A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Harvest Totals, Updates and Wishlist

This post covers the harvest totals for 2011- with some great harvest photos (be sure to scroll to the bottom for the gallery),  an update on the Great Monroe Leaf Drive, and a link to our ever-evolving wish-list.

Striped German - an Heirloom tomato - one of our favorites.
Harvest Totals and new distribution partners:
Each week we had three volunteer sessions. On harvest days, people would gather the ripe produce and bring it to be washed, weighed and boxed for distribution. Volunteers would take a break shortly before the Food Bank opened and do their "shopping", taking home all they could use. The rest was wheel-barrowed over to the Food Bank - 50 yards away.

Harvest on display for volunteers to "shop". No one is ever charged money for the food that is grown.
First the totals from 2010 to give some perspective:

Our big producers in 2010 were:
Beans: 225 pounds
Cucumbers: 653 pounds
Tomatoes: 1,285 pounds
Total pounds: 3,533
Market value of total harvest: $9,950
In 2011, we expanded into using the full Monroe/Crowson garden plot (last year we only used about half of it). Even though we didn't plant the back half, Steve Rose had tilled it in the Spring of 2010 and we mulched it quite deeply with hay/straw. The garden was very fertile.
Here are the highlights of the 2011 harvests:

Lettuce: 877 heads
Potatoes: 910 pounds
Winter Squash: 291 pounds
Tomatoes: 2101 pounds
Market value of total harvest: $14,504
Genny with lettuce harvest.
We have made some new partnerships this year in distributing the surplus food. In 2010, we often found ourselves at the end of the Food Bank time, running around and trying to get people to take home more produce. We just didn't want to see any of it go to waste. This year we added a second harvest day in Monroe (the bigger of the two gardens). That mid-week harvest mostly went to the South Benton Nutrition Program - for their bi-weekly lunch for Seniors. When there was enough, we sent along vegetables for the Seniors themselves to take home.

We've made a great connection with Betty Briggs who, with her husband, Pat, oversees the Harrisburg Gleaners. The Gleaners group has many able-bodied members who glean fruits and vegetables from local farmers and share the harvest with "adopted" families and people in need in the Harrisburg area. Betty's group has many people who still "can" and store food so they were able to distribute our surplus to those who would make good use of it. Towards the end of the season, Betty began to come help in the gardens as well. We anticipate deepening the connection between our two groups next Spring - either they will come volunteer more in the Monroe garden and/or we'll help them get a Sharing Garden started closer to where they live. (If anyone has a lead on some land we could use to start a Harrisburg garden, let us know).

Peppers from 2010

Linn/Benton Food Share has also helped us with our surplus. They deliver food to the Monroe Food Bank every other week. Often we just boxed up what wasn't taken by Food Bank customers and they would transport it to a soup-kitchen/food bank in Corvallis to be distributed.

Chris and I also had fun playing "Santa" some weeks and drove around Monroe to friends and local businesses passing out beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and whatever else was ripe, off the tailgate of our trusty 1968 GMC pick-up truck!

The Great Monroe Leaf Drive

Well, it was supposed to happen on November the 5th but the weather was lousy and frankly, there aren't that many leaves that have fallen yet. We've postponed it till further notice but we still welcome any leaves brought to either garden.  LOCATIONS

Please no trash, dog-doo or walnut leaves (they're toxic to plant growth.)

Our Ever-Evolving Wish-list: Mostly it's the same old stuff: garden supplies and building materials that need a new home/second life. There are a few new specifics though we'd appreciate you keeping an eye out for...

We're going to build another greenhouse! We'd like to make it from two steel-tube carports attached end-to-end. If you know of a used one (or two) that need a new purpose, please let us know. Here's a picture of what we're looking for (or something similar). We'll need two that are the same. We don't need the tarp covering.

We need two carport canopies to build a greenhouse with.
Please bring us your leaves for garden mulch. Bring them to either garden.
Fruit and nuts: If you have windfall fruit or nuts that you'd like to donate, please bring them to the food bank so they can be shared with those in need. If you are physically unable to harvest them yourselves contact us and we will do our best to arrange for volunteers to assist. Link to Food Bank Hours
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Filberts
  • Walnuts
We need a mechanic who's good with small-engine repair: Our roto-tillers and lawn mowers get quite a work-out! The gardens would really benefit from someone who likes to tinker and tune up small engines to keep them running well. We'll keep you supplied with lots of fresh, organic produce! For the full Wish-List - GO TO

It is always such a delight to see Nature's abundance and beauty as we harvest the gardens. Here is a gallery showing some of this year's highlights. Enjoy!

Lettuce, Beans and Apples:

Red Iceberg Lettuce
Never eat anything bigger than your head!
A beautiful mix of greens and reds.
Scarlet Runner Beans
"Winter Bananas" - a great storage apple
Gleaned apples.
It's great to see these apples going to feed people and not just rot on the ground.
Sunflowers: Beauty, food for us and the birds!

Saving seeds to grow sprouts (winter greens) and next year's crop.
We saved gallons of seed this year.
Squash, Cukes and Potatoes:

Pickling cucumbers in the hay.
Squash harvest.
Delicata Squash - sweet, golden meat and tender skin.
Buttercup Squash - hearty, orange/golden meat.
This potato weighed three pounds!

Tomato Gallery:  
Another "Striped German" - low acid. All yumm!
These are called "Long Toms" - a delicious paste tomato
A whole tray of "Long Toms" - the river that runs close by our garden is called the "Long Tom" too!
"Hillbilly Potato Leaf"Tomatoes
A succulent "Brandywine" tomato
Close-up of a "Striped German"
If you are receiving this email as a "forward" and would like to see our full Sharing Gardens website/blog, GO TO