Friday, November 25, 2016

Essence & Aroma Soap Making Workshop

Ten of us learned to follow an ancient formula of (Lye + Water) + Fats = Soap + Glycerin. The smell of lavender oil was  a m a z i n g !
We each left with one pound of soap, which we cut into bars two days later. Now, the bars will air dry for 4 - 6 weeks . . . just in time for gift giving.

Thank you, Melissa!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November Clean-Up in The Kitchen Garden

Marcelo, Gabriela, Linda H, Els, Susan, Laura and Iris met for a final time this fall. We put some chopped leaves on the beds, removed the final tomato cages, and generally finished the fall clean up. 

We found another praying mantis! Some discussion and googling occurred to determine if they are or are not beneficial insects. It seems they are bc they eat many insects but that can also be a problem because they are apparently indiscriminate and sometimes eat other beneficial insects. This one did not seem at all rattled by all of us clustering around and pointing at it.

Lots of talk of next year. A few last photos for now. . . .signing off till the spring!

If you are interested in a plot for next season, please contact Marcello at

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Roots & Wings at the Ferry Festa

Roots & Wings shared a table with our friends at Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry at this year's Ferry Festa. We had a great location--across the way from the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct booth, with the fragrance of Sushi Mike's BBQ and music from the Main Stage filling the air.

It was a beautiful day to greet many Kitchen Garden, CSA, and Food Pantry friends, and introduce ourselves to others.

Our bean bag toss and farmer photo opp was a hit with all ages.

Our Festa Special is a Farm to Ferry Thanksgiving Delivery of lettuce, butternut squash, potatoes, brussel sprouts, beets, turnips, and whatever else is ready to be harvested.

Pick up is Sunday, November 20, for a cost of $30--if interested, please let Nancy, our CSA Manager know.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Kitchen Garden party report - October 8th

We had a great time last Saturday at the Kitchen Garden! Marcelo, Laura, Blanca, Akiko, Iris, Linda H, Linda M​, Susan, Gabriela and her friend Chiara gathered around the table. In addition to great conversation and exchange of ideas and recipes, we shared a wonderful potluck breakfast that included coffee, South American mate, muffins, casseroles, among a host of yummy delicacies, and the star of the party: our own mini watermelon, just harvested--it was delicious and we are so proud of it!

Enjoy the pictures below (​thank you Iris for great pictures as usual)!

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 17 at the Kitchen Garden

We had just about everyone at the garden on Saturday (except for Gabriela who was deep in applesauce making! We watered and weeded, cut back dead plants, staked the ever tilting tomatillos and cherry tomatoes, and had a good time together.

Some of the harvest butternut and acorn squash, eggplant, Black Krim and cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, cucumbers, plus a tray of greens to plant for a (hopeful) fall crop.

Linda H. and Iris (behind the camera) took out the old lettuces and planted baby spinach, kale, arugula and cilantro.

Els working on the tomatoes

Susan and Linda M. deep in discussion.

Mark outside the fence checking on some small squash.

Marcelo in the collard patch.

Laura and Blanca at the produce table.

Eggplants and cherry tomatoes are still coming!

Linda M and Els’ beautiful rainbow chard.

Monday, September 12, 2016

September 10th at the Garden

Els, Linda H, Marcelo, Mark, Blanca, Laura, and Gabriela endured the heat this past Saturday at the garden.

In addition to the usual watering, harvesting, and weeding (and trying to straighten some of the tomato and tomatillo plants!), Mark brought the weed whacker and worked on the garden borders. We also removed the lambs quarters, then Marcelo applied some newly sifted compost and used the broad fork to aerate the soil. Then we planted some greens that Els had--we don't know the English name, but Els tells us it's a mild and yummy green!

Food Pantry: We left two containers with cherry tomatoes (one red, one sungold) and several green peppers in the fridge for the food pantry (Molly, please let me know if you find  them and whether they made it alright through Wednesday; if possible, please leave the containers in the toolbox or keep them somewhere so we can reuse them).

Watering schedule:
Susan won't be able to water on Mondays anymore but she'll be doing Sundays instead. Schedule for this week so far (please let the core group of gardeners know about any changes or if you're able to fill any of the missing spots):
Sun: Susan
Mon: --
Tue: Gabriela
Wed: Iris/Linda H
Thu: Marcelo
Fri: --
Sat: Group

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Kitchen garden update - July 30


This Saturday's gardeners were Iris, Marcelo, Blanca, Laura, and Gabriela.

We continued watering, weeding and harvesting mother earth's beautiful and healthy bounty.

Bad bug: Squash bug eggs, nymph, and adult. If you see them, squish them!
We removed many squash leaves that were affected by white mold (likely powdery mildew) at the back by Oak St. Gabriela will be spraying a mixture of milk and water (recipe provided by Suzi Novak during our monthly classes, although it's best to use before an outbreak). We also saw some tiny eggs under one of the squash leaves and a white bug that turned out to be the aptly named squash bug. These are sap suckers; but the main reason why they are damaging is because as they feed they inject a toxic substance into the plant that causes it to wilt. More info here. I believe that, as long as we don't see them in large numbers, we should be fine by squishing any bugs or eggs we see around. We've also seen predator bugs (robber flies, I believe) that may be helping us keep pests in check (hopefully a sign that we're doing things right and attracting a diversity of life!)

Good bug: Robber flies have been seen at the garden and may be helping us keep pests in check.

We keep seeing signs of a larger critter chomping the crops. We initially thought it may be deer jumping up the fence at its lowest point, but on Sunday, Iris noticed some of her low-lying, ripe tomatoes eaten halfway through. She's convinced it's a groundhog or something similar, and she found plenty of breaches in the fence where they could be getting in. We're looking at whether this is something that we can repair, or whether we need to rebuild the fence, or part of it. If you have any ideas, please share them!

Chomped leaves and one of several potential entry points for groundhogs and such.

Monday, July 25, 2016

July 23rd at the Kitchen Garden

In spite of the heat wave, a large crowd gathered at the garden: Linda M, Els, Linda H, Iris, Blanca, Laura, Marcelo and Gabriela.

We continued watering, weeding, and harvesting--various squashes, zucchini (a huge one!), cucumbers, various greens, and the first peppers and tomatoes.

Marcelo planted the sage that Susan left in the garden (I have the container and will bring it back when Susan returns).

We also bought some more tomato cages and a "watering wand" that we hope will make watering much easier and effective while we look into feasibility of a drip irrigation system (again, if anybody wants to be part of this conversation, just let me know). It has a long handle (length can be adjusted) that allows watering close to the roots without having to bend. There are several spray patterns but only one or two are really suitable for watering. The small handle regulates water flow.

Watering schedule this week (**given the heat wave, additional watering would be really beneficial; if you can stop by and give the plants a soak, that would be much appreciated, and please let the group know so we're all aware**):
Monday: Iris
Tuesday: Gabriela
Wednesday: Iris/ Linda H
Thursday: Marcelo
Saturday: group

See you next week!


Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 16 at the Kitchen Garden

Present at the garden this week were Iris, Linda H, Blanca, Mark, Marcelo, Laura, and Gabriela.

Things continue to grow and mature, with lots of squash and greens, and some cherry tomatoes starting to ripen. This week we continued weeding, watering, pruning tomato plants and harvesting. We got plenty of collards for the food pantry and squash, lamb's quarters, and a few cherry tomatoes. Mark weeded and tidied up the external border.

We noticed a few plants seemed to have been chewed by some critter--maybe chipmunks or squirrels? Also, if you notice any weed with flowers, please remove it immediately to minimize seed production.

The watering schedule for next week:
Monday: Blanca
Tuesday: Gabriela
Wednesday: Iris/ Linda H
Thursday: Marcelo
Saturday: group

See you next week!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

July 9th at the Garden

We had a nice crowd at the garden this Saturday with Marcelo, Linda M, Laura, Iris, Blanca, Susan and Gabriela joining. MJ stopped by later to discuss watering at the garden.

Laura pulled out peas, which were finished. Blanca keeping weeds around the beds under control. 
Marcelo sifted the compost and Linda applied to the collards, tomatoes and other plants. Please note that there is some more compost ready to use in a pink round bin near the tools.

Marcelo at work sifting compost. Iris dwarfed by her sun gold tomato jungle.

Things are growing beautifully and the various squash are full of flowers and some fruit at various stages of maturity. Activities at the garden included weeding, watering and harvesting kale, collards, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, beans, and some squash flowers among other things.

Susan proudly displays her prize spaghetti squash. She later devised a sling to support it.

MJ Wilson joined Gabriela later on to talk with the lawn care company to explore irrigation options for the Kitchen and Labyrinth Gardens. We'll ponder the different options in more detail once we receive the quotes. Please let me know if you are interested in being part of the "Irrigation Subcommittee".

Gabriela, Linda M and Marcelo confer about the arugula and collards. Part of the colorful harvest.

Next Steps: Let us know if there are any gardening supplies you think we should get (tools, amendments, etc.)

See you next week!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July 2nd at the Kitchen Garden

People at the garden: Marcelo, Iris, Laura, Blanca, Els, Susan.

It was a busy Saturday morning at the garden! Everything is growing wildly and beautifully and so we harvested kale, various lettuces, and nasturtium flowers. There are tons of flowers on all the plants and lots of green tomatoes and small squashes. The peas are coming to the end of their season (or are beyond it). We did some weeding and staking and/or tying up of floppy branches. We didn't need to water because it had rained heavily recently.

Iris planted three of the little watermelon seedlings outside the front fence. We discovered some breeches in the fence near the driveway and a few chomped squash leaves and, fearing intrusion by some critter like a groundhog or rabbit, Iris tied up all the holes she could find. Marcelo worked on the compost as usual and found that the compost in the middle bin seems to be ready for use.
On Sunday, Marcelo harvested a good amount of collards and kale for the food pantry which was taken by Lyn.

Monday, June 27, 2016

June 25 at the Kitchen Garden

This Saturday, Mark P. stopped by early and began watering the garden, noting that the sprinklers (which now are activated on Fridays and Saturdays at 4 am) only reach the immediate area and don't provide the deep watering that's needed in the veggie beds. We are looking into other options for automated watering. He then went on to tidying and watering the labyrinth garden.

At the garden were Marcelo, Linda H, Susan, Laura, and Gabriela. We weeded Sam's plot, which for now will be part of the communal garden, and planted some more eggplants there, in addition to some lettuce and mesclun that was already planted. Susan will be donating zucchini and cucumber to complete the plot--thank you!

We also weeded, trimmed the tomato plants, and watered, and there was some harvest from the family plots. The garden is looking pretty good with squash flowers, tiny tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos starting to form, among other wonders. Maria Harris visited the garden briefly with her grandson, who helped us water.

Poison ivy follow up: Last week, Gabriela sprayed some poison ivy by the parking lot fence with a mixture of vinegar, salt and dish detergent. The leaves started to wilt and Marcelo applied a second round of spraying. Otherwise, things are looking fine so far.

The watering schedule remains the same. Please note we've been informed that tomorrow, Jun 28 there will be a filming crew from 7 am to noon and we need to stay out of their way. Also, starting next week, the camp will be using the water in the morning. We'll send a separate note to the core group of gardeners.
Mondays: Susan
Tuesdays: Gabriela
Wednesdays: Iris/Linda H.
Thursdays: Marcelo
Saturdays: Group

See you next week!

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 18 @ the Kitchen Garden--Poison Ivy edition

This Saturday, Blanca and her niece, Laura, Linda M, Linda H, Iris, Mark, Marcelo and Gabriela came to the garden.

A HUGE THANK YOU to Marcelo for bravely charging against the poison ivy that was growing profusely in and around the compost area. Gabriela provided assistance with a special focus on protective measures. We physically removed all the ivy we could see and sprayed the affected areas with a mixture of vinegar, salt and dish-washing detergent. No toxic herbicides were used. Now we are keeping our fingers crossed that the protective gear and post-intervention cleanup worked and nobody develops a rash! PLEASE BE VIGILANT AND LET US KNOW IF YOU SEE ANYTHING YOU SUSPECT MAY BE MORE POISON IVY.

The brave PoisonIvyBuster and the health, safety & decontamination assistant.

The rest of the team carried out a variety of tasks, including mowing, weeding, watering, harvesting, spraying the strawberry patch with a homemade mix of soap, garlic and water (to deal with a soft-bodied pest), and adding compost & hay to newly planted eggplants.

The harvest this week included strawberries, turnips, and greens.

Last week we received a donation of eggplants and watermelon plants from Derek DiGuglielmo of EatLocalNY--THANK YOU!! Marcelo planted some eggplants on Tuesday. Feel free to use the leftover plants.

​ Also Marcelo planted some morning glories in a long container located in between Iris' plot and the fence bordering the garden at Zion--please remember to water them!

Watering Schedule
Mondays: Susan
Tuesdays: Gabriela
Wednesdays: Iris/Linda H.
Thursdays: Marcelo
Saturdays: Group
See you next Saturday!

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 4th and 11th at the Garden

This week at the garden: Linda H, Laura, Iris, Blanca (and her sister), Els, Susan, Marcelo and Gabriela came to the garden and helped with weeding, strawberry picking, watering, and compost mixing, in addition to tending individual beds. We noticed one of the tomatillo plants and the lemon balm seem to be affected by some pest or disease--we'll be asking Suzi Novak during this Thursday's organic gardening class. Also, we believe we may have poison ivy growing in the compost bins. We'll make sure to identify and deal with it properly; in the meantime, please be cautious around the bins!

Last week at the garden: On June 4th we had the maté party and enjoyed some refreshing cold maté or tereré (here's an account of last year's maté party)! On Wednesday, June 8th, the Dobbs Ferry food pantry received its first Kitchen Garden harvest, which included lettuce and collard greens. Marcelo walked Ellen through and pointed to the communal gardening areas that the pantry can harvest, and the family plots.

Next steps: We'll get some additional plants for next week.
Watering schedule remains:
Mondays: Susan
Tuesdays: Gabriela
Wednesdays: Iris/Linda H.
Thursdays: Marcelo
Saturdays: Group

**Please note** when watering the garden, if Iris and Linda H's hoophouses are covered, you don't have to water them--only water if the plastic cover is pulled to the side.
See you next week!