Tag Archives: food bank

New Watering System Is On Tap

October 1, 2017

It’s fascinating how one mulberry or one thornless blackberry can sustain me while I work in the sm-persimmon-wp_20171001_002orchard. Just that brief sweet juicy explosion can satisfy, nourish and make me smile. These two fruits are new to the orchard and they have proved their worth.

It will be several weeks before we know whether the new persimmons will mature or not but otherwise, we are nearly finished with the harvest.

We have donated an estimated 244 pounds to the food bank. Now, however, the sun weakens and plant production is slowing.

sm-reseeded-lettuce-wp_20170928_001The transition to fall plants such as radish, lettuce, cilantro, mustards, arugula and various cover crops has begun. Check out that germination rate of lettuce that Sue let go to seed! It looks like carpet. Thinning could be a challenge.

We ended up with tasty samples of all apple and pear varieties, even though the winter moth larvae took out many of the blossoms last spring. The good ole Liberty was the best performer and we have enough Liberty to reward the Cider Fest volunteers this coming Saturday.

The dry summer taxed every plant. Our aim is to water just enough to keep the fruit and nut trees in good health. I believe that they got enough water but next year’s crop will tell the tale. We do think the berries and grapes were under watered.

Sat, Oct 7, 2-5, Cider Fest!
Apple contributions are welcome! We have science exhibits for the kids. Cider and pie slices.
Sun, Oct 15, 2-4, Work Party

Sun, Nov 19, 2-4, Work Party
Sun, Dec 17, 2-4, Work Party

In the interest of saving water, saving time watering, and allowing watering to be physically easy, we have applied for another Seattle Dept of Neighborhood matching grant. It’s a small grant, about $10,000, but should be enough to buy a manual pump, ollas, some vertical perforated pipe and low-pressure, gravity fed drip irrigation materials. We also are beneficiaries of a used 1,000-gallon cistern, which could be enough assistance to free us from using city water.

We are in need of a mechanical or civil engineer to help us with choice of pump to carry water from shows-hose-in-and-hose-out-treadle-pump-1the cisterns out to the beds. Choosing the right pump will be critical to the efficacy of the whole irrigation system to the food bank beds. Contact us if that engineer is you or your friend!

Please join us for our annual celebration next Saturday between 2-5pm, rain or shine.

Ruth

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