Teaching Garden Update 11/12
The weather keeps getting colder and we are preparing the teaching garden for winter! That means insulating all of our perennial plants (plants that will come back next spring - fruiting trees and bushes, flowers, herbs, etc.) with a layer of hay.
This will help keep the soil a little warmer over the winter as well as keep some moisture in. We are also prepping our greenhouses and building new cold frames for winter growing. This will be the first year that the teaching garden intentionally grows over the winter, exciting stuff!
In our hoop house we have moved in a bunch of Kale, Collards, and Swiss chard plants. All of these plants are loving the extra heat and humidity in the hoop house, the new doors we built are really helping to keep the heat in. We are going to experiment by continuing to grow about half of these greens over the winter (they have been growing all season in these milk crates). The other half (some of which are a little aphid-infested) we will cut down and replace with new baby plants - Kale and Lettuce. We are going to see which ones do better over the winter, so that next season we will have a better idea of what to do.
We also built one cold frame over this bed of Swiss chard. You can even see how many weeds are growing in here, its so much warmer under the cold frame that the weeds in this bed are thriving too. We plan to build cold frames around a few other square beds. The cold frames help to not only keep the plants warmer, but to hold in some moisture. Instead of the water evaporating into the outside air, it evaporates into the cold frame collecting as condensation on the inside of the plastic and then falling back down onto the bed. It helps us to not have to water quite as often.
Last week, we harvested a small donation for one of our partners only to find out they weren't able to make it to us that week. Not to worry! We were able to donate that produce to community fridges in our neighborhoods.
This fridge (almost empty upon arrival) was stocked full of delicious teaching garden greens!
This week we also received a large amount of pumpkins from Governors Island's annual pumpkin patch.
Many of these pumpkins are a little too large and stringy for humans but we were thankful to be able to donate them to the animals at Tamerlaine Sanctuary and Preserve. They definitely enjoyed munching on these pumpkins!
The rest of the pumpkins we received from the pumpkin patch are smaller sugar pumpkins that are delicious for humans too. Those will be donated to one of our donation partners in our last donation of the season next week. That way folks can enjoy the squash perhaps as a pie in their holiday celebrations.
Stay tuned for more updates in a few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy this photo of the beautiful post-daylight savings afternoon garden light.