On this warm and breezy day we took a local trip to La Finca del Sur. The group wanted to visit other urban gardens/farms in the Bronx in order to share stories, ask questions and make friends with similar interests. La Finca aims to address issues of food access, environmental justice, and empowerment—all issues we are interested in at Applegate Garden! Even more coincidentally, La Finca and Applegate Garden are just a 5 minute walk from each other!
Nancy, one of the head farmers, welcomed us to the farm. We got a tour of the very impressive grounds. Like us, La Finca grows tomatoes, peppers, corn, and herbs. La Finca also grows lots of lettuce, sweet peppers, eggplants and much more. Nancy also told us how La Finca came to be and what their future ahead may look like. Before leaving we all made sure to try our their swing!
Today was a full day!
We originally planted our pumpkins in a pot that would be too small for them and had let them remain there for a few weeks. After some research we found out that transplanting to a bed would be risky—the plant would have a fifty/fifty chance of surviving the move. As a group we decided to move one of our pumpkin plants to the bed and let the other remain in the pot it was in; that way if the transplanted one survived we could move the second one after. We dug out a new home for our pumpkin, sprinkled it with water and hoped for the best!
The rest of the day we made signs for all the plants and flowers in the garden! We took used crates that we had saved from a previous farmers market and cut them into small squares (thank you Maddie for your woodwork). Then with colored pencils wrote the names of each plant and drew pictures of what they all look like. We finished our signs off with garnish to protect them from the rain and left them out to dry. Look how beautiful they are!
On this hot and sunny day we had some visitors to Applegate Garden! Younger students from a nearby summer program stopped by for a tour of the garden. While there, the students helped with upkeep by harvesting and watering. And of course sampled the [almost] yummy blackberries! They ended the visit with a nice cold mist; a refreshing way to escape the heat!
Today was a big gardening day, where we planted the garlic and potatoes that the Millstone Farm generously donated to us. The garlic is in a row alongside fennel and onions, and the potatoes are in bags that can be used in place of pots or beds. We also have parsley, arugula and carrots sprouting in a nearby bed.
We also picked some of our small corn in the hope that it could be eaten- it wasn’t fully grown, but we ate it anyway. It was delicious. As always, we ate every blackberry that looked [nearly] ripe and enjoyed hanging out.
On Tuesday we went to Millstone Farm, in Wilton CT. It was a long bus ride, but the journey went by a lot faster because Ms. A brought us donuts! Before we left, we picked our first red tomato from the garden. It was delicious.
The farm was absolutely beautiful, and we went on a big tour to see everything they grow. We saw the potatoes and pumpkins, which are grown in raised beds, and even got to dig some out of the ground. To ensure that they can extend the planting season further, Millstone Farm has built their own greenhouse covers that roll back in the warmer months. It was amazing to see all the things they were growing, including a very successful worm farm!
We saw the chickens and were able to help collect the eggs they had laid, and we learned that there are different eggs for laying and for eating. Josh was nearly injured by an aggressive rooster. Just kidding. But the bird did flap pretty hard. The garden had a very diverse landscape, and we were able to walk through some (very dry) wetlands hoping to see a frog. Annie, a very good gardener and our guide for the day, told us that the lack of water had really affected some of their crops. Our rain dance must have worked, because the next day it stormed!
We had a great lunch (thanks Millstone farm!) and had a good opportunity to ask questions about our garden, and farming in general. We held baby turkeys, saw the sheep and the llama that was protecting them, drank fresh water from their underground reserves, ate our body weight in raspberries, saw (and smelled) the pigs, and took home garlic and potatoes for our garden.
Thanks so much to Millstone farm for an amazing day!!
What is the difference between a garden and a farm anyway?
As we prepare for our big trip to Millstone Farm tomorrow, we wanted to have a discussion about what we do at Applegate Garden and how that is different from what farmers do. We talked about scale—we grow a lot less vegetables and fruits than farmers do. We talked about lifestyle—most farmers grow food as their job whereas our gardening is more of an activity that we do not depend on economically.
Then we thought about our garden and what real farmers could help us out with—could they give us advice on our tomatoes that have Blossom End Rot? Tell us how to plant potatoes? We hope so!
On Thursday it was Destiny’s birthday, and we celebrated with donuts and a big Scavenger Hunt. It was team “Dead Apples” vs. the “Green Devils”, and the Dead Apples came out on top (barely). Tasks included locating the cucumber plant, finding an insect, picking up trash and getting a hi 5 from Ms Annunziato.
We turn the compost to help speed up the process, which always turns into an exciting worm hunting adventure. Lamine decided they looked like a tasty snack. Hopefully he left enough for the compost to decompose!
Day 2 of the 2012 Summer Garden Program
On the second day of the program we got to Bronx Letters and watered all of our plants. They were all very thirsty! We then spent the rest of our day painting “Applegate Garden” on a wall. It was a great team effort and is now a very welcoming and beautiful space in our garden, brightening it up with lots of colors!
And of course, we ended the day with some fun rounds of “Wah” and “Ninja.” Maddie is still the reigning champion.