It’s spring, and the garden is sure happy about it!

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The lettuce, kale, arugula, peas, spinach, and chard are all growing quickly in the hoop house, and we now have lettuce, kale, spinach, chard, beets, peas, leeks, cilantro planted out in the field. Poppies are starting to grow, and bees can be seen buzzing between the red dead nettle and dandelions.

Between the torrential downpours and pockets of warmth and sun, it feels like the garden is just itching to take off. We’ve harvested a little over 20 pounds from our overwintering crops, and expect to quickly be harvesting much more from our new plants.

KALE

We also have a lot of beautiful starts that are finding beautiful little homes out in the garden.

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On the work party Wednesday, March 19th, we had 14 students from Whitman College come and volunteer a morning in the rain! Even though the weather was miserable they helped us completely renovate our raised demonstration beds.

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Soon we’ll have beds that feature an insectary for pollinators and beneficial insects, square stem herbs, woody perennial herbs, cut flowers, annual herbs, and strawberries.

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With the help of the students we were able to nearly finish this project, and for that we must give a big THANK YOU!

IMG_1592Although we got rained out, we still enjoyed our picnic lunch in the hoop house.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates on the garden harvest, thanks to everyone who helped out this month, and we look forward to seeing more of you as the weather improves.

Join us at our work party every Wednesday, from 9 am – 4 pm. Stay for as short or long as you’d like! We have a picnic lunch at 12 noon, rain or shine, with delicious fresh salad greens from the hoophouse!

 

 

 

 

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The Good Cheer Garden is a WSU Compost demonstration site showing different ways to create nutritious compost from yard, garden and food waste. Each year we are fortunate to host the Master Gardeners trainees for their compost class.

A big thank you to WICEC (Whidbey Island Community Education Center) for providing warm indoor classroom space for instruction before going out to the garden to see the Good Cheer Garden’s cold compost bins of varying shapes and sizes, and the in-ground, above-ground and garbage can-style worm bins in action.

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Then, to get hands-on experience, the Master Gardener trainees helped turn the compost, and separate the finished compost from the compost that still needs a little more time.

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Thank you future Master Gardeners!

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Beneficial bugs abound in our gardens and you can create a diverse garden ecosystem to encourage them! You can attract not just pollinating insects, but also the insects that will eat pests. The soil, too, is alive with billions of organisms that help to create a fertile soil.

On Saturday, April 5th, from 10 am – 12 noon learn about the

  • amazing web of life in our soil and how to nurture it
  • pollinators that are essential for our gardens, and our community
  • predators and parasitoids that keep our garden ecosystem from becoming unbalanced
  • flowers and herbs we can plant to attract beneficial insects, and when to plant them
  • garden practices to help our garden ecosystem become diverse and thrive

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Presented by Cary Peterson, Community Gardener.

Location: WICEC (Whidbey Island Community Education Center) at the historic Bayview School, 5611 Bayview Road, Bayview Corner, Langley.

Fee: $15, or donation. No one turned away for lack of funds. For more information and to register go to www.wicec.us or call 360-221-5020

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5611 Bayview Road, Langley, WA
Located in the historic Bayview School at Bayview Corner
(next to the Good Cheer Garden)

 

 

 

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We’re planting in the hoophouse! It’s our annual mid-February excitement here at the Good Cheer Garden because we know in 4 weeks we’ll be harvesting fresh veggies for the Food Bank!

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We have kale, arugula, lettuce, spinach, chard and peas! Except for the peas, which we direct sowed, all the starts were grown in the greenhouse using soil blocks and grow lights.

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Out in the field, we’re separating out and replanting the strawberries, and the garlic is poking out of the straw and seaweed we planted it in this fall.

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MLK day_3033 And it all began on the Martin Luther King Day of Service on January 20th when over 30 volunteers of all ages came out and turned over most of the cover crops and mulched with leaves! Volunteers also helped us organize our garden materials, started seeds, sifted compost and made potting soil.

It’s been a great launch to our 6th growing season!

pruning fruit trees_6495Sarah Birger will be sharing fruit tree pruning basics on Wednesday, Feb. 26th, from 1 – 3 pm at the Good Cheer Garden Wednesday work party. You can practice your new skills by pruning the Good Cheer fruit trees! Bring your pruning tools, you’ll also learn how to sharpen and care for them. Class is by donation to Good Cheer, but no one turned away for lack of funds.

Come early for lunch if you’d like, or join the garden work party in the morning.

This growinggroceries yellow green banner copy class is weather permitting!

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Getting a Start on Your Garden

A new season is beginning! Do you want to be eating fresh salads and stir fried veggies from your garden in April? Would you like to know what to do now to grow lots of veggies later?

On Saturday, February 22nd, from 9:00 am to 11:00 am learn about this early part of the growing season with

  • practical and timely tips on garden planning
  • soil preparation
  • seed selection
  • growing starts using soil blocks

We will also have locally grown seeds available for sale from Deep Harvest Farm and other Whidbey seed suppliers. The best coir fiber for making your own potting soil will also be available for sale so you can make the “Good Cheer” super simple potting soil.

Presented by Cary Peterson, Good Cheer Gardener.
Location: WICEC (Whidbey Island Community Education Center) at the historic Bayview School, 5611 Bayview Road, Bayview Corner, Langley. (Next to Good Cheer!)

Fee: $15, or donation. No one turned away for lack of funds.
For more information and to register: Please visit http://www.wicec.us or call 360-221-5020

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Our big thanks to Annie Jesperson and Nathaniel Talbot from Deep Harvest Farm for their weekly deliveries of carrots and beets through this long and cold winter!

beet bagging winter_2988The carrot crop lasted through mid-February and the beets through January!

Our thanks also to Blake Mennella from Ebb Tide Produce who delivered kale and collards this winter, too.

Through the Fresh Food on the Table program, Good Cheer contracted with these local farmers in the summer to grow these nutrient-dense veggies that were harvested and delivered to the Food Bank through the winter.

Appreciation also to Greenbank Farm Ag Training Center who grew 90 lbs of carrots that they harvested and brought to the Food Bank in December.

 

 

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Last but not least, Lissa Firor, food bank apprentice, and her band of merry food preservers, put up over 700 lbs of leafy greens, applesauce, pickles and dried fruits for Food Bank clients this winter!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on Martin Luther King Day to serve their neighbors and communities. Since 2009, the Good Cheer Garden has launched the garden season on this National Day of Service.

Join us for our annual work party on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January, 20th, from 9 am – 12noon.  Weather permitting, we’ll be

  • turning over cover crops,
  • making our own potting soil, and starting seeds to plant in the greenhouse in February.
  • cleaning tools, ad organizing pots and garden equipment.
  • if the weather is horrendous, we have work in the hoophouse and greenhouse, or come help in the Food Bank and Distribution Center!

Picnic lunch at noon with hot soup, bread and salad greens from the garden! 

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A big thank you to Greenbank Farm and the students at the Ag Training Center! They planted and grew 90 lbs of carrots for Good Cheer that were harvested in early December. Alexa Macaulay, Community Gardening Leadership Training apprentice, and Jessica Babcock, Farm Training Director, harvested them and brought them to the Food Bank. Much appreciation!

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lettuce bokchoi_1512It’s been quite the incredible season with all the sun and warmth! Through the generosity of our local farmers, gardeners, volunteers, apprentices and community donors, over 24,000 lbs of fresh, nutritious vegetables and fruits were donated to the Food Bank, helping to nourish those in our community who would otherwise not have access to fresh produce. The Good Cheer Garden alone produced a record 7,000 lbs!

A big thank you to the Market farmers from the Bayview Farmers Market, the CSA at Greenbank Farm, Gleeful Gleaners, Rotary Gleaners, home gardeners and local farmers who together contributed more than 14,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and fruits to the Food Bank.

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Huge gratitude to the dozens of volunteers of all ages who contributed their hard work and good spirits to growing and harvesting the gardens at the Wednesday work parties and during service learning projects. Many hands made it happen!

apprentices october_0755We’d especially like to thank the Community Gardening Leadership Training apprentices, coordinated by Cary Peterson, who helped grow and distribute the produce: Alexa Macaulay (Whidbey Institute Westgarden), Camille Green (Good Cheer Garden), Lissa Firor (Food Bank) and Casey Jackson (South Whidbey School District Gardens). We couldn’t have done it without them!

Our appreciation to Nancy Scoles, Richard Renninger, Mary Richardson and the Whidbey Institute for offering accommodations to the apprentices. Because of their generosity, we were able to provide housing to these young people as they served our community.

Fresh Food Logo Final_finalcroppedOur partners in the Fresh Food on the Table program- the Whidbey Institute and the SW School District- helped sponsor the apprentices, and donated another 2,000 pounds of fresh veggies grown in their gardens to the Food Bank.

deep harvest2013_0222We also want to thank all those who donated money to support the program! We have been able to provide fresh food year round by contracting with local farmers Deep Harvest Farm and Ebb Tide Produce to provide us with winter veggies when our gardens wind down.

A special thanks to our Honey Bee sponsors: Whidbey Island Bank, Whidbey Telecom and the Trinity Lutheran Church for helping to make this possible!

So, we’re giving a big end of the season HOORAY! and wishing you all a restful and rejuvenating winter. See you in 2014!

 

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If you would like to donate, click HERE.

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