Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Countdown to Season’s End

With only 11 days left in the growing season at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden, more and more plots have been cleaned out for the winter. The kids and I are still trying to grow some Fall crops, but the unusually dry Fall has stunted their growth.   I am pleased to report that our recurring thieves did not make another appearance in the last week, so I didn’t have to spend my limited time at the Garden this weekend on repairing their damage.

I have pulled up the sweet potatoes from my and the food pantry plots.   I also made Tyrese harvest his sweet potatoes, which were enormous.  The other boys asked him to share, but I pointed out that he was the one who raised them.  They put them into Tim’s backpack and ran them around the neighborhood to show the other kids.  I have to wonder how many of them made it back home to his kitchen. 
Tim and Teyvian were the only two kids to show up on Sunday.  They wanted to water their Fall crops.  I should have watered mine as well and will have to return this evening to fix that so that my crops can take full advantage of our Indian Summer.  I gave them branches from my Thai pepper plant.  I warned them about how hot the peppers were, but, of course, they had to test my warning.  They were so excited about the pain caused by eating them, that they stuffed the branches into Tim's backpack and ran around the rest of the afternoon showing them off.  Boys.

I also harvested a bag of chili peppers from the food pantry and my plot for our last pepper donation of the year.  I cleaned out all of the summer crops from my plot.  Nothing is left but perennial herbs, Fall crops and some flowers which are still in bloom.  Sadly, the marigolds have not enjoyed our cold snap and have died back a little early this year.

Our food pantry donations are way up this year, but it still makes me very sad that we could have donated another 75 pounds of kale, greens and peppers if those plants had not been vandalized and stolen over the past two months. We will be making additional food pantry deliveries over the next 2-3 weeks.  The last time I was at the LSS Food Pantry, the Upper Arlington Lutheran Church Community Garden had just delivered approximately 100 pounds of beets.  (They grow a lot of food in the field next to their Church.  I can’t help but envy their large debris-free field where there is virtually no crime and where they have lots of volunteers who are not afraid to visit their Garden).

I was also able to make my final visit to Lynd's Orchard last weekend (because my niece's soccer game in Pataskala) to grab some Melrose apples and a large box of hot banana peppers.  I canned apples last week so that I can bake apple crisps in a snap over the next few months.  My next door neighbor is a big fan of Trader Joe’s spicy red pepper jelly, so I made a version of my own with the red banana peppers, a couple of cayenne peppers, a couple of red jalapeno peppers, one roasted red bell pepper and a half-cup of chopped apples (which I had left over from the night before).  I was extremely pleased with the result. 

I wasn’t able to come to the SACG last Saturday as planned.  My 98-year old grandfather died last week and his funeral was Saturday.  He was a WWII army air corps veteran, life-long farmer and coon hunter.  (Yes, he was still hunting at 94 years of age).  He lived on his own farm and drove his own truck until June.   He could still squeeze the breath out of me at his last birthday in August.  He was much loved and will be very missed.  While I was on my way to his visitation, I drove through the middle of my home town on my way to the funeral home.  I could not believe that near the probation department was a Free Little Library, much like our own.  I jogged back there the next morning to take a couple of pictures.  I then learned that the ladies’ club which built and placed this had all of their substantial book collection burned in fire (set by arson) a few months ago in a warehouse just a few blocks away.  When I returned to the SACG, I inspected our Free Little Library and noticed that it was running low on books (particularly adult DIY and cookbooks, Martha Stewart magazines, and small children’s books).   My brother said he had some extra he could donate, but my father refused to part with a single book from his vast library.  Sigh.
I will return to the SACG on Saturday afternoon to make more headway on cleaning out the food pantry and abandoned plots.  I can always use more help.

On Saturday, November 9, 2013, we will be closing the Garden.  Right now, the extended forecast is showing rain, but I’m hoping that will change since we’ve always had glorious weather for our closing day.  We will need help with the following:

·        Draining the rain cisterns;

·        Disconnecting the smaller rain cistern from the downspout;

·        Pruning the black raspberry bushes;

·        Transplanting black raspberry bushes to the empty places along the exterior fence;

·        Pruning our rose bushes;

·        Pruning our four flower beds;

·        Mowing the lawn;
·        Tidying up the shed and cleaning off the tools;

·        Stacking and covering with a tarp our tomato stakes and cages;

·        Harvesting Fall produce for the food pantry/Faith Mission;

·        Picking up litter and emptying the trash cans;

·        Turning the compost/garden waste in our compost bins;

·        Cleaning out the neighbor plots;

·        Cleaning out the raised garden beds;

·        And finishing whatever other projects I’ve forgotten.

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