Garden Diary - October 2017

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Back Picking Apples at the Snyder Research Farm
Monday, 30 October 2017

Geese are gleaning in cut over corn fields. And today
the Tohickon Garden Club is gleaning too.

Today the garden club was scheduled to go and again pick apples for the food bank at the research farm. There was a big storm on Sunday - more than 3 inches of rain here at BelleWood Gardens, and very windy. We're O.K. here but something like 1.5 million people lost power from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and on up the East Coast to New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine. But our picking could not be rescheduled so 10 of us put on our good-for-mud shoes and rain gear.

Overcast sky of early morning is dissapating. Clouds
blowing over but still very windy and cold.

A large amount of apples blown down.
Not allowed to take any off the ground
due to E. coli contamination concerns.

Attentively, we listen to Geoff explaining about these
Suncrisp apple trees being grown on dwarfing rootstock.

And then we start to pick.

Geoff brings boxes around on the trailer and we quickly fill them up.

Some of us use the available picking bags
with easy open bottoms.


Boxes loaded into Diane's truck for delivery to the food bank.

We picked less than last time but still a respectable 934 pounds of apples for the food bank. And for ourselves too, but that doesn't get weighed.

Then we went over to a tomato plot where the ground
was carpeted with cherry tomatoes.

Still, we managed to pick 37.6 pounds of tomatoes for the food bank and some for ourselves. Pick, pick, pick, because later in the day the support strings would be cut, stakes pulled, tomato vines chopped. There have been frosts, but spotty. Then I picked some for myself - ripe tomatoes and also green ones - small Roma type for pickles and large ones for chow chow.

There were also tomatillos. We picked 13 pounds for the food bank. They have some Hispanic clients, and they'll know what to do with them. So do I, so I took some home too, for salsa.

Then Geoff took us to the Ag Barn and used a fork lift to drag over a bin of cabbages, nicely trimmed of outer leaves. They were from a twelve year long field trials research project on silicon soil fertility research plots which showed that calcium magnesium silicate is both an effective liming material and silicon fertilizer. Calcium magnesium silicate increased marketable head yields more than calcium carbonate used to lime low pH soils. We boxed up just under 100 pounds of cabbage for the food bank, and most of us each took two heads of cabbage.

And then Geoff brought over a huge picnic cooler of freshly harvested cranberries that a researcher had brought over to Snyder Research Farm from some grower down in south Jersey. Only for us, not the food bank. I took four pressed fiberboard punnets.

So in the next few days I need to make more chow chow. Salsa. Thinking of also making some sweet pickle relish, and cranberry chutney with Bosc pears and raisins. Bought more jars when I was at the store this afternoon - seemed like a good idea.

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