Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Weeks Organic Produce.

Our Boston Organics box comes early this week due to Thanksgiving (thursday is our usual delivery day):
From this region:
1 lbs Empire Apples (VT)
1 Gala Apples (ME)
1 lbs Carrots (MA)
1.5 lbs Delicata Squash (MA)
1 head Red Leaf Lettuce (MA)
1 lbs Red Onions (MA)
1.5 lbs Sweet Potatoes (MA)

From beyond:
1.5 lbs Fair Trade Bananas (Ecuador)
2 Bosc Pears (CA)
1 Red Anjou Pears (CA)
2 Satsuma Mandarins (CA)
1 bunch Broccoli (CA)
2 Hamlin Oranges (FL)

No suprise that the citrus and Bananas are coming from further away but pears from storage and fall broccoli could be found in new england this time of year. It was nice during the summer when nearly the entire box (aside from bananas and an occasional orange) was coming from new england. note: the Red Anjou Pear was spectacular!

This is our 3rd box in a row (we get a box every 2 weeks) with delicata squash. Good thing I love me some squash! I've been trying to find fun ways to cook these little guys aside from the traditional baking methods. I've also managed to save quite a few Delicata seeds.

Monday, November 23, 2009

1st Seed Catalog

After a long day at work I came home to find my first seed catalog waiting for me:
Seeds of Change is a USDA certified organic seed company based in New Mexico. A number of home gardeners & farmers have cited Seeds of Change as an excellent jumping off point to the world of seed catalogs.
I chatted up a few farmers recently at the end of season markets around Boston and was advised that looking at a variety of seed catalogs would give me a good idea about special or heirloom variety of veggies I may want to grow, but my best bet would be finding a reputable and well known seed company based in the same region that I am. If a reputable source in my area has success on their farms with varieties that I'm interested in, chances of my success go up due to similar (not the exact same) climates. The name which came up most often from the farmers was Johnny's Seeds of Winslow, ME. I won't be ordering all of my seeds from Johnny's but for starters a good number will be coming from them.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Garden Primer.

This afternoon I picked up Barbara Damrosch's The Garden Primer at my local bookstore. It seems like a fairly comprehensive and beginner friendly reference book. The early parts of the book deal with rudimentary topics such as what plants need in order to grow properly, preparing soil, gardening gear, & proper planting methods.

The other parts are laid out by plant specifics- annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, bulbs, fruits, lawns, etc. The vegetable section looked really detailed, going in depth on harvesting and growing tips. With the holidays approaching soon I'm sure this will be the first of various gardening related books I will be delving into in the next few months. Kitchen Gardeners International has a great interview with Barbara Damrosch from March 2008. It can be viewed here!
You can learn more about Barbara, at the Four Season Farm website.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Applying for a Plot.

As I began researching the viability of a vegetable garden the biggest obstacle was clearly my lack of land or a garden plot to put my plans in action.
I've take the first steps to solve this problem by applying for a plot at the Fenway Victory Gardens. Based on a quick look at last years maps there were anywhere between 5 and 15 open plots of 410+ found at the site. The application was general contact info & volunteer availibility.
I hope that getting an application for 2010 so early will have my high on the list. Ideally I'd love to have a plot assigned to me by February so I can really get detailed with my plans.

Some info on the The Richard D. Parker Memorial Victory Gardens/Fenway Victory Gardens and the surrounding park:
The Fenway Victory Gardens were established by the City of Boston in 1942.In the midst of World War II, with food rationing growing the City designated a wide variety of public land and parks for citizens to grow their own vegetables and herbs.
The gardens sit on 7 acres of land within The Back Bay Fens a piece of urban wild/parkland designed by renowned Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmstead! The Fens was originally saltwater marshland which had been filled in as Boston expanded. Olmsted was tasked with designing an ecologically healthy park that could be used for recreational enjoyment. Today the Fens is a lush park & recreation area running alongside a small freshwater stream/lagoon.
The main enterance of the victory gardens looks directly at the right field entrance of Fenway Park.
Some Goolge Maps overheads of the gardens are below:

The Gardens are on the right. Fenway Park is in the upper left.

The Park (left) & Central (right) sections.

The Boylston section.

A more detailed map of the gardens and their sections can be found at the Fenway Victory Gardens.

Monday, November 16, 2009

About me:

So here I am. It's fall in greater Boston. For a lot of people their gardening is wrapped up for the season. For me, the Gardening has just begun.
I am 26 years old and have spent my entire life (aside from attending college in central NY state) in and around Boston.
Currently I live in Brighton, MA a neighborhood in the northwest corner of Boston. Aside from gardening I love hockey, music, cooking and, in general good food.
Food is what brings me to the world of Gardening. In the Summer of 2008 my girlfriend and I signed up for produce delivery from Boston Organics. Similar to a CSA, every 2 weeks we receive a bin full of fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables. Over the course of time our bimonthly produce guide us in our cooking/meal choices. Along with this we began frequenting the plethora of Farmers Markets in our area.
Here we are. November of 2009. After some serious research I have decided it would be extremely challenging, fun, and satisfying to grow my own herbs & vegetables.
In theory, growing fresh herbs and vegetables is a great idea. In practice there are some minor issues:
~The girlfriend and I live in a 3rd floor condo with no green space.
~I currently posses no gardening equipment.
~It's been more then a few years since I had a garden, and I need to brush up on gardening tips and practices.

I've compiled enough research regarding what to grow and success in the garden that I'd like to make a serious attempt at a vegetable/herb garden next year. I am in the process of applying for a plot at a local community garden (more on that later). The early part of this blog (through spring) will cover my planning, ideas, cost, and development of the garden. Next spring focus will shift to what I'm doing and what is growing.

I'll also blog about my bimonthly organic food deliveries and some random cooking adventures. A general mishmash of gardening & food bloggery.
Stick around, it should be fun.