Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hello Four Square Gardeners!

I’m just writing to let everyone know that my internship at Growing Hope will be ending this week and I will no longer be running the Four Square Society. Other Growing Hope staff will be in contact with you about tracking and other updates as the season continues. Please continue to send your tracking sheets and other email correspondence to foursquaresociety@growinghope.net. It has been a pleasure working with all of you who have participated in the Four Square Society blog. We appreciate all the data you’ve sent us, and we enjoy seeing your photos and hearing about your gardens. Best of luck through the rest of the season and in future years!

Growing Hope Research Intern

Abby's Garden

Here's a post on behalf of Abby, another Four Square Gardener:

"The first picture is the “before” picture from early June after I first planted everything, and the rest of the pictures were taken today. I have zucchinis coming in on one side, cucumbers on the other, oregano, thyme, arugula and cantaloupe in the front, as well as peppers and watermelon in the middle (they are getting buried in the squash & probably won’t make it). The cucumber is shooting up along the pole to the sky and is running out of pole to hold on to--not sure where it will go next.

I had never seen a squash plant before and had trouble picturing what everything would be like in three dimensions. Next time I will plant fewer vegetables and divvy up the space a bit better.

I am eating my first cucumber now. I also grilled one zucchini last week and have two ready to grill tonight (on a mini inside kitchen grill that is a nice complement with the garden). That’s not to mention the chamomile for tea growing in front of the house and the tomatoes and cherry tomatoes that I eat everyday from containers."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Confessions of a Couple of First Time Gardeners

"Sal and Lacea's Jardin"
plot, located at West Middle School's Community Garden, is our first shot at growing a garden. It sure has been a roller coaster ride!

Planted our seeds in peat pods in the house: corn, tomatoes (beefsteak & romas), jalopeno peppers, cucumbers, peas, basil, cilantro, onions, green/yellow peppers, broccoli and lettuce. They went crazy! We think we planted them too early for the May 17th opening of our garden, since they grew big, plateaued, and started to look brown.

Both Lacea and Sal grew up with gardeners in the family, but weeding was no fun as a kid! We dragged Mom along to the first work party for her expertise in planting a garden. Met the other gardeners (thanks for the bucket, Mark!). Turns out Jen E. from the garden is also in Lacea's lifelong learning Spanish Class at WCC--small world! Planted our garden into the ground. We got lucky with our little plot--we have a raised bed, which means less weeds.

About a week after we planted, our plot died due to the frost. So we bought little plants (sans the broccoli, add tomatillo this time) and replanted the garden, this time with marigolds. We planted the extra marigolds in the Plant a Row for the Hungry plot, since all the space for veggies had been taken. Oh No! ANOTHER frost at the end of May?! This time we covered the plants with sheets, and they survived with minimal burn damage.

We think we have a knack for gardening, and are equipped with natural green thumbs. Other gardeners ask us, "What's your secret?" and "Are you sure it's organic?" We only had to weed once and our garden looked amazing! Started harvesting lettuce and basil, and joined the Four Square Society. Had a mishap harvesting the lettuce-Sal chopped the heads down to nothing. Lacea thought he had killed them completely, but they survived and came back in July better than ever. It's amazing how fresh and tasty organic veggies are out of the garden!

Played hookey the day of the walking tour to get our plot in tip-top shape. So excited to share our amazing tomatillo plant with the rest of the world! Weeding was minimal, but we obviously over-planted our plot. We had to rip out a cucumber plant and a few tomato plants that were overshadowed by taller plants. Harvested more lettuce, and transplanted the jalopeno peppers to the space left open by the pulled cucumber plant. They really seemed to enjoy their new home.

We're feeling great about the garden! So great, we started giving away our extra produce to anyone interested. Watering is fun at night, except for those awful mosquitoes! We helped with the garden work party, pulling weeds in the common paths and putting down straw in their place. Our tools and the bucket Mark gave us flew out the back of Sal's truck in an unfortunate tailgate incident. So, Jen loans us her Garden Weasel. It may be "as seen on TV" but we love it and we love gardening!

End of July: OH NO! We got too cocky. Watering every other day or every third day does not work anymore!!! Our plants keeled over and now we aren't sure if they'll make it. At least we got one red tomato out of the bunch!

The saga continues...