Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kitchen Garden update - November 21

Iris and Gabriela proudly display the last of the harvest after exchanging recipes.
On Saturday, November 21st, Marcelo, Iris and I met at the garden. We topped off the remaining beds, planted cover crop, and covered with mulch (shredded leaves from the church property). We also gathered the last of the harvest: Brussels sprouts and their leaves, and parsley. We also rearranged the middle compost bin to ensure no scraps are dumped there by mistake (please remember: scraps belong to the leftmost bin only).

Gabriela and Marcelo by the resting beds. Any resemblance to American Gothic is purely coincidental!
Next Steps:
  • Marcelo will look into purchasing an additional raised bed. We'll keep you posted and let you know if and when help is needed to install and fill it.
  • If you'd like a raised bed next year, please let me know as soon as possible (gabrielamun@gmail.com). At this point we'd like to get a sense of how much interest there is. If, as we suspect, there's more demand than available plots, we will have to figure out some sort of mechanism to assign plots. In the longer run, the plan would be to work to expand the number of community gardens in town so everybody has a chance.
Cover crops at work protecting the soil, building organic matter, fixing nitrogen, and nurturing a healthy microbial community, among other benefits.

Friday, November 20, 2015

can you smell this fresh-baked bread?

There are three spots left in Baking Bread the (easy) Traditional Way workshop on Sunday, November 22. Register here.
(Saturday, December 5 is sold out.)


Monday, November 16, 2015

More help needed with soil replenishment!

Susan, Gabriela and Blanca (left to right) take a selfie break

Currently at the garden: On Saturday, November 14th, Blanca, Susan Clelland and I met at the garden. We managed to top off four of the raised beds and harvested some Brussels sprout leaves (which can be used the same way as you would collards or kale). Now we need your help to deal with the remaining soil. Please see more below.

With our freshly harvested Brussels sprout leaf "bouquets"

Next Steps: We really need all the help we can get to finish the job! The two raised beds closest to the street need to be topped off like the rest (filled to within one inch from the top). One other plot could use a bit more soil. We also expect to install a new raised bed but that will happen in the spring. In the meantime, we should move any remaining soil to the other side of the garden to make room for the snow piles during the winter. If you can lend a hand, either during the week or next Saturday between 10 AM and noon, please let me know so we have a sense of what we can count on and plan accordingly (gabrielamun@gmail.com). If you have a wheelbarrow that you may be able to bring, we could use that as well.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

please help us replenish the soil!

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Hubert, Iris, and Linda Herring (left to right)
add a wheelbarrow of soil into one of the raised beds

Currently at the Garden
On Saturday, November 7th, Marcelo and I received the soil early in the morning. For the next two hours, we added soil to two of the raised beds. We were later joined by Iris and Linda Herring, who, after quickly sizing up the scope of the job, promptly recruited her husband Hubert. Then Mark P arrived to give us a hand, and Christine Yeres and Bruce Platt joined later on. With much physical work from all of us, we managed to replenish all raised beds and add more soil to other gardening areas. Thanks to Christine, who stopped by during the week to top off her bed, now the remaining soil pile is protected with a tarp and signaled with a “danger cone”.  But there's still more work to be done--please keep on reading!

Iris and Marcelo spread the newly added soil.
Next StepsThere is still a large amount of soil and we need your help next week, Saturday, November 14 from 10 am to noon. Especially if you had a bed this year, please come by to help us add more soil to all beds (the level will go down after watering a few times, so the best approach is to fill them up to about one inch from the top). If you cannot make it on Saturday, let us know if you may stop by some other time and we'll give you detailed instructions. We will also plant an overwintering cove crop mix in all beds and cover with shredded leaves to leave everything ready for the winter. We will also commission two new raised beds and that should take care of most if not all of the soil that's left. Any leftover soil will be used within the church grounds.


  • Please check out the Grow Local Film Series, that Roots & Wings is co-organizing with other groups in the area. Screenings start on November 16 and will continue through October 2016. The series brings a variety of documentaries on food and the future of farming.
  • We will be soon announcing the 2016 gardening classes with Suzi Novak--please stay tuned!
  • Susan Clelland brought to our attention that the "Farm to Food Bank Bill" was recently passed in NY, which would help reduce food waste while helping those in need. If you'd like to take action and urge Governor Cuomo to sign it into law, you can do that here. Learn more about the bill here
Reminder--Compost Bins: Sam has kindly volunteered to manage the compost bins and so we will continue accepting scraps for composting through the end of November. Please remember to follow the basic rules listed below.
Composting Rules:
  • Drop your kitchen scraps in the left-hand bin (if in doubt, check the ceramic signs above).
  • Cover the scraps with an equal volume of browns (leaves, straw or similar) from the right-hand side bin. This is needed to balance the composition of the compost and to minimize foul odors.
  • Only veggie scraps are acceptable (peels, flowers, grains, pasta, coffee grounds, tea bags, etc).
  • NO animal scraps (egg shells are OK).
  • NO fats or oils.
  • Chop any large scraps and crush any egg shells.
  • Make sure to remove any stickers, rubber bands, twist ties or any non-compostable items.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Baking Bread the (easy) Traditional Way

If you love homemade bread but you always thought it was too challenging or time-consuming . .  here's the workshop for you:

Baking Bread the (easy) Traditional Way

This Roots & Wings workshop is taught by Coco Zordan, the local dynamo who taught our tomato sauce making and canning workshop earlier this fall. The group of us that had the good fortune to take that class learned about more than tomato sauce:  we found out what to look for when purchasing olive oil, a technique for cleaning vegetables, the most essential kitchen tool (a sharp knife) and much more. Her motto of “healthy easy cooking from scratch” inspired us all.

Coco promises there's a quick and simple way to make bread. She says, “In Baking Bread the (easy) Traditional Way, we'll be making dough in different ways: food processor, blender and by hand. I'll bring some dough ready to use: some for making sandwich bread or ciabatta, and some for making focaccia/pizza, and artisan rustic bread."  

“By the end of the class people will be able to take some bread home as well as some dough to practice their baking skills later in their kitchen.”

As class size is small (6-8 people), we are offering this workshop twice. Please register as soon as you can.

WHERE: @ South Presbyterian Church 343 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, NY   

COST: $20 per class. Material is included in the price*  Roots & Wings CSA Members $10.

* “I will send you a couple of reminders before the class date to let you know what you'll need to bring with you.” --Coco


Costanza Zordan is a health coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. "I help people make changes in their life starting with what they eat."

A native of Parma, Italy, Coco has lived since 2007 in Hastings-on-Hudson with her husband and 3 daughters. She has participated in many Roots & Wings programs, and blogs about  her love of good food at Coco's Bread. Her life motto is Mens sana in corpore sano (a sound mind in a healthy body).

"Since I moved from Italy to the US twenty years ago, I tried to recreate the flavors that I had left behind. Flavors that were deeply connected to my mom, my childhood, and my memories. Food is the main meme transmitted among Italians. We love spending time at table, while talking about what we’re eating, what we have eaten and what we’re going to eat next. Exchanging recipes is our favorite hobby (also among men), along with sharing food with others as a sign of friendship and love."

Monday, November 2, 2015

Kitchen Garden Notes - October 31

On Saturday, October 31st, Marcelo, Iris, Blanca, Linda Herring, M.J. Wilson, Barry Cunningham, and Gabriela met at the garden. We started by chatting and warming up, sharing a few mates and tasting different varieties of yerba. We continued chopping the remaining plants and gathering the last of the harvest: some herbs, kale, green peppers and tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts and leaves. We applied compost on some of the plots, and Marcelo took down the fence in preparation for receiving the topsoil shipment next week. M.J., a master composter, gave us a hand with the compost pile. She also brought her leaf blower and showed us how to use it as a vacuum and leaf shredder. Marcelo and Gabriela tried it, as Roots & Wings may be purchasing one to shred leaves from the church grounds and use for mulching and compost browns.

We will have topsoil delivered to the garden next Saturday, November 7 in the morning. On this last gathering of the season we will replenish soil in the raised beds, and spread compost and fertilizer. The soil is coming from Westwood Organic Recycling in Katonah.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Kitchen Garden Notes - October 17

Last Thursday, Marcelo, Blanca and Gabriela planted garlic with Suzi Novak, so we hope it will grow in the spring! This Saturday, Marcelo, Mark P, Blanca, and Gabriela were at the garden. There was little to harvest and we expect that not much will survive the low temperatures over the weekend. We began removing some of the plants from the shared plots. Mark P bought a weed whacker for the garden and brought it on Sunday to do some trimming outside of the fence. He also cut herbs from the labyrinth garden.

It's time to start putting the garden to bed! All gardeners are asked to take down their plants no later than October 31, so we can add new soil and nutrients to the raised beds over the next two or three weeks. In our last gardening class, Suzi recommended chopping and leaving any plant residues in place, including weeds (i.e., leave roots in the soil, cut above-ground plant tissue and leave on the soil). This helps maintain soil structure, preserve the living organisms in the soil and contribute to build organic matter and nutrients. As a general rule, it's best to disturb the soil as little as possible. Check out the summary of the class on our web page for more details.