FISHERS ISLAND COMMUNITY GARDEN
September 2021, Issue 1
What’s going on in the Garden?
Some fun things you will find in this; our very first, newsletter;
- The featured plant of the month – Microgreens
- Garden tips and tricks – How to prep your garden for foul weather.
- DIY Electrolyte drink for replenishing all those electrolytes lost during these hot, humid days.
- Upcoming events and Volunteer opportunities.
Developing anything of great value takes time. Unfortunately, the garden was not able to enter its final stages of development in time to take advantage of this year’s growing season. Although progress appears to be slow, things are still moving along. Recently our 1000-gallon cistern arrived which we will soon be hooking up our hoses to. Our precut 8′ x 10′ shed arrived via freight. Most all of our raised beds are constructed, and we are beginning to work on sealing them through a process involving charring and oiling the wood. Soon after that we will be finalizing our fencing and constructing the garden’s gate, arbor, and pergola. Behind the scenes, we’ve also been working on obtaining the soil we will need to fill our garden beds, and getting giddy about the pumpkins, watermelons, and tomatoes that are making the most of the lovely moist interior of our two hügelkultur beds.
We’ve got tasks for all physical abilities on site, or at home.
Call or Email: (631) 788-7709 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured plant of the Month – Microgreens
Although the Community Garden might not be ready yet to sow seeds into, there’s never a wrong time to try your hand at growing microgreens. In fact, anyone can do it, and it’s a great use for all those extra seeds you have left over from early summer planting.
What you’ll need:
- A shallow tray and/or a shallow pot. (Old Tupperware, yogurt, sour cream, or humus containers could work, poke holes in the bottom of the cup, and use the lid as a saucer to catch the drainage.)
- A small amount of well-draining potting soil (preferably organic)
- A Sunny spot such as a window sill or front step.
- Seeds – You can use varieties such as; kale, cabbage, beets, spinach, Swiss chard, peas, celery, Bok choy, and chives. As well as annual herbs; basil, cilantro, parsley, etc.
How it works:
Start by filling your designated container(s) most of the way up; leaving a small amount of space to for more soil and water.
Next premoisten your soil, you don’t want it soaking wet, but not dry either. You want it to feel similar to a damp face cloth or towel.
Now that your container is prepared, sprinkle your seeds heavily over the top of the soil. You’ll be harvesting the seedlings long before they’ll have to compete with each other for space so no need to worry about overcrowding.
Blanket the seeds with an additional layer of soil sprinkled over the top, just enough to cover the seeds thinly.
Keep your seeds moist; not soggy, and in a sunny spot.
Harvest your microgreen seedlings once they’ve developed their first set of ‘true’ leaves. You can either pinch them off just above the soil level, or cut them like a vegetation hair cut!
Microgreens can be grown inside all winter long, and there are lots of great recipes you can use them in. They’re packed with great nutrition. However, as with most greens high in nutrition you’ll need to use them within an hour after you’ve harvested them for peak value. If something happens and you’ve ‘got to run’ before you get to eat your harvested microgreens, you can prolong them a little bit wrapped in a moist paper towel and stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Be careful though to inspect your refrigerated greens before consuming, if they appear discolored or show signs of fungal growth don’t eat them, discard them immediately.
FICG Tote Bags for Sale
Still available on our website and perfect for that stocking stuffer or an extra in the car! Please visit www.ficgarden.com
HOT, HOT, HOT! A DIY electrolyte drink recipe to help restore some of those electrolytes you lost working in the garden.
Sweating it out in the sweltering heat?
Replenish, with a few simple ingredients and a little bit of time.
Combine lemon juice, a little bit of maple syrup, 2 crushed up calcium/magnesium tablets, (available in most stores where vitamins are sold) and a dash of pink salt in your favorite glass filled most of the way with water and ice. Adjust to taste and enjoy.
Got a lot of little helpers? This drink is safe for the whole family and can easily be made in bulk and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Check out our chalk board and bulletin board located at the garden for current information.
Gardening Tips and Tricks
How to prepare your garden for foul weather
As with Hurricane Henri, who thankfully skirted by us, there is a litany of preparations to make in anticipation of the hurricane’s arrival. We often have to make sure all the windows are closed and locked, loose items in the yard are secured, vehicles aren’t parked in flooding areas, supplies are well stocked for power outages, etc.
But what about the garden?
You’ve worked so hard to set your garden up, planted and tended to your tender seedlings, and just now as you’re starting to enjoy the fruits of your labors, hurricane season begins to reach its peak. What do you do?
Here are a few ideas to protect your garden;
- If you’ve planted your garden in containers, lay them down sideways or move them to protected areas to keep the plants from suffering damage from the wind or heavy rain. (If you place them against your home, be mindful not to place them under the drip line of your roof as they will be beat down by the run-off)
- If you can’t move your plants, set up wind breaks using burlap or other mesh like material. You can drive heavy stakes into the ground, (make sure they’re in good and deep so they stay put), and using zip ties, or a staple gun, secure the material of your choice around the stakes in a similar fashion to a volley ball net. Choose material that does not block the wind, but permits air to flow through it, the idea is to lessen the winds strength not stop it completely. If you like, once the storm has passed you can leave your wind break intact, and simply remove it from the ground, roll it up, and store it for the next time you need it.
- If you have smaller, tender individual plants you can cover them with a pail, tarp, or other container of suitable shape and size; weighted down by heavy rocks. Just be mindful to remove the cover as soon as the weather lets up so not as to cook your plant under its cover.
- Trees and shrubs can be wrapped in burlap to protect them from salt spray
- If you have any outdoor garden structures such as bird feeders, bird baths, garden umbrellas, etc. you can lay the smaller things down on the ground in as streamline a way as possible. Outdoor string lights should be taken down and stored inside to prevent damage. Small green houses should be checked for stability. If it is just setting on the ground sink anchor lines into the ground at 45-degree angles and or install cross bracing to keep your green house from breaking/flying away.
- If you have young saplings or other tall willowy plants, the traditional approach is to stake them up. However, be advised that sharp or harsh ties can rub or chafe the plant and that if the plant is not evenly staked, parts that are able to move around may snap or bend. Something the community garden tried this last time with Hurricane Henri was simply to un-stake our tomatoes. Our tomatoes have been very true to their vine selves. We removed all of our stings and bracing and let the plants lie down horizontal to the ground. The thought was that the tomatoes would suffer less wind damage closer to the ground, and without anything providing them with resistance they would not snap. It seemed to work really well, and other than duking it out with the pumpkins for running space, they are doing just fine.
- For upright plants, such as tall sunflowers, sometimes it helps to lessen their ability to catch wind. Prune off any unnecessary leave or branches, this will allow the wind to flow around/through your plant and can improve your plants likelihood of survival.
Remember, while no one wants to see their garden damaged or destroyed by foul weather, the most important thing is safety. Don’t leave or install anything in your garden that could potentially become a threat to others if the wind were to throw it around. Also, no matter how much you love that plant you see suffering the weathers consequences outside your window, it’s not worth going outside and putting yourself in harm’s way to save it during the storm.