Thursday, September 23, 2010

Seeds go in, fruits come out

How nice it is to step outside early in the morning and feel the cool fresh air! The midday heat is no longer relentless. We do desperately need rain though! I have tried to start lettuce in the STARworks garden twice now, and can't keep up with the watering - resulting in only a few plants coming up. However, my garden at home receives some shade and retains water better, so I'm putting my bets on those beds to give us the first taste of some tender greens. Carrots, bunching onions and some radishes and lettuces have already sprouted. I spent this morning turning the last available beds and sowing more lettuce, spinach and arugula. Keeping fingers crossed - and watering the garden overnight with drip hoses every other week or so...
Eggplants are still producing good at STARworks garden, they seem to especially love the bed I planted them in - full sun, and no competition from tomatoes or other crops. There is a problem with pests, mostly lacebugs. Those buggers had just covered lots of the more tender top leaves. I mostly avoid using chemicals for pest control, but this time decided that the small cap full of Pyrethrin, sold for use in home gardens, was worth trying. So, I sprayed them early last week, being careful not to get the solution anywhere where it was not needed. Inspection this week shows, that it helped reduce the bug populations to where hand picking and squishing the bugs will now be possible.
Our Oil Seed Garden is starting to look rather ragged... I decided to take down the gigantic sunflowers this week and had to use a saw to cut through the stems that were almost as thick as my 11 year olds arms...
Some of the seed heads were huge and heavy too.
Under the sunflowers there were a few cotton plants that had grown quite beautifully! I had thought we lost them - they were so slow to grow and did not look promising in the spring. But whaddayaknow:) Cotton has beautiful shy blooms - we have an old timey variety that blooms in shades of creamy yellow and purplish pink.
The pods that later pop open to reveal a fluffy cotton ball are beautiful too - they remind me of hazelnuts.
Another oil seed plant that I started on a whim is sesame. I'd never seen a sesame plant, and I LOOOOOOOVE the seeds, so I decided to throw a handful of brown sesame seeds from Grand Asia Market in our oilseed bed - and wow. The plants have grown taller than me, and are full of pods, which are full of seeds (I've checked!). The plants are so long and gangly (and still keep blooming) that I have to figure out a way to support them until the pods ripen. By the way, the plants smell wonderful if brushed against!

As we are gearing up for another Annual Gathering here at STARworks - there is plenty to do in the garden to get it ready...
Now, if only we'd get some rain!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Old debts and great news

Let's start with great news!
Montgomery county elementary schools are getting more fresh fruits and veggies to our kids!

Old debt...
This past summer STARworks Garden hosted a Star Library Reading program, where we explored the garden and tried to draw and paint from nature. Adam blogged about it here.
I'll add more pictures:)