How To Harvest Stuff in the Garden – May 2012

This seems simple, you say, and it is. There are different plants growing in the garden, with different fruits and or vegetables to harvest, so you need to account for that. You will not find potatoes on the branches of potato plants, or tomatoes under ground on the roots of tomato plants. And please, stop pulling up the tomatoes looking for potatoes.

To break it down by our current veg selection –

  • Tomatoes – We are in an absolute race with the local “wildlife” to see who can harvest more tomatoes. This is war, and we are losing! Harvest if they are red, orange or even 2/3 orange. You’ll see tomatoes that have burst, have rotted on the end and that we lost the race to and are half eaten by birds or squirrels. Please pull these off and throw any damaged tomatoes into the compost bin. Gently pluck off and keep the good ones – try not to bruise, do not refrigerate.
  • Cucumbers – It is the goal of our cucumber plants to hide their cucumbers from us. They consider it a victory if they can hide a cucumber long enough for it to grow larger than Steven Hebbard’s forearm. These plants are very good at this and you can go over the cucumber bed three times in row and still find new cucumbers. Persistence is the key word here. And pain – cucumbers are spiny. You can wear gloves or just toughen up a little bit, for the love. Harvest anything bigger than your index finger. Just grab and gently twist. A pocket knife to cut the stem is even better. Try not to bruise and then do refrigerate.

We will be attempting to make our cucumbers into pickles this weekend! If you know anything about pickling or would like to learn about pickling, please post a comment or email me! This is a cry for help!

  • Potatoes – we will harvest them all at one time when the plants have died all the way to the ground. I thought about harvesting them early, but I think Steven Hebbard would have driven over and put me in a choke hold if I’d tried it. So we will wait, I don’t want him choking me. Have you seen his forearms? (they are like really big cucumbers)
  • Broccoli – I don’t think we are harvesting any broccoli. They seem determined not to produce florets. I think we got them in too late, or that they are just unhappy about sharing a bed with the potatoes. Hear this broccoli – You have until the potatoes die down to do something, anything; when they go, you go -to the compost pile! Ha! Last laughs on you, broccoli.
  • I’m sorry, I’ve always disliked broccoli.

What to do with your harvest?

  • You can take it to the Mobile Loaves and Fishes Commissary at St. John Neumman Catholic Church ; Call MLF to make sure someone will be there – (512) 328-7299
  • You can bring it to me at Church on Sunday – leave it under the side table in the main hall and I’ll grab it between services – please email or comment to let me know to look for it.
  • You may not eat it. You want to eat fresh, garden tomatoes? Two options – grow your own or eat the ones ruined by the birds. If eating bird mongered tomatoes makes you squeamish, you just don’t like garden tomatoes enough to need to eat one.

What Up With That, May 22nd edition

What has been –

Well, the Friesonites have come and gone! As of last Friday afternoon, the Christ Church Youth Group was the reigning champion for hardest working, most awesome volunteer group. After Team Friesen came out (my home team, my small group! how awesome we will be!), the Youth Group is still way ahead. I mean way ahead, by a long shot. It turns out, we all like each other and like to talk. So we all stood around doing that. Check out these “work” pics –

I’m being hard on us. Work was done. See –
A giant harvest was made. This garden is open for business. I was too busy building community (running my mouth) to take a photograph of it, but it was at least twice as big as the last couple harvest. The garden was watered with drip irrigation and fertilized with the stinky fish stuff. Some (between three to five) weeds were pulled out. Community was built. Oh, yes, community was built. Then, we had lunch, and built even more community.
The kids came with us played hard on the playscape. Thank you, City School!
What is yet to be –
The to-do list this week –
  • Harvest – I promise, a “how to harvest” post is coming soon. Email me with any questions.
  • Weed! The bermuda grass, as promised, is coming back.
  • Hand water on Wednesday or Thursday.

Sorry, no garden overview picture this week. Yes, I was busy building more community.

What Up With That – May 14th, 2012 edition

We have made a harvest! You might want to get your mind right before you look at the picture below. Because it is amazing. You probably already looked down and saw how amazing the harvest is and you didn’t have your mind right yet. Now you need me just to prattle on for a bit while you collect your thoughts. Too bad, we have a lot to cover. Take a deep breath and stick with me.

What Has Been –

A big week in the garden, as usual. The garden stops for no man.

First, the good. Always the good news first –

That’s a rotten idea. You get the good news over and still have to deal with the bad. OK, the bad, then – We need to harvest more aggressively and consistently. We have cucumbers the size of major league baseball bats, we have tomatoes being eaten by squirrels! Squirrels! They are cute, and God’s creatures, and hungry. I know. But they need to get their own food. Maybe we can beat them into submission with the oversized cucumbers. No, that’s not right – we are Christians, we shouldn’t beat small mammals with large vegetables. What we should do is harvest our fruits earlier, before they are destroyed or become sporting equipment / weaponry.

Now, the good – Rain, and tons of it – about 5 inches has fallen on the garden since last weekend. And, as mentioned above, our first big harvest of tomatoes and cucumbers. Ben Marsh came out and helped, again. Ben is becoming a gardening son of a gun. He worked hard and I stood around and made fun of him. It was a blessing, to me at least.

The bad – no wait, we got that out of the way earlier. Thank goodness.

What is yet to be –

Big small group work day – The Friesentarians are coming! I think the entire small group is coming out. At least they better be, or I will be handing out some serious guilt come next Tuesday. We will weed (shocking, I know), harvest (maybe even the potatoes), fertilize, mulch and then have lunch. The amount of community we will build would blow your mind if I described it to you and I have already blown your mind once with the harvest photograph, so I’ll spare you.

This weeks to-do list

  • Don’t water
  • Harvest! – refer to soon to be posted “how to harvest” post
  • Beat squirrels (no don’t! Unless you feel led to)

What Up With That – Belated May 7th edition


Better late than never, right? Maybe not, but here it comes anyhow.

What has been –

Nate Chrastina and Ben Marsh came out on Saturday, along with one of Nate’s students from Hyde Park Baptist School. Everybody worked hard, had fun and then we had lunch. It was my kind of garden day.

We harvested several more cucumbers. The tomatoes are not ready yet, and neither were the potatoes.

It is raining this week! It is amazing, awesome, astounding!

What is yet to be –

No group scheduled to come out this week, but we will make up for that in spades when The Frieseners from Friesonia come out next week. Honestly, the garden needs to rest up for the assault it will receive from that crew.

To-Do List –

  • Harvest Cucumbers (keep in fridge) and tomatoes (keep on your counter) – bring them to me at church on Sunday.
  • Thank God for the rain!


What Up With That, May 1st Edition

May Day! Why that’s the Russian New Year! We’ll have a big parade, we’ll serve hot horderves . . .  (for the Airplane! fans. If you’re not an Airplane! fan, you probably are too intelligent and/or serious to enjoy this blog as thoroughly as possible. You will still find some facts mixed in here, but they are few and far between)

What has been –

The youth group came out and worked. They fit right in with the garden, as it is awesome and so are they. You can read about it here.They also brought food – burgers and hotdogs and these cookies that were addictive and amazing. I think they set the standard for garden work-days to come. I’m just saying.

The cucumbers pulled an amazing turn around, from being the subject of much derision to being the first plants to produce harvest in the garden!

What does this teach us about life? We have learned that if something or someone is not meeting our standards, mock them in a public forum and they will respond. That’s right kids. Write it down.

What is yet to be –

  • be on the look out for pest. My daughter found a tomato hookworm out by my house and while that is not really around the garden, they are in season. Keep your eyes open.
  • Nate Chrastina is bringing a group from Hyde Park Baptist School out to work in the garden this Saturday. Yes, more young people! There are many good things about involving the youth in the garden – teaching them about service and volunteerism, building community, teaching them to garden. But all I care about is how much harder they work than us adults. The energy they have! I’m joking, of course. To have them come and feed the homeless and act as Christ’s hands is amazing – what a blessing!