Robbins Farm Garden is a cooperative community garden project at Robbins Farm Park in Arlington, MA. Since 2010, we’ve grown vegetables organically as a group, created an educational resource in the community and continued the agricultural tradition of the farm at the park. We garden Saturday mornings April – November and Tuesday evenings June – September. The project is run through Arlington’s Recreation Department.
The seed catalogs are arriving!
Our annual seed selection meeting is scheduled for Saturday, January 7 from 9:30am to 11:30am. Due to continuing COVID concerns, the meeting will be held virtually. Please contact us to get info to join the meeting.
Everyone interested in the crops and varieties we plan to grow at Robbins Farm Garden this season is welcome. Prospective new members of the garden group are especially encouraged to attend and join in the discussion. Collect your seed catalogs and your great expectations for the upcoming gardening season!
This year’s weather gave us the usual New England spring temperature swings, followed by a hot and unusually dry summer, a long autumn pleasantly punctuated by rain, and no hard frost until well into November.
It was a great year for brassicas, nightshades and root crops, and a less great year for legumes and squashes. New crops this year were ginger and ground cherries.
Work at the garden began with double-digging beds not dug in 2021; nearly all of the rearranged beds have now been done! Other infrastructure projects included: building a metal structure for the peas and pole beans; filling and sinking defensive fencing under the raised beds; and installing soaker hoses in all the perimeter garden beds.
We assisted dedicated Friends of Robbins Farm Park volunteers who watered the new trees at the park, and participated in other Friends activities: Town Day, Field Day, and Spring and Fall Cleanup Days.
None of this would have been possible without the ingenuity, persistence and genuine good humor of our amazing gardeners: Alan, Carol, David, Deepa, Elisabeth, Lisa, Martha, Mike, Nicole, Shakti, Steven, Susan, Suzie, Tim and Wendy. Thank you all!
Don’t overwater, especially during cool spring weather.
Egyptian Walking Onions only had one clump survive winter; transplanted bulblets.
Garlic did well again, wrappers were strong.
Onions all survived to maturity, but were smaller than their potential, damaged by mildew (be careful not to over-water in cool spring weather). New storage onion Frontier was a keeper!
Onion (sets) did well back in the perimeter of the tomato bed.
Leeks did well but were slightly small and had some rot (be careful not to over-water in cool spring weather).
Scallions needed some infill after initial planting but did great, and lasted to the final day of the season.
Shallots did well, but were slightly damaged by mildew (be careful not to over-water in cool spring weather).
Broccoli spring crop had smaller than usual heads with okay color; fall crop was the best ever – large dark green heads on big strong plants.
Brussels sprouts – plants were short but may have produced our most marketable (clean and uniform) sprouts to date. Look for a larger variety with the same positive attributes.
Cabbage spring and fall crops were a bit small but plants were strong and consistent; Alcosa was earlier but slightly smaller savoy type than Famosa, had our first Jersey type reach maturity this fall!
Cauliflower spring crop mostly did well, but some were eaten by critters; fall crop was superb.
Collards were underwhelming again, look for a more vigorous variety?
Kales very good – do again.
Kohlrabi first crop started indoors planted denser than plan but did fine, second crop seeded outdoors did well except for those planted beside kales due to shading.
Carrots germinated well and produced well but all came at about the same time, planted late crop after beets, consider staging the planting next year with last planting in beet bed.
Celery was spotty this year, germination wasn’t great, reseeded indoors but plants didn’t survive after transplanting in the garden, blanched plants late July, some plants from first seeding were our best celery ever.
Parsnips germinated better this spring, plants did well despite butterfly caterpillar predation, chitting seed not worth doing but digging and sifting soil is – the best roots came from well prepared soil. Some plants that were very close together did really well – thinning may not be necessary or desirable.
Asparagus growing really well, super tall and bushy, needed to replace one plant that didn’t survive the winter, cut back to 12” and mulched on last day of season.
Corn variety was new but was short again (@4’), matured too early, was not sturdy and produced only a handful of kernels total.
Ginger was a semi-successful experiment, producing some fresh ginger for harvest along with some standard ginger, but was a lot of work and expensive from Fruition (none of the ginger from H Mart survived to harvest). Find a cheaper source and streamline the process if growing again.
Nasturtiums did great again, started harvesting capers this year!
Okra plants all matured again (no losses after transplanting), grew tall and were very productive.
Saffron did great, our best harvest yet!
Sunflowers were awesome!