Growing and Donating

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.

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Packing food….

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I hope you have a lovely weekend and a great week to come.

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This entry was posted in Community, Local Food, Other People's Gardens and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Growing and Donating

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Wonderful! Barton is my maiden name so I am pleased to see it associated with such a good cause.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. shoreacres says:

    You gardeners amaze me. I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to begin something like this — even the thought of tomatoes in five gallon buckets seem like quite a challenge! It’s wonderful to see things growing, and being distributed, with people cooperating in the process. And asparagus! The thought of asparagus year after year is marvelous.

    Liked by 3 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      Yeah, that asparagus is my hope…We had quite a good organization for food distribution, but Covid made it impossible for the main food assistance center to manage, as processing all the produce took a lot of volunteers and they needed to keep the numbers down in the warehouse. But we all drew up a list of people distributing produce and some of them are pretty big operations, so we chose the ones where we thought we could help.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s such a lot of work goes into growing and harvesting vegetables just for yourself – your group does an amazing job of caring practically for those who can’t grow their own. It was good to follow the processes through. I remember how wilted I was from the humidity when visiting with you in early spring – these temps would be impossible for me 😀 We must make a date to catch up, maybe around mid August, how’s that for you?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. tonytomeo says:

    This is so generous. In our Community, there are a few people who live in poverty, but no one in hungry. It is gratifying to see that the same happens elsewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Bruce says:

    Fabulous produce and fabulous sharing – Although I felt sorry for the zucchinis. We males sometimes have a tough time.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. SueW says:

    Wonderful photos. You are doing an amazing job Lisa, you must feel very proud of your hard work.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. paolsoren says:

    Oh my. Look at all that produce. So well done.
    Now I admit I have been recalcitrant about looking at your blog. But I am trying to balance the needs of the book I am writing with the main Character, Annie, who wants me to write it all a different way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      Sometimes we’re just busy. I have trouble getting to everyone’s blog, too, not to mention writing once a week, which I did regularly until the past couple years…Thanks for dropping by.

      Like

  8. TanGental says:

    I lifted our onions yesterday and they are drying in the sun. Some potatoes too which have cropped well. The courgettes – zucchini- have been amazing and we are getting lovely custard marrows. No tomatoes yet but lots of fruit coming. Oh and mahusive amounts of green beans and purple mange tout. Well done on all the donations. I’m in awe of your efforts

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You are a real gardener. I was wondering you have a garden in a a city. How do you protect them from thieves and destroying?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Most encouraging results for such a worthwhile project. I don’t know what AFAC stands for, but it seems a shame that they can’t take fresh food at this time – perhaps distribution problems?

    Liked by 2 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      It’s the Arlington Food Assistance Center. They provide supplemental groceries to people in need. Basically, taking in the fresh produce from a lot of different places meant they needed a lot more volunteers in the warehouse than they wanted during the pandemic. They also gave people choices on the veggies and that meant many people lingered during donations, and they wanted to streamline and get people in and out quickly. Fortunately, others took up the slack.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What a fabulous post. So impressed with all that you and the others do. Gives me hope for the world, Lisa. Really and truly.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Eliza Waters says:

    This is an impressive operation, Lisa, and the cause a worthy one. Good work!
    July is shaping up to be one heat wave after another, even here. We got only a one-day reprieve before the next one is upon us. No central air in most New England homes, but I expect that is slowly changing with the climate. Stay safe and cool!

    Liked by 2 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks, Eliza. Luckily I have central air. I am not too susceptible to the heat, which means I rely on those deadly heat warnings now and try to watch the temperature more closely. I drink a lot of iced tea!

      Like

      • Eliza Waters says:

        I have trouble staying hydrated and get light-headed a lot more than I used to. I need to watch the electrolytes! Southern heat would do me in, for sure!

        Liked by 1 person

      • arlingwoman says:

        here’s a hint on hydration. I guzzle 20 oz of water when I get up in the morning. I do the same when I come in from gardening or exercise and the rest of the time I drink a lot of iced tea and other things (lemonade–making your own lemonade is amazing). But I find that the way to get enough (and not be running to the bathroom all the time) is to drink a good amount all at one time.

        Like

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Good tips, thanks – I’ll give it a try!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Tony Payne says:

    I wish our garden was larger and it could be turned over to planting more vegetables. I have grown some potatoes this year, but would love to grow so much more. It’s satisfying when you can harvest your own home grown food, even nicer if you can donate some of it. Really nice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      Hey, thanks for coming by. I have only grown potatoes once and really enjoyed digging them out, but haven’t done it since. I bet the dedicated gardens would make some good potatoes for donation. It IS satisfying to grow your own food. And luckily, we have a long season here, so succession crops are possible.

      Like

  14. Wow, Lisa! This is the work of angels. Congrats. I always knew that you grow for yourself and donate to others, but am pleased to hear more about the donation part. Well done. It msut be such a rewarding thing, though I know it’s hard work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks, Cynthia! The garden is really a pleasure. The hard part is getting the food delivered–just all the organization around that and having someone deliver or pick up. This year was easy–as the other garden site had worked things out and are willing to pick up. It’s good to know it can help feed people and it’s good food.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Brenda says:

    It’s wonderful to see all that bounty being donated. Your garden looks magnificent! We are in the sweet weeks of having a variety of goodies to harvest every morning. Our first tomatoes ripened yesterday! But, the heat and humidity …. holy cow. Feels like Virginia (or the Amazon) in Maine.

    Liked by 2 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      Yes, it’s been really hot here, defined as a few bumps above normal. 8PM last night, I got in my car, which was in shade and it was 98 by the thermometer. Now I know it wasn’t that hot, what with pavement and residual heat, but…hey, the tomatoes love it, so we shouldn’t complain…

      Liked by 1 person

  16. That is one impressive garden I can get nothing to grow. The slugs ate every cucumber I put in the planter bed. I would love to grow veggies to give away if I could get them to grow. Is that the same garden someone drove into a couple of years ago? Not being able to get free food to those in need makes this pandemic even more deplorable. I love the look of all that kale! Wow! You really do have a green thumb and more tolerance for heat than I ever would. Glad you can handle it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      I do love gardening. And yes, it’s the same place the bus drove into! I need to prep a Friday pickup tomorrow evening. Squash, some cucumbers, tomatoes, and okra will go out. Now that kale I can’t take credit for–it’s in my friend Paul’s garden and it’s been given away pretty regularly (I don’t know how he eats that much kale). I welcome anything that adds to our donation poundage!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Sylvie Ge says:

    What a beautiful garden! If you could sell your zucchini in NZ at the moment you would get between 25 and 40 dollars a kilo and this would buy a lot of food for the kids and otherpeoplein need. As for me they have been banned for the time being. They will come back on my plate when they are in season.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Zambian Lady says:

    Those are fresh looking veggies! You are doing a good job of donating the food, but it seems you are really enjoying it. BTW, I know that garden….

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Lavinia Ross says:

    The growing and donating is a great thing, Lisa. Everything looks good!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Such a wonderful labor of love and generosity. I wish you long and great success in giving others, less fortunate, hope and good food fresh food.

    Liked by 1 person

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