Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Roosevelt Volunteers

On Thursay July 12th a group of students from Roosevelt University dropped in for a workday with John and Susan.  The hard working volunteers helped with an expansive community trash/recycling pick up that spanned all of Kenmore, down along the cemetery wall south of Irving Park Rd. and north to the park at the intersection of Buena and Kenmore.
During the trash pick up the volunteers found many items that add a little intrigue and possibly horror to the the neighborhood.  Many many cigarette butts are too be expected, but what about a hammer, mangled lingerie and a baby stroller?  What happens here at night is your business Buena Park.  BTW, we kept the hammer.
 Other volunteer tasks included turning compost, sifting compost, collecting dried coriander from our spent cilantro plants, planting some warm weather plants like New Zealand Spinach, mulching between the beds, weeding, tying tomatoes up, and much more.

Special thanks to Freedom Nguyen for coordinating the event and to the volunteers for their hard work.  Ginkgo is open to anyone who wants to drop in and lend a hand on our workdays.  We hope to see some of these faces return.
A closing note:  I have fallen behind on updating the blog lately and I appreciate the patience of the Roosevelt volunteers as well as any avid fans of the blog.  I promised these students that I would make them famous on the blog and now I've kept my word.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ginkgo Organic Garden Party and Hootenanny

There ain't no party like an organic garden party, cause an organic garden party's got crops.

Come hang out with Ginkgo after the harvest/workday on Saturday to enjoy a bite and socialize. We welcome guests to bring something to share: Food/Beverages/Enthusiasm. There will be shade, grills, meats, veggies, snacks, and I've heard rumors of a swimming pool*.
Tell your friends, especially if they have volunteered with us in the past.

Ginkgo over and out.

*Exaggerations are common when describing swimming pools.
             4055 N Kenmore Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60613
When: Saturday 21 July.  Around 1p... give or take

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Boys to the Right.

The heat finally broke and it is good.  Somehow it seems like a turning point in the season.  It feels like the second half of the season is about to begin, as if the All-Star break is over and we will be getting some of our old players off the DL.  There are plenty of crops that are done for the season.  Benched until next year, but then again we have things to look forward to.

Soon we will have enough pole beans to start donating and these cabbages are looking good. We were surprised to find a couple of delicious large cucumbers growing. Last weekend we were looking at all sorts of crops that are almost there.  The words, "one more week" were in the air.  One more week and those gooseberries'll be ready.

And a side note: Has anyone noticed a strong trend of the male volunteers standing in a bunch in the back right corner of our group photos.  Myself included-- Just an interesting trend.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Yields to date

This afternoon, on the hottest day of the year so far, I started to update the garden yield spreadsheet for the 2012 growing season. The graphs that compare annual yields won’t be ready for some time; however, I can state the following:
  1. We made our first delivery to the pantry this year on May 26. Although we only brought a few pounds of radishes and handfuls of herbs, we have not harvested this early in the season since 2008. 
  2. 2012 is the year of the radish. Our current yield of 42 pounds is the largest since we’ve been recording. If only radishes were as enjoyable to eat as they are to grow.  
  3. Our current yields for lettuce (20 pounds), sweet peas (9.5 pounds), and raspberries (12 pounds) compare well with those of prior years. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ratatouille and the Bacchanal Nature of Peavines

When stepping off the sidewalk onto the stone path shaded below the Ginkgo tree in front of the garden it is not uncommon to feel a certain lightness and relief from the humidity and berating sun.  It is easy to see that while the rest of us are sweating our ways through a heatwave and black-tar-to-the-soles-of-your-shoes days, the Garden is unfazed and enjoying the rays.  There is something about the place that makes the heat less oppressive.  Maybe it's the lack of pavement, or the mouthfulls of hosewater.  It could be the unrepentant snacking on sweet peas, russet belted apples and berries, but I think it's something in the compost.  
Although we don't see them in stores,
russet skinned apples are fine to eat and, like ours, often delicious.

Vines are the undisputed givers of life.   Bachus,
 the god of wine and fertility, spent plenty of time  in vineyards,
but for my money, the pea-vine is where the real business happens.

That's where eggplants come from.  This time of year I look 
around the garden and see ratatouille  in it's infancy.  
A small group of rugged volunteers pulled in the harvest and
basked in the sunshine.
We may never know what  the main draw to the garden is,
 but I think it's the mouthfulls of hosewater.