Monday, July 20, 2009

Today's Garden City

So technically this blog has been terminated- but one last note:
I've got to post an article I wrote for the newsletter of my employer, Regional Plan Association, which is a non-profit urban planning research & advocacy group for the New York region.
Today's Garden City connects the current local food movement with similar efforts over a hundred years ago in England thatgave rise to the "Garden City" movement and ultimately to the development of urban planning in America and the founding of RPA.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saying goodbye to the Garden State

I had to say goodbye to my garden in August to move away for a new job! So sad! Luckily, my next door neighbors said they would care for the plot until the end of the season (all that produce I couldn't harvest myself), and even if I couldn't be there, I know the crops were well loved in my absence.

Since I won't have my own garden for the foreseeable future, I've decided to restart my old blog Big City Small Town, which deals mostly with community planning and sustainability issues- including local and urban agriculture. Southwestern Connecticut, where I now live, is shockingly poor as far as local agriculture goes. Downtown Stamford, a city of 117,000, and a daytime (working population) of 130,000+, doesn't even have a proper farmer's market. We suffer from our proximity to NYC- all the good farmers take their produce where they can get the most customers, and that means they go to the City.

I've really enjoyed being a part of the NJ garden community, and I'll continue to follow your gardens vicariously through your blogs.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Pest of the Day: Squash Bug

My zucchini have just started to be harvestable but I'm still waiting for the day when I have more zucchini than I can eat. Won't that be wonderful.

While hovering over the still-unproductive zucchini, I noticed what seemed to be 3 pests:
1) green shield bug (maybe a stink bug, I thought)
2) orange eggs on underside of leaves
3) clustered spiders (I thought)
Turns out these are all the squash bug, in various stages of development, and should ALL BE KILLED. Which should be pretty easy if you can catch them early. The eggs are bright orange, the spiders are actually squash bug nymphs and are white with black heads and legs, and the adults start out green, like a stink bug, but later turn brown/black.

Constant vigilance!

I also ate my first barely-ripe grape tomatoes today. Many more to come.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

More Internet Resources

The link list to the right has been updated with some more garden blogs that I've found informative over the last few weeks, as well a couple of entertaining podcasts.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Harvest Season Begins!

To my fellow community gardeners- my plot is overflowing with lettuce! Please help yourself to some lettuce. My plot is 2 rows in from the far right grassland, 3 plots in from the main road (in front of the plot with the big white rain barrel). I have a sign in my plot that says "Garden More, Work Less." I have 2 varieties- Black seeded simpson (a light crinkly type) and Winter Density, which is heartier and dark green.

Maybe it's just because I attended my first farmer's market of the summer, but I feel like enough crops are coming in now to finally start cooking with them. New this week in my garden were carrots, young onions, and young garlic.

The onions need at least another month to bulk up but can be used while small,

and the garlic needs to age in the ground a bit if I plan to store it. In the meantime, I can eat the freshest, yummiest garlic I've probably ever eaten. The cloves are chunky and firm.

Here is my "trug"- showing lettuce bounty, end of the peas, and carrots.

I had already removed the kale and collard greens.

My first zucchini will be ready in a week or so- and the big beef tomatoes will follow soon after.

Check out this carrot! Too bad only about 5 carrots germinated in my small patch. A fall crop would definitely be worthwhile.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thinking of next year's garden (wherever it may be):

I would plant my onions and garlic with closer spacing.

I would interplant lettuce with a taller vegetable, to shade it from the summer sun and prevent bolting.

I would plant less early-spring lettuce and more early-spring spinach.

I would find out where I can get more seeds of this swiss chard and plant more of it.

I would start my tomato and pepper seeds a month earlier. Look at the difference between the store-bought transplants and mine!

I would start my kale seeds earlier. It is just now ready for some harvest. (indoor sowed this year 2/8 and outdoor sowed 3/12)

I would sow my peas a few weeks later (this year, sowed 3/6 and had to replant a month later). Yesterday I ate two peas.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Strawberry Time

The last few weeks have been quiet for the garden but busy for me, with all the crops planted and nothing ready to eat yet.
Now it is strawberry season and I actually ate 3 perfect, luscious strawberries from my VERY SMALL strawberry patch the other day. This week I'll be going down to West Windsor to pick-your-own strawberries and have more than three.

Other developments:

Garlic is making scapes and the tips are turning brown. I'll harvest the scapes soon, and when leaves turn brown more fully, it will be time to harvest the bulb. I've also heard that when any scapes left behind stand straight up, it is a signal to harvest the bulbs.

The spinach will be bolting soon so I'm trying to use it up. I have two varieties, the pointy one is Spargo, which seems to have a low leaf to stem ratio and I won't plant it again.

The second is a more traditional type of spinach. I cooked up the spinach with some kale, balsamic vinegar and olive oil and it came out pretty good.

My swiss chard transplants didn't take well, but a little goes a long way with this vegetable.