From Ron Ory: Yeah, Team! We were curious how we were doing, at least on the quality, so we entered some of our produce, herbs and perennials in the Naperville Community Gardeners annual Flower and Garden Show. It’s free, so all it took was preparing the materials according to the show guide. We may not have gotten the big prizes, but we won lots of ribbons and Loaves & Fishes still got the produce! These are our beets, turnips, leeks and potatoes! Some of the tomatoes and squash we’ve been growing. Some of the perennial are from our garden. That pumpkin was ours and got a blue ribbon. Did Jan influence the judges? She was helping as a clerk and got some tips for next year. I’m still counting the ribbons and will report the results shortly. MEANWHILE, YESTERDAY’S DELIVERIES PUT US OVER 1,400 POUNDS FOR THE YEAR! (I may have to add another column to our POUND-O-METER, since it only goes to 3000 pounds.) Results: We had 51 different entries, some items provided more than one entry. We received ribbons for 47 of the 51. Not bad for the first time and little preparation work. It provides a measure of how well we’re doing and a benchmark for next year, should we want to enter the show.
from Ron Ory on August 8: We’re in full harvesting mode. It now takes at least two hours to harvest, wash and weigh each time. I thank the “weed” ladies and waterers for allowing me to pick. With today’s harvest we’re over 900 pounds and have just begun the prime season for tomatoes. Pictures:
“All of their donated produce goes to Loaves & Fishes Food Community Pantry in Naperville, whose mission is to end hunger and empower lives. In June alone, they served more than 9,000 people, or 2,331 households and 4,051 children. “What beautiful produce and tremendous work by the Master Gardeners,” said Charles McLimas, executive director of Loaves & Fishes, in a letter to the group.” Read entire Daily Herald article . Additional pictures:
Want to learn more about growing vegetables? Last year the Master Gardeners of DuPage County, along with other gardeners at Naperville Community Garden Plots contributed over 1,000 pounds of produce to Loaves & Fishes. This year they expect to double that despite it being another challenging growing season! Being a gardener is hard work, but rewarding. Pantry clients interested in learning more about growing veggies are welcome to visit the Garden Plots from 8 to 10 am, Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. (Plots are located at 811 S West Street, Naperville, IL 60540.) The Master Gardeners of DuPage County are tracking donations as they harvest. Update from Ron Ory on July 24, 2012: You know these dog days have been around far longer than we should expect. All you want to do is find some shade and do some coffee clutching. Here was Tricia explaining her “weed” project to the volunteer weeders. That’s the way this Monday morning started for Jan Gricus and me. Just water, water, water. But then we had some visitors! One of the park district camp programs had us on their walk. The kids were eager to see how their (and our) vegetables were growing. Our pumpkins were the hit of the stroll! They also made our day! And we also had visitors of even a smaller variety: the bunny in the shade of yellow coneflower, the bee on liatris, dragonfly on black-eyed susan, and a yellow swallowtail on swamp milkweed. But as rewarding was the amount of veggies harvested and gleaned from the donation stand: 112 pounds–our single highest daily amount for the year! This brings our total delivered to Loaves & Fishes this year to 470+ pounds. Thank you all for a job well done!
Gardening can be fun and a healthy addition to any lifestyle. No one knows this better than the volunteers of the DuPage County Master Gardeners program offered through the University of Illinois Extension location in Naperville. Among the many efforts to educate and enhance our community, several members of this talented group have been managing a local garden plot located at the Kraft plant on Ogden Road in Naperville, only a short distance from Loaves & Fishes. Update from Dick Kaleba on July 18, 2012: To date we have harvested over 160 lbs of fresh produce from the Kraft Garden. Early in the year we were harvesting lettuce, radishes and spinach. Now that the hot weather is here, we are harvesting beans, beets, carrots, basil and the first tomatoes and summer squash. With succession planting we will plant more lettuce, radishes and spinach if it ever cools down. We projected that we could produce between 600 to 700 lbs and should be on track to see that. Remember, we only have 400 sq feet to work with and all of our produce comes from that little plot! Last year we harvested around 460 lbs. As Sally Mabbit said last year, “It’s the Little Garden that Could.” These pictures were taken recently: