Growing strong in 2009

Kimmer with December's tomatos

Kimmer with December's tomatos

While this blog has remained in 2008, our little garden project has continued forward.  Let’s catch up on the last few months:

October:

During our work party in October, 11 volunteers came out to build raised beds, line the pathways with cardboard and gunny sacks, put up chicken wire to help keep the bunnies out, and create hanging racks in the shed for all our donated smocks.  We use gunny sacks to keep the weeds down both because they are extremely effective and because they are a reusable byproduct from the Northwest’s booming coffee industry.  Many of the larger coffee retailers leave tremendous piles of these burlap sacks outside their warehouses for gardeners like us to take, and we’re happy to help.

Evan hangs up the new smock hooks in the shed

Evan Callahan hangs up the new smock hooks in the shed

October gave us a harvest of over 65 pounds of squash, carrots, beets, turnips, beans, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. We also had several flats of donated Fall starts to plant – cabbage, celery, Swiss chard and kale.

November/December:

Students continued to harvest the remaining beans, lettuce, tomatoes and bell peppers through December.  The tomatoes were still going strong in December until a long cold spell (with about 15 inches of snow, an amazing amount for Whidbey Island) blasted us.  So the students harvested all the tomatoes before the cold killed them: red, orange, yellow and green.  The yellow and orange ones ripened in Kimmer’s home, then were brought to the food bank for the holidays.

Kim Drury and Damien Cortez, manager at Good Cheer Food Bank, hang chicken wire to protect our precious crops

Kim Drury and Damien Cortez, manager at Good Cheer Food Bank, hang chicken wire to protect our precious crops

We cooked the green ones into pies mixed with apples.  Unfortunately, the snow caused havoc with school schedules and the students didn’t get a chance to eat the pie.

January/February:

The garden project received a grant from South Whidbey Schools Foundation for $1,000 to purchase and install a solar panel and water pump.  The solar panel will generate enough electricity to power a small  pump so that the garden’s rain barrels will have water pressure (yeah!).  This means we will be able to use hoses, sprinklers, and a variety of watering devices instead of just using watering cans, a long and tedious task.  And we add yet another sustainable solution to our beautiful community garden!  Check back for updates on the installation.

Laurie Keith and Commissioner Helen Price Johnson hang chicken wire to deter rampaging rabbits

Laurie Keith and Commissioner Helen Price Johnson hang chicken wire to deter rampaging rabbits

Look for updates on spring events soon – we can always use your help!