Dave here reporting on the October presentation:
Reed Sims, from Jericho, a retired soil scientist and member of the Composting Association of Vermont, presented a discussion covering the joy, the science, the soil and garden benefits, and the integration of composting into the family routine. There was hands-on participation, recipe guidelines, and mature compost results to touch and smell. Reed discussed compost's role in preparing gardens for overwintering, and what to do if your compost appears to have failed.
Reed was joined by 14 people who all had composting experience, but were ready to learn more.
He told us that anything organic in nature can be added to a compost pile. And by maintaining the pile by turning it to ensure there is plenty of oxygen for the microbes will enhance the piles ability for making the usable compost earlier. It is important to have both "greens and browns" in your composting mixture. Greens can be composed of grass clippings, fruit peels, coffee grounds and other nitrogen rich structures, and browns can be straw and hay or other woody or paper materials. Do not add meat products to the pile if you have problems with animals and cannot get the pile temperature hot. News paper is great to add to the compost, shredding it into strips is recommended as the microbes like to adhere to the edges of the paper. breaking the paper down faster.
You can compost in the winter months keeping in mind that it will freeze, so leave lots of room for your pile to grow during the colder months.
If your compost pile starts to smell. it is an indications that it is getting to anaerobic. So with a little effort turning the compost, air will be re introduced to the composting system and the microbes will be able to do a better job with less smell.
Indoor composting can take place with the help of the red wiggler worm and worm composter. The worm composter is a multi-level bin that allows the worms to migrate between the levels consuming your composted waste and leaving behind worm castings and compost suitable for using with your plants. The worms also leave behind a liquid called "Worm Tea" that can be used as fertilizer for your plants.
It was great to have Reed with us sharing composting techniques with us. Thank you Reed for pulling this presentation together!
Dave here: As the summer of 2023 winds down, the Kids Garden Contest participants shared the results from their gardens in which they planted, tended and harvested. As with any garden project the kids had varying results, but we saw some great produce come from their gardens.
Transition Town Jericho thanks the Town of Jericho Select Board members for sponsoring the Kids Garden Contest again in 2023. This financial gift allowed TTJ to purchase the supplies that were needed for the kids to get their gardens started.
The kids answered some survey questions to let us know how it went:
List the plants you chose to grow in your garden:
-Cucumber tomato pumpkin peppers string beans corn other squash
-Yellow scallop summer squash
-Cherry tomatoes, beets, radishes, snap peas, and cucumber
-Basil, tomatoes, arugula, calendula, onions, beans, sunflowers
-carrots, pumpkins, sunflowers, pole beans, oregano, garlic, tomatoes, jalapenos, spinach, boston lettuce, strawberries
-Zucchini, potato, basil and string beans
Compare the taste of your vegetables with those you would buy at a grocery store
-My cucumbers were juicy compared to groceries
-The scallop summer squash was so yummy roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper!
-The strawberries were sweeter than at a grocery store
-The carrots were sweet and delicious!
-Basil and arugula where better than the store, we didn't have as much luck with the other plants
-Homegrown is always best, but this season brought challenges and we had a very sorry garden this year.
-My potatoes were the family favorite at a recent family pot luck dinner!
Did you have unexpected visitors to your garden?
-I saw worms, ground bugs, flying bugs, underground bugs
-Due to the compost, bugs loved the garden. We saw lots of worms and bugs in the soil when we had to dig it up!
-Yes, something ate most of our cucumbers! We saw lots of bugs too.
-There weren't too many visitors to the garden other than snails.
-Lots of baby bunnies (so cute- but so destructive)
-We did see bugs, worms, and grubs, but did not have any problems with our harvest
When you plant your garden next year, what things would you change and why would you change them?
-We would make the spaces bigger so our squash has more room
-We hope to plant a new garden this year and plan to make it bigger. We learned a lot from the process of making this garden and look forward to growing lots of flowers and vegetables!
-I would put my tomatoes in a green house so it's hotter
-We will cover the plants right away so the animals don’t eat them. We will also label the plants as soon as seeds go in the ground
-Different tomato plants and add zinnias
-We will rotate our garden beds and move the raised beds away from the chicken run. We had the raised beds fenced off- but our chickens still liked to get involved.
-I will plant the potatoes farther apart so they increase in size.
Any other comment or story you would like to share with us about your garden experience
-Our experience being first timers was good. We were actually able to grow things
-Thank you for the education you provided when dropping off the garden supplies. We learned a lot and had fun even though our garden experience this year didn't turn out as expected.
-This was a good starting experience. We learned a lot and are excited to try again next year. Thank you!
-Juniper noticed the tomato plants didn't start off. They looked dead but came back to life. Dad didn't think they were going to make it but Juniper believed they would. It took all summer but they came back.
-Hoping for a drier and less flooded summer next year!
-We THANK YOU for your generosity in gifting us this garden.
Laura and Dave reporting:
In early October, Bolton farmer Tucker Andrews and a dozen volunteers with TTJ’s Extra Row program made possible the following winter squash deliveries to local food shelves:
80 - Feeding Chittenden, Burlington
100- Williston Food Shelf
150 - Essex Jct United Church of Christ Heavenly Food Pantry
150 - Jericho-Underhill-Essex Ecumenical food shelf
120 - Janet S Munt Family Room, Burlington
80- Dot's Place, Essex
In all, 680 squash at 1,200 lbs. were delivered. Things were a bit different this year. Because of the flooding, Tucker’s output was unusually low and he needed the extra row of squash for his own customers. He generously offered us a field to glean; we got great results and were able to assist many people in filling their food baskets. Was good to know the Extra Row program could provide some insurance for a farmer as well as feed people in need; this was a win-win situation for everyone!
Besides us steering members, our volunteers included: Jeff York, Berta Frank, Bob Savaglio,
Bill McMains, Amy Ludwin, Steve Ludwin, Sharon Damkot, Valerie Wilkins and Dean Wilkins.
Thanks to all!
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