the season to plant new things, so from here on out we’ll mostly be doing maintenance work and harvesting. Along with picking a bunch, we also cleared out some pumpkin vines and Emilia took on trimming some raspberry bushes. All in all a successful and quick workday. Thanks to all who came out!

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Cabbage planted this past Wednesday

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Tomatoes of the heirloom variety (?) I think

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Carrot foraging!

CORNFEST 2K13

 

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Today was our fourth annual Cornfest here at the Community Garden, and it was awesome! We had lots of snacks (many featuring corn, of course), grilled corn on the cob, cornhole, and fresh tomatoes and carrots right from the garden. Thanks to everyone who came out today, especially if you brought a treat to share! 

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Yay corn! Yay friends!

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Feat. Pita Chips

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Big Okra & Round II of the Garden Watermelon

Today we had a productive day of watering, weeding, clearing out herb beds, and harvesting! We assessed the herbs and decided to nix the chives and keep the mint. We’re planning to plant some more herbs (basil, parsley…?) soon – TBD! After we got the manual labor out of the way, we got straight to picking beans, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, okra, and a watermelon. Some stars were the refugee beans, a heritage variety from the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Foods garden, and our second ripe n delicious watermelon of the season!

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Hello sunflower!
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Growing okra
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Hey gurl.
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Watermelon!
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Baby broccoli!
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Peppers!
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Pumpkin doin its thang
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Picking beans
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You can’t eat okra this big, so…
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A day’s pickings!
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If only every day could end with watermelon.

Zucchini!

With all of the rain the garden is growing like crazy. The sunflowers and beans we planted came up almost overnight and the corn grows a foot every time you turn your back on it. We were even able to harvest our first zucchini. 

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With squash and melons you need to pull the female flowers off of the fruit once they die to prevent rot, so I had been keeping an eye on this guy since I pinched the flower off a week before our workday. I am super excited for zucchini bread, zucchini soup, and all other things zucchini.

At the workday we also planted beets and tried a new pest control technique for the flea beetles that are forever eating our eggplant leaves. We applied diatomaceous earth, which is an organic pesticide comprised of fossilized hard-shelled algae. It looks like I sprinkled the garden with powered sugar, but on the scale of bugs this rock is sharp enough to be a deterrent. We finally have baby eggplants growing in the garden so it looks like it is working. 

In which we encounter a black widow spider

Last Sunday was quite an exciting workday! We had a great time digging up the first potatoes of the year. New potatoes are absolutely delicious and have very little in common with store bought ones. Searching the soil for potatoes is always a bit of an adventure as they can spread out pretty far. 

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Yet even the magnificence of our potatoes could not top the discovery Holly made for drama. While pulling up some bolted lettuce she grabbed the nest of the biggest black widow spider I have ever seen. Luckily she was wearing gloves! Without exaggeration I can say that this spider was the size of my thumbnail. It was quite alarming, but we crushed the spider with a shovel. The kind people of ohill gave me a cleaning solution that in their words, “kills H1N1 and Aids and will make your garden smell nice.” This I poured over the spider nest to make sure that nothing was alive (and to make the garden smell nice, though the sweet peas are doing a great job with that all on their own). Luckily black widow spider nests look far different from ordinary spider webs. They are disordered and resemble soggy cotton so I do not need to be paranoid over every spider web I see. Even so I have been wearing gloves far more diligently than I usually do. 

Once we had taken care of the spider, everyone got back to work harvesting the last of the broccoli before pulling it up and planting beans. 

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We also planted more sunflowers and carrots where the lettuce had been. Some hungry creature (possibly one of UVA’s obese squirles) ate the first sunflower plants we put in so hopefully these will survive as sunflowers are my favorite. 

At the end of the workday there was quite a harvest and everyone got to take something yummy home. I am looking forward to seeing everyone, checking out how the beans are doing, and maybe digging up some more potatoes this Sunday.

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Summer Gardening

Hello friends. Last Sunday we had our first summer workday and it was lovely to see several new faces in the garden. Once everyone had assembled and been introduced to some of the stranger looking plants, asparagus I’m looking at you, we got to work watering and pulling up bolted and tough spring greens. It was time for the chard, bib lettuce, and arugula to go. Next week will most likely be the end of the line for broccoli, luckily there is little that is more relaxing than pulling up old plants to make room for new seeds.

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 We dug up the ripe garlic, finding several of the more stealthy heads only while later turning the bed to plant tomatoes, peppers, and sunflowers. Garlic can be so well hidden that I won’t be surprised if some still managed to escape to sprout next year. After I cure our harvest for a few weeks it will go out to volunteers and the Charlottesville homeless shelter known as The Haven.

 I am excited this week to see everyone back in the garden and to find out if the sunflowers we planted have sprouted yet.