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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Just a little video about the success of our GARDEN by Alma Schneider

Cucumber O' the bounty!

Garden update from Farmer Joan:
Sorry I am so late in providing an update but it seems appropriate given the delay in my garden, as the seedlings so graciously provided In the spring are just now reaching their garden peak. (They were replanted in my garden from a neighbor who was part of the High Street "team.")Although I've been gardening now for 5 or 6 years I still consider myself a perennial beginner, and am constantly humbled by both my errors of judgement as well as my triumphs.As usual, while others savor ripe red tomatoes mine are mostly green. I once again must face the question, to ripen on the windowsill or hope that enough sun remainsto reach that beautiful red while on the vine. Also have had bugs invade my squash plants once again - huge plants but nothing grew.(Any advice on this? It's become a yearly disappointment,) Peppers, eggplant also still not ready for the picking. Beets still growing underground,Some lovely greens, beans, lots of herbs, and a bumper crop of cucumbers. I've just purchased a juicer, after hearing raves from friends, and I must say there is nothing that beats a fresh picked smoothiefor breakfast. (I've been adding Jersey berries or peaches.) I am sending a few photos, and would welcome input on the tomato question. Brown bag it, put in a sunny spot inside, Or leave and hope for the best? I expect to be keeping my hands dirty through the Fall.

 Read Joan's posting on her cucumber adventures, her inspiration from our dear late friend Johanna and a couple of great recipes. 

The Lone Mater. All advise on increasing bounty greatly appreciated Joan Hocky

Spanikopita using garden greens - yum! Joan Hocky grows, cooks, eats..

Late afternoon picking for late summer dinner from Joan Hocky

Monday, August 26, 2013

stir fry makes younger people (kids) enjoy veggies more. it tastes real yummers with some soy sauce!!
by Tal-Rex----age 12

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How does your Garden grow?

Mid August, mixed results:
My more shaded garden in a new raised bed has the mystery squash plant taking over the world.
Wild and gorgeous squash, lots of flowers but no fruit
Can you spot lavender, mint, cherry tomatoes, grape vine, nasturtiums? There are also some pepper plants in there somewhere. This spot is shady until noon.

Meanwhile over in the sunny, official vegetable patch.......

This garden had to recover from the crafty groundhog who got around all the fencing and stripped it almost bare. A couple of weeks post groundhog and one feeding later (I used an organic herb and vegetable solution in lots of water) eggplants are producing, tomatillos have flourished, I have one squash variety unknown and the world's saddest tomato collection (almost nil but a few brave romas coming in).

It appears the tomatoes prefer a little less intense sun, comments, thoughts welcome.

Post your gardening results, the triumphs, the tragedies, the inbetweens.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tomorrow's Plant Swap Will Also Feature A Mini Bake Sale!

We're so excited for tomorrow's Plant Swap!

We'll also be hosting a small bake sale. Proceeds will be used to support Montclair Township Animal Shelter. Munch on cookies or a slice of citrus blueberry bundt cake as you swap seedlings!

See you soon...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

More seedlings coming in, this time from the lovely Ms Elizabeth

Pattypan, Zucchini, Bell Peppers and Tomatoes see below for a sampling...........

4' x4' raised bed, food for a family before and after pics - GO ANNIE J!

A neat square of soil, ready for sowing.

1 month later, radishes ready to be harvested - YUMMY!

Scrumdiddly seedlings ready to be potted up for the swap, come and get them this Saturday!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

One more report.......

Efforts somewhat thwarted by too much shade and the late cold snap

Further seedling status updates

From another Fullerton Family, different part of town tho'.

Don't these look ravishing!

Potty for Pots

Come and get yourself some of these this Saturday, May 18th 2-5pm
 Urban Farm at Crane House, 108 Orange Road, Montclair NJ 07042

thank you Sharon and Maya!

Squash, just one of these will keep you in squash all summer long!

Tomatoes and Peppers, look small now but just wait and watch these grow and feed you!

How does your garden grow?



Tuesday, May 7, 2013

From NYT: Urban Gardening: An Appleseed With Attitude

Reading and watching this now:

From NYT Article on Ron Finely: Last winter at TED, the annual ideas confab in Long Beach, his rousing 10-minute talk about guerrilla gardening in low-income neighborhoods was the hug-your-neighbor presentation of the week, and Mr. Finley was suddenly the man to meet. 

“South Central Los Angeles [is the] home of the drive-thru and the drive-by. Funny thing is, the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.” ~ Ron Finley

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Call to Art

Fellow guerrillas we need lots and lots of art to promote our 

Seedling Swap, Saturday May 18th 2-5pm. Tomorrow I will confirm the venue. 

Meanwhile please recruit your good selves, partners, friends, offspring and others artistically inclined to be ready to make a myriad of posters to spread the word around town. 

We are looking for:
posters with details of the swap - to be confirmed tomorrow 
signs to identify the seedlings by vegetable and variety

anything from this

run, don't walk to the Guerrilla Gardening Seedling Swap etc.

to this

 or wherever else your artistic inclination takes you

As soon as we have details, everyone please get busy postering and telling people, tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your cat, tell your cat to tell your neighbor's cat.

Vive la veggie révolution, mes petit choux!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Getting your Raised Beds Ready

For those planting out in a raised bed now is your moment to put the thing together. If you do you can direct plant radish, beet and carrot seeds now and beans in a few short weeks.

Don't let the critters get you down by chomping on your beloved veggie babies.

I put up an ever so simple barrier of cheap and not so beautiful 'yard guard' from home depot.

Here are some of the many items you can use, mine is supported with some strategically placed wooden posts and over generous use of a staple gun. I also made the world's simplest gate although, at the low height of my fence, I more often climb over the fence instead of opening it.

Also see the wonderful gardens constructed and planted out by a great organization who grow for food pantries and soup kitchens in the area.

A Lot To Grow Garden, note arcs supporting protection.

Usually keeps out everyone.

Called rabbit proof but the groundhogs can't read so they stay away too. For true groundhog protection you will be getting into trenching and lining the bottom of your bed with chicken wire. You should be just fine with this though.

Will also do the job nicely.

Seedling Swap May 18th 2-5pm - SAVE THE DATE

Well, my fellow guerrilla gardeners the time is approaching for the seedling swap. 

To reiterate: the seedlings you are growing include keeping enough for yourselves. The remainder are for the community swap, for most people that would be two thirds of the seedlings.

We will need volunteers for set up and for the swap itself a sign up sheet will go out as soon as we confirm the venue.

The afternoon will be great fun with people on hand to offer advise and guidance.

Our next step is to explore the guerrilla side of our project, 'finding' unused spaces where we can put some plants beyond our own and other people's homes.

Have a look at these fun locations from around the world. 

A new meaning to the term wallflower

Newspapers  are so last year.

Repurpose those shoes

So cool for a wall anywhere!

all those little roadside spots, hungering for plantings

Stealth Planting

Wouldn't it be lovely to be greeted by sunflowers along Bloomfield Avenue and other main streets. 

Potting Up

So many have been delighted to have their seeds grow into little plants and now they are bursting at the seams of the starter pots so it is time to 'pot them up' to give more room for them to grow.

Blimey! It's getting a little tight in here!

Take your larger pots (if they are new just use them, if they are being reused it is a good idea to clean in a bleach and then rinse them off).

Fill pots with either left over seed starter mix or potting soil, whichever you have to hand. Make a hole in the center of the soil mix.


Tomato Plant, note roots dangling at bottom
Carefully place plant in hole so roots go down
Plant tomato soil covering stem ALL THE WAY TO FIRST TWO LEAVES

NOTE: You will get a much sturdier tomato plant is you do this as the whole buried stem will create roots.

Gently pat in soil around plant so plant is firmly in place.

Pot up all your squash, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants when they are ready, you can also pot up leafy greens or, when it comes time for the swap you can wrap them in newspaper cups. 

You won't need to remove the newspaper when you plant them out as it will decompose. If you make a firm base add some drainage holes. 

Here are a couple of pics of pots made:

and here is link with step by step how to make them: How to Make newspaper pots

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Find Us on Facebook!

Hi All,

A quick post to let you all know that we're now on Facebook! Facebook users, please like our page and we'll be looking forward to sharing pictures, insights and experiences over there too!

Looking forward to watching it all unfurl in the sun (and other weather conditions).

So helpful - sorting seeds.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Domes, fences and watering tips

The domes are here. For all of you with sprouted seedlings which will need more room, please plan to stop by this weekend to pick up the clear plastic domes which can cover your seedlings to create a handy dandy heat and moisture protector for their growing environment.

Also remember it is best to water up i.e. water into the tray and the plants can draw up as much as they need rather than watering onto the starter mix directly.

For those planting out directly, if you need a fence, now is when you need it. Groundhogs, deer, bunnies and other critters just love those new little leaves so get the guard up before they can graze, munch and generally wreak havoc. 

Confessions of negligence

'tis true, as I was busy tending to my human babies (not so babies really), I forgot to water my little green babies and I may have to bid farewell to my arugula. Your illustrious leader shares this tragic tale in the hopes that you do not follow my lead.

When your seedlings graduate from the protection of their covered home in the basement to the great, outdoors while hardening, off remember to water them more frequently.

Cutie Patootie Sprouts!

I'm having fun with Instagram.  These little guys are so cute!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Herbs on our windowsill!

 On behalf of all of us at Partners for Health, I'd like to thank all of the brave "pioneers" who have taken on the challenge of growing veggies and herbs from seeds.  We'll be eager to read of your successes, and to learn from things that don't work out so well.   

And with Melina's encouragement, the Foundation office is also getting involved with pots planted with Rosemary and Dill that we will tend on one of our windowsills.  The first step, picking up supplies from Melina's garage last Saturday, where I met Monica Rawicz (pictured with Melina) and Matt Johnson and Linda Pasternack, and we bonded over anxiety and excitement about getting our hands dirty.

We'll keep you posted on our progress! 

-- Pam Scott

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mapping It Out

Hooray for Graph Paper!

I forgot to post this photo on Sunday - maybe the most useful thing to me.  Melina mentioned that she "mapped out" her seeds so she could remember what was planted where.  And when I read the guidelines, they had a cool map of a 4x4 plot and how to space the plants.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am hesitant and insecure - at least until I "wrap my head around it!"  So, being the planner that I am, I mapped out my seed trays and my garden plot before I did anything.  I know, it seems like overkill, but it works for me.

I love this blog and the ability to share ideas, concerns, successes and failures!  Thanks Melina!

(Oh, one more thing, the other thing that works pretty well for me is my handy hubby, who put up the fence around the outdoor garden plot and helped haul the compost from the woods.)  ;-)

Seed Planting Planning.  AKA, Wrapping My Head Around It!
~ Laura Torchio
The Hesitant Gardner

Monday, April 15, 2013

My daughter Maya and I arrived at Melina's house just past the designated pick-up window--we were very excited pulling up, and within 3 minutes felt overwhelmed by the various seeds and supplies in front of us.  This is a completely new venture, although judging by the myriad of books I own on container gardening, it's clearly been on my mind and my list for the past 15 years.  Luckily, Melina showed up and saved the day (although I can only say we were just slightly less overwhelmed leaving her house with a trunk full of seeds and containers!).

Maya and I set out to plant seeds on Sunday, while my husband Rich put together the raised bed. Since we don't have a lot of spare space, we opted for the "dining room table by the sunny doors" method, which I continue to question.  How much sun are these seeds actually going to get? Enough sun comes in that way that it ruined a painting we had up on the wall, but is that enough to sprout seeds??  I have no idea.  Other questions that came up--are we supposed to push the seeds in and/or cover them with more soil after we miraculously manage to get them into the little cups? And, is it ok to start summer squash in this way, or should they be planted in the ground (or in our case, the raised bed)?  And about those raised beds, we've placed it in our patio area, but it seems that we should be putting some kind of cover on the bluestone before we put the soil down. . .

Despite all these questions, it's been a lot of fun so far.  Tomorrow I plan on planting herbs in the hanging baskets, and hope to fill the raised bed with soil and begin planting the seeds that appear to be ok to plant at this time.


i thought it would be fun. easy. a great project for me and my son. Like baking (which we like to do) but with photosynthesis!

it's fun and a great project- but really? easy? I am waiting on that one.

Since I didn't manage to do the seeds during the day, my bathtub became the staging area, and a plastic trash bin the mixing pot.

First- how do you get the dirt into those little cups? I realized that it's not like cupcake tins (or more precisely, popover tins). After trying to fill a bunch one at a time, I just dumped dirt on top and spread it around.

and then- fill 3/4 of the way. Well, as most bakers would say- is that 3/4 packed or 3/4 lightly dumped?

And then the seeds! Somehow you never think what fiddly little things seeds are. Seriously. Go cut open a tomato and try to envision a packet of them. How do you get just one bell pepper seed or tomato seed in each cup? Seriously? How? And the packet of thyme came with a packet in a packet. They were the size of a pinhead. (We did our best, but I think we'll be splitting alot of those seedlings!)

I thought I'd need to use the provided light source (thanks to our thoughtful leader Melina!) but realized I HAD the perfect source- my front porch. South facing, fronted on east, west, and south by windows, it gets tons of natural light and warms right up. Like a greenhouse, really.

So... now we wait.

(How often do we water, anyway? Totally dry? Sort of dry? Everyday?

seeds have been planted, last week planted lettuce mix in container....things are popping up....keep them in the shade...can't wait....most of the herbs were planted last week,,,,,have a few more to do when the sun comes out and gets warmer....noticed that the parsley has started to come up.....a few tomatoes have started to show their little tops, .....this is the easy part.....when things start growing out of their little jiffy pots, you either have to put them in a bigger pot or find a place in the ground......but remember things have been cool and in this area they say this best time to plant is after mother's day.......if you have any can contact the Master Gardeners of Essex County M-F 10am-2pm (Roseland) they have a great volunteer staff looking for any challenges you have for them. (and it's free)...they also have soil test kits ($20) to test your garden send to Rutgers for a nice lab report that tells you a ton of stuff....nows the time to do it.....looking foward to the plant exchange....i have peppers (hot&sweet), tomatoes, cuc, melon (musk)....maybe a few others....will see....let's hope for some warmer weather....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

mixing the "dirt"

Day 1: Soil & Seeds

Well, here goes.  I had a garden about 15 years ago and each spring, I started off with a lot of momentum and enthusiasm only to let the weeds and the deer take over.  But this time it's different, right?  Right?

pre-seedlings under the light
I have a great room with a lot of daylight so I think the seeds will do fine - so my contribution to the "swap" will be A-OK.

The outdoor plot is an experiment.  I'll go out again tomorrow and water.  I'll put up a fence.  I'll weed.  And then we'll see how I do.  I may become a Guerrilla Gardener, yet!

Wishing everyone good luck and good fun!

~Laura Torchio
feet up on the garden plot