Say Hello to Summer!

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Nothing says summer like sunlight shining through the peas.

As we say hello to warmer temperatures and sunnier days, big things are happening in the community garden. This week we harvested, solved a big mystery, planted exciting new things, and more!

First, allow me to introduce myself.  I’m Mary Rose, this summer’s Community Garden Intern. I’m a rising second year and I became involved with the garden during my first semester and fell in love! I am so excited to grow with the garden this summer.

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Me, beaming with some beets. Just a side note, it is super weird to be caught taking selfies with beets.

Harvesting

This week was great for harvesting! We harvested:

Beets

  • Our beets were ready, and plenty of them. Luckily, some volunteers walked by and I was able to distribute a few. Plus I found a recipe for beet chips on Pinterest! I’ll let you know how that turns out.20170526_172344.jpg

 

 

 

 

Peas

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Yum Yum!
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Ready to be picked!

 Spinach and Cilantro

  • The spinach and Cilantro started flowering and needed to go to make room for some new plants.
  • They´ll be great in salads and so many other recipes.

Once again, it was great that some people walked by so that I could share the harvest.

20170526_172335Spinach

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Cilantro
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Spinach and Cilantro

Mystery Bed Solved

This semester we had a mystery bed, fondly nicknamed the Hunger Games bed by our very own Molly Sall, because it was entirely volunteer (meaning, we didn’t plant the seedlings in it, they “volunteered” themselves).

We decided to let our little tributes duke it out for space in that half of the bed. After a few weeks of fighting, I decided to overhaul this bed and leave all but the strongest volunteers.

Verdict is: Tomatoes and Sunflowers! Congratulations victors, and may the odds be ever in you favor.

Planting: Celery, Peppers, Eggplants

As part of my internship, I work at the amazing Bellair Farm. I’ve only been once so far, but I absolutely love it there! After working there last week, I was able to take home some starts for the garden. How cool is that?

We planted:

Celery

This variety of Celery is called Cutting Celery. It´ll be very tasty, but it needs tons of water! The recent weather has really been helping me out.

Padrón Peppers

These peppers range from mild to hot.

Eggplant

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He made a friend!
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Yay! A new home!
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Stakes for support

Eggplants start out small, but they get big and need a lot of support. It’s recommended that you stake them while they’re young, so I found these stakes for now but I’m going to consult with the Bellair Folks this week. (The smallest stake has been replaced, I just forgot to take a new picture).

 

Cages and Stakes (No, not the juicy kind)

This week was really important for stakes! With lots of volunteer tomatoes, about 15, I had to think about how to make sure all my plant friends were getting the support they need.

Once tomatoes and eggplants start bearing fruit, they’ll topple right over. That’s why it’s important to use something like a tomato cage or a stake to support them. It’s also important to add this support while they’re still young, because (1) it’s more convenient and (2) you’re less likely to damage the plant.

I ran out of tomato cages, because again, I was counting on four tomato plants, not upwards of 18, so I had to get a little thrifty. These will do for now until I can consult with the Bellair Folks and get some more cages if necessary.

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Volunteer tomatoes with cages
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Planned Tomatoes with cages
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Volunteer tomatoes with stakes
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Volunteer tomatoes with stakes

Speaking of stakes…let’s talk about steak! (Yes, now I mean the juicy kind). I’ve just started reading Lierre Keith’s The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability. In this controversial read, Keith talks about her own experiences with veganism, which ended after a long and continuing struggle with significant medical issues resulting from her diet, and the misconceptions that are proliferated by both big agriculture and big vegetarian and vegan communities. Keith acknowledges the touchy nature of the subject, and in no way vilifies vegans or vegetarians, but rather explores the sustainability of vegetarianism, or lack thereof.

On a lighter note, one way to be sustainable is to buy local, or better yet, to join me in the community garden and then take home some produce!

Hope to see you soon,

Mary Rose

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6 thoughts on “Say Hello to Summer!

    1. UVa Community Garden

      Haha thanks, Colin! I’d let them run free, but I think they’re pretty much rooted to the spots they’re in 😉

  1. RnSwansong

    Great entry can’t wait to share, any ideas on starting late in the growing season in the RVA? Can’t wait to read more.

    1. UVa Community Garden

      Thanks so much! Good question, I’ve been dealing with some of that myself. One option is to buy plants from your local gardening store and transplant them (rather than from seed), that definitely expedites the process. I did this with the tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, celery, and peppers this year. But if you really want to go with seeds, I’d reccomend this article http://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/planting-and-maintenance/late-start-gardening-what-can-i-still-put-in-the-ground which mentions beans, cucumbers, squash, carrots, and herbs as great plants for starting from seed even in the summer. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  2. Kristensgarden

    Great post good luck your first summer in the garden. Do you harvest the seeds (like the cilantro) to use next year?

    1. UVa Community Garden

      Thanks so much! Sometimes we do, although I must admit I didn’t save any of the cilantro this time. And then of course, sometimes we don’t harvest the seeds and we wind up with tons of self seeded volunteers (See: the 15+ tomatoes) anyway haha so it’s a mixed bag.

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