Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our Biggest Harvest Yet!

Every Monday I try and get to the community garden to harvest what I can for the food bank. We have set aside an area about 60' long and 12' wide to grow food for the needy. I had the grade three class that comes to learn in the garden plant most of the crops last May. I had never planted cabbage from seed before so I let the children plant them and we learned together.

We planted two short rows and this is what we harvested yesterday. Don't they look pretty? Cabbage is slow to get going but when it starts to form a head you know its working. I was worried about cabbage month larvae being a problem but they just seemed to eat the outer leaves. Hardly a mark on the cabbage when harvested and that's a good thing. Be sure to make sure the heads are firm before harvesting.

I had to remove some of the outer leaves just like they do in the grocery stores. I gave the heads a quick rinse and set them to dry.

In May, the children had planted a Three Sisters Garden. For information on how to grow a garden like this click here. The Three Sisters Garden is planted with corn, beans and squash. Look how long the beans are! It was time to harvest them as well. We picked the beans the day before dropping them off at the food bank so they would be fresh.

We also harvest 16 pounds of potatoes from a couple of short rows. I brought them home and gave them a scrub and let them dry before bagging them in two pound bags. When bagging them I try to think of what I would buy at the grocery store.

In total this week we harvested 16 pounds of potatoes, 11 pounds of apples, 3 pounds of yellow beans, 3 pounds of green beans and 9 pounds of green cabbage. Thanks to Bonnie Pearce and family for letting us glean their apple tree. With the start of school next week, the apples will go a long way towards school lunches. Thanks to volunteer Ian Dick who helped me harvest this week. I wish the children could be here to harvest. In September I hope to have them harvest the squash that was planted in the Three Sisters Garden. They will love doing that school garden lesson!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Harvesting Beans for the Food Bank

It was time to harvest for the food bank again. I like to harvest a day before the food is given out to the needy as it is fresher. This week the Eureka bush beans were ready to be picked. There will be additional harvests as the beans are still putting out more flowers. 

It took awhile to pick but I had about four pounds of yellow beans the first week to drop off at the food bank. Not too bad a haul for a few families.

The following week was a bumper crop. A total of seven more pounds of beans. I think we will get a third picking of beans some time next week. We still have potatoes and cabbage to harvest. They will be followed by green beans and squash.
It looks like  Monday nights will be the harvesting time. Its cooler outside and the produce can be dropped off early Tuesday morning.
So what do you do to get the harvest ready for delivery? I bring home whatever is harvested and clean it up. You wouldn't want to buy dirty vegetables at the grocery store and most people will try a new vegetable if it looks pretty. Sorry to say but that's just human nature. Its only us die hard gardeners who don't mind the dirt. I also bag smaller vegetables like beans into one pound bags. That's about what I would buy when shopping. This also makes it easier for the food bank staff who are all volunteers.
Have you planted a giving garden or have extra vegetables to donate? The supplies at local food banks are low and needing your help. There is nothing more rewarding than giving back to your community.