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from the fields

The Food Project's blog

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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Voting for a School Garden

Garden Vote Poster
Garden Vote Poster
School gardens are a popular trend these days, full of promising hands-on lessons from nutrition to science and beyond. Organizing a school community to utilize a garden both during school time and in the summer months can be a challenge in and of itself. The Brickett Elementary School in Lynn is off to a successful start.

fresh raised bed
fresh raised bed
A raised bed was installed by volunteers from General Electric this month. Students from Brickett recently voted on what type of garden they wanted to have. Perhaps surprisingly, the salad garden was voted the winner by students, promising to bring in a healthy harvest!

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Working with City Year

Editor's note: Here's an account from intern Keely Curliss on an event our interns ran for City Year.

interns and youth from City Year training
interns and youth from City Year training
Two weeks ago I arrived for the first time at the Huntington St. YMCA at the early hour of 8am. I was happy to find the other 16 interns that I currently work with already practicing away at the presentations we had been working to develop since the fall. I quickly found my place in the group of ‘openers’ who were working on the introduction presentation that we would be delivering in a short hour. John looking exhausted from all the energy and time he had put into this day gathered us around, “Are you guys ready?” he asked. We all responded in our groggy “I definitely didn’t get enough sleep” way, that in fact we were ready and excited to be the first youth to run the curriculum aspect of City Year’s day.

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Planning a Raised Bed

Editor's note: here's the latest from staff Build-a-Gardener Kesiah.

grid 1
grid 1
After planting some peas, spinach and swiss chard, and failing to water them for a few weeks, I was surprised to find that they had still decided to grow on their own. With renewed hope that I still just might have a green thumb, I post my garden plans for the remainder of the growing season.


grid 2
grid 2
If you are disorganized or nervous about your garden I encourage you to look in the back of your Growing Guide for similar charts, it really helped me figure out exactly when to plant all of my veggies and to estimate when they can be harvested. The harvest times are located on each seed packet and some of the other information located right in your trusty Growing Guide.

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Upgrading our Farm Equipment

Tim shows off new gear
Tim shows off new gear
Over the last few years, The Food Project's stable of farm equipment has been showing its age. Each season we'd spend more money and staff time on maintenance, and suffer through increasingly inefficient operations. Worse, our equipment's limitations made it difficult to maintain the long-term health of our land.

This all changes with our new gear, selected by Lincoln farmers Tim
Laird and Miriam Stason. Tim and Miriam used their knowledge of the state of the art in small-scale sustainable vegetable growing practices to put together a set of farm machinery that should allow our farmers to improve plant and soil health throughout all phases of the season.

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Local Harvest of Another Kind

B&G Oysters of Boston is throwing a party. Come join the fun, help
support The Food Project and enjoy the 'fruits' of a different local harvest!
 

Island Creek Oysters brings in the harvest in Duxbury, MA
Island Creek Oysters brings in the harvest in Duxbury, MA

OYSTER INVITATIONAL
to benefit the Food Project

Sunday, May 2, 2010
12:00-6:00pm

 

Kick off summer and celebrate the beginning of B&G Oysters’ patio season with our 2nd annual Oyster Invitational!


Join us for a day filled with friendly (and tasty) competitions, oysters, cold beer and oyster-friendly wines, an amazing silent auction that benefits The Food Project, and "Beer & Bivalves" classes across the street at Stir (at 1:00, 3:00, or 5:00pm).

Tickets are available by calling 617.423.0550 or visiting B&G Oysters and are $65* per person. Ticket price includes admission, two drink tickets, competition small plates, food from our grill and fry stations, and oysters! For those interested in the "Beer & Bivalves" class, tickets for both the Invitational and the Stir class are $85* per person.

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