by Grow Local Volunteer - Amber Mead
As summer begins to give way to fall, we see the fruits of our planting labors transition as well. While certain fruits and vegetables have reached their peak, others are just beginning to blossom and ripen. The gardens of Grow Local Colorado are bearing fruit, but are also feeling the oppression from the hot August days. I visited two of the gardens this week to take some inventory and pictures.
The garden at Barnum Park, just south of 6th Avenue on Federal Boulevard, underwent some harvesting last weekend thanks to five GLC volunteers. The harvested produce was delivered to Crossroads Ministries for use in their food bank distribution. Just one example of how Grow Local Colorado is bringing local, fresh produce to the community.
As you can see from the pictures, the garden has purple basil around the perimeter. Basil brings added flavor to a variety of dishes and can last into the fall if it is deflowered and cut back. The basil at the Barnum Park garden is flowering, but can still provide leaves for use after a good trimming.
Some of the other fruit and vegetable varieties at the Barnum garden are yellow squash, eggplant, tomato, jalapeno and banana peppers, rainbow swiss chard, and small onions. Even after harvesting one hundred and forty pounds of produce from this garden last week, it is still quite full of fruits, veggies and herbs! The following pictures showcase some of the other produce at the garden. The eggplant only has a few small fruits and is looking rather peaked. The jalapeno and banana pepper plants are full of new blossoms and have some existing fruit. The swiss chard and squash plants fill out the center of the garden with chard ready to harvest and squash blossoms ready for a good battering (there are some great recipes for battered squash blossoms, but there are a variety of other recipes for the delicious blossoms).
As you can see, the garden at Barnum Park is putting forth some great fruits but could use some more helping hands for watering, pruning, and harvesting!
The Grow Local Garden at Civic Center Park, located in central Denver just south of the Central Business District, is in the center of the park near the flower beds. This garden is a little more sparse than the Barnum Park garden, but still offers a good assortment of produce. To date, one hundred and forty-nine pounds of produce has been harvested from this garden thanks to our partnering organization, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVS). RPCVS of Colorado volunteers have contributed over fifty hours of maintenance and harvesting of these gardens!
The perimeter of the Civic Center Park garden is lined with flowers such as marigolds and dahlias, causing it to blend in well with the surrounding flower beds. The main fruit and vegetable varieties at this garden are onions, green basil, swiss chard, zucchini, and eggplant.
The Civic Center Park garden has some fruits and vegetables ready for harvest, but many of the plants still have young fruit on them. The onions and basil are ready to go, however, the eggplant and zucchini squash are still working on bearing fruits. This little garden is putting out some good produce and is a fun one to see. The zucchini squash meander throughout the bed floor, surprising you with new fruit speckled throughout and the flowers add a lovely touch!