Sunday, September 30, 2012

Victory Garden 2012 Log - September 10

Shovel Sharpening

Master Gardener Gary Ankney covered the oft-neglected topic of caring for our gardening tools.  Proper maintenance means a longer, and more useful life for them.

Hinkel Hatz Pepper - A Pennsylvania Dutch Heirloom
One of our classmates shared her bounty from the hot Hinkel Hatz pepper plants she bought at our plant sale in May.  Seeds were originally supplied by Dr. Doris Goldman of the Historic Four-Square Garden at the Renfrew Institute several years ago, and we've been growing them, and saving their seeds annually since.  From the SlowFoods Web site linked above:
Named by its Pennsylvania Dutch* growers, the ‘Hinkelhatz’ is a rare heirloom pepper which translates to “chicken heart,” a description of its size and shape. The variety is one of the oldest preserved by this group of Mennonites, cultivated for well over 150 years.  It was illustrated in Charles L’Ecluse’s 1611 Curae Posteriores, though without a mentioned origin (presumed to be Mexico).  The peppers are usually red or yellow, though a very rare orange variant exists preserved among a small group of Mennonite farmers in Maxatawy, Pennsylvania and is slightly more toplike in shape.
More at the link.  Here's a recent human interest story from the local newspaper article (Hagerstown Herald Mail) on the Four-Square Garden.

The rest of the day was spent harvesting the last of the tomatoes, peppers, etc. - everything but the sweet potatoes, and cleaning up the garden.

Harvesting nasturtiums ...

Tomatoes ...

The last zuke ...

Squash blossoms ...

Putting bean poles away ...

Roping off the No-Till area.

Compost material ...

More compost material ...

Adding to the compost piles ...

Cleaning up the No Till area ...

Sweet potatoes awaiting the last week harvest.

Harvest 4-Health 2012 - New Franklin and St. Thomas

In 2012, Franklin County Master Gardeners and the 4-H program expanded our efforts of 2011 at Thaddeus Stevens Elementary, to gardens at the New Franklin Elementary School and St. Thomas Elementary School.

Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar on Parsley
Here are pictures taken by First Grade teacher, Kathy Goetz, of her garden at the New Franklin Elementary School, which included pollinator plants supplied by us and the Natural Conservation and Resource Service of USDA.

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar on Balloon Milkweed
Kathy writes:
I wanted to thank you for the plants you gave us last spring for the New Franklin School Garden.

Buckeye Butterfly
I saw a lot more butterflies this summer. We had lots of buckeye butterflies. The balloon milkweed attracted some monarch caterpillars, and I found a swallowtail caterpillar on the parsley.

The cook, Susie Faust, made cabbage rolls for the students to try from a cabbage grown in the garden.

She also made butternut squash (grown in the garden) using garlic seasoning, some peppers from the garden, olive oil and black pepper. It was really good. The trick was getting students to try it, but once they did most of them liked it.

Butternut Squash
Last week we went out to dig up our carrots. I had given the students little paper bags for their carrots. They soon found ripe tomatoes and green peppers. They held their bags open as they asked for tomatoes and peppers to take home. It felt like Halloween, except I was handing out vegetables instead of candy!
Elsewhere, Penny Sanders at the St. Thomas School, also started a vegetable garden with elementary school kids.  They also created a website, documenting their efforts. Here's an excerpt, but go to the link to follow their spring-summer progress:
This garden was proposed by Christine Palmer (Fourth Grade Teacher) and Penny Sanders (Kindergarten Teacher). Both teachers wanted to extend the classroom learning experience and felt a garden would be a great way to enhance concepts being taught in science. It was also a great way to follow up on nutritional facts being taught through the lunch and snack programs at St. Thomas.

It goes to show how enthusiasm for a subject can do wonders toward accomplishing a goal - something that, absence its presence, can often lead to sowing seed on rocky ground. Who knows what will bloom from the seeds that have been planted in the minds of this new generation.

The Thaddeus Stevens effort has also expanded along with the Kids Learning After School (KLAS) program to include the Ben Chambers Elementary School, and I'll have pictures and another blog post documenting the 2012 efforts there in a future post.

Much thanks to the MG Harvest 4-Health Team for all their hard work and the volunteer hours in support.

Victory Garden 2012 Log - September 4th

MG Jane Krumpe on Edible Landscaping

Today was quite a day with 2 speakers and a lot of clean-up and harvesting.

Our first speaker was Jane Krumpe, a master gardener who offered an alternative to conventional ornamental landscaping, yet produces fruits and vegetables for home use. A plan can incorporate simple elements into a already existing landscape or install an entirely edible landscape.

The scope is only limited by your imagination, culinary desires and environmental conditions. Rosalind Creasy's books on this subject are a good source.

MG Bill Dorman with Egyptian Walking Onion Sets

The second presentation was by Bill Dorman, also a master gardener, who shared with us his knowledge of hard neck garlic, Multiplier onions, and Egyptian Walking onions

Since they can be planted in October, now was a good time to learn about them. Multiplier onions produces more than one bulb per plant, and these bulbs can be replanted or eaten (the plant does not produce seed). They are harvested in July, dried on racks, and stored. Egyptian Walking onions produce bulblets on top of stalks. The bulblets, stalks and below ground bulb are edible. The heavier top pulls the plant down and they seed in the nearby area. This process causes plants to "walk" further and further away from where they started. Hard neck garlic was also shown. Bill shared his harvest with all the participants.
Cold Frame Built from Scrap Window Frame
Bill also showed us the value of a cold frame, how to construct one, where to place it, and what to plant in it.

Hardneck Garlic Heads
Multiplier Onions
Bill also showed us how to save tomato seeds

Tomato Seeds Fermenting
Dorman Tennessee Oxhearts
Look for Dorman Tennessee Oxhearts at the Plant Sale next May.

Harvesting Potatoes

Harvesting Potatoes

In the garden we harvested potatoes, (Kennebec and Pontiacs) ...

MG Mary Crooks and Eggplants
Eggplants ...

Harvesting Turnips

Turnips ...

Harvesting Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash ...

Cleaning up Corn Stalks
Pretty Good Harvest

Friday, September 28, 2012

Not Triffids, Tribbles

Back in June, I showed you pictures of the weird and wonderful Cardoon plant that overwintered at the John Brown House historic vegetable garden, and flowered this year.

Cardoon Seed Pod
Here are what the seed pods look like.

They remind me of the cute and cuddly but overly fecund friends from The Trouble with Tribbles episode of the original Star Trek series.

There's an invasive species message in there somewhere.

After the first frost in a few weeks, we'll cut back the foliage, and mulch these guys well and see if we can keep them going into 2013.  Even if not, we were able to collect enough seed to have plenty of plants for the next couple years for our efforts here and at Renfrew, plus leftovers for the plant sale.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Art from the Heart

While looking for the mosquito video on the Public Opinion web site, I came across another video from Penn State Extension here in Franklin County for the Art from the Heart fund raiser for the Therapeutic Riding Center, a part of Penn State Extension's 4-H Program here in Franklin County.  2012 is the 30th anniversary of the program.

This year, the horses got involved.  I talked with Stephanie Corum about the project and she tells me that it's Bridgette's tail, and James Bond's hoof (we think) in the video, but that all the horses will have artwork available at the sale.  Come out and buy works from struggling artists like Bridgette and her stable mates Silver, Woody, Patrick, Reno and Teddy and support Franklin County's Therapeutic Riding Center.

When:  Sunday, September 23rd from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Where:  Chambersburg Country Club
3646 Scotland Road
Chambersburg, PA 17202

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Targeting West Nile

Intrepid reporter from the local newspaper The Public Opinion, Jim Hook, videotaped the Franklin County West Nile team during the preparations for, and start of spray operations in Quincy Township on Wednesday, September 12th.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Franklin County Garden Treasures - 2012 Fall Garden Tour

It's not too late!

Tomorrow, Sunday, September 9th from noon to 5 p.m., Franklin County Master Gardeners present their annual garden tour, (click on the link for pictures and posts from previous years.)

This year, the theme is “Franklin County Garden Treasures” featuring gardens in the Fayetteville, Mont Alto and Penn National areas.

Seven gardens will be featured this year, with a wide variety of sizes and styles. Rough and uneven landscaping may be encountered, and so comfortable, low-heeled walking shoes are recommended. Tickets are $10 per person and include site directions and garden descriptions.

Tickets are available at each of the gardens, so you can start anywhere on the tour.
MG Jean Schlecht Garden
Penn National gardens will include those of Patti Nitterhouse and Dennis Zimmerman, Jean and Carmen Patten, Jean and Ron Schlecht and the Penn National Community Gardens.

Nitterhouse/Zimmerman Garden
Other Fayetteville locations include Salinda and Ralph Feldman in the Conocodell neighborhood and the Norlo Park garden maintained by the Conococheague Audubon Society. The final garden in the tour will be the Arboretum on the campus of Penn State Mont Alto.

With a variety of garden sizes and styles, “Franklin County Garden Treasures” will serve as inspiration for area gardeners planning their next year’s gardens. Visitors may view the gardens in any order, throughout the afternoon.

Victory Garden 2012 Log - August 27

MG Barb Petrucci

We were treated to a demonstration on herbs by Master Gardner, Barb Petrucci. She brought in a number of samples from her garden including dill, parsley, oregano, basil, salad burnet, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, etc. Handouts were available on herbs that attract beneficial insects, such as anise, borage, dill, fennel, feverfew, yarrow, etc., cooking with herbs, and a herb reference chart.

Harvesting and Pulling Bush Beans
We are now starting to put the garden to bed for the winter. Because we are not continuing the victory garden through the winter, some of our plants are being pulled and put into the compost pile, to support next year's plantings.

Harvesting and Removing Pole Beans
Harvesting Butternut Squash

We did pick off the last of our green beans and pole beans while we were removing the plants.

Because the class ends in a few weeks, some vegetables that normally would be harvested later, are being harvested now, such as the winter squash and turnips.

Buckwheat - A Summer Cover Crop

A cover crop of buckwheat is doing well.

More on cover crops here.

Cayenne Peppers
We are still harvesting tomatoes, basil, swiss chard, beets, and peppers.

Green Stink bug Nymph
Green Stink bug Nymph
 We did find an unwanted guest, a green stink bug (Acrosternum hilare) nymph.