Manna Meal

Charleston, WV

Flower

FROZEN

blog & photos by Jean Simpson for Saturday, Nov 8, 2014

Temps for gardening started out very cold with everyone bundled up. It only took a few minutes of raking to warm everyone up. We were all shedding layers.  Patricia Paul, Martha Ballman, Mike Burgess, Bob Lockhart and Jean Simpson made up the small but mighty crew. We got the lasagna garden and the lavender garden put to bed for the winter by seeding them with grass seed and applying a light cover of straw. The rest of the work will have to wait until  spring. This just might have been our last day for the garden.

 

frozen nasturtium

frozen nasturtium

frosty oregano

frosty oregano

Bob, Martha & Pat scatter straw after seeding with grass

Bob, Martha & Pat scatter straw after seeding with grass

breaking down garden #2

breaking down garden #2

fall collards that don't mind a frosty kiss of winter

fall collards that don’t mind a frosty kiss of winter

 

De-construction of the lasagna garden

blog and photos by Therese Cox

Manna Meal Garden Blog for October 29, 2014

Wednesday’s garden efforts focused entirely on deconstruction in Garden # 4 – removing the black plastic covers and irrigation hoses, uprooting the posts and taking down the fence. I must say, it was a little sad to greet another end of season to our beautiful garden. The rich soil has been so bountiful for our Manna Meal customers.

We were careful to glean (we hope) all the metal pins holding down the plastic and hoses, shaking out the ground covers and folding them for winter storage.

Fortunately, we had lots of energetic help. Thank you very much to Wensdi Kreitzer and her children Josie and Kelly; Rachel Mangano, their friend; Bob Lockhart, Martha Ballman, Paul Schrecongost, Mike Burgess, John Maier, Therese Cox and lead gardener Jean Simpson.

Several flowers continued blooming in Garden # 1 and the cabbage, recently attacked by savage and ravenous deer, have made a bit of a comeback (amazingly). But we’ll see Saturday about that.

Oh, yes, we worked under partly cloudy skies with temperatures hovering in the 50s – not bad, really.

Bob loosens a line pole...down she comes

Bob loosens a line pole…down she comes

our beloved lasagna garden has been tilled and is ready for grass seed

our beloved lasagna garden has been tilled and is ready for grass seed

Bob & Paul removing the fence from garden # 2

Bob & Paul removing the fence from garden # 2

John & Jean shake out & fold ground cover for storage

John & Jean shake out & fold ground cover for storage
Martha helps remove and fold ground cover

Martha helps remove and fold ground cover

Martha & Wensdi do dirty work to help return the garden to a grassy meadow

Martha & Wensdi do dirty work to help return the garden to a grassy meadow

Mike yanks weeds from ground cover

Mike yanks weeds from ground cover

Rachel & Kelly take a moment to see how fast the creek is running

Rachel & Kelly take a moment to see how fast the creek is running

Wensdi & Josie drag the garden cover off the soil

Wensdi & Josie drag the garden cover off the soil

 

Jerusalem Artichokes

blog by Therese Cox. photos by Therese, Jean and Myra

What a beautiful morning at the Manna Meal garden! Fourteen willing workers basked in the sun and cool temperature (40s and 50s), getting lots done.

Thank you, Jean Simpson (lead gardener), Myra Dolan, Patricia Paul, Paul Schrecongost, Wes Goodwin, Donna Walker, Judy Nottingham, Robin O’Brien, Zane Franklin, Brody Franklin, Bob Lockhart, Laura Rhodes, Debbie Hanna and Therese Cox.

There still was a lot of kale and collards, free for the picking – which we did. Also harvested were green peppers, carrots, pumpkin, cayenne peppers and dill. Most exciting, however, was process of digging up the Jerusalem artichokes. We’ve waited a long time to get these babes and the wait was worth it (see photos).

We discovered that the bulbous tubers grew extensively sideways, away from the plants themselves. Every spade turned up a new bunch of edible vegetables nestled in the rich soil.

This North American member of the sunflower family produces tubers with a nutty flavor and a crisp texture similar to water chestnuts. My vegetable dictionary says that Italian gardeners called it girasole (sunflower) – which sounds a bit like Jerusalem.

To continue preparing the garden for winter, volunteers also pulled up the marigolds, removed stakes and wound up the watering hoses. Some high-stepping deer had nibbled away at the cabbages, so we won’t be serving Cole slaw in great quantities at St. John’s anytime soon.

Few garden days remain so plan to join us Oct. 29 and Nov. 1!

Bob washes the soil from the artichokes

Bob washes the soil from the artichokes

Wes up the tree

Wes up the tree

There were three boys in that tree

There were three boys in that tree

Prepping the dill takes great patience

Prepping the dill takes great patience

Getting ready for the group shot

Getting ready for the group shot

Bob & Jean pose for a photo

Bob & Jean pose for a photo

threesome

threesome, Robin Brody and Zane

Judy and Therese

Judy and Therese

The harvest included the last of the flowers

The harvest included the last of the flowers
Washing the artichoke to remove soil brought out folks eager to taste this veggie

Washing the artichoke to remove soil brought out folks eager to taste this veggie

Bob Lockhart removes the spent squash and pumpkin vines
Bob Lockhart removes the spent squash and pumpkin vines
Brody, Wes and Zane in the pumpkin patch

Brody, Wes and Zane in the pumpkin patch

Debbie, Patricia & Donna harvest collards

Debbie, Patricia & Donna harvest collards

The boys were endless energy and shown here digging Jersuslem Artichoke

The boys were endless energy and shown here digging Jersuslem Artichoke

The crew--some are in the tree!

The crew–some are in the tree!

freshly dug artichokes

freshly dug artichokes

fall harvest posing for a photo

fall harvest posing for a photo

Laura prepares the dill

Laura prepares the dill

Paul, Debbie, Therese & Wes

Paul, Debbie, Therese & Wes

Robin rolls the irrigation line for storage

Robin rolls the irrigation line for storage

Some of the carrots left the garden in our tummy

Some of the carrots left the garden in our tummy

Wes and Debbie pulling up the marigolds

Wes and Debbie pulling up the marigolds

 

Manna Meal Blog for Oct. 22, 2014

 

Blog by Therese Cox

It’s nearly November and volunteers still are harvesting goodies from the garden.

For instance, we picked about six large bags and baskets of kale and collards this Wednesday evening. That does not include a bundle of carrots and a few green bell peppers.

Mainly, however, we are beginning to put the garden to bed for the winter – pulling up spent collards and Brussels sprouts; mowing the grass one last time (we hope); and trying to decide when to pick our other four pumpkins, the Jerusalem artichokes and the rest of the bell and cayenne peppers (answer: probably Saturday, Oct. 25).

Thanks to gardeners Debbie Hanna, Martha Ballman, Mary Stanley, Thom Porter, Nedra Porter, John Maier, Paul Schrecongost, Therese Cox and lead gardener Jean Simpson (who came two hours early to cut the field with her John Deere tractor).

While the weather was gray and cold, in the 50s, hard work in the garden chased away the chill.

How much did the pumpkin weigh?

Our pet pumpkin made its grand appearance at the EMPTY BOWLS fundraiser on Friday. It’s weight became a game of ‘guess my weight‘ to help raise additional funds for the soup kitchen. Here is a photo of Therese and John harvesting the great pumpkin which weighed in at 59.3 pounds! Bill Nottingham guessed the correct weight of 59 pounds at the EMPTY BOWLS event! Saturday morning Paul and Jean harvested twelve pounds of kale and twenty-eight pounds of peppers while Leila harvested two huge buckets of flowers. The deer found the future cabbage patch during the week and couldn’t resist. They hopped right over the fence and began their fall feast.

Therese and John harvest the great pumpkin

Therese and John harvest the great pumpkin to help feed Charleston’s hungry

the pepper harvest was colorful

the pepper harvest was colorful

Paul harvests kale

Paul harvests kale

The harvest of the day

The harvest of the day

the cabbage was looking great on Oct 5

the cabbage was looking great on Oct 5

cabbage after the deer dined at Manna Meal garden Oct 18

cabbage after the deer dined at Manna Meal garden Oct 18