Manna Meal

Charleston, WV

Flower

LL&L = Lumber and Labor of Love

L to R: Steve, Patricia, Ann, Tom, Martha,Joe, Donna & Ron

L to R: Steve, Patricia, Ann, Tom, Martha,Joe, Donna & Ron. Back row: Jerry, Isaac, Nedra, Thom, Bob & Paul….click any photo to enlarge it for viewing

Saturday, April 12 was an incredible day at the garden. The volunteer crew replaced the disintegrated sides of the raised beds with rough cut OAK lumber from John Longwell’s Green Creek Woodshop located  in Gandeeville, WV. What a gift! We are back into full production with those beds. Other work accomplished today: deer fence was repaired, cabbage was planted and spinach that had over-wintered in raised beds and under row cover was harvested to the tune of 15#. Volunteers Ron and Donna drove all the way from Sophia, WV to volunteer today. Our caring community of volunteers is just amazing. We are so grateful for each and every one!

adding Jean to the crew

adding Jean to the crew: center front row

Isaac, Steve & Tom repair the deer fence.

Isaac, Steve & Tom repair the deer fence.

Donna Graham harvesting spinach while the guys work to replace sides of the raised beds with beautiful rough cut oak lumber from GREEN CREEK WOODSHOP from Gandeeville, WV! Thank you John Longwell!! WooHoo! What a gift!

Donna Graham & crew harvesting spinach while the guys work to replace sides of the raised beds with beautiful rough cut oak lumber from GREEN CREEK WOODSHOP from Gandeeville, WV! Thank you John Longwell!! WooHoo! What a gift!

The rough cut poplar on the raised beds disintegrated during the harsh winter. Paul, Tom & Isaac replaced it with rough cut oak! How great is that!

The rough cut poplar on the raised beds disintegrated during the harsh winter. Paul, Tom & Isaac replaced it How great is that!
Martha & Steve uncovering the spinach that grew ALL WINTER...yes, all winter!

Martha & Steve uncovering the spinach that grew ALL WINTER…yes, all winter!

Fifteen pounds of bug-free spinach was harvested for the Manna Meal Soup Kitchen today.

Look at that new oak lumber being installed around the raised beds!

The cabbage patch nursery

The cabbage patch nursery

Sugar Snap peas are climbing out of the soil headed toward the fence.

Sugar Snap peas are climbing out of the soil headed toward the fence.

Today's harvest: 15# of spinach!

Today’s harvest: 15# of spinach!

 

Winter of the Polar Vortex

One may have thought everything at the garden would have been ruined by a winter that included a couple of Polar Vortex episodes, snow every week and just about everything else Mother Nature could pull out of her wintry mixed bag of surprises, but the garden soil has never looked better. The soil is dark and crumbly, full of earthworms with no sign of pests yet. The winter did fracture the rain barrels [which were full of water all winter] so they were retired to Slack St Recycle Center today–thanks to Paula Fluharty and the dis-assembly crew. The perennial pollinator beds were edged, weeded, and planted with starts of black-eyed Susan and daisy. Dixie planted four magic seeds along the flower garden fence line with the hope that we will see an explosion of red there this summer. Lead gardeners Amy and Chris Postalwait assigned tasks and facilitated 40 man hours of volunteer labor today! Six pounds of onion were planted. Bob and Molly planted kale and Swiss chard. Isaac did a second tilling of the winter cover crop that was still growing heartily after its first tilling. Getting the tiller to start required a McGuiver Team effort using jumper cables and a car battery–but the Team won the challenge. Under the guidance of Paul S., several of the guys rebuilt the outhouse floor to protect anyone from falling into the basement this summer. They took turns sitting on the throne to “test” the floor–silly guys. Two crews cleaned out and organized storage buildings–no small task. Ethan pulled daffodils and delivered them to all the gardeners. The crew included many first time volunteers and twenty hands total. Thanks to everyone for an incredible morning: Amy & Chris Postalwait, Bob Sylvester, Paula Fluharty, Thom & Nedra Porter, Emily McCown, Patricia Paul, Martha Ballman, Dixie Hill, John Northeimer, Bob Lockhart, Molly Linehan, Moira Reilly, Kelly & Breanne Tucker, Tom Landis, Liz Hereford, Paul S, Myra and Ethan was running around there too. Jean was excused today.

You can click any photo to enlarge it for viewing.

Jump starting the tiller with jumper cables and a car! Today's McGuiver Team.

Jump starting the tiller with jumper cables and a car! Today’s McGuiver Team.

Isaac tilled the entire lower garden. This was the seconded turning of the winter cover crop.

Isaac tilled the entire lower garden. This was the seconded turning of the winter cover crop.

Chris, Martha & Bob Sylvester plant 6# onions

Chris, Martha & Bob Sylvester plant 6# onions

Bob and Molly plant kale seed in Tom's Garden.

Bob and Molly plant kale seed in Tom’s Garden.

Paula Fluharty hauls fractured rain barrels to Recycle Center today.

Paula Fluharty hauls fractured rain barrels to Recycle Center today.

Someone had to test the new floor in the outhouse! Thanks Thom!

Someone had to test the new floor in the outhouse! Thanks Thom!

Cleaning and organizing the lower shed. How did all that stuff ever fit in there?

Cleaning and organizing the lower shed. How did all that stuff ever fit in there?

Straightening the upper shed was on the to-do list today.

Straightening the upper shed was on the to-do list today.

 

The McGuiver Team

The McGuiver Team

Molly Linehan and first time volunteer Emily McCown

Molly Linehan and first time volunteer Emily McCown

Many hands in the perennial garden today!

Many hands in the perennial garden today!

Crumbly dark soil full of earthworms, perennials and bulbs ready to pop out.

Crumbly dark soil full of earthworms, perennials and bulbs ready to pop out.

Amy Postalwait and Thom Porter

Paul S, Amy Postalwait and Thom Porter

Our garden buddy, Bob Lockhart

Our garden buddy, Bob Lockhart

 

Manna Meal garden report for Saturday, March 29

Blog writer: Therese Cox

Tom, Meg, Martha & Bob

Tom, Meg, Martha & Bob

The average pedestrian on Capitol Street might have predicted dismal weather for our first Saturday at the garden but not the seven unfazed souls who gathered there at 9 a.m.

Low 50s temperatures and a sullen sky greeted us but nary a raindrop plopped down on our ball caps (unless you count a mere 30 seconds of drizzle about 11 a.m.). By then, we were finished planting snap peas on the upper inside fence of garden one; doing likewise along Tom’s lower garden fence; gathering straw from last year’s kale and spreading it in walkways; yanking unwanted weeds and edging in the flower gardens; and planting more than five pounds of onions in plot B of garden one.

Thanks to lead gardener Jean Simpson, plus volunteers Holly Biondi (welcome to your first Manna Meal garden experience), Martha Ballman, Robert Lockhart, Meg Reishman, Tom Larkin and Therese Cox.

We seem to be a bit ahead of the garden game, seeing as it’s still March, but a lot remains to be accomplished in the coming days. Come help us greet spring during a planting season that promises some new adaptations plus maybe even some new equipment!

–30

Therese & Holly planting peas

Therese & Holly planting peas

Peas are all planted...just add rain. Mother Nature is doing that for us today.

Peas are all planted…just add rain. Mother Nature is doing that for us today.

Yuck....what kind of worm is that?

Yuck….what kind of worm is that? 

Blessing on the Garden 2014

Blog by Therese Cox

Garden days are here again as spring whimpered its way into the Kanawha Valley this month (only to be bashed back into semi-hibernation by a littering of snow a couple of days later).

The Rev. Jim Lewis helped debut the new season by leading us in a garden blessing, full of appreciation for the earth and its promise of healthful and bountiful produce for Manna Meal customers.

Thanks also to the 21 volunteers who tilled all of the areas, repaired deer fences, wove hot-pink twine trellises, weeded the flower gardens, dug trenches, reset covers on raised beds, painted the gate lavender, removed the winter tarps from the lasagna garden, planted dwarf bush peas and snap peas and thinned out the Japanese irises. The irises, by the way, will be available for adoption at our next garden get-together.

Hard-working Manna Meal garden volunteers, who toiled under 60-degree temperatures and cloudy skies, must not go unidentified. They were the ever-present Jean Simpson and Myra Dolan; plus lead gardeners Gary Brown and Ann Garcelon; also Jim Kinnison, Gary Meadows, Jerry Engle, Therese Cox, Joe Badgley, Dixie Hill, Carver Vial, Mary Ann Deison, Ralena Smith, Martha Ballman, Patricia Paul, Paul Schrecongost, Tom Larkin, Meg Reishman, Dick Hanlon, Liz Hereford and Isaac Forman.

Under either winter cover crops or tarps, the garden soil appears rich and ready for 2014 plantings – meaning there is much to be accomplished in upcoming garden get-togethers. Our next party is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 29, Saturday.

Therese & Joe paint the gate lavender

Therese & Joe paint the gate lavender
Therese weaving the bean trellis. Many helped with this task. The twine is bright pink nylon.

Therese weaving the bean trellis. Many helped with this task. The twine is bright pink nylon.

Nearly every part of the garden had cover crops tilled under today. The soil was beautiful!

Nearly every part of the garden had cover crops tilled under today. The soil was beautiful!

MM 1 Garden JAX FHC conf 038

Ralena ties off the bottom of a vertical trellis line

MM 1 Garden JAX FHC conf 036

Tilling the cover crop in the main garden is quite a task! Thanks to all who handled those tillers!

Therese and Ann, always photogenic and hard working trellis weavers

Therese and Ann, always photogenic and hard working trellis weavers

the lasagna garden space was covered w/tarps for the winter instead of cover crops. The soil is glorious, later in the summer we will see if the tomatoes grow well. No weeds in here...just fine soil.

the lasagna garden space was covered w/tarps for the winter instead of cover crops. The soil is glorious, later in the summer we will see if the tomatoes grow well. No weeds in here…just fine soil.

The tilled lasagna garden soil looks like a black sandbox

The tilled lasagna garden soil looks like a black sandbox

Meg plants a double row of peas on the fence line of the lasagna garden

Meg plants a double row of peas on the fence line of the lasagna garden

Meg and Gary plant four rows of dwarf bush peas in the lower garden

Meg and Gary plant four rows of dwarf bush peas in the lower garden

 

About 19 folks gather in a large circle as Rev Jim Lewis leads the blessing on the garden

About 19 folks gather in a large circle as Rev Jim Lewis leads the blessing on the garden

 

First Ever WV Urban Ag Conference

The WV Urban Ag Conference will feature daylong hands-on workshops for home gardeners, urban homesteaders and urban farmers. Learn about garden basics, marketing farm products, home preserving and more!

Mark your calendars! for April 11 & 12, 2014 at WV State University in Institute.

Featuring delicious, locally grown food; a local foods dinner, sustainable practices; an exhibitors trade show and more. Hosted by WVU Extension Svc, WVSU extension Svc and Northeast SARE in partnership with SARE in WV, WV Conservation Agency, Capitol Conservation District, WV Farmer’s Market Association and the Charleston Area Alliance. Click the link in our links section on the right for more info.