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Spotlight on lettuce

Tips on growing, harvesting, and more

close up of some lettuce
close up of some lettuce
When to harvest lettuce depends on the variety of lettuce you plant. Here are a few guidelines based on different types of lettuce.

For head lettuce, you should harvest when the head becomes firm. Just pull the entire plant out of the ground, cut off the roots, dip into cold water, and refrigerate until eating. This will keep lettuce fresh and crisp.

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Summer Institute Rapidly Approaching!

I asked TFP Institute Trainer Greg Gale for his thoughts on why people might want to register for our Summer Institute, and he passed on the following:

participation
participation
The time is ripe for young people and their adult allies to step up and change the food reality in this country. Come learn how to build partnerships with youth that help them tap into their potential as change agents.

Lots of adults know they want to farm with youth, but how to do this well requires a lot of skill and technique. Come learn from The Food Project’s 19 years of practice. You will see that we depend upon both inspiration and perspiration to create a diverse, vibrant, energetic, skilled, and thoughtful community of youth and adults who grow and distribute an amazing abundance of food.

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New Local Resource: Boston Gardener

Even though I have had some bad luck with my spinach, I managed to harvest about two cups (enough for a small and delicious salad)!

Boston Gardener
Boston Gardener
Right now I am most proud of my peas, which are about 1 ft. high. I just built a trellis for them on Friday. It probably took me about 25 minutes to build the whole thing, but I have to say I was in Home Depot trying to find supplies for a solid 2 hours! As friendly as the Home Depot staff is, the place is extremely overwhelming. Luckily for all of us, a new urban gardening store called Boston Gardener has opened up right down the street from Dudley Station (and right next door to the Haley House Bakery Cafe)!

Location:

2131 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02119

Website: GrowBostonGarden.com

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The Ups and Downs of Having a Garden

Today I had to kill my spinach before the evil bugs called Leaf Miners could do it for me. If the color of your Swiss Chard or Spinach is turning pale yellow and crunchy and at a closer look has pathways throughout the leaves, BEWARE, because you probably have Leaf Miners too!

Leaf Miners are tiny bugs that will quickly eat your greens if they are not taken care of immediately! In order to destroy them, I suggest pulling up already damaged crops and starting over so that the bugs do not spread throughout your entire bed.

Check out this guide from the Rutgers ag station (PDF) for more details on the vicious bug. I share your pain if you have to start from scratch, just like me, but wish you the best of luck with future crops!

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In Memory of Andrea Taaffe, 1948-2010

The Food Project is saddened to share the loss of our long time supporter, community partner and friend.

Since 2003, Andrea served as Executive Director of the Shirley-Eustis House in Roxbury, MA where she involved community children in a Heritage Day and was instrumental in the creation of The Food Project's Urban Learning Farm. She also served as a mayoral appointee to the Boston Cultural Council and was recently awarded the Eugenie Beal Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award for her many years of commitment to expanding environmental resources throughout Boston.

As Andrea's family writes:

"Andrea brought genuine passion and inspirational leadership to her work on the greening of Boston, historic preservation and constituency building efforts. She made a difference. A woman of strong convictions, Andrea was a spirited and generous soul with her family and the diverse group of friends, colleagues, children and adults that she touched."

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Faces behind the Labor

YouthBuild finishing a raised bed
YouthBuild finishing a raised bed

The building of beds

Perhaps some of you have wondered how we actually get all of the raised beds built. With a current goal of 200 beds per year, it is no easy feat. Each raised bed is built by a team that includes a Food Project staff and three-four assistants who range from eager volunteers to Food Project teens to youth in other Boston area programs.

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Water Safety for Gardeners

In response to this question from a BaGer:

Is it safe to water food gardens with the water? Or, do I need to boil water and then water the garden?

This is what I found on the state website:

Houseplants and Gardens

Water can be used without treatment for watering household plants and garden plants. The exception would be things like strawberries or tomatoes where the water would contact the edible fruit.

Based on this, I suppose you should technically only water plants that don't have any edible parts. I watered my strawberries because they're not fruiting yet, but maybe avoid watering spinach because you eat the leaves. Hope this helps. Sounds like the water pipe will be fixed shortly.

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