Tag Archives: food bank

The Case of the Knife in the Watermelon

August 6, 2017

Well, no. Actually, the case of the missing spaghetti squash.

Laura and Mitch, new gardeners in the orchard, plopped in some squash starts Memorial Day 170802-spaghetti-squash-wp_20170802_004weekend and by the end of July their garden bed was busting with yellow footballs. We were all under the assumption that they planted summer squash. (Winter squash is tricky west of the mountains and usually takes 90 to 135 days to mature.

We were afraid they forgot to harvest so I sent an email letting them know they might want to pick when the squash was small, about six inches, for the finest quality.

A few days later, I discovered seven yellow squash were on the ground, lined up along the path.

Wed, Aug 16, 5-8, Special Work Party – Make Food Bank Bed
Sun, Aug 20, 2-4, Work Party
Sat, Sep 2, 10-12, Work Party
Sat, Sep 16, 10-11, Intro to Qigong

I scratched my head and decided Laura had taken us up on our offer to include them in the next load for the food bank. I carted them home for safekeeping so the rats wouldn’t take notice.

The next day Laura stopped at the orchard and began looking for her squash. She had her phone handy so she dialed Encyclopedia Brown. “Brown,” she started, “We have a mystery here. I didn’t have room in my backpack yesterday for all these heavy squash and now they have disappeared.”

Brown solved the mystery within two minutes. “Laura, what has happened here is that the older gardeners here think they know everything. They didn’t bother looking at the plant tag in your bed that clearly noted these are spaghetti squash. Indeed, they should be picked when they are the size of a football. You need to call Callard and demand your squash be returned.”

We were humbled. Laura and Mitch had pulled out a dozen spaghetti squash before the end of July! That is truly a gardening success. The rest of us will be paying more attention to the moves these newcomers make.

food-bank-haul-sm-wp_20170803_001Please consider joining us Wednesday evening, August 16, as we make another food bank bed. Thanks to Sue for last week’s harvest (see photo).

Ruth

Determined about Indeterminate

June 28, 2017tomato-whole-trellis-sm-wp_20170628_003

I put down my scythe and walked over to Sue’s tomato area, hoping for a quick lesson. She moves as quickly as she speaks so I had to dart around to keep close enough to hear her.

tomato-close-pruning-sm-arrows-doc-and-markups-wp_20170628_004She slowed a minute in order to carefully wind the new tomato growth around the vertical twine. “I keep three leaders but commercial growers often just keep one,” she announced and then she pointed out the nodes where she had previously pruned suckers.

Indeterminate tomato varieties are those whose fruit number and size is determined by you! Without pruning, they become huge, bushy and tangled.

Sue handed me the 2000 June/July issue of Kitchen Gardener that had a reprint of Pruning Tomatoes by Frank Ferrandino .

Ferrandino’s three rules for growing tomatoes:

Sat, Jul 1, 10-12, Work Party
Sun, Jul 16, 2-4, Work Party
Sat, Aug 5, 10-12, Work Party
Sun, Aug 20, 2-4, Work Party

1) Get the plants off the ground

2) Give plants room

3) Never prune or tie plants when the leaves are wet.

I quickly made my way over to my Cherry tomato and cut off the lowest leafs.tomato-part-of-trellis-sm-wp_20170628_005

Sue recently retired from Tilth Alliance and has more than doubled the amount of FECO garden area for the food banks. And she’s looking for more beds!

If you have an idea for some recycled material that is about 18 inches in height, is study and not too heavy, comes in short sections or can curve, let us know. We would like to create a garden bed that could double as a boarder for part of the path.

Ruth

Planning for 2017

sues-jan-lettuce-wp_20170115_001January 31, 2017

Eleven thoughtful volunteers met this month to sketch out a vision for the coming year. The Cider Fest will be our key event, we will add a few more fruit trees and bushes and the food bank bed is expanding. (Note Sue’s gorgeous December lettuce, photo taken just after three periods of below freezing temperatures!)

There is plenty of work just to maintain what we already have in place so we curbed some dreams to be respectful of our existing resources. In addition to our regular workers, If we can entice everyone who volunteered within the last couple of years to come to just one work party in 2017, we should be able to keep the orchard looking lovely. Several volunteers are committed to volunteer recruitment, including a summer work party posting to Seattle Works.

nora-and-liz-on-ivy-wp_20170115_003You will see more elderberry and fig trees this year and you will see less English Ivy. Nora, Liz and Ellen are driven to ivy removal and, by the end of this year, the native plant area should be appropriately named!

Also, we are hiring. Please see our Library page for three documents that relate to this position.

We are looking for a fruit tree specialist to review our orchard management plan, make plan recommendations, visit the site monthly to make plant and soil observations and ensure the management plan is being followed by volunteers. City Fruit has graciously offered to help us with the interview process and this position is posted on their website.

We are estimating that the job will take 20 hours minimum, spread out over the course of 2017, and we are willing to pay $15-$30 per hour, depending on the candidates qualifications.

We need more than one volunteer who is committed to learning all that he or she can about the care of fruit trees. In order to continue high standards for tree care and to continue to offer educational events related to urban agriculture, we hope to find someone who wants to practice their management skills with fruit and nut trees. This internship offer is our part to increase the pool of qualified orchard stewards in the Puget Sound area.

Sat, Feb 18, 1-3, Pruning Class
Sun, Feb 19, 2-4, Work Party
Sun, Mar 19, 2-4, Work Party

Kudos to all for 2016 improvements above and beyond maintenance:

•    Revised orchard walking tour flyer
•    Productive Food Bank bed, plus
•    Four new successful gardens
•    Native plant area development: 4 new plants plus non-native plant purge
•    New rolling drawer under table in shed
•    Bountiful harvest from all beds and fruit and nut trees and berries
•    New outdoor bench
•    Newly planted persimmon, pear and mulberry trees
•    Milkweed installation as part of the Endangered Species Coalition effort to provide food for Monarch butterflies
•    Events! Successful pruning class, Night Out and Cider Fest
•    Productive work with Hazel Wolf students and Kids Co students
•    Hosted CityFruit bike tour
•    Beautiful new artistic paver pathway to herb spiral
•    New volunteers and new gardeners, Ryan and, soon Michael, Stuart and Mitch
•    Regular City lawn mowing
•    Grape trellis installation and wiring added
•    Regular monthly blogs
•    Development of orchard management plan
Ruth