This past week we had our first frost. The first frost ended most of the production of any of the plants that still were producing fruit. We will still get some greens like collards, lettuce, and herbs but tomatoes, okra, peppers are done for the season. I am not sure what is up with our watermelons but we continue to get tastier melons the deeper we get into fall which is not usually the case. The frost did manage to freeze them partially which made for delicious watermelon ice. We also got lots of rain this week which is helping our cover crop grow quickly. It is nice to see that even with all of the death that is occurring in the garden there is also new life.
Since our gardens are mostly finished for the year we are able to work on packing away our supplies and doing inventory. This will help next years manager as they do not know what they have to work with yet. We did this early in the morning when I had some interns before they went to class. Since the sun was out I thought it would be helpful to have my brights on to see inside the garage. This worked great until I needed to drive the truck. We also learned that you cannot jumpstart anything with a Prius.
This next week will be our last week and Kayla and I will be doing exit interviews with interns. This is where we get feedback on how we did as managers, how we can improve the gardens in the years to come, and to affirm and critique the interns on their performance these past six months. If you have time please let our ears be able to hear the truth in what the interns say as well as to speak wisdom into their lives. I am really looking forward to what they will have to say that will help build this program and to become a better manager of people in the future.
Other News: The seed banks are finished. We have gathered lettuce, kale, pumpkins, and cleome. We will be able to use these next year and start them in the green house. This is the last week for the farm stand so please come get as much as you can carry. The pictures did not work this week so I will try to add them when I can.
Monday, October 27, 2014
Saturday, October 18, 2014
On Monday, Kayla, Zach, and Sydni, who lives in the Alliance House and interned in the gardens last summer, attended a sustainability lecture at College Wesleyan Church. Matthew and Nancy Sleeth, who have been instrumental in the revival of the Sabbath movement, spoke about the physiological, psychological, and spiritual benefits of setting aside one day per week for total rest. Sydni, the only person in attendance who had made Sabbath a weekly practice, was able to share her experiences with the rest of the audience. The Sleeth's book, 24/6, goes into greater detail about Sabbath-keeping as a sustainable practice.
For the Alliance House dinner on Wednesday night, we hosted Dr. Chris Bounds from the Division of Theology and Ministry. We had all read his essay "God’s Redemption of Creation: Begun, but Moving to Culmination," which was published in Creation Care: Christian Voices on God, Humanity, and the Environment. Dr. Bounds said that it was theology that got him interested in sustainable practices: if God created the earth, then the earth deserves our utmost respect and care. We talked about the irony of current evangelical stances on environmental issues: that humans are more important than the earth, and that gives us license to do whatever we want with our resources. But towards the end of dinner, we talked about ways in which our individual churches are responding holistically and sustainably to ecological concerns like urban food deserts. With his belief in the power of parish ministry, Dr. Bounds helped us identify practical ways we can participate in God’s redemption of creation.
We spent several hours this week harvesting seeds. In a few years, we hope to have system such that we will not have to purchase seeds, and can even sell seeds to community gardeners. As we are still learning the process, we decided to save seed from only a few crops. This week, we harvested, cleaned, and dried seeds from our pumpkins, cleome, and lettuce. Pumpkin seeds in particular are valuable because we can roast and sell them at our produce stand.
Broccoli, our winter cover crop, is coming in at the 46th street garden. With the removal of our tomato trellises, the gardens are beginning to look barren, but this new season will give the ground a chance to rest and recover for next year. The principle of Sabbath-keeping applies even to the soil that produces our food. As this year’s gardens are coming to a close, we are all anticipating a restorative fall and winter and a productive spring and summer for next year’s manager and interns.
Friday, October 10, 2014
|Strawberries at 38th|
|Finished Apple Butter|
|Hot Water Bath|
While it has been cold it has also been rainy. This is great for the plants as they have not had rain in awhile but harder for us to get things done.
In other news: Buy an Alliance Garden T-shirt they are great and only 5$. Our farm stand is open just two more weeks so please come by! Our chickens are not laying right now because they are molting. When the days get shorter they realize they need to keep up their strength and they stop producing eggs. They are also re growing their tail feathers which they will need. We have been feeding them some extra cheese danishes recently. They love it so much. I love it because they get cheese all over their beaks. (Think child's birthday party).
Saturday, October 4, 2014
|Give the Eggplants Some Love!|
|Squash bugs are easy pickings nowadays|
Monday, September 29, 2014
|Patrick spraying down the cider press|
|Waiting for face painting|
|One of the many pumpkin carvings|
|Ladybug on okra|
|Kayla popping corn|
|Kayla showing how it is done|
|Giving garden tours|
|Harvest party free pick|
Friday, September 19, 2014
|still getting tomatoes|
|still getting watermelon|
|still getting raspberries|
|46th garden preparing for the party|
Things are still green this late in September. While many things are just coming up we are now mostly on the back end of harvest. Things are slowing down, drying up, setting seed, and basically just getting ready for a long winter and the year to come. I enjoy this time of the season just to seeing the end of the full circle of what we started out the year doing. Looking back at the pictures will show the remarkable growth and beauty of this year. One can feel very accomplished.
Zach Arington: Garden Manager
Saturday, September 13, 2014
|Brown Matter (AKA Leaves)|
|Cleome (AKA Spider Flower)|
|Patrick picking tomatoes|
|Not bad for a morning|
Notes: Watch the video of the Harvest Party from last year to get psyched about the one we are having this year. September 27 from 11-5.
Our Facebook page is now the Sustainability Alliance as it now includes the Creation Care Alliance and the Living Learning Community house.