Greetings From the Urban Demonstration Garden - Capital Area Food Bank
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Greetings From the Urban Demonstration Garden

By Katelynn-Marie Griner July 9, 2015

While the rain may have put a damper on Independence Day plans for some, garden is thriving! New produce on the menu this week includes cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini. The berries are still flourishing, too.
Training Plants
Many of the plants in the garden may look different this week because all of the climbing vegetables are being trained. Training plants is analogous to training athletes: The purpose of the plant (the leaves, fruit, stem or root that is eaten) is the plant’s goal and the grower’s job is to help the plant focus on and achieve that goal.

  • Tomatoes are pruned to keep the plants focused on producing a smaller amount of choice fruit instead of growing out of control and producing smaller or less flavorful fruit.
  • Cucumbers are trained on a trellis to grow upward. This not only saves space, but it also keeps the fruit off the ground and in better condition.
  • Pole beans are also trellised. Beans are known for their beautiful, but messy tangles and need to be organized up and around a trellis for best production.

Here, you can see the difference in plants growing with and without assistance:

Trained cucumbers growing off ground
Untrained cucumbers growing willy-nilly

The main residents of the Urban Demonstration Garden are fruits and vegetables, but a variety of herbs also make the garden their home. Even better, the herbs are all ready for harvesting! Currently ready are the “Hot and Spicy” oregano or orange thyme specialty herbs, lavender, mint, rosemary, basil and chamomile.
Herbs add flavor to any meal and have nutritional and medicinal benefits:

  • Lavender has many phytonutrients (beneficial plant chemicals) making it a healthy dinner addition.
  • Basil is full of Vitamin K (essential for healthy blood) and can ease inflammation.

Come Volunteer
This week the garden team will empty beds of weeds for fall planting, plant mid-summer crops (okra, beans, and beets!), and protect our harvest by mulching, pruning and training plants.
If you want to learn more about growing your own food, participate in growing food or try any of the foods we’re growing, please contact Katelynn-Marie Griner at and consider joining our team.