Saturday, September 13, 2014

September Garden Work Day - A Peck of Pickled Peppers



 






We always think of peppers as hot weather lovers. This year has changed our minds completely. Our pepper bed has produced at least twice what it did last year, and has no plans to stop until frost comes. Peter Piper would be proud! The herb garden has also been loving the much cooler summer. Chives, rosemary and oregano are healthier than we've ever noticed.

We spent the morning cleaning out several beds in order to plant a few quick fall crops: spinach, lettuce, radishes, and a full bed of turnips. Along with the peppers and some herbs, we also picked tomatoes, eggplant and spaghetti squash. We finished the day with a delicious pot luck of black bean soup, corn bread casserole, mango cabbage salad, and raisin pie.

Thank you to all our volunteers, and we look forward to seeing everyone next month at the Children's Fall Social!!!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August Garden Workday - This is AUGUST?










Mother Nature must have been resting after a few hard days of rain. She forgot it's August in St. Louis! We had a beautiful overcast morning in the garden with temperatures around 70 degrees. In August! The previous rains helped make weeding so much easier. The garden is beautiful and bountiful at this time. Our herb garden is bursting with mint, rosemary, sage, and chives. The apples in the orchard are growing well, and we should have apples coming out of our ears next month.

Along with weeding and general cleaning, we harvested the rest of the potatoes, tomatoes, numerous various peppers, spaghetti squash, zucchini, and the rest of the onions. This is the perfect time of the year to make fresh salsa.

Our potluck was even more delicious enjoyed in such beautiful weather. Thank you to all of our volunteers for sharing your time, your food, and your conversations. Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

July Garden Workday - Hello Summer!







It wouldn't be summer in St. Louis without the face-melting humidity. We spent the majority of the day multitasking: weeding, sweating and chatting. Laughing with friends and neighbors definitely helps weeding go faster. Larry and Ron almost finished the shed. One more workday, and it should be complete!

The garden is bursting with healthy plants and plentiful veggies. We harvested zucchini, squash, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, onions, garlic, carrots, cabbage, and eggplant. The kids had fun digging up the potatoes in the children's garden. One of them said "it's like an Easter egg hunt underground!" The cantaloupe and watermelon are taking over some of the garden path, and our blackberry bushes are about falling over with almost-ripe fruit. The weather has been optimal for the magical growth so far this year.

We ended the workday with a potluck lunch. Sharing a meal after a morning of hard work is a great reward. Thank you to all of our volunteers today, and enjoy your bounty!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June Garden Workday - Partnering with FCSP











This hot and sunny morning we were joined by 5 participants from the Ferguson Community Service Project. (http://fyifergyouth.org/programs/fcsp/)  Weeds have grown just as well as our vegetables have, so several of us spent the day clearing those out of the orchard, the communal garden beds, and the strawberry beds. With the extra help, we got a little closer to completing our garden shed. Some day it will be completely finished!

The plants have gotten so big so fast this year. Some of the zucchini leaves are 12" wide! Melon and squash plants are doing much better this year than they have the last several years. The corn that we planted on Mother's Day weekend is coming up nicely, and tomato and pepper plants are quite healthy. The critters have nibbled more this year than in previous years, so several of our gardeners have put fencing around their beds. They seem to have a preference for broccoli and Brussels sprouts plants over anything else. Strange critters indeed.

Thank you to our extra help as well as our heat-tolerant volunteers for making this work day so successful. The garden looks great!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Fun at the Garden!








Today we held our annual Spring Children's Day in the garden. The weather was perfect, and loads of kids showed up to decorate a pot and plant a flower for Mom. The kids then helped plant the community tomato bed, pepper bed, and the squash/zucchini and cucumber bed. Many of the fruits and vegetables were doing well in the garden, and the kids got to identify the baby plants growing. Fact: Baby grapes are cute!

Several volunteers spent the morning tilling a good-sized area, and staked and string-lined the rows for corn. The kids got to help plant the corn, popcorn, cantaloupe, watermelon and eggplant in that area. They definitely worked up a good appetite for lunch!

Thank you to all our volunteers (big and small!) for continuing a great tradition: growing community, friendships, knowledge and plants in the Old Ferguson West Community Garden!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

April Workday - Spring Cleaning











Perfect spring weather + garden workday = Spring cleaning in the garden! We cleared the straw from the strawberry beds, cleared the brush from behind the tool shed and compost bin, cleared trash from the creek area behind the garden, and got our large picnic table scraped, sanded and painted. We also planted the communal herb garden. The garden looks spiffy and is ready for another great year.

Critter alert: The famous Ferguson moles have finally made their way to the garden. These uninvited guests tunneled through the communal potato bed and a few other individual plots. We'll have to wait a little longer to see how much they damaged and what needs to be replanted.

Thank you to our volunteers for the hard work and the delicious pot luck lunch. We look forward to our next garden workday which will be the 5th annual Children's Fun Day, the Saturday before Mother's Day. Happy gardening!!!



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mini Garden Workday





The strawberry plants just arrived, and we put out a call for volunteers to plant the new beds. We got all 3 strawberry beds planted, then moved on to plant the community potato bed. Raspberry plants then went in next to our blackberries.We were also able to get the two St. Stephens Food Pantry plots planted with cabbage, lettuce, spinach, radishes, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts and onions. Several of us also got a start on our individual beds. Not bad for a couple of hours of work!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

UMSL Students Help Kick Off the 2014 Garden Season






After a mean winter, so many of us have been itching to be back in the garden, and to use our collective willpower to hurry spring's arrival. While previous March garden workdays have been cold, wet, snowy, muddy and generally miserable, today was ONLY cool and overcast. We had the pleasure of extra volunteers from UMSL's School of Social Work. These students are part of the Community Practice and Social Change course. They certainly got some community practice today!

Last season we realized that the grass had overtaken our strawberry beds. With a suggestion from Gateway Greening, we decided to completely relocate the beds. Our volunteers put down a layer of cardboard under each bed, then filled the tiers with new soil. Next, we put garden fabric down around the beds and topped off with wood chips. That should keep the grass away this year! We also put fabric and wood chips around the new beds we built last year. There were LOTS of wheelbarrow trips! After topping off some of the beds with soil, and trimming the hedges and rose bushes, the group gathered together for some chili to warm us all inside and out.

THANK YOU to our gardeners, and to Holly Ingraham and members of her incredible class for all of the hard work and interesting conversations.

And a just a quick note to Spring: PLEASE HURRY!!!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November Garden Clean Up








It is bittersweet when we gather to clean out the beds and get the garden ready for winter. Conversations range from what grew well, what never seems to do well, what parents or grandparents grew, to sharing each of our grand growing plans for next year. We cleared the summer plants out of the beds, and many of us planted garlic to be enjoyed next summer. Garlic and leeks do very well for our gardeners. (See 2nd picture for leeks ready for soup season!) This year was also kind to peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, turnips, radishes, greens, lettuce varieties and eggplant.

We enjoyed having community beds designated for one or two vegetables for the first time this year. That allowed our gardeners to enjoy greater varieties of peppers and tomatoes. Maybe we'll start an asparagus bed next year understanding that it is a multi-year commitment.

Our workday ended as it always does with a fun pot-luck. While it's sad to say good-bye to the garden work days until next spring, we'll come back together then with great ideas and start it all again. Thank you to everyone who made the Old Ferguson West Community Garden so successful this year. See you next spring!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Children's Fall Social in the Garden








We are fortunate to live in a great community. Twice a year we invite the neighborhood kids to come have fun in our community garden. We talk to them about what is still growing, what grew during the year, and just let them have some FUN. Oh, and we feed them too! We had close to 60 kids show up today to decorate mini pumpkins, have a pumpkin-rolling relay, spit watermelon seeds (from our garden watermelons!) and over 20 stepped up to the corn on the cob eating contest. One of the mothers said "that's a fun way to get kids to eat vegetables - make it a race!"

An unexpected highlight for the kids turned out to be vampire teeth from the prize box. The picture of a handful of the kids posing in them might be one of my favorites from the garden. Although it doesn't ACTUALLY have anything to do with gardening, as long as the kids around here associate our community garden with good times, they'll help watch out for it and take care of it. Hopefully, they'll even garden with us!

Thank you to everyone (including the sun) who came out and made this one of our most successful Children's Days!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Volunteers from SLU! September Garden Work Day







Today we had the pleasure of a great group of volunteers from Saint Louis University's School of Public Health club. They had discussed food deserts in a meeting and contacted Gateway Greening to volunteer with a community garden in the St. Louis area. We were the lucky garden that Gateway Greening contacted!

This tenacious group got our garden paths and orchard in tip-top condition by weeding and spreading a full trailer-load of wood chips. They also helped remove the strawberry bed structures so we can move them to a different location in the spring. They were AWESOME! After all the weeding, shoveling and seemingly endless trips with wheelbarrows, we were happy to finally sit and enjoy a little pizza party with homemade desserts by some of our gardeners. We also had an extra dessert of fresh from-the-garden watermelon.

Thank you to Gateway Greening, Wayside Community Garden for the extra wheelbarrows and tools, and to Megan Copsey and the SLU Public Health undergrad student association!!! Our garden looks amazing now!!!