The Thrill of Victory (and the Agony of Defeat)

We had a good turnout for our October meeting and harvest dinner. We had a ton of delicious food. Stayed tuned for recipes in future posts!

Our Harvest Potluck

At our meeting, we discussed our successes and failures in the garden this season. It was a time for bragging (a little bit) and a time to get some suggestions for avoiding problems next year.

Laura showing off her flint corn.

Laura started off by showing off the beautiful flint corn that her husband, Scott, grew in their community garden. This was the third year Scott grew flint corn for making cornmeal and it was the best year yet. The seed was Organic Garland Flint Corn Seed sourced from Butterworks Farm. 

Terry and Reggie had good success with greens in their garden this year but the peas and the radishes did not do well. They had lots of foliage but did not form vegetables. It was suggested that they might have too much nitrogen in their garden which is why the plants produced a lot of leaves. A soil test would be a good idea for next year.

Karen is an avid weeder and likes a nice, clean garden. This year, she was careful to mow around the edges of her community garden and that helped cut down considerably on her weed issues. She had problems with her brussel sprouts. They did not form many buds and then the buds were not tight. It was suggested that she top off the plant once it grows to a nice size and that will force the plant to concentrate it’s energy in forming buds and not growing taller.

Eve and Mike did very well with garlic this year. Steve agreed that it was a good year for his garlic as well! Eve and Mike’s challenge this year that they were  harvesting carrots that seemed healthy had many “fingers” attached. The advice given was that their soil might be too rich which encourages excessive growth. Not enriching the soil and planting the carrots in the same place next year might take care of the problem. In addition, Mike HATES to thin carrots and carefully transplants seedlings evenly spaced into the garden. Karen suggested that he get coated seeds so that he can easily see them and just plant the seeds a normal distance apart rather than going through the trouble of transplanting. Mike was thrilled!

The group helped troubleshoot problems.

John shared his experiments using his Brix Refractometer which tests the sugar content of fruits and vegetables. Healthier, more nutritious foods often have a higher Brix reading. John shared his discovery of a beautiful pear tree he found by the Merrimack Courthouse that was loaded with fruit. Jonathan already had gleaned some of those delicious pears!

Steve had a huge harvest of garlic this year, but it was a bad year for tomatoes. Next year, he is rotating his crops again and using copper sulfide as a preventative measure. Copper Sulfide is an organic treatment for many plant diseases.

Jonathan didn’t garden much this year but his Bhutanese tenants did garden in his backyard. Hurricane Irene blew down a big maple in his yard and although he is sad for the tree, he is happy he will have  a lot more sun in the yard and plans to expand his garden next year.

Claudia had cutworm trouble but just kept on replanting, and replanting, and replanting until the cutworms gave up! Her big victory this year is that her fig trees produced luscious figs this year. She had so many, she had to freeze some.

Jeff had a “Fair Season” and was especially happy with his Purple Royalty Beans which grew in a relatively shady part of his garden. His Calendula did very nicely and he had great kale.

John had a good year for weeds! He stopped weeding about July 4th and then the garden got away from him. In spite of it all, he was still able to harvest a good amount of produce. Judy shared that she puts landscape cloth down in her paths and lots of straw mulched on her beds and this was the first year she didn’t have to fight the weeds in her garden.

Judy said that ” I harvested advice from CCOG!”. Her big success this year was her crop of gourds. She grew about 20 gourds and looks forward to creating vessels with her treasures.

Peg and Nicki had a banner year for butternut squash and cucumbers. They kept a few for themselves and donated the rest to the Friendly Kitchen. They were amazed by how much they had to offer!

Marie had a great year for tomatoes. She roasts them with garlic and basil at 425 degrees for about and hour and a half. Then she freezes them and uses them all winter long. Delicious!

Mary had success with watermelon (YES! WATERMELON!). We all drew close while she shared her secret. She laid out black plastic, put holes in it and planted her seedlings. The watermelon loved the heat that the plastic attracted. One Moon and Stars was as large as 38 pounds. In New Hampshire! We were all in awe.

Mary shows us the size of her watermelons. 🙂

We all had a great time and learned a lot. It’s amazing how much we can help each other. What  a great community of gardeners!

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Join us for our Annual Meeting on Wednesday, November 2nd. We will have elections and brainstorm for next year. Details are available on the Calendar page.

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