Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving thanks to a growing garden

Produce harvest 11/16/2011

Thanksgiving is here. We are so very thankful to be harvesting roots and shoots from the garden in November.   Produce includes lettuce, carrots, radishes, parsley, kale collards and swiss chard.  The fresh produce is very popular at pantry, especially this time of year.  Row covers have been installed to help keep things cozy.    

Our garden is expanding!  NHCO has purchased the adjacent lot.  Final plans are not yet determined, but the additional parcel will help us keep growing!
Lettuce, under row cover on 11/23/2011

Adjacent lot to the garden. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Fried Green Tomatoes Experiment

NHCO's garden coordinator here.  We have picked the last of the tomatoes for the season.  It is sad to see them go.  By August, they were in their prime and grew over 6 feet tall.   Fall is here and the first frost is nearing.  The tomato plants were dying back more and more with the cooler nights and shorter days.  And now, hardly any green on the plants remain.  The tomatoes however are beautiful shades of green.  They were picked green to ensure that they would not wither and shrivel up on the dead stems. 

The pantry clients are hesitant to take green tomatoes.  Can you blame them? I have never even eaten one.  I have taken the green ones home to ripen on my kitchen counter and then bring them in for pantry the following week.  We have a volunteer working on simple recipes for the common and not so common produce from the garden.  I have done some research on how to eat green tomatoes and ever since the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes," came out, I have always wondered what they taste like.  And, I think it is important to try recipes to see if they actually work.  Which leads me to.....
                                          The Fried Green Tomatoes Experiment

I am by no means a cook and never claim to be.  This is a very easy recipe.  Prep and cook time, 30 minutes.

·         green tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick; for cherry tomatoes, cut in half
·         salt and pepper
·         flour for dusting
·         2 eggs, beaten
·         cornmeal or bread crumbs
·         vegetable oil
Salt and pepper the tomato slices before frying; dust lightly with flour. Dip slices in beaten egg, letting excess drip off, then coat well with meal or crumbs.  Fry in oil until browned, turning gently (about 3 minutes each side).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Welcome Fall

Bean flower

Friday was the official start of Fall.  We are still quite busy at the garden.  The beans, tomatoes and peppers continue to grow and produce fruit because of regular harvesting.  


Heirloom Tomato

Delicata squash

Cherry Tomatoes
Winterbor Kale

Kale planted in August is yielding  a good crop. The carrots are just about ready to be yanked out of the ground.  The pumpkins are still producing.  We have harvested several growing outside the fence and the bigger varieties are ripening.  Winter squashes, which store quite well for months, will be making their appearance at pantry soon.  

This morning we found out who has been stealing the sunflower seeds...the crazy squirrels that like to perform back flips off of the walnut trees.

Garden Spider update: We have not seen the garden spider, which we named Aura, from the latin name Argiope aurantia, in a few weeks.   
Pumpkin ripening

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kale, cabbage and collards oh my!

Kale, cabbage and collards (cool weather crops) were planted this evening in two of the new four contour in-ground raised beds located at the front entrance.  Check out the new garden arbor, installed by volunteer George with the help of NHCO's Healthy Futures Americorps VISTA Dave.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Life

We are collecting bean pods that have past their prime for eating for seed collection.  This bean, third from top, wanted to get an early start.  We found it on the ground and because of the recent rain, was starting to grow.   

Mother nature's desire to bring new life and continue life is astounding even in the mist of devestation.  Please click on the link below to learn of the "Survivor Tree" now growing again at ground zero.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tomatoes Take Over!

The tomatoes at the garden are taking over the world. Each tomato plant is about six feet tall and six feet wide. Trying to navigate through the plants has become nearly impossible. It's a jungle out there!

Grow Pittsburgh's Bed of the Month - August

Our Pumpkin Patch is the Bed of the Month for August!!!

Pumpkin seedlings emerging 5/24/2011, just 10 days after planting seeds

Pumpkin flowers 6/28/2011

Three varieties of pumpkins are now being harvested and they are even growing on the outside of the fence!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On the web

We have lots of wildlife at the garden, some that visit, some unwanted and some that make the garden their home. 

There's a family of turkeys, mama and 7 babies that walk around the outside of the garden catching bugs for breakfast in the mornings.  Pesky groundhogs live next door to the garden.  Thankfully the chickenwire attached to our fence have kept them out.  No lettuce and beans for them anymore. 
We spotted this gal on the 8th.  She's a Black and Yellow Garden spider, just in time for Steeler season.  They are also called writing spiders, because of their unique zig zag design on their webs.  A good mascot for the blog. She spun her web in between a row of tomatoes.  Spiders are often beneficial to gardens, catching bugs like aphids or whiteflies.  This kind of spider is not aggressive or poisonous, so we try not to disturb her when picking the tomatoes.  Now all she needs is a name.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Terrie and Tomatoes

Terrie Amelio, who donated the land where a garden now grows again, helped us harvest for pantry this morning.  She was often given the chore of selling the produce grown in her mother's garden.
We picked enough cherry tomatoes to fill several baskets, including a basket that belonged to Terrie’s mother.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Patience and Pumpkins

Thank you to the VBS class of Berkeley Hills  Lutheran Church.  They helped with harvesting and measuring zucchini, beans and onions.  We talked a little about how gardening teaches us about patience and how eating what is in season is a good way to determine what's for dinner. 

Pumpkin 7/5/2011

Same pumpkin on 7/12/2011
 The pumpkins aren't quite ready yet.  Check out how pretty our beans look. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pretty pics of the garden on 6-28-2011

Click on the photo to view the album

Planting Day May 14, 2011

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The first planting season!

Build Day April 16, 2011

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Volunteers, NHCO, Grow Pittsburgh and the Western PA Conservancy Gardens and Greenspace staff helped build and fill two raised beds, a compost bin, and stake out our contour beds on a rainy spring day.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Youth Leadership Coordinators, Zach, Alora and Alicia
Welcome to our blog. We are the Youth Leadership Coordinators of the North Hills Community Outreach.  Along with NHCO's Garden Coordinator and volunteers, we help plant seeds and seedlings, water, weed and take care of the Rosalinda Sauro Sirianni Garden.

The small 1/3 acre plot of land at 119 Davis Avenue in Bellvue, Pa has a long history, dating back to the early 1900s when Rosalinda Sauro Sirianni first began to garden at the site. As a mother of 5 children in the midst of the Great Depression, Rosalinda worked the land tirelessly year round to produce an abundance of fruits and vegetables that her children sold to the neighbors in town. The money earned from selling the produce helped not only to pay the bills but also to send all the children to college. 
After the death of Mrs. Sirianni, the plot remained vacant for many years until in 2008 when Rosalinda’s daughter, Teresa Ameilo, donated the land to North Hills Community Outreach with the idea that a garden could once again be created, in her mothers memory, and all the organic fruits and vegetables produced by the garden could be donated to the NHCO food pantries.
With the help of eagle scout, Wade Cupcheck, and over a hundred dedicated volunteers, the land was cleared, a shed and fence were built, and the seeds were planted. Today, just a few months later, the Rosalinda Sauro Sirianni Memorial Garden, is flourishing beyond belief. The plants are producing more than ever expected, thanks to the excellent soil condition. Each week, the food pantries in Allison Park and Bellvue are stocked with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to go around. The countless hours of hard work by  dedicated volunteers and staff has certainly paid off. We are thrilled to see the garden doing so well and look forward to further success in years to come.