Plot 9F

Here is what is happening in the Outreach Building Plot - 9F, lead by Jessie Bourland,

July 1 - Waiting and Watching

posted Jul 17, 2014, 5:58 PM by Jessie Driver

For one month, only a few individuals visited the plot to pull weeds - the few that there were - and take progress pictures for the group. It was a patient month of waiting and watching as the plants took shape.

June to July change in plant size

1. Only 5 of every 12 corn seeds emerged, and any stalks that were shaded out by cucumber leaves died.
2. Lettuce and cilantro went to bolt in 3 weeks, causing both to take on a bitter taste. Note for the future: these two plants must be harvested quickly!!

1. Compost provided all the nutrients, and seemed to prevent a lot of weeds. (A sprinkling of organic fertilizer was used at the time of planting, but that was the only time).
2. June was incredibly rainy, humid and hot, so the plants had plenty of water.

May 30 - Planting

posted Jun 10, 2014, 8:00 PM by Jessie Driver   [ updated Jun 11, 2014, 5:37 AM ]

On a sunny and 70 degree Friday, May 30th, seven of us ventured out to populate our plot over lunch.

1. The temperature change may have shocked the plants that were only outside for one night prior to planting: cucumbers, cilantro and basil. They could have been left outside for longer than a day before planting.
2. Birds enjoyed the corn seeds and uprooted the sprouts.
3. Bugs and/or rodents enjoyed the early cucumber leaves and we lost several plants. (Good thing we had lots of extras!)

Here's how the indoor starts looked on their 2 month birthday (after one week in the new dirt, sun and rain):

In the same order as the 1-month photo, from left to right: 
"Mortgage Lifter" & "Cherokee Purple" Tomatoes
Cilantro & Basil
Jalapeno Peppers

1. Yogurt cups with the bottoms cut out helped with temperature regulation and pest resistance. The herbs, cucumbers and corn appreciated their "shelters".
2. Watering in the evenings for the next two days helped establish roots.
3. Having the rocks through the center gave us access to most of the area and helped us to NOT step on anything

The haricots vert seeds and garlic & onion bulbs were also growing well after just one week:

May 6 & 20 - Preparing the site

posted May 28, 2014, 6:53 AM by Jessie Driver   [ updated Jun 17, 2014, 12:29 PM ]

Our first visit was Tuesday, May 6th during our 12noon-1pm lunch break. In that time, we pulled all the weeds, raked loose the soil and spread a thin layer of Penn State compost, (which was once trash), over the plant-able area.


Our team of eight people made quick work:


We found some resident bunnies:

Their mother had apparently buried them there hoping to provide them with easily accessible vegetables later in the season. Um, no. So, the dilemma for us was: Do we remove them and risk them dying or leave them alone and risk them coming back?

We left them alone.

Two weeks later, on May 20th, we returned to an empty nest. Perfect. We fortified the perimeter with a fence attached to 8 metal steaks. A $24 supply run to Tractor Supply was worth it for a little peace of mind.

Rabbit Mother Burrying Bunnies

March 28 - Starting seeds

posted May 28, 2014, 6:00 AM by Jessie Driver   [ updated May 28, 2014, 6:51 AM ]

Memorial Day, May 26th, was our target planting date, so following the package instructions, we started these plants from seed between March 28 and April 4:

Picture taken after 1 month, from left to right:
"Mortgage Lifter" Tomatoes (10 plants) - grown by Susan Rickards
Marigolds (36 plants) - grown by Jessie Bourland
Cucumbers (38 plants) - grown by Adam Lugibill
Cilantro & Basil (16 of each) - grown by Denny Connolly
Jalapeno Peppers (16 plants) - grown by Heather Dawson


1. Any soil (not "dirt") seemed to be fine, as long as it was kept moist.
2. Several different paper-based pots worked, store-bought or recycled egg cartons.
3. Using plastic or metal around the pots caught and held extra water.


1. Some seeds took 3 weeks to emerge! But, we didn't give up.
2. Sometimes the seed did not detach from the first set of leaves. Pulling it off pulled the whole leaf off.
3. The Jalapenos (far right) got scattered by the family dog. After picking them up they were fine.

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