Church Garden Update

Our church garden is coming along nicely now, producing our first harvests last week. We took squash and cukes to two different organizations. The harvests are still small, but they will grow in size as the plants get bigger. All of the produce from this garden will go to food pantries and meal programs in our area.

We are going to support these tomatoes with a stake and weave system. We are planning to drive the wooden stakes this afternoon and begin weaving the twine. We’ve already driven in metal t-posts at the ends of each row. We have about 100 tomato plants here. The first row is planted in Celebrity and Mountain Spring varieties (shorter vines) and the other two rows are a mix of Better Boy, Whopper, Early Girl, Ramapo and Jetsonic. The indeterminate varieties will have to be pruned more heavily.

The squash are looking good, a mix of yellow straightneck, crookneck, and zucchini. We have about 100 plants.

The squash plants are loaded with blooms and baby squashes.

In another plot (about 30ftx50ft) we have the cucumbers and green beans. These were planted a bit later because the ground was slower to dry out. We’ve got a nice stand of bush beans coming up.

We are hoping to plant some turnips and collard greens for a fall crop, after we pull the bean plants. Our goal is to partner with several agencies and try to tailor the crops we grow to fit their needs. There’s no point in growing a vegetable if no one is going to eat it! We’ve already had one good suggestion for a crop, and that’s okra. It’s easy enough to grow in our climate, though it does need regular harvesting. We will probably plant it next year if the garden continues.

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6 Responses to Church Garden Update

  1. Meredith says:

    Love this demonstration of the Golden Rule in action. 🙂

    And I second the suggestion of okra as a great summer crop: it’s one of the few vegetables with a significant protein content, and as such is perfect for those who struggle to meet their daily nutrition needs. Here it does quite well, and the plants adore the heat, so when many other things are shutting down for the August heatwaves, it keeps right on producing for us.

    • Villager says:

      I didn’t know about the protein content of okra! That is a nice bonus.

      I haven’t grown it since I moved Back Up North (all of 20 miles, mind you), but I will next year. It is unfazed by our summer heat, and will often grow so tall you have to bend down the stalks to harvest it. It is a great addition to vegetable soups, and of course you can’t have gumbo without it! It’s mighty tasty fried too. I like it steamed, though it’s too slimy for some to enjoy that way.

  2. I’ll be curious to see how well the stake and weave system works for you, I’ve never seen it used. It does look easier, and more economical, than making individual cages. It seems the garden will be swimming in squash by mid-summer! I’m always afraid of over planting summer squash, as they tend to be so prolific. Should generate a lot of food for the food pantries though!

    • Villager says:

      The stake and weave system worked great at our MG garden last year. It will be easier and cheaper than making cages, since we made our own oak stakes and the cost for them was zero. I estimate it cost me around $5 per tomato cage to make mine out of concrete reinforcing wire (last year’s figures). If we have any money left in our budget, I would like to make a few cages for next year. That would let us grow a few small-fruited varieties, if nothing else.

  3. LynnS says:

    Dave, the church garden is gorgeous! Love all of the bounty and those straight lines. Someone used stakes-n-string! 😉

    I’m curious to see the weaving support, too — not just for functionality, but beauty, of course.

    The tiny glimpses of the surrounding countryside is a nice treat. I enjoyed our short trip in southern Indiana and found the countryside to be very pretty and clean.

    • Villager says:

      Yes, we used stakes-n-string. I like those rows neat and straight! I’ll try and get some photos of the tomatoes once we get a second or third row of twine strung.

      The spot where we have the garden is an old homestead, surrounded by acres of flat fields that are planted this year in corn. The urban sprawl hasn’t quite reached the farm just yet, but it isn’t far away. It is just a couple of miles from I-164.

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