Manna Meal

Charleston, WV

Flower

The Happy Meal

The deer and turtles are quite happy after having come to lunch at the garden.

blog by Therese Cox & photos by Therese, Jean & Myra

Well, it might have been a happy meal for the deer and turtles at the time but I’m hoping a bunch of guilt will seep in soon! And maybe they won’t be tempted again.

While the point of the garden is to share the vegetables we grow, we don’t mean with animal types. Fortunately, they left some for Manna Meal customers. The deer seemed to prefer the bean blossoms, or future beans. They did not scavenge the beans themselves (thanks, I guess).

So, volunteers harvested 35 pounds of tomatoes, 15 pounds of green beans and 15 pounds of squash, in a comfortable 65 degrees with somewhat cloudy skies.

Kudos to Nedra and Thom Porter, Paul Schrecongost, Jean Simpson, Judy Nottingham, Myra Dolan, Ryan Sattler, Liz Hereford, Dick Hanlon, Patricia Paul, Gary Brown, Tom Larkin, Jim Kinnison and Therese Cox.

These gardeners also spent the morning re-staking tomato plants; weeding garden No. 1; planting collards and kale in lower garden No. 1; planting beets in the raised beds; and planting carrots and Swiss chard.

Today's crew with Jean behind the camera

Today’s crew with Jean behind the camera

Nedra and Patricia harvest squash and peppers

Nedra and Patricia harvest squash and peppers [click to enlarge photos]

Sunflowers greet all who enter the garden throught the lavender gate

Sunflowers greet all those who enter the garden through the lavender gate

Thinning the seedlings.

Thinning the seedlings.
Reseeding the raised beds. There were deer tracks in there too.

Reseeding the raised beds. There were deer tracks in those beds too.

A row of sunflower nearing bloom time

A row of sunflower nearing bloom time

Bumblebee pollinating the beans. There were plenty of honeybees present, but they were drawn to the flowering oregano

Bumblebee pollinating the beans. There were plenty of honeybees present, but they were drawn to the flowering oregano.

yip, that's Gary Brown peeking through the deer fence.

yip, that’s Gary Brown peeking through the deer fence.

There was a harvest today

There was a harvest today

Jim and Gary harvesting tomatoes

Jim and Gary harvesting tomatoes
Liz harvesting bush beans

Liz harvesting bush beans. Paul photo bombs in the background.

Ryan prepping the weedeater for work

Ryan prepping the weedeater for work

Paul reading the mulch

Paul reading the mulch

Unlike the muddy Elk River, the creek was clear and full of minnows and a big Ninja Turtle [which eats tomatoes]

Unlike the muddy Elk River, the creek was clear and full of minnows and a big Ninja Turtle [which eats tomatoes]
Tom's gift to the garden--a whimsical paint job for the old bench. Thank you!

Tom’s gift to the garden–a whimsical paint job for the old bench. Thank you!

The pollinators love the flowering plants

The pollinators love the flowering plants

Lunch in the Garden

blog by Therese Cox

A not-so-pleasant surprise greeted volunteers Wednesday afternoon. Most of the Swiss chard and lazy housewives beans had disappeared with nothing but blunted stems in their places.

A Sherlock Holmes investigation revealed some sagging fences where an enterprising deer or two might have crept in to nibble at the bountiful harvest.

So the crew of nine volunteers mended the fences and still had time to pick 71 pounds of other vegetables.

These included 25 pounds of beans, 22 pounds of tomatoes, 11 pounds of kale, nine pounds of collards and four pounds of squash.

With lots of heat and humidity (90 degrees), Jean Simpson led the volunteers – Corleen Patterson, Will Patterson, Martha Ballman, Nedra and Thom Porter, Mike Burgess, Cheyanna Johnson, Wes Goodwin and Paul Schrecongost.

Bush beans--or what's left

Bush beans–or what’s left

Yummy carrot tops for the deer

Yummy carrot tops for the deer

What ever this was must not have been so tasty

What ever this was must not have been so tasty

The once full trellis is now transparent

The once full runner bean trellis is now empty

Here is where Swiss Chard used to grow. It WAS tasty!

Here is where Swiss Chard used to grow. It WAS tasty!

The first large tomatoes were safe in another garden space

The first large tomatoes were safe in another garden space

Yard-long beans were still there

Yard-long beans were still there

There was still a nice harvest today: 22 lb tomatoes, 25 lb beans, 9 lb collard, and 11 lb kale.

There was still a nice harvest today: 22 lb tomatoes, 25 lb beans, 9 lb collard, and 11 lb kale.

The Japanese Beetles have left the hollyhock and they are beautiful.

The Japanese Beetles have left the hollyhock and the flowers are beautiful.

Teddy Bear sunflower isn't the same as a scarecrow

Teddy Bear sunflower isn’t the same as a scarecrow

....phlox tops were in the perennial garden sampler for the deer luncheon

….phlox tops were in the perennial garden sampler for the deer luncheon

 

A whole lot of planting goin’ on

Manna Meal Garden Blog for July 16 by Therese Cox

Big news this Wednesday evening! For the first time, Jean used our new John Deere tractor to till a garden plot – the former lavender garden. She also used the bucket attachment to scoop out compost for the cabbage garden. Good work!

A cool and cloudy afternoon was a welcome relief from recent steamy weather.

A total of 14 volunteers tackled several tasks. They included Jim Kinnison, Patricia Paul, Jerry Engle, Thom Porter, Nedra Porter, Ryan Sattler, Leila Martin, Mike Burgess, Barbara Rose, Janie Bowling, Frank Mathews, Paul Schrecongost and Therese Cox.

First on the list was to prepare and plant two rows of Top Crop bush beans with the mechanical planter in Garden No. 1. Thanks, Patricia and Nedra!

Next was to tie up the plants in the tomato garden and weed below – a job accomplished quickly by Jerry, Leila, Paul S., Nedra, Janie and Frank.

Paul took a crew back to garden No. 5 and scraped up and amended the soil with compost in six rows in preparation for planting two of cabbage and four of kale.

Thanks to Ryan and Thom, Garden No. 2 may be (relatively) free of potato bugs and weeds (for now).

All the while these tasks were being accomplished Jim and Jean zapped the grass in the surrounding yard.

Barbara prepping the ground for cabbage planting

Barbara prepping the ground for cabbage planting

Janie & Frank help tie up tall tomato plants

Janie & Frank help tie up tall tomato plants

OK, gotta find the oil cap first

OK, gotta find the oil cap first

Jean's toy tractor

Jean’s toy tractor

Jerry grew the plants from seed and sees them through the season

Jerry grew the plants from seed and sees them through the season

Lelia ties supports on the tall tomato vines

Lelia ties supports on the tall tomato vines

Jim loves to get tractor duty

Jim loves to get tractor duty

Mike carries compost to the garden

Mike carries compost to the garden

Lelia & Jerry separate the glossy pages out of newspaper being used as compost

Lelia & Jerry separate the glossy pages out of newspaper being used as compost

Nedra plants beans

Nedra plants beans

Patricia planted a row of beans too!

Patricia planted a row of beans too!

Delightful zinnias grace the garden here and there

Delightful zinnias grace the garden here and there

A crew planting cabbage & kale

A crew planting cabbage & kale

Roma vines are short but loaded with fruit!

Roma vines are short but loaded with fruit!

another view of those Romas

another view of those Romas

Ryan spiffs up garden #5

Ryan spiffs up garden #5

Thom examines the fruits of his labors

Thom examines the fruits of his labors

Zinnia smiles

Zinnia smiles

 

Traumatized

Bob Sylvester was so traumatized by his close encounters with the Mexican Bean Beetle in all its stages of life–egg, fuzzy yellow larvae and beetle–that he had to go home to do some writing therapy. Therapy produced the following! Thanks Bob we hope this publication will help you deal with your nightmare–please wear gloves to help dispatch the squishy bugs next time.

Eating Mexican

Not exactly epicurean,

unless you’re Epilachian.

For if you’re Epilachna varivestis,

You’re the worst of the worst of pestis

We picked and grubbed those phony ladybugs.

The egg and larvae, pupal stages in our beans,

from leaves and ground and all around.

More than hundreds were found.

They looked like pretty ladybugs,

though hungry like voracious slugs,

They ate and ate and ate without a shrug,

Those tiny, little, groveling bugs.

We dug, then squeezed the dickens

from the prizes of our pickin’s.

Some squished right up our arms as Myra said,

But better dead than orange/red.

The heat became excruciating,

The sweat began to flow so freely,

As beetle bugs a-went to hiding,

They waited, laughing, some were chiding.

We won the battle anyway this day.

In our special Manna Meal way.

Among the plants we made new friends,

renewed some old as day did end.

We picked the beauty of the harvest,

to heck with all those pesky larvas.

And coming back again next week

to laugh and help the poor to eat.

bob sylvester ~ 7/12/14

Mexican bean beetle life cycle

Mexican bean beetle life cycle

Happy Days of Summer in the Garden

July 9th and 12th Reports by Therese Cox

July 9, Wednesday:

Volunteers: Jean Simpson and Paula Fluharty, leads; Devin Cottrill, Patricia Paul, Martha Ballman, Paul S., Mike Burgess; sunny.

Tasks:

–Green beans harvested; other beans sprayed. Mike weeded in the rows.

–Onions harvested and field cleaned. Bed weeded and prepped.

–Basil pinched and mulched.

–Cabbage seeded in onion bed between rows of basil and at head of short bean rows.

 

The Crew. Carolee Felber who is standing in the back row w/rose colored shirt completed her Master Gardener volunteer hrs today!

The Crew. Carolee Felber who is standing in the back row w/rose colored shirt completed her Master Gardener volunteer hrs today! What a crew!

July 12, Saturday:

A score plus one person made light (but not cool) work in the garden this steamy Saturday. While the temperature started us at 8:30 a.m. with a bearable 66 degrees, it soon jumped up to the 80s, then 90 by 11 a.m.

Thanks, first, to lead gardener Gary Brown and hard-working Myra Dolan, as always. They were joined by Vicky Grate, Carolee Felber (congratulations on your Master Gardener status, achieved today), Patricia Paul, Martha Ballman, Zoey Sims, Brad Sims, Regina Higginbotham, Nedra Porter, Thom Porter, Therese Cox, Bob Sylvester, Leila Martin, Judy Nottingham, Jean Simpson, Tammy Walker, Sherry Bryant, Tom Larkin, Jim Kinnison and Mike Crites.

Volunteers tackled the beans in Garden No. 1 as a top priority. They pulled out the spent vines, still clinging tenaciously to the fence, and harvested the many beans. Weeding continued, both in Garden No. 5 and No. 1 and among the Roma tomato plants. Cabbage was picked (and more seeded in Garden No. 5), as well as kale, chard and carrots.

In the ground went two full rows of cabbage in No. 5, plus curly kale in the first raised bed.

Gardeners dug up some gorgeous elephant garlic from Garden No. 1, removed extraneous soil and set them out to dry in the sun. Jean will hang them up in her garage to air out and dry. Of course, all the babies were saved to plant next spring.

Garlic dried nicely after the harvest

Garlic dried nicely after the harvest

New pumpkin vines and flowers have sprouted in Garden No. 2, so the white cloths were removed and set out to dry.

Finally, it took several volunteers to scavenge about the former lavender garden for rocks that had been mounded around the plants. It will be tilled soon. They deposited the rocks into the spigot area rock garden.

Tomato plants are loaded with green tomatoes with the  promise of a beautiful harvest for the soup kitchen

Tomato plants are loaded with green tomatoes with the promise of a beautiful harvest for the soup kitchen

Today's harvest

Today’s harvest. There is also a big five gallon bucket of elephant garlic.
Lelia gathered two buckets of flowers for vases available at St John's Episcopal Church on Sunday

Lelia gathered two buckets of flowers for vases available for a donation of your own choosing at St John’s Episcopal Church on Sunday

Zinnia and dill for bouquets

Zinnia and dill for bouquets

Sunflower and beans

Sunflower and beans

The first two rows of bush beans were picked and vines removed.

The first two rows of bush beans were picked and vines removed.

Leila finds elephant garlic globes to use in flower vases

Leila finds elephant garlic globes to use in flower vases

Carolee Felber [R] and Martha Ballman [L]

Carolee Felber [R] and Martha Ballman [L]

Zoey carefully transplants tiny seedlings of kale and beet

Zoey carefully transplants tiny seedlings of kale and beet

Brad Sims, Zoey's dad takes a spin around the garden w/weedeater

Brad Sims, Zoey’s dad takes a spin around the garden w/weedeater

Vicky Grate was first one out to the garden today!

Vicky Grate was first one out to the garden today!