Saturday, October 26, 2013

less for the flowers, than for what the flowers convey

Chicago Cares, a longtime partner in Ginkgo's mission to grow both food and community, surprised us again with a gift of gardening equipment, including hand tools, tomato stakes, and hoes. The flagship (or perhaps prairie dinghy) of this bounty was a new Ames wheelbarrow, which replaced the barrow that we used until the handles broke. I don't think that anything will break on our new wheelbarrow for a long time.

Ginkgo thanks Chicago Cares for its generous investment in community gardening.

Christmas in September

Some assembly was required. Behind Ivy and Lauren is part of the older wheelbarrow, which we'll find a use for. Few objects leave the garden once they enter it, other than fruits and vegetables.
Five minutes later, this was full of rotting hay for mulching.

Monday, October 21, 2013

i love a parade (September through October)

The parade continues:

September 7 - Cabbage, chard, and surprising lemon cucumbers, though plentiful, are dwarfed by amount of tomatoes and tree fruit that we bring.

September 14 - The peak harvest of this season. For the first time, I have to make two trips to the pantry--one just for apples and pears.

September 21 - A huge day, but we can tell that we're on the other side of the peak. We are happy to bring a small basket of plums. Our trees survived a spring attack of aphids, thanks to the John and Ivy's assiduous applications of Dr. Bronner's soap.

September 28 - Another phenomenal harvest. Thanks to the many volunteers that helped, we managed to pull 63 pounds of pears. I had to go to a backup cart at the pantry.

October 5 - The last hurrah of the sweet peppers. We're starting to pull up plants, seeding their beds with cover crop for the winter.

October 12 -Throughout all of the colorful weeks of late summer, the kale and collards continue to produce.

October 19 - Suddenly, it seems, the end of the season arrives. We harvest the remaining tomatoes and hot peppers before composting the plants. The smaller fig tree's fruit ripens all at once. We're down to our greens, which may not produce enough to justify a delivery next week.

The first freeze of the year is predicted to occur this week. The City is set to shut off our tap water supply at any time.

We'll probably still be out at the garden for a few more weekends, until our knuckles start to bleed from the wind and cold. We still need to bury the fig trees and prepare the garden for winter.

i love a parade (June through August)

One benefit of being remiss with regular blog updates is that I get to post an entire season's pictures at once. Following are photos of the bike cart as it became increasingly laden through the season, as well as the how the garden's produce appeared after I arranged it for the pantry.

The pantry volunteers have started to tease me about the growing fussiness with which I market the fruit and vegetables from the garden. I now do everything except photograph a handful of tomatoes being tossed through a sheet of water.

June 1 - radishes and flowering chives

June 8 - radishes and greens

June 15 - greens, peas, roses, and flowering herbs

June 22: It is not until you grow oregano that you realize how lovely the herb is in flower.

June 29 - The greens begin to arrive in earnest.

July 6 - Our boxes stack three high in the delivery cart.

July 13 - Greens, radishes, raspberries, and peas begin to crowd the market cart.

July 20 - Kale and collards are the quiet folk at the party over whose shoulders everyone peers, wondering when the tomatoes will show. They'll stay around and help rearrange the furniture long after the tomatoes have moved on to the next thing.

July 27 - Heads of lettuce, kale, beets, gooseberries, and the first of (frustratingly) only a half dozen heads of broccoli that we will eventually harvest this season. An hour before these pictures were taken, these vegetables and fruit were still in the ground or on a bush.

August 3 - Nearly 20 pounds of kale and other greens are overshadowed by a small basket's worth of cherry tomatoes.

August 10 - Our harvest has started to diversify, with beans, turnips, and carrots joining the weekly bounty of greens. Sick of the way that the wandering onions were taking over part of the garden, we harvested them all. They taste similar to shallots.

August 17 - Artichokes, beans, tomatoes, purple carrots, chard, kale, collards, and garlic chives

August 24 - Pole and bush beans, tomatoes, cabbages, and the stalwart kale

August 31 -  Tigger melons, the first apples of the year, a few cucumbers, and our kale and collards. Of more interest, of course, are the tomatoes.