Sunday, October 28, 2012

Season Finale of Tuesday Evening Work Parties

Come one, come all!  This coming Tuesday (October 30th) is our final Tuesday evening work party for the season.  We'll be out (most likely getting a bit wet!) from 4 - 6ish at SAGE.  We'll be completing a variety of different tasks to get SAGE all buttoned up for the winter.  To get you in the mood for a work party, I've picked a sampling of photos below from Tuesday work parties throughout this season that highlight the variety of projects we've worked on.  Hope to see you Tuesday!

Cheers,
Deanna (Garden Manager)

PS: For those of you already pondering what do to on Tuesday evenings next season, work parties will resume in late March/early April!
Many early work parties involved spreading at least a bit of
leaf mulch.

Tuesday evening superstar volunteers, Denise and Paige,
planting strawberries.  Planting, whether it was starts or seeds, happened all season long.

Early season harvest of mixed greens

Lark, another repeat volunteer extraordinaire,
doing a late season harvest of delicious Sungold cherry tomatoes.
As the warm weather crops ripened a good portion of work parties
became dedicated to harvesting time consuming items like
cherry tomatoes, green beans and tomatillos.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the warm weather
crops were chopped in, cover crop seed sprinkled and
straw mulch spread to prepare for winter

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sharing Our Rain

At the start of the day, all the crops were still in the ground
At the end of the day, all dead plant material cleared out,
cover crop seed spread and mulch on top.
(Note the rubberized rain suits!) 
"This group is full of talkers," an HP employee noted during the snack break of our Friday morning work party.  We had some of our solid HP volunteers who've been coming out all season (Ray, Yvonne, Shawn, Denise), but this particular work party was also full of folks from the HR department.  So yes, this was a more talkative work party than usual.  I'll attribute that to the fact that HR folks work with people and to enjoy working with people generally you have to know how to get along and communicate with them which can lead to chatting!  The reason I'm focusing on this aspect of the group is that on Friday morning it was POURING.  Not just the normal Oregon drizzle, but "get the bright yellow Cap Cod fishermen rubberized rain suits out" type of rain.  When it is those kind of conditions, it is good to be able to talk because it can distract you from the fact that your feet are wet or the uncomfortable feeling of being soaked through to your undergarments....

So that is what Mama Nature provided on the last HP work party of the season.  HP employees have been visiting the garden on a monthly basis since April of this season (they helped out last year too!) and each of the prior work parties was beautiful.  As we cleared and chopped up the beds of Solanaceae crops (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, tomatillos), the rain softened the ground for us and then helped water the cover crop seeds we planted in the cleared space.  Now my only hope is that the roving packs of ducks haven't eaten all the seed!

Harvesting potatoes!
Thanks HP for committing to scheduling one employee work party a month (and for braving the rain this time around)!   Knowing I can count on your hard work in the garden makes my job easier and the more folks we have to collaborate on this project, the more healthy, local food we can provide to people in
Harvesting the last of the melons
need.  We look forward to seeing HP employees in the garden next season!



Cheers!
Deanna Lloyd
SAGE Garden Manager

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Frosting and Field Trips


Warm weather crops "triage" harvested after a light frost
This weekend was a surprise.  I woke up on Saturday morning thinking "Wow, it is cold, I hope it didn't frost!" and then promptly dismissed that thought as the weather report the previous evening said we were in the clear, no frost yet!  Well -- epiphany moment -- sometimes the weather reports are wrong.  Or, to give credit to the weather folks, there are just so many microclimates out there it is really hard to predict exactly what is going to happen where and they do their best to give us an approximate, overarching guess.

Tomatoes galore!

So back to Saturday morning....I pedaled out to SAGE and found a light frost had made our warm weather crops on the lower slope of the garden very sad looking.  Emergency messages went out to colleagues and Amoreena, our Garden Education Food Corps service member, arrived on the scene.  We harvested eggplants, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes and then placed reemay (or floating row cover) over remaining warm weather crops to protect them until Monday morning when a couple classes of high schoolers were scheduled to come to the garden.


HS students helping fold
up floating row cover that
was protecting peppers

After a lot of hand wringing, worrying about the night time lows over the weekend, Monday morning dawned bright, clear and chilly.  We were happy to see that while some things looked sadder, the emergency measures we'd taken allowed us to have the rest of our warm weather crop plants stripped clean by 80 health students from Crescent Valley High School.  In addition to helping us harvest a lot of healthy, local food for hunger relief agencies, the students were also able to sample different veggies through a fun blindfold taste test relay race and a garden scavenger hunt.  The students are just starting their nutrition unit so the broad focus of this field trip was "real food is good." I'm glad to say that many of the students heartily agreed with that statement as they snacked on sweet Sungold cherry tomatoes, broccoli flowers and green beans.       

Now we're clearing out those beds and planting cover crops with OSU students.... 
High school students heading back to the bus after a fun, sunny morning in the garden