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Hot Times, Cool Picnic

We had our 5th annual Hancock Community Labor Day Picnic here on Elm Street on the appropriate day.  The temperatures were right up there to make it one of the hottest days we have had this summer (I chose not to look and find out just how hot it was).  It has been very dry here and we have spent a lot of time wishing the rain would pour down, but instead we got the sun pouring down on us.

Despite the hydrangeas looking a bit crispy, it all worked out very well with lots of good potluck dishes and pork and chicken barbeque as well as a whole lot of very nice people sharing in the work and visiting with old friends and new.  And that is what it is all about:  The community coming together. 

Suzy

Welcome to all!

Welcome to all!

4 H Club members.  4-H'ers put together a history panel display for Hancock County as well as a lovely presentation of memories of the recently burned Hancock Courthouse.    

4 H Club members.  4-H'ers put together a history panel display for Hancock County as well as a lovely presentation of memories of the recently burned Hancock Courthouse. 

 

Barbeque! And working hard to pull it off the bones and chop it for serving.   

Barbeque! And working hard to pull it off the bones and chop it for serving.

 

Flowers from Elm Street Gardens decorated all the tables.       

Flowers from Elm Street Gardens decorated all the tables. 

 

 

Randie Gray (left) receives her " Community Hero" award for her work with 4-H with presenter Shawn Bell.

Randie Gray (left) receives her " Community Hero" award for her work with 4-H with presenter Shawn Bell.


SWAH Fitness Dance Group did some mighty fine line dancing.   

SWAH Fitness Dance Group did some mighty fine line dancing.

 

The picnic was enjoyed by all ages.

The picnic was enjoyed by all ages.

And especially the young!                        

And especially the young!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early Summer

So far it’s been a record setting season for summer crops at Elm Street Gardens.  And it’s not even officially summer yet!  Jim and Liz have planned and planted so that cucumbers and summer squash made early appearances in our “Farm Boxes” as well as at market.

 

Lots of good eating and fun for us and our customers.  The tomatoes are not far behind.  We’ll have tomatoes in early June for sure and that will be another record broken for Elm Street Gardens.

Suzy

 

                     This fine batch of cucumbers was picked on May 7.

                    This fine batch of cucumbers was picked on May 7.

  These yellow summer squash, zucchini and patty pan squash were gathered on May 14.  

 These yellow summer squash, zucchini and patty pan squash were gathered on May 14.  

And then there are the tomatoes!    

And then there are the tomatoes!

 

Spring Has Sprung, But . . .

Winter has made a quick and, we hope, a brief return to Elm Street Gardens.  Hopefully the cold will last for only a couple of days. But today Jim and Elizabeth had to cover all the tender spring and summer crops they have been planting in the outdoor beds as well as roll down the sides of the hoop houses and shut them up snug and tight for the cold night or two to come.

Strong winds are blowing the cold front our way so, although the sun is shining brightly this afternoon, you can feel the temperature dropping.  The row covers on the outdoor beds are puffed up with the wind, but all the bricks that were brought back to the garden as anchors this morning are holding them down just fine.

I am believing spring is really here despite this little set-back and the sight of the tomato plants and various blossoms and iris blooming give one hope that this is the last burst of winter.  Surely . . .

Suzy

Lettuces, broccoli, tomatoes, arugula and squash are tucked in for the night of cold.

Lettuces, broccoli, tomatoes, arugula and squash are tucked in for the night of cold.

Fortunately, there are crops that do not need the protective covering.

Fortunately, there are crops that do not need the protective covering.

Strong winds attempt to lift the row covers, but they are secure!

Strong winds attempt to lift the row covers, but they are secure!

Some of the first tomatoes planted in the hoop houses are taking off and will be fine during the cold spell in this warm environment.

Some of the first tomatoes planted in the hoop houses are taking off and will be fine during the cold spell in this warm environment.

Wonderful iris blossoms reassure us that spring is here.

Wonderful iris blossoms reassure us that spring is here.

Blossoms of spirea and viburnum are another sure sign of spring.

Blossoms of spirea and viburnum are another sure sign of spring.

 

 

A Rough Winter in Middle Georgia

What a bummer this winter weather has been!  Elm Street Gardens manager, Jim Fraser, and I laughed at ourselves the other day when we looked at the predicted low for that night and saw that it was only going down to 24!  That low would have triggered major alarm most years here in Sparta.  But now?  Kind of used to it and nothing like that 9 degrees we had a few weeks ago.

 

All our rows of vegetables outside the hoop houses are covered with white row covers.  And the rows inside the hoop houses are covered with them too.  When there is an occasional warmer day, we do take the row covers off the crops in the hoop houses, but for the most part all rows are covered (except for the young onions and garlic plants unless it is headed down to the single digits). So it is not too scenic when visitors come to see what we are doing in the garden -- all they can see is a sea of white covers floating over the plants. 

 

Our camellias keep trying, but the buds are getting frozen on a regular basis. Last year at this time we had daffodils out of the ground with the early varieties ready to begin blooming.  But now there are just a few beginning to pop not very exuberantly through the ground. 

 

So that is our bad news.  The good news is that we have been able to save all the crops in the hoop houses and keep our Farm Box customers supplied with a healthy dose of greens.  It did take the addition of propane heaters to the hoop houses on the worst nights, but all is well given that help.  And while many of the crops not in the hoop houses have been “burnt” by the cold and their development has been slowed down, we have saved most of them to hopefully recover and begin to produce again when the weather gives us a serious break.

 

As I write this, I am aware that what is serious winter cold to us is nothing to those who live in more northern climes.  And the day will come when the weather is reliably warm again and we all will be able to shed our winter gear and bloom again.  And it will be much earlier than spring comes in Chicago or Buffalo!

 

Suzy

 

Ice forms on the retention ponds.

Ice forms on the retention ponds.  Even the duck weed looks frozen.  


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White row covers protect most rows of the vegetables in the outdoor beds.  

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Oops!  Here's a brussels sprout plant that was left out of the row covering.

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On a warmer day, the rows within the hoop houses are uncovered and you can see that most of these greens survived the severe cold.

15 Elm Street, Sparta, GA