End of Summer Garden Site Updates

The 2014 garden season was quite the success. From workshops to cooking classes to community connections being made, the CGC has much to be proud of. We are excited to come together to celebrate at our annual Harvest Festival next week.  Below are some pictures and season reports from our first official newsletter that was created this summer.

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(photo is from the Pest Workshop in July at Harper Acres. Folks are participating in a bug scavenger hunt with Carl Majewski from the UNH Extension)

Harper Acres – Harper Acres has had a fantastic season so far. Their raspberry patch is quite healthy and all of the garden beds look lush. The gardeners all help one another out and delicious food of plenty has been harvested all summer long. They have planted squash and potatoes in tires to utilize more space. The gardeners are planning to put in some grapes behind the beds. Totally rad!

MPS FIRST HARVEST

(First Harvest of the year at MPS)

MPS – The gardeners at MPS have been busy harvesting kale, lettuce, snap peas, garlic scapes, parsley, and dill so far this season. They have cabbages that are growing big and beautiful as well as many other veggies. They had a surprise cauliflower that they originally thought was a cabbage when it was planted- this was harvested and enjoyed in one of the community meals that is prepared every Thursday. One of the dedicated gardeners at MPS, Jodie shared her thoughts on the garden this year: ‘It has been neat to see how successful we have been this year with new vegetables and herbs. We have been learning a lot about how some plants could use more sun than where we have them planted and some others could use a shadier place in the garden.’ The gardens are looking great thanks to the gardeners that meet every Monday and take turns watering throughout the week!

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(CGC co-coordinator Marie and gardener Don soaking up some sun beside the Woodward Home Gardens)

The Woodward Home – The gardens at the Woodward home are looking great and the food is being used in the kitchen for the lunch and dinner meals. Herbs are harvested fresh every day. They even got adventurous and planted edamame and an artichoke. Big news: This season The Woodward Home turned their whole backyard into a potato patch. How cool is that?

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(Three lovely ladies from Building Bridges helping at the Westmoreland Garden Site)

The Building Bridges Clubhouse – The pizza garden at the clubhouse is going strong and the kiddos have enjoyed many healthy veggies. Anna is a rock star and even brought three youngins to the Westmoreland Garden Project to help in the garden and play in the dirt. See the picture below on Page 4.

SENIOR CENTER CGC

(Friday Garden Club at the Keene Senior Center)

Keene Senior Center – The Senior Center has had an epic gardening season so far. They built a brand new raised bad and have two Keene State interns lending a helping hand. The garden club does work every Friday.

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(Harvest from RISE)

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(Gardeners at the Ben Franklin School)

ACCESS (RISE and Benjamin Franklin School) – The gardens at RISE are cared for by Kathy, who has the greenest thumb on this side of the Mississippi. The children have enjoyed many a snack and it was so cool to see the garlic they planted pop up first thing this spring. Davis, the ACCESS coordinator along with two teenage volunteers helped them finish up their fence around the garden. The ACCESS folks are also taking care of the school gardens for the summer and donating the food to the Community Kitchen. Keep up the good work!

PROSPECT PLACE

(Gardeners at Prospect Place getting ready to harvest Radishes)

Prospect Place – The gardens are growing well. The carrots, beets and radishes are growing gangbuster. the bush beans have flowered and will be ready to be picked soon. The Prospect Place gardeners planed garlic in one bed last fall and now the plants are getting big. The kitchen used some of the garlic capes (the curly flowerbud stalks) in a stir fry recently.

YMCA

(YMCA folks building a trellis)

YMCA InShape – The InSHAPE program at the Keene Family YMCA is now growing veggies in three of the YMCA beds. Diane, a volunteer and previous InSHAPE participant, is the gardener extraordinaire of these beds. She has even planted a patch of sweet corn next to one of the garden boxes. The tomatoes that Diane planted are gigantic and we had a good time pruning and staking them recently.
The childcare program beds also have veggies growing in them. However, veggies might not be the only thing growing in one of the beds. Not long ago a large mother snapping turtle climbed into the lowest box to dig a nest. We don’t know if she laid eggs, but it is possible that baby snapping turtles will emerge from the children’s garden later this summer! The snapping turtle did damage some plants but most things still seem to be growing.

Keene Recreation Center –  The Rec Center plans to offer three of their beds to folks at the Community Kitchen while using the remaining for their fall programming. In the future, Community Kitchen guests and their families will be able to use this space to grow vegetables to supplement their food needs.

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(Westmoreland volunteers displaying harvest in front of the new sign. All food in this picture was donated to the Keene Community Kitchen)

Westmoreland Garden Project – Antioch students and community volunteers garden every Tuesday is Westmoreland beside the abandon prison through a partnership with the Cheshire Country Conservation District. Everything from Kale to Zucchini to fresh herbs have been donated this year and we still have a couple months to go. Sara, CGC Co-Coordinator, has taken on the role of the Farm Manager and the gardens look absolutely incredible. Her hard work and dedication has allowed even more fresh, local food to reach community members by donating the produce to the Keene Community Kitchen and through Fair Share Cooking Classes.

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It’s gardening season, baby!

Ahh, summer is here and all of our sites are knee deep in the dirt. Here are some photos from recent garden happenings around town.

ImageThe Building Bridges Club House kicked off the season earlier this month and planted a lot of tasty vegetables. They will be used to make pizzas and other snacks for their participants and their families. The young children at the Clubhouse will get to eat this fresh, garden food all summer long. Stay tuned for more photos.

 

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The Keene Senior Center had a garden club every Friday. Seniors, staff, interns and CGC coordinators garden, soak in some sunshine and make new friends every week.

 

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In May, the Harper Acres crew received some garden amendments. After a soil test, their beds were in need of some Potassium. In this photo, Betty and George are rejoicing over their amendments.

 

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MPS Season Kick-off!

Woo hoo! It is finally warm enough to get out there and start prepping for the season. Grab those dusty tools, spread some compost and don’t fret about dirty fingernails.

On Monday, April 21st CGC coordinators Sara and Marie, and former Coordinator Michael attended the first Monadnock Peer Support Agency weekly volunteer work party. We were happy to help and spend some time in the sun gardening with these awesome folks.

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Theresa and Tracy spreading compost to get the beds all prepped for planting.

 

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Constance and Jeremy transplanting some seedlings.

 

 

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Jody and Tini moving some compost!

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Pruning Workshop at the Westmoreland Garden

On Tuesday, April 1st Community Garden Connections hosted a pruning workshop at the Westmoreland Garden in conjunction with the UNH Cooperative Extension. The Westmoreland Garden has a bunch of overgrown apple, pear, and plum trees so we were happy to learn some pruning tips! George Hamilton of the Cooperative Extension led the workshop and around 35 people attended. George was incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining as well. He showed us the tools of the trade and then pruned one of the Westmoreland apple trees as a demonstration.

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The biggest take away from the workshop was probably the importance of pruning to get light into the center of the tree. Fruit trees that go unpruned become too tall and have too many branches to produce a good crop of ripe fruit. George told us multiple times that “The worst cut for the tree is the one you didn’t make.” That said, you will probably want some expert advice before you go hacking branches off the apple tree in the front yard. Here is a quick resource on pruning shrubs to get you started:

http://www.northeastnursery.com/files/FS12_PruningShrubs.pdf

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2014 Pre-Season Garden Kick Off Workshop

On Tuesday, March 4th Keene Community Garden Connections hosted a workshop at Antioch University. Gardeners, site partners, coordinators and faculty advisors got together to share gardening knowledge. The day was an inspiration and the most important lesson learned was how much collective garden knowledge we hold together. 

 

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Co-coordinator Sara facilitating a session a garden planning.  During this piece, many participants shared their favorite pest control methods and companion planting strategies. 

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Hands on session led by co-coordinator Peter where participants started herb seeds. Many gardeners want to start their own plants indoors this year. Hopefully, this will get them going!

 

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Making herb butter with basil, parsley, dill, garlic, lemon, salt pepper and butter. It was delicious!

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Folks from Harper Acres, Building Bridges and Antioch Gardener’s planning their gardens together. 

 

 

 

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Keene Senior Center and Prospect place reflecting on last year’s achievements and goals for the upcoming year.  

 

 

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Monadnock Peer Support getting excited to get their hands dirty while discussing upcoming strategies and brainstorming ideas. 

 

The workshop was a success. Gardening season is right around the corner and Keene Community Garden Connections is ready to plant some seeds, literally and metaphorically. 

 

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2013 Year in Review

2013 was a banner year for Keene Community Garden Connections. The co-coordinators and faculty advisors have been working hard writing end of the year reports and future plans to our funder, The Rashti Foundation. It has been so inspiring to see how the CGC had taken off and all the accomplishments of our garden sites.

Thank you everyone!

It would be quite a long post if we listed all the achievements. Here are a few favorites and pictures of various happenings from last year. Stay tuned for more awesomeness is 2014.

Late Summer the CGC received a visitor, Roberto Perez, a Cuban Permaculture expert. Above is a picture of Michael and Andrew (co-coordinators), and community gardeners giving him a tour of the Harper Acres Garden site. Roberto spoke at the library about permaculture, a free community event sponsored by CGC.

Above is a picture of the 2013 Harvest Festival. A CGC tradition where all the garden sites come together to exchange stories, eat yummy food, celebrate achievements and connect with one another.

Shelly from Harper Acres teaches kiddos from the Clubhouse how to make an apple swan at the 2013 Harvest Festival.

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New bed sheet mulched by volunteers at the Westmoreland garden site. Last year we donated over 1,000 pounds of food to the community. We want to increase that amount in 2014.

Harvest at the Westmoreland Site. This food was donated to the Community Kitchen, an organization in Keene serving free meals to community members 6 nights a week free of charge.

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Harvest dinner and season recap dinner at Harper Acres. They sure are a bunch of dedicated gardeners!

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Co-coordinator Marie helps garden site Rise put the gardens to rest with some super cute gardeners.

 

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Late Season Happenings

photo (12)      CGC Co-Coordinator Michael Hightower had a very successful, free cooking series this fall in partnership with the CGC and the Cheshire Country Conservation District. His grand finale was a pie making class. Community members came together to learn how to homemade crusts and different kinds of pies. They swapped tips and left with bellies full of pie plus 2 crusts to take home. Can’t beat that! Stay tuned for more classes this spring or summer.

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Harper Acres ended the season with a potluck. Gardeners shared food and talked about the successes of the season.  They already started planning for next year.  Good work everyone!

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The Woodward Home, through a generous Home Depot donation, is having a ramp built down to the garden beds. This will make the gardens more accessible for the senior residents who enjoy them.

photo (13)The Westmoreland site had quite the successful season. Over 1,000 pounds of food were donated to community organizations. We hope to grow and donate even  food next season. This picture shows sheet mulching, a technique to kill the grass and create new beds for next year.

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Garlic Planting and Getting Ready to Put the Gardens to Sleep

photo (4)CGC Co-Coordinator Sara teaches folks at Monadnock Peer Support how to plant garlic

Garden Friends -

It is that time of year again. Frost is upon us and we must admit gardening season is nearly over. Protecting the soil for the winter with a method such as sheet mulching is a highly suggested. Before doing so, be sure to plant some garlic! You will be delighted when it pops up in the springtime. Goodnight Gardens. We look forward to seeing you after your winter slumber.

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Gardens are THRIVING!

One of my favorite things to do each week is to drive around Keene, NH and see how all of the CGC gardens are doing (Over 45 raised garden beds!). It always makes my smile a little larger. Here are some “before and after” pictures of our new sites (Rise, Benjamin Franklin School, Monadnock Peer Support Agency and Prospect Place). They are doing an amazing job growing vegetables and their organizations are enjoying the bountiful harvests!

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This photo was taken before planting at Benjamin Franklin School :) 

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Photo taken late summer at Benjamin Franklin School!!! Wowza! Look at all that food :)

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At Rise in Keene, NH, in spring.

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Rise in Keene, NH,  in late summer. They’ve been enjoying all sorts of fresh produce in their lunches at the daycare center.

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These raised bed were planted at Monadnock Peer Support Agency!

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They have been supporting huge harvests of greens, herbs, squash, tomatoes, beans, and much more!

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Seeds of Solidarity School Garden Workshop!

Two CGC coordinators, as well as educators from NY, MA, NH, and VT went to Deb Habib’s workshop on School Gardening at Seeds of Solidarity Farm. Two of our new sites this year are schools, including Rise and Benjamin Franklin School. This workshop has given us many ideas on how to incorporate the gardens into curriculum here in Keene :) We are thankful to be around such inspiring people! IMG_6029

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