Thursday, July 29, 2010

Garden mascot

The Woodlands Community Garden is flourishing! We've built four more beds this month, which allows eight more people into the garden.

And we have a new mascot! Meet Bootsy Collins. This is the least blurry picture I could get of her. She's a West Philly mutt that Nic adopted and she's incredibly well behaved for a stray.

I've been harvesting cayenne peppers, potatoes, chives, and basil from my plot so far, and tomatoes, sweet potatoes, watermelon, and winter squash are on their way (among others)!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rubik's Cube

We had a work night yesterday at the Walnut Hill Community Farm and we painted the shed! You'll recall, it used to look like this:

And now (at least one side of) it looks like this:


And another side looks like this:

It's a work in progress, but it was a lot of fun. Although at one point I wondered if more paint ended up on the girls' clothes than on the shed . . .

(Please excuse the crappy cell-phone pictures of the painting process, I failed to bring my camera to the work night. But it's July, these things can be excused.)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pretty Things

I've been having fun making "inspiration boards" for my wedding over at Style Me Pretty. It's a great way to focus my ideas about what I want the colors and style to be. Plus, I get to look at pretty pictures of pretty things. Isn't that what planning a wedding is all about? (Besides the whole marrying your best friend part).

Lately I've been thinking a lot about fabric pennants, strings of large clear bulbs, mason jars, old fashioned lace . . .

. . . delicate frosting flowers, tiers of rich cake, various shades of yellow and cream . . .

. . . bright goldenrod and magenta hues, bird-cage veils, butterflies and bees, honey . . .

. . . and saturated light.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sharing the Wealth

Last week I spent a few hours with Kelly and Meg from Future House Farm, talking about community gardens! They're about the embark on a fabulous project and they're doing a bit of research beforehand. We had a great time, eating at a nearby cafe and then taking a little tour of some community gardens (we only made it to three before the heat beat us). It's always interesting to meet people that I've only known in blog-land, this is only the second time I've done it. Check out Kelly's report of our afternoon on their blog.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The First Pickles of The Season

On Saturday my friend JJ and I bought some pickling cucumbers at the farmer's market and set to work making the first pickles of the season. They're fermented, so they're garlic pickles instead of vinegar pickles like most of the ones we made last year. I followed the tried and true recipe from "Wild Fermentation," and it was the fastest ferment ever! They were done in four days, I guess because of the heat and humidity. They're supposed to take a minimum of 1 week to properly ferment, so it's a good thing I checked on them . . .

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Green and Growing

Ask and you shall receive. It started raining Friday night and the entire Philadelphia metro area breathed a collective sigh of relief. The weather has cooled down and our rain barrels at the Walnut Hill Community Farm are completely full. I got a helpful e-mail from Carol, a reader from the Pittsburgh area, reminding me to secure them to the shed because they are incredibly heavy and could cause injury, so that's our next priority over at the farm.

As for The Woodlands Community Garden, we had a work day this weekend and built four more beds! This means that we can invite eight more people to join the garden. The waiting list is down to only a handful of people now, which is a beautiful thing.

The bed that M and I tend is looking kind of bedraggled because of the haphazard way that I tied up the potatoes. But it gets them out of the way of everything else that I've planted in the rows: hot peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, melons, watermelons, winter squash, basil, leeks, chives, and sweet potatoes.

We also decided to celebrate the fact that the garden is one year old by having a little potluck party after the work day. It was delicious, as usual, and a nice break from the hard work.

And today the judges from the PHS City Gardens Contest come to judge The Woodlands Community Garden. It was really fun to talk to them about the garden, we've done a lot in only one year and they were sufficiently impressed. Fingers crossed!

*** Check out the wildflower meadow at The Woodlands where we relocated our bees. They're very happy.***

At the St. Bernard Community Garden things are also growing nicely. I've harvested a few cucumbers already and nibbled on some cherry tomatoes. There's still kale, swiss chard, beans, onions, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, and lots and lots of zinnias growing.

I planted four different seed packets of zinnias along the border, so I plan on seeing more views like this all summer:

Happy gardening everyone!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Rain, rain

We have a shed! And a rain-catchment system! Things are really moving along with the Walnut Hill Community Farm. In June we built a shed, constructed a gutter system on the shed to funnel water into our rain barrels, had the first meeting of the community gardeners, started selling produce to the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill and at the Thursday Clark Park Farmer's Market, AND the Enterprise Center got a huge grant from PECO to start construction on the hardscape of the farm and pocket park. Wowee!

With the PECO money we've purchased a 1,000 gallon water tank that we will use to catch water from the roof of the SEPTA station that's next to the farm, and we plan to get a solar-powered pump to get the water up the slope to water the farm.

Now, if it would only rain . . .

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Navigating the Urban Jungle

For the past few months I've been sending out feelers to see what kind of opportunities there are available to me to try to make a little extra cash. In May, I stumbled across this brand new garden store in South Philly called Urban Jungle, and with M's help I pitched a workshop series to the owner and he was enthusiastic about it! So now I am the Horticulturalist and Educator at Urban Jungle, where we have workshops every Thursday on a variety of topics. Below is a picture of my little set-up in the store last week, before I started teaching my class on Gardening for Butterflies and Hummingbirds. You'll notice a batch of freshly baked cookies in the tupperware with the green lid.

It's not a full time job by any means, but it's an exciting opportunity. Attendance has been patchy, but I'm learning a lot about promotion (some of it from my in-house DJ who has lots of experience). So check us out on Facebook, and if you're in the area come on out to a class! (The next class is for families; it's called Salsa-in-a-Pot and you can register here.)