Community Garden is Growing!

Community Garden update!

The Community Garden is up and running again this year - have you noticed our newly constructed pallet compost bin? The new compost bin has its own water supply and is big enough to handle all the pulled weeds and dead plants from the garden as well as offerings from the church kitchen.  We're very excited to have it and appreciate those who donated to its construction.

    Things that are ok to add to the compost bin: coffee grounds (including filters), vegetable scraps, paper towels, undyed napkins, shredded paper (but not too much shredded paper, as it takes a while to compost without a lot of green stuff mixed with it).

    Things to avoid putting in the compost bin: plastic, glass, fat or grease, meat scraps, baked goods (compost well but attract vermin).  

In other news, here are some answers to common questions about the Community Garden:

1.  Is anything planted yet?
We have seeded one of the beds with carrots, lettuce, radishes, and tuscan kale as of the week before Easter, so watch for those plants to come up soon.  Tomatoes, peppers, basil, and squash varieties will fill the other two beds once it is warm enough.  

2.  Where does the produce go?
Produce harvested from the garden is taken weekly to the Joseph Center, which is a day program for homeless women and children; they incorporate it into the meals they serve there.  People who come to the church during the week looking for money for food are encouraged to harvest what they need from the garden as well.  Finally, members of St. Matthews who are financially strapped and in need of fresh produce are welcome to harvest from the garden any time.

3.  What were those funny-looking plants in the bed closest to the church that looked like truffula trees all winter?  
Those were a variety of kale called "Dinosaur Kale" or "Tuscan Kale".  It's a less frilly, less bitter, and more tender version of kale that is excellent in italian-style soups or roasted to make kale chips.  (Plus, if you name something "dinosaur", kids are more likely to eat it!)  We'll be growing that again this year as it is an excellent producer, is resistant to bugs/fungus that goes after other members of the cabbage family that we've tried to grow, and is pretty to look at.

4. What is the big plant in the corner of the middle bed that smells like licorice?
That's tarragon.  It makes great flavored vinegar, it is wonderful to use in chicken dishes or soups (small amounts), and it grows like crazy, so please cut some and take it home with you.  Please.

5.  What other herbs do you have in the garden?
Several perennial herbs are growing in the bricks other than tarragon.  There is sage (large oval fuzzy silvery-green leaves), chives (looks like a clump of grass but smells like an onion), and thyme (tiny leaves and woody stems).  No parsley or rosemary - at least, not yet.

6.  What can I do to help?
You are always welcome to pull a few weeds as you walk by.  If you aren't sure what is a weed and what is a vegetable, you're welcome to ask (but if you've seen the same plant growing in your lawn, you can probably be pretty confident it's a weed).  The compost pile should be turned every week or so to make it decompose faster, so if you aren't wearing your Sunday best and want to use the pitchfork that will be out there soon, feel free.  If you want to donate warm-season plants, please contact Tonya Wren at 260-7598 so we know who is bringing what.  Tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, bell peppers, basil are all very welcome - other ideas are also welcome.   If you want to help harvest vegetables, there are ziplock bags and labels in the kitchen for them (or if you just want to donate quart-sized and gallon-sized ziplock bags - or reusable bags - that would also be fantastic).  Finally, if you are able to take the harvested vegetables to the Joseph Center on Mondays, that would be extremely helpful as well.  

Thanks for your support