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A Week in My Garden: Guest Spotlight

James Modi has a unique gardening arrangement at his Lynn home. Through a partnership with the GRO Project (Gardening through Refugee Organizations) and The Food Project, he shares 20 raised beds with almost 20 gardeners from his native Sudan, many of whom were small scale farmers in rural areas back home. Stemming from a need for their ethnic foods (think sweet potato leaf) and a desire to continue their farming tradition, the garden is tended and harvested communally - extra produce is sold at the New American Center in Lynn, providing supplementary income for many.

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Cucumbers Don't Play Nice

My first cucumber of the season.
My first cucumber of the season.

Container Kit Update

 

A few tasty snacks came from my container kit in June. I harvested several cucumbers which had the best crunch and were so tasty! And I had several ripe tomatoes so I made a delicious batch of salsa, which calmed an anxious group of friends joining me for a Bruins hockey playoff game.


Cucumber plant strangling my tomatoes.
Cucumber plant strangling my tomatoes.

 


One alert I have for container gardeners - if you are growing cucumbers and using the attachable cage that we gave you, note that the vine will most likely outgrow the cage. You should still be able to get a decent harvest. Be careful to keep the cucumber pot away from other plants - in this picture, the cucumber vine is wrapped around a tomato plant. I cut it off and moved the cucumber pot about 5 feet away from the tomatoes.

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Spotlight on Collards

Those hardy greens that grow on a stalk through late fall are an awesome plant to have in your garden. They can provide you food well into the winter. For many southern families these "greens" are a staple. Here is a recipe adapted from my mother's kitchen.

Southern Style Collard Greens

by Joy

1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Olive oil
2-3 Bunches of collards
1lb smoked turkey necks or any smoked meat (i.e. bacon, duck breast, etc.)
3-5 quarts of vegetable stock
onions
garlic
salt and pepper (to taste)

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and butter. Saute the onions until slightly softened, about 2 minutes, then add the smoked turkey necks and garlic, cook another minute. Add collard greens and cook another minute. Add the vegetable stock, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until greens are tender, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Collard greens sauteed in coconut oil

by Kathleen

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A Week in My Garden: Guest Spotlight


ToRena checks on the bounty of her garden
ToRena checks on the bounty of her garden

Dorchester resident ToRena Webb invited me into her garden this past week. She has a number of projects going on in the backyard. From potatoes being grown in a trash can to the herb garden on the patio, ToRena is making the most of the space she has. She told me of how her father introduced her to gardening at a very young age. As an expecting mother, she plans to continue the tradition both with her children and her nephew. This week she will have her nephew help her harvest strawberries.



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

I'm a Teaching and Performance Artist and am able to plan my schedule according to my own needs. I like to garden in the morning and early afternoon. This still gives me plenty of time to do many other things in my day.

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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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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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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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