Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thursday July 28, 2011

      Today we harvested all the onions and layed them out on the potting bench to cure. There were many varieties of onions including red, white and yellow types. Some of the yellow ones were the size of softballs! We don't often think of onions as being something that is fresh or not fresh but when you slice into a freshly harvested onion it is suprisingly juicy and flavorful.
      After harvesting the cucumbers and summer squash today, we all worked on grating the squash for later use in "zucchini bread" for the lunch program. After being grated, the squash can be bagged and placed directly in the freezer without blanching first, so it is a quicker way to preserve the squash. We ended up with 6 bags, each containing 10 cups of grated squash.
      We have already been eating our fermented or "brine" pickles. They sit in a 5 gallon bucket by the refridgerator and we eat a  few every day. When I took some down to a meeting I had in the high school, Janie said it was the best pickle she ever ate! We added a lot of extra garlic so they are reminiscent of the good garlicky barrel pickles that delis used to sell. The barrel pickles that are now sold are just not quite as good.    
       We also spent quite a bit of time harvesting sweet basil, stripping the leaves and freezing it. We only did about half the row so we will continue on Monday. This is the third harvest from these plants and Karen is thrilled to get so much organically grown basil for her pasta pesto dish which is so popular during the school year.
      We also learned about Lepidoptera today. We learned to identify Tiger Swallowtails, Black Swallowtails, Cabbage Butterflies, Skippers and Monarchs. We saw the plants that are grown as host plants for their caterpillars and even saw a Monarch caterpillar. Butterflies have thin bodies and thin antenaes and fly in the day time. Their caterpillars create a smooth crysalis from which the butterfly emerges. Moths have bulkier and hairier bodies and feathery antenaes and usuallly, but not always, fly at night. Their caterpillars spin silk cocoons. Skippers are not moths or butterflies. They are usually brownish and fly with a "skipping" flight. They are not quite as hairy or bulky as moths and their antenaes are club-shaped at the ends. All of them are welcome in the garden not only because they are great pollinators, but also because they are beautiful. (Actually all caterpillars eat plant leaves. By the end of the summer, the Monarch caterpillars have chewed the milkweed plants down to their stems but I don't mind because that's why we grow them in the first place - to support and attract the Monarchs. Cabbage loopers and tomato hornworms  are not so welcome in the garden. See photo below)
      Today we said goodbye to Jacob and Edward who will be spending August in other ways. We truly appreciate all of their help and we will miss them!    -Celia

Looking Back

"Goodbyes are sad"  -Carly and Megan

"I am not a butterfly killer!" - Willie

"I can't wait to make pesto in our Garden to Lunch program" - Karen

"The garden has never looked better at this time of year than it does right now. Thank you to everyone who is helping" - Celia

A very friendly katydid that flew from person to person

A tomato hornworm covered in parasitic wasp larvae - thank you to the wasps!

Tiger swallowtail

Karen, Megan, Carly & Julia grate squash

Edward grating squash

A bag of grated squash

Grating, grating, grating

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