Next Workday: Saturday June 8

Hi all,

Wanted to fill you in on a few updates regarding what has been planted and what is ready to harvest, as well as more details on the harvest study. Next workday will be June 8 at noon. The Harvest Study people and Neighborspace will be coming to the garden for this, so I'm hoping we can get a good group out at the garden that day.

Garden Beds update:

All of the beds have been planted now and most things have signs with pictures (some are just identified with popsicle stick labels). In addition to the greens bed (which is ready to harvest) we now have:

  • Beans and cucumbers (in the bean pole bed); just starting to come up
  • Carrots, radish, fennel, red cabbage, celery and dill (in the north long bed that is close to and runs paralell to 2231's fence); also just coming up
  • Tomatoes and basil (in the middle bed between the carrots, radish et al and the greens bed near our fence)
  • Peas, some heartier greens like kale, collards, mustard, raddichio (some of which can be harvested now)

For harvesting:

  • Use scissors or knife to cut greens about an inch or two above soil line (they should continue to produce). if you notice any of them flowering, it would be a good idea to cut off the flower since we don't want to let them go to seed. If it looks like it went to full flower, it might be best to just pull the whole plant out at that point we can always re-seed the greens bed since there are plenty of seeds left. I just planted a couple new rows of spinach. Let me know if you take out a whole row.
  • Either email me the quantity you harvested or write it on the sign/board with the china marker (sign will be on 2231's fence). We only need unit of measurement and the day. Bob and I will collect and enter info on Sundays, so the board will be erased each week and blank for the following Monday.
  • There is a black bin with a yellow top on the table in the garden under the giant tree (of heaven). The bin has a scissors for harvesting greens, a scale, and some of the harvest study documents. The bin is locked with a combination lock that can be opened using the text combo 'grow1'. The scale  was provided by the study and is pretty heavy duty (measures pounds). So if what you harvest is probably only going to be ounces, it's probably better to use the unit measurement 'bunch' (you can use .5 bunch if it's just a handful). We've been harvesting greens and find that bunch seems to be the most appropriate in measuring those. It's roughly based on what a bunch would be if you bought a bunch of spinach or kale at the grocery store. Another unit of measurement that we imagine will be useful is 'number' when things like carrots, radish, beets, tomatoes and cucumbers are ready (could also potentially use the scale for those; either will be fine).
  • If you have questions about the harvest study measurements or anything about it at all, please feel free to ask me. If you are curious would like to see their database (it's not good), I can share the login and password with you, just let me know. Bob and I are keeping everything on an excel spreadsheet provided by the study which can also be shared with anyone if you want. 
  • The labels the Harvest Study uses are: date, crop, variety, number, weight, units (which can be bunch or pint) and destination(which we are assuming will be everyone's home; some community gardens donate to a food pantry). The crop and variety will be taken care of by the signage and should be obvious (if you see any problems with them, just let me know).

One more interesting development -- we've had to battle with some lettuce-eating birds this season. Never saw this before, but they were absolutely decimating the greens bed (mainly the milder lettuces). We saw them descending on the beds in flocks and just chomping away. First we noticed that the two whole rows of May Queen lettuce (a butterhead variety) was gone. Thought that someone picked it, but then we saw the wrens and other birds dipping in the garden and leaving with greens hanging out of their little beaks!! Strange! So we've had to put netting over the beds, which just means that you'll have to pull that back when you want to reach in to harvest some greens. A bit of a pain, but those birds got a whole lot more than the first two rows within a week!

Look forward to seeing you all next weekend. Those greens are delicious -- very nice salads await your table.