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July? Definitely another scorcher–temperatures were in the high 80s during Independence day weekend. Speaking of which, we were at the Maxwelton Parade handing out sugar snap peas and flowers from the garden!
Due to the dry and hot weather, we spent a good amount of July watering and harvesting. We made out quite nicely: 368 pounds of carrots, 278 pounds of tomatoes, 210 pounds of plums, and 153 pounds of summer squash from Good Cheer Garden and Bayview Garden! In fact, we more than doubled our harvest from last month, coming in at nearly 1,300 pounds at Good Cheer and over 350 pounds at Bayview, and thanks to in kind donations and gleaning, we raked in 4,870 pounds of produce just in the month of July.
And even though our spinach has been bolting like there’s no tomorrow, our tomatoes are loving this weather and have been putting on their second growth.
Also, on July 21, students from the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Students came to visit and lend a hand with weeding projects and blackberry removal. Especially since it’s been so hot, we’re so grateful to folks who are still coming by to help out during our Wednesday work parties. Thanks to our volunteers, we’ve been able to harvest and bag an enormous amount of produce, pick, braid, and hang our garlic for curing, and enjoy delicious salads during lunch. Thanks and stay cool out there!
It’s been so scorching lately, we couldn’t resist from making a Nelly reference. In all seriousness, we haven’t the faintest idea what happened to “June-uary”, as it seems like we’ve just jumped straight to August. Aside from the weather, things have been popping here at the garden too: sunflowers, zucchini and summer squash, tomatoes, beets, carrots, garlic, and so many different flowers.
The bees aren’t the only ones who have been busy in the garden; in the last month, we’ve had a continued streak of support from various volunteer groups who have come to help out and enjoy the garden with us: naturopathy students from Bastyr Center for Natural Health, UW student, local Girl Scout troops, Windermere Real Estate, and Seattle 9th grade Waldorf students. A HUGE thank you to all who have come out!
In addition, things over at the Bayview Garden are coming along rather swimmingly. All of the beds are planted, and we just harvested the first of the carrots this week! Peppers, eggplant, and melons are under plastic; radishes soon to pop, and beets coming up. Until next time, enjoy the photos, try to keep cool and hydrated as the temperature rises, and hopefully see you at our Wednesday work parties.
Also, we’re having a volunteer appreciation party for all of Good Cheer’s awesome volunteers on Tuesday, July 16 from 5-7 PM in the garden. Hope to see you there!
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.
Tomato blossoms, fresh peas, blooming cosmos and calendula, zucchini starts, and beet thinnings: there’s a lot going on in the garden right now. Slowly but surely is color being added to the garden. Shocks of yellow tomato flowers, red poppies, white pea blossoms, and lavender phacelia now compliment the deep purples and greens of the heartier leafy greens.
Our first blooming calendula, and two different types of phacelia keep the bees, and the gardeners, happy.
At the beginning of the month we welcomed the spring with a May Day Celebration, at the same time that we welcomed our new apprentice, Sonya! Sonya is the newest addition to the Community Gardening Leadership Training Program, and will mostly be working at the Good Cheer Garden, and our satellite garden next door at the Whidbey Island Community Education Center.
Abigail (left), Sonya (center), and Camille (right) stand with Larry beneath the May Pole.
We are also very proud of Cary Peterson, who has helped make great leaps and bounds with the school garden programs on South Whidbey. As mentioned in our New Seasons, New Changes post, Cary helped start the Good Cheer garden in 2009, and coordinated it until focusing instead on the school gardens this season. Last week was the first official school lunch that used produce that students helped grown, tend, and harvest from the on-site garden. Check out the South Whidbey School Gardens blog, and this nice article from the South Whidbey Record.
Here the Good Cheer Food Bank Executive Director, Kathy, and our Produce Manager, Lissa, accept fresh produce from LMS students.
Our volunteers continue to amaze us as they continue to help us pull in larger and larger harvests. Tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, beans, and winter squash are growing in the garden, and our hoop house tomatoes are starting to fruit.
As always, a huge heartfelt thanks to all our volunteers. They are what make this garden possible!
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!
Congratulations, and much appreciation to Camille, Lissa, Alexa and Casey for their completion of the Community Gardening Leadership Training in the Good Cheer Garden, Food Bank, Whidbey Institute Westgarden, and South Whidbey Academy, South Whidbey Elementary School and Langley Middle School Gardens.
- Camille Green moved into a leadership role in the Good Cheer Garden
- Lissa Firor managed the over 24,000 lbs of produce that was grown for the Food Bank locally
- Alexa MacAulay coordinated the Whidbey Institute Westgarden
- Casey Jackson taught science-based curriculum while managing the South Whidbey School District gardens.
While gaining experience in our community food system, their hard work and leadership made a big contribution towards our record harvest this year for the Food Bank!
We had stunning success with our garlic this season after we planted it in seaweed. So, when the fall storms came, we went back to the beach to collect seaweed for the garlic beds again.
Middle School students from Wellington Day School and their teacher Cormac McCarthy enthusiastically helped us plant it!
First we gave the seaweed a little rinsing. The garlic was carefully separated into cloves.
A bed was prepped and then the fun began. We laid the seaweed down about 4 inches thick and also took some time to explore all the creatures still in the seaweed.
The bed was then covered with about 4 inches of straw. We pulled the straw aside to create planting holes and filled them with compost.
Thank you Adrian, Alejandro, Collin, Donovan, Gabe, Izzy, Kaio, Kellen, Makenna, Lulu, Molly, Serena and Mr. McCarthy!
We had a great work part on the last Wednesday of August, with all ages coming to help us harvest (180 lbs!) and turn over beds for fall plantings.
Our Rainbow Lacinato kale planted in March has been a steady producer all season long, but it was time to take it out.
The new kale we planted in the summer is so prolific, tender and enormous!
Riley had fun harvesting beets, and very carefully washing and laying them out to dry.
We also harvested basil, beans, carrots, lettuce, collards, arugula, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, ground cherries, pears, asian pears and leeks!
More veggies on the way!
Carrot Camp for children ages 8 – 10! Click HERE for pdf.
Carrot Camp is a week-long adventure in the garden, searching for interesting bugs, getting dirty, and of course, snacking on veggies! Taking place at the Whidbey Insitute’s beautiful Westgarden, surrounded by 70 acres of forest, campers will learn about growing organic vegetables and how to use them for simple recipes and crafts. Bring your sense of play and learn how to transform dirt to delicious!
On Wednesday, the children will go the Good Cheer Food Bank and Garden, where they will be bringing over vegetables from the Westgarden to the food bank, and learning about providing healthy, fresh food for the whole community.
August 12th-16th, 2013
Monday to Friday, from 9am to 1pm
Westgarden at the Whidbey Institute
Boys and girls 8-10 years old
Registration Fee $150