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It’s been quite the whirlwind this spring and there are lots of exciting things happening here at the garden. We kicked off May with our annual May Day party, where the weather was perfect for painting faces, making flower crowns, and wrapping the May Pole.
Just in these two short weeks, we have had a tremendous amount of help from the local and greater community. Students from the University of Washington spent a Sunday morning with us doing some much-needed cleaning up in and around our box beds. A few days later, the Greenbank Organic Farm students joined our Wednesday work party, where they helped harvest 177 pounds of produce, prep and plant numerous beds, and do some picky weeding around lettuce and peas. A big thank you to all who came out and to those who keep coming out!
Other exciting things in the garden: tomatoes and cucumbers are planted in our hoop house! Squash plants will be going into our terraces! And tomatoes are planted out in the garden with more coming! We spied the first of flowering phacelia, bright orange California poppies and vibrant red poppies, and this week and are thrilled for even more colors to be popping up throughout our garden, especially with the addition of two new flower beds to attract beneficial insects and pollinators. Also, we have been ramping things up at our satellite garden at Bayview, which will serve as yet another source of fresh, local, produce for Good Cheer Food Bank. So far, we have carrots, bok choy, tatsoi, and Chinese cabbage planted and have already harvested radishes, baby bok choy, and arugula. Combined with the impressive harvests at Good Cheer, donations from local farmers, and gleaning at the Saturday Bayview Farmers Market, we have surpassed 1,500 pounds of produce since the beginning of March. More to come as the season progresses!
It’s been a whirlwind month. We started off the month with a series of service days. First, on the last Saturday of May, 26 students from Bastyr University in Seattle came out and put in two solid hours of work for us. Then, on Wednesday, June 4th, about 20 9th grade students from the Seattle Waldorf school came out for the first half of our work day, and about 10 middle schoolers from Billings Middle School in Seattle came out for the second half. When you do the math, that’s about an extra 130 volunteer hours of work put into the garden. A huge heartfelt THANK YOU to the groups who traveled out to see our program, and help us out in the garden.
Also, at the beginning of the month we welcomed Kaitlin Greene to the Community Gardening Leadership Training Program, and in the middle of the month we welcomed Kevin Dunham. Both will be focusing their time at the school gardens, but can be seen tromping around the Good Cheer and Whidbey Institute Gardens as well. To read more about the two newest members of our team, visit their biographies on the South Whidbey School Garden website.
With their arrival, all four of this year’s apprentices are here and doing great work at Good Cheer and our partner gardens!
At the Good Cheer garden we’ve had our first big harvest of beets and carrots, tomatoes in the hoop house are starting to ripen, we’re putting zucchinis in the food bank, and we still seem to have leafy greens coming out of our ears. And it’s not just at our garden! Last week, a food bank client donated four giant bok choys that they had grown from starts we gave away to them earlier in the season. This is a wonderful example of one of the many ways that we are attempting to develop a holistic food system in our community, and one of the many reasons we’re grateful for the people who live here.
As we transition from winter to spring, the garden continues to grow.
Our field crops look happy, the greenhouse is still cranking out starts, and our hoop house crops are almost growing quicker than we can keep up!
The peas in our hoop house have started to blossom, and will be our first pea harvest of the season.
In our greenhouse, our tomato starts are nice and warm. At the end of the month they will be planted out in the hoop house, and in May certain varieties will be planted outside.
We’ve started harvesting kale, arugula, chard, lettuce, and spinach out of the hoop house.
And some of the field spinach is even ready to be harvested!
We’re also excited to welcome the newest apprentice in the Community Gardening Leadership Training program. Abigail will mostly be working at the Whidbey Institute West Garden, but will also help out at the Good Cheer garden, as well as the school gardens.
We are trying to give away more starts to food bank clients, and extra donated seeds, which has been wildly popular. Hundreds of seed packets were gone within two days, and a flat of lettuce (78 starts) usually only sticks around for about a day.
If you have extra seeds, vegetable starts, or plastic pots and trays that you would like to share with food bank clients, please contact Camille at email@example.com. We would love to be able to share more gardening materials with good bank clients!
We’ve had some beautiful, sun-shiny days, and for now we’re happy to get some rain. Stay tuned for more updates, and visit our facebook page for more photographs: https://www.facebook.com/goodcheergarden.
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!
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.
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.
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!
We love our hoophouse, where we just started harvesting the lettuce we planted mid-February. Great to get early salad greens in the Food Bank. Now we’ve also planted lettuce, peas, chard and kale out in the field.
Brrrr! But it’s still cold, though, so we’re protecting our little starts with floating row cover!
It’s been cold, oh so cold, but we’ve been harvesting overwintered collards and kale from the garden, and growing lots of starts in the greenhouse. It’s just been too chilly to plant them out in the field!
The fruit trees were pruned, thanks to able instruction from Sarah Birger, and we now have all the beds at the Langley Middle School Garden turned over and ready for planting.
But the hoophouse is just cranking it out! We’ve had three cuttings of the cut and come again salad mix planted last fall, and we’ve planted bokchoi, spinach, lettuce and kale already this spring.
A big thank you to the Whitman College students who came to the March 14th Wednesday work party, and helped with seed blocking, weeding, planting and harvesting!
Lots of little baby veggies growing in the greenhouse these days! We’ve got lettuce, chard, spinach, kale, leeks and scallions so far.
We’re transplanting the tiny babies out into seed blocks, and then growing them on in our compact and cozy growing box. Giant winter spinach (it grows really well in the spring) and bok choi starts have already been planted in the hoophouse!
If you are interested in learning how to grow starts, and get a jump on the season, come to the Growing Groceries class on Tuesday, March 6th, at 5:00 pm in the Good Cheer Garden.
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.
Join us for our annual work party on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January, 16th, from 10 am – 3:30 pm. There will be outside winter gardening work at the Good Cheer Garden and the Bayview School Garden. Picnic lunch at noon with hot soup, and salad greens from the garden!
We’re having such a mild winter so far that the overwintering crops are doing really well out in the field– spinach, kale, collards, chard and arugula are all surviving and even growing a little. The cut-and-come-again salad mix in the hoophouse is ready for a harvest.