When the Saints come mulching in

Saint-Gobain is putting down new roots and reaching new heights at its North American headquarters in Malvern. In the spring of 2017, the company partnered with Triskeles in an effort to address food insecurity in our region. As the newest member of the Food For All program, Saint-Gobain worked with Triskeles to establish a large raised bed garden with the intention of donating at least 50 percent of the harvest to local pantries, taking their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility to new levels. We welcome their partnership! We recently had an opportunity to sit down with a few of the gardeners from Saint-Gobain who worked to establish the garden in 2017 and asked them a few questions about themselves and their efforts. Colleen Sgarra is a Payroll Specialist who has been with Saint-Gobain since 2016. She has fond memories of helping her parents in the garden as a child. Now, as a mother herself, Colleen is carrying on that legacy by sharing her gardening experience with her five children. In 2017, her participation in the garden added 576 lbs. to the final harvest and impacted more than 2,200 meals. What motivated you to participate in the garden? CS: It was my first year working for Saint-Gobain, and I didn’t know a lot of people. When I saw that there was going to be this beautiful garden space I couldn’t believe I had this opportunity. I thought it would be better than sitting at my desk or in the Café and that it might give me a chance to meet people in different departments, which it did. That was...

Saint-Gobain Earns Impact Award

Triskeles is pleased to present Saint-Gobain with its Initial Impact award. This special recognition highlights and celebrates Saint-Gobain for the company’s outstanding achievement during their first year in partnership with Triskeles and the Food For All program network. In the spring of 2017, a one-year $30,000 grant from the Saint-Gobain Foundation to Triskeles made it possible to establish an attractive 20-bed garden at the company’s North American headquarters in Malvern, complete with deer fencing, drip tape irrigation and a garden shed. Few could have anticipated the bounty that would come from the first year, or how their investment in the garden program would produce such a windfall for recipient pantries in the area. Colleen Sgarra, a Payroll Specialist with Saint-Gobain, worked in the garden last year and made regular deliveries to a partner pantry in Paoli. “The people there are amazing, and so appreciative. Every time I would go there they would tell me, ‘You don’t understand how important this is. You’re feeding so many families.’” Sgarra added, “Doing that kind of good makes you feel really wonderful.” The 25+ committed volunteers from the Saint-Gobain community worked to bring in a staggering harvest of 3,731 lbs., a per-bed average yield of 187 lbs., almost double the program-wide average. Determined to exceed the 50 percent required donation, the gardeners at Saint-Gobain built relationships with partner pantries in the area and donated 81 percent (3,027 lbs.) of their fresh organic produce to benefit neighbors in need. “It’s great to see what a difference the produce makes for the recipients,” said Lynne Watt, a Manager in Risk Management with Saint-Gobain. Watt also...

Cooking from the Garden

June 29th, 2016   Our previous posts touched on the health benefits associated with planting and caring for a garden, but the benefits of gardening are far reaching, extending into your kitchen and beyond. Cooking with what you grow in your garden is one of the best things you can do for you and your children’s health. Not only does adding homegrown fruit and vegetables into your meals improve the taste, but a study by the Journal of American Dietetic Association found that children are more than twice as likely to eat the recommended five servings of fruits and veggies when they are homegrown. Bringing children into the process of growing and cooking their food has been shown to improve healthy eating patterns later in life. When so much of processed and fast food advertisement is directed towards children it is vitally important guide and inform kids on where their food comes from. Being an active participant in the creation and cultivation of your own food can provide a sense of accomplishment and pride, as well as giving you the exercise and nutrition you need. The act of gardening can provide mental and physical health benefits, and taking your homegrown produce into the kitchen can provide even more!   Annamarie Hufford-Bucklin Triskeles Intern   http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1275&page=2...

Cabbage Moth Destruction

  Cabbage Moth Destruction: By now, you have all experienced the sometimes very severe damage that the cabbage worm causes to your plants.  The cabbage worm is a caterpillar that is part of the life cycle of the white cabbage moth.  The moth lays its eggs on the leaves and out come the little caterpillars who munch away and make holes in your leaves, sometimes completely defoliating the plants to the skeleton. This cabbage worm/caterpillar then turns into the pretty white moth you see floating around your garden, and the cycle starts all over again. All members of the Cole family/Brassica family are affected, and the only way to control the cabbage worm is to spray BT. This natural basilis comes in two forms that are commercially available. One is called Dipel Dust and the other is in a liquid form, simply called BT. The liquid form of the BT is diluted with water at 4 tablespoons per gallon, which will treat up to 8 beds of brassica plants; a 1/2 pound bag of Dipel dust will do the same, simply dust it over the plants. You apply both products when the plants are dry and you are not watering, at any time of day,  which allows the substance to be ingested by the caterpillars. At this point, you need to apply BT about twice a week and remember any rain or watering will wash away both dust and liquid. Members of the Brassica family that are affected by the cabbage worm include: cabbage, Chinese cabbage (Napa), tatsoi, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, and kohlrabi. This autumn the cabbage worm damage seems to have gotten...

Summer’s Bounty

    During this transition time, when spring crops are on their way out and summer crops have established, make sure that your last beet roots will be harvested by July 10 or and your cabbages should all be harvested by now or no later than the last day of June. If you have carrots they may still take until July 15.   Kale, chard and collards will keep going until Christmas if you look after them. Chard will enjoy the summer months and will continue happily, whereas kale and collards do not like the summer very much and you will have to pamper them a bit in order for them to stay alive in a wholesome manner. You will find continued attacks by the cabbage moth which you should treat with BT every two weeks. Japanese beetles which are very hard to control; hand picking Japanese Beetles will be your only choice of managing those populations. The Japanese Beetle will also visit your basil plants. The Japanese Beetle is recognized by its shiny colorful coat. The beetle is about ¼ inch in size.   Keep cultivating your soil because that will make your summer crops grow faster. Remember it is the air that is needed in organic soils to help mineralize the organic matter.   Your sprinkler systems will soon have a hard time shooting water droplets past the growing tomato plants if you have garden beds behind the tall towering plants. In this case, you may need to supplement water by hand in those areas.   The tomato shooting techniques are found on You Tube at https://plus.google.com/u/0/114507279752212831629/videos.  ...

Summer Plant Care

  Now that all of the summer crops are planted let’s talk about the ongoing plant care, and management of a select few vegetables that will be taking off in the summer heat. Tomatoes:  require staking and training.   Tomato stakes have to be installed about 2 inches away from each tomato plant.  The tomato plants have to be tied against the stakes every 6 inches of their vertical growth.  It is essential that you remove all the side shoots in the leaf axis except for the top growth point.  This is the only way you can feasibly train your tomatoes along the stake, on a central leader.       Multiple shoots need to be removed otherwise each one of them would have to be tied to the same stake; this creates a thicket of vegetative growth impairing proper ventilation, and producing small tomatoes.  Every week you should remove the little suckers in the leaf axes, which are the “armpits” between the main stem and each leaf.  Tie the main stem to the stake using horticultural tape, zip ties or any other type of soft twine.       Zucchini:  is a difficult crop to grow because of the powdery mildew pressure that can prematurely kill the plant.  An easy way to control this fungal disease is to spray the plant with a mild hydrogen peroxide solution once a week.  Purchase a bottle of hydrogen peroxide from the pharmacy and mix it with the same amount of water.  Pour the mixture into a handheld or garden sprayer and sterilize the leaf surfaces by spraying the mixture onto the leaves; this will eradicate...

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