I have mentioned donating produce before, but haven’t shown what I do for the food pantry pick ups yet. There are three every week: one to an elementary school and two to churches. The other community garden, Four-Mile Run, chose these because they thought their food would make a difference at each one. I have not gone to any of the pantries yet, though I’m familiar with both churches. Four Mile Run garden has a really active group of volunteer donors and drivers to get the food to the pantries. So far they have been happy to pick up from us and I have been grateful.
Our garden, known as 10 Barton Gardens, has two small plots dedicated to food production for donation. Previously, they were for the Plot Against Hunger, but since AFAC has stopped taking fresh produce during the pandemic, I just refer to them as the dedicated gardens.
These are growing in the small plot against hunger garden.
One of these is small, about 3 feet by 20 feet and I have planted asparagus in it, hoping to develop a good crop for spring that comes back every year. The other plot has really enriched soil from a previous gardener who added a lot of organic material from manure to crab shells. It currently is planted in squashes (winter and summer), okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, blackberries and blueberries, and pole beans. It has a few lingering carrots and beets from the spring. We’ve donated about 70 pounds so far in combination with my friend Paul, whose garden I’m caring for while he’s away, and other gardeners at 10 Barton.
This is the large dedicated garden, with okra showing its best face and lots of squash and tomatoes behind it.
The pick ups happen in the middle of the day on weekdays and are tied to when food is distributed by the pantries. We want it to be as fresh as possible. I usually go in the evening of the day before the pick up and harvest and wash the produce, then I pack it in coolers. My fellow gardener, Mike, has been a loyal volunteer to come on the day of the pick up and bag the produce to give to the volunteer driver. It’s worked well so far and I’m glad to be giving good food to people in need.
Coolers, packed up and ready for bagging, nestled in the small plot against hunger for the evening.
My friend Paul’s garden has added to our poundage, primarily in kale and chard, but lately in basil, which I’m glad to share with people as well. I confess I have eaten all the green beans, though. I also planted cantaloupe and some winter squash for him to have when he returns.
One of the planters of kale in Paul’s garden…
After I met the pick up today (because I’m taking a little time off, even though I can’t go anywhere), I worked in my own garden. I ripped out some zucchini that were producing only male flowers (for weeks) and replanted in another spot. In recent days, space has freed up, and I was able to plant more parsley, including some of that Hamburg parsley that makes a root; rainbow chard; basil; and the two squash plants, a cocozelle and a black beauty.
The golden squash are really coming on. I harvested one of them today, but the others are still quite small.
My bean plants are blooming like crazy, but I have yet to get any beans. Another gardener said hers had just begun to come on, so I will keep looking.
Sometime in the next week or so, I’ll likely plant some more cucumbers and start thinking more carefully about fall crops for the dedicated plots.
I harvest the kale and chard into a cooler bag, then usually bring it home to wash and package.
Have I mentioned it’s been hot? Really hot. Upper 90’s and humidity that makes it feel hotter. One day I was out just harvesting in Paul’s garden (which isn’t much work; it’s raised beds in a driveway). And when I got home, I realized it was way too hot to be out. It isn’t often that it’s too hot for me, but whooooeee! After a series of violent thunderstorms, it’s cooled back down to the upper 80s and lower 90s. Feels great again.
I hope you have a lovely weekend and a great week to come.