Big week of firsts for the year at Growing to Give this week.

We had three gleanings this week. The new Friday gleaning went to the Harpswell Sharing Table. This week’s boxes included our first turnips and cucumbers! The rest of the box was filled with chard, garlic scapes, and some huge 2-pound heads of broccoli.

Also worth noting, our first two ripe tomatoes went up to the farmhouse to be shared.

What’s happening in the fields

We uncovered as many crops as we could on cloudy days this week. With the next heat wave coming they do not need an extra 10 degrees from the cover.

Happy to report there are lots of honey bees in with the zucchini flowers. They must have been waiting for those giant yellow blossoms to lure them in. Celery looks happy, still a couple of weeks out, but the red cabbage will start to get gleaned with the Wednesday harvest. Judy will be able to add tomatoes and cucumbers to her Monday deliveries.

The cucumber beetles have been driven out of the cucumber tunnel and are not amongst the zucchini. The pursuit is on.

An abundance of volunteers means more crops

So many volunteers are enabling us to be able to harvest a crop such as broccoli, then weed and turn that space over to green beans, beets, and onions for fall scallions. It’s these great volunteers that are making such a difference this year in continuous intensive planting.

Annual garden ceremony

We have an annual ceremony honoring the garden fairies who help us in ways we may not even be aware of in the vegetable patch. Their cairn now has a permanent home in the perennial herb bed. Gaelic words of thanks went out to the faeries and our first cucumber was shared by all attending. Basically, our way of thanking Mother Earth for all that she gives us.

Favorite flower of the year: Tithonia

Every year we (actually it’s me 😊) have a favorite flower that gets planted all over the farm. Amaranth, Love-Lies-Bleeding, and Lime Zinnias have been past contenders. This year, it’s the Tithonia or Mexican sunflower. When you drive up the driveway you will see bursts of intense orange on multiple branches. I hear they now have colors in red and pink……maybe next year?

Those are this weeks’ highlights as I see them. Theda

Theda Lyden, Growing to Give’s Co-Founder and Farm Manager

As farm manager, Theda plans and oversees all growing and harvesting activities. A long-time resident of Greene, she is a Master Gardener and ceramic artist. Previously, Theda operated her own farmers market business, Dig it Farm, selling certified organic herbs, flowers, and perennials at the Portland Farmers Market. She also worked many years as the executive chef at the award-winning Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, Maine. As a chef, Theda was instrumental in building partnerships with local farmers and growers, with an emphasis on organic and all-natural local food. For fun and relaxation, Theda is an avid sea kayaker and alpine skier.