Wednesday, November 2, 2011

First Year Garden Yield

Winter has come to Somers, Montana and although some plants are hanging in there, Robin Vogler (Food Services Director and Nutrition teacher) sent us the harvest totals:

120 pounds of zucchini-not counting a random few
114 pounds of pumpkins
23 pounds of buttercup squash
53 pounds of hubbard squash
15 pounds of potatoes- these were Delicious, served them oven roasted, olive oil & sea salt-YUMM for our Montana Harvest Menu Day
19 pounds of carrots-although very few of these were edible-strange deformed and bitter-unfortuneately
Broccoli is still alive
Cabbage- no yield,but nice foliage :)
5 pounds lettuce varieties
Onions/garlic still in the ground

We are SO excited about how much this garden produced, especially since none of our plants were able to get into the ground until July!  And we know the garden will get better every year. 
Thanks to everyone that helped to make the garden possible and have continued to sustain it!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Pictures and News Stories

School is back in session, and although we (Tory and Jean) are back on our respective home coasts, the garden is still growing, so much the beds can barely contain it! Robin and her Nutrition students harvested zucchinis and green onions the other day for a class project, and she took some photos of the garden growth (more photos below).

In addition to being a Blog of the Month for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, the garden has also been getting some nice local recognition, in the West Shore News, and as part of a story about the Montana Foodcorps in the Missoulian.

There are two amazing women that we need to thank for their roles in this project, and we’re so glad that they are featured in these stories: Robin Vogler, our site supervisor and the Food Services Director and Wellness Program Coordinator for the Somers/Lakeside School District, and Crissie McMullan, a founder of Montana Foodcorps. Both bring so much energy and passion to their work, and it was such an honor to be able to work with both of them for a summer. In Robin’s five years at the Somers Middle School she has transformed the school food service from reheated processed food to made-from-scratch, healthy food that the kids love. For more details on Robin’s amazing work, check out the piece she wrote for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. She buys produce from local farmers, but she wanted to reduce the food mileage even more and grow food right on campus. So she asked Crissie McMullan at Montana Foodcorps for volunteers to make the garden happen, and we were lucky enough to get selected. Crissie started Montana Foodcorps after the work she was doing to get local food into the University of Montana was so inspiring that people kept asking her to come to their community to get local food into their schools. And Crissie is amazing but can only be in one place at one time so she created Foodcorps to send volunteers to those communities. Montana Foodcorps is now a model for the National Foodcorps program, which is currently in 10 states. For more information, check out Crissie's Montana Foodcorps blog.

Finally, here are more new pictures of the garden! A white pumpkin looks like it will be ready for Halloween (below), the zucchini and potato towers are looking great (middle) and the chard is getting huge (far below)!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Our End of Service

Exciting news: our blog has been chosen as a Blog of the Month by Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution! We are so honored, Jamie is such an inspiration. We can't believe that a blog we started mostly so that our moms could stay updated on the progress of our garden is being recognized by one of our idols!

Today is our last day of service and the ending is bittersweet. We're glad we've accomplished all that we have and excited about what's next, but it's tough to leave this beautiful place! Below is a picture of the raised beds, the plants are beginning to spill out of them! Below left are our potato towers with lots of potatoes leafing out the sides. Below right is a sunflower in the courtyard.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Potluck Success!

Last night we had our potluck dinner at the school. Unfortunately it stormed so we moved the dinner into the cafeteria, but we were glad to be out of the rain! We had lots of great food and company and would like to thank all who attended and brought a yummy dish. If you weren't able to make it, be sure to stop by and see the garden sometime soon, the plants get bigger every day!

Our term of service ends Saturday and we'd like to thank everyone here for their help and support. This has been an incredible experience and definitely one that we'll never forget.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Courtyard and Ripe Tomatoes

Although the tomatoes above may not look ripe, they are a yellow variety we got from Terrapin Farms and are perfectly ripe! We picked them today and they were delicious! We also picked another zucchini, and more will be ready next week.

Also today we finished clearing out the grass and weeds from the courtyard beds. Much of it is now empty, but it gives us room to put new plants in. The bed below left has delphinium, mint, chamomile, tulips and forget-me-nots. The bed below right has corn, sunflowers, and lilies. We're glad to be done with the big tasks and so excited about how much the plants are growing!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Potluck and Our First Zucchini!

As our term of service wraps up, we would like to thank everyone who has made this project possible and extend an invitation to our Garden Potluck at the Somers School on Wednesday, August 10, 7-9pm!
Come see how much the garden has grown, eat delicious food and spend time with friends and neighbors. Please bring a dish to share with the group and feel free to bring your family and friends!

Speaking of how much the garden has grown, we picked the first zucchini today (below, right)! Just a week ago it was tiny, but the hot weather gave it a growth spurt. Our potato tower (below, left) has also grown significantly, the potatoes are leafing out on all sides. Our bed of broccoli, cauliflower and onions (below, center) is doing well and hopefully will start producing soon!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Building the Tipi Trellis

Inspired by tipi trellises that Tory built in urban community gardens back in Providence, RI, we decided to put one in the courtyard. The kids will be able to go inside of it and hopefully enjoy some shade provided by peas and climbing beans. We planted the peas we'd been growing in the greenhouse and found that we had some peapods (below). We had help building and planting from some neighborhood kids who stopped by to see what we were doing. They thought the peas tasted great too!