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from the fields

The Food Project's blog

TFP Seeks Community Greenhouse Proposals

The Food Project (TFP), with support from the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), is seeking partners to share community space in the recently opened Dudley Greenhouse.

The Dudley Greenhouse is a 10,000-square-foot facility in the Dudley Neighborhood of Roxbury. Owned by DSNI and leased by The Food Project, the greenhouse operates year-round as a food production and educational space. The Food Project operates enterprise projects that employ youth in half the space. In the remaining space, The Food Project has started running community educational programming, and is now seeking community partners to run their own programming in this space, with limited support from TFP.

Our hope is that by bringing in a few different organizations and/or individuals to use the space, the greenhouse will better serve a wide range of community interests and needs. Examples of projects include:

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Container Growing: See How It's Going!

For those of you following my container-gardening adventure, these past couple of weeks have been full of harvests, which is always exciting. Here are a few updates:

* After three cuttings of salad mix, I pulled it up and planted a pepper in its place.

Lettuce out, pepper in.
Lettuce out, pepper in.

* I also pulled up the salad greens around the collard plant because it was getting too big. If you recall, growing salad greens around and under the base of the collard plant was an experiment for me. Looking back, it's safe to say that I was able to grow "microgreens" and get two cuttings.

* At the end of May, I harvested seven of the outer (bottom) collard leaves and had plenty for a side at dinner!

* My rectangular planter has offered me much to eat too.

Harvested radishes.
Harvested radishes.

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Longtime Grower Enjoys Raised-bed Gardening

Kun, walking through his newly planted food forest. Some of his fruit trees include pears and nectarines.
Kun, walking through his newly planted food forest. Some of his fruit trees include pears and nectarines.
While Kun Xu is new to our Build-a-Garden program, he is not at all new to gardening. He changed his yard to provide food for himself and his family and to inspire the community.

As I walked along his property I was amazed by the changes he had made in just four months. His house is lined with fruit trees, herbs, and vegetables. Passersby stop to admire the beauty of his budding food forest. Here's a peek into Kun's garden.

With such a busy schedule, how do you (plan to) incorporate gardening into your life?

Since I like to do gardening very much, I am trying very hard to squeeze some time for myself. Usually, I get up at 6:00 a.m. and work for one hour before breakfast and work for one more hour after work.

How many years have you been gardening in Massachusetts (northeast U.S.)?

I did gardening for six years in Maine.

Top two reasons to have a garden?

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Join Us at Whole Foods’ 5% Day


This year, Whole Foods Markets’ three Boston stores will be holding their Five Percent Day on Tuesday, May 24 — and The Food Project’s Boston Bounty Bucks program will benefit!

Five percent of the day’s total net sales will be donated to support low-income people’s ability to buy fresh, locally grown produce at participating farmers’ markets throughout Boston.

The Whole Foods Markets locations are:

Symphony, 15 Westland Avenue

Charles River Plaza, 181 Cambridge Street

Brighton, 15 Washington Street

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Lynn Farm Fest - Sat. May 21

Join us this Saturday at 100 Munroe Street in Lynn

11am - 2pm

Workshop:
Planning & Planting your Raised Bed Garden
held twice, starting at 11 am & 1:30 pm

Build-a-Garden Plant Pick-up:
If you are a participant in the Build-a-Garden program and received your garden between July 2010 - present, you are eligible to pick up transplants at no additional cost (first come, first choice).

Plant & Garden Sale:
Come for plants, seeds and garden supplies! 

download a flyer to share

In addition to The Food Project's Plant Sale, we are expecting a second vendor who will have an assortment of flowers, herbs and more!

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Gardeners Plant Seeds of Community

Dudley greenhouse sits ready for City Farm Fest. Community beds can be seen in background.
Dudley greenhouse sits ready for City Farm Fest. Community beds can be seen in background.
“Now I know why vegetables are so expensive….oh, and I have NO idea what I’m doing!” So said one of the greenhouse gardeners as she passed by me on her way out, having just prepped her bed and planted it with broccoli, kale, and culantro (an herb closely related to cilantro).

In the past two weeks the greenhouse has welcomed 27 new gardeners and their families into the space. Most are from the Dudley neighborhood, and many have children they bring to the greenhouse to help with their plots. Most are brand-new gardeners: eager to learn how to plant and care for vegetables and herbs.

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Mayor Menino Opens Greenhouse

Food Project Intern Mayra Class shows Mayor Menino how to hand-pollinate greenhouse tomatoes. (Photo courtesy of Isabel Leon)
Food Project Intern Mayra Class shows Mayor Menino how to hand-pollinate greenhouse tomatoes. (Photo courtesy of Isabel Leon)
Neighbors, friends, and supporters gathered at the official opening of the Dudley Greenhouse. The event, which took place on May 11, featured Mayor Menino, whose remarks applauded the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) and The Food Project for working to bring this important resource to the community.

“Not too long ago, this site where we’re standing was a garage; it was an eyesore and a blight on the neighborhood,” Menino said. “Now it is an agricultural oasis, where residents can learn how to grow their own vegetables, and where fresh, affordable produce will be grown for the city’s farmers’ markets and food banks.”

Besides the mayor, other speakers at the opening included John Barros of DSNI, Margaret Williams of TFP, and community member Sandra Mitchell, who spoke eloquently about what the greenhouse means to her, her family, and the neighborhood.

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Additional Plant & Garden Sale

Are you looking for vegetable plants for your garden?  If you missed our City Farm Fest, it's not too late!  We will be holding a second plant and garden supply sale this week. Here are the details!

Additional Plant & Garden Sale 

  • Date:  Thursday May 12
  • Time:  4 - 6pm
  • Location: Dudley Greenhouse, 11 Brook Ave., Roxbury

Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, collard greens, & more! 

Here's a list of what's available today.

Available Food Project plants:

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Hardening Off Your Transplants

In New England, heat-loving plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants must be started indoors, ideally in a greenhouse, in order to mature during our growing season. Any plant started in a greenhouse, however, must be “hardened off” before it can be planted in the garden. Hardening off is the process of exposing a plant to outdoor conditions (like wind, sun and irregular watering) to help them transition to life in the garden.

Follow these steps to harden off transplants:

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Container Gardening 101

This segment will be featured monthly for all of the gardeners who are growing in containers. It will be specifically geared towards those using The Food Project's new container garden kits on porches and in spaces that are too limited to have a raised bed. I will bring you through my experience with my container garden kit step-by-step, and I invite you to share your ideas too!

 

My Kit


I did the first planting in my containers on April 12 inside of our Dudley Greenhouse. This gives me a head start, and hopefully it will help me test out some of my ideas and share the results with all of you!

 

After being away from work for a week, I returned to find my tomatoes rapidly growing and in desperate need of support. We tied a string to a rod at the top of the greenhouse and used special tomato clips to hold it up. As the plant continues to grow, we will add more clips.


 

 

By mid-June, you will need to support your tomatoes in some way. We will write more about this topic next month – but at Saturday’s City Farm Fest we will be selling tomato stakes and clips, and offering hands-on demos for using these special tomato clips!

In this pot, I plan to grow hot peppers. Since I won’t plant this until about May 20, I decided to plant fast growing salad mix, which I planted on April 12. After 3 weeks, I am now ready for my first harvest of fresh greens (it would take about 1 week extra if these pots were outside). In the next 2 weeks, I’ll get a few more cuttings for salads before ripping it up to plant the pepper!

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