The TJMS Community Garden 2022 Season is Under Way.

The TJMS Community Garden has been a Plot Against Hunger participant for over a decade, donating produce to AFAC and other local food pantries. The Jefferson Community Garden is the largest school garden in Arlington, and we are taking our community responsibilities seriously. But more than that, we are working to become a hub for joyful community and learning. Have you ever thought of starting your own garden, but you feel a little overwhelmed? Volunteering with our experienced gardeners is a great way to learn more about starting a garden, managing pests and diseases, and how to plan for seasonal harvests. A sunny Saturday morning in the garden is a great family activity, and it's the perfect place to meet friends to socialize while volunteering and getting a bit of fresh air and exercise.

Bring Friends or Family and Join Us in the Garden:

We would love you to join us in the garden. We have regular garden workdays every week from 8 to 10 AM Saturday mornings. Not quite ready to start gardening today? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you weekly updates about our workday plans, and pictures of what we're doing in the garden.

Stay tuned to our Facebook page for late-breaking schedule updates and weather cancellations.

Garden videos:

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One does not simply WALK into the bean vines. (J/k, one totally does. But preferably with protective gear. I lost my hat walking these 20’.)

One does not simply WALK into the bean vines. (J/k...

One does not simply WALK into the bean vines. (J/k, one totally does. But preferably with protective gear. I lost my hat walking these 20’.)

One does not simply WALK into the bean vines. (J/k...

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What's Happening in the Garden?

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First Garden Club of the year netted us 28 pounds of peppers, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, cukes, beans, and okra. And 5 returning seventh graders😍 and three new sixth graders. What a great start to the fall season. ... See MoreSee Less

1 week ago

Comment on Facebook

Love the garden and the learning involved.

Garden Workday
NEW TIME
9-11AM Saturday
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2 weeks ago

Comment on Facebook

The weather is cooling off, which means the gardeners get to sleep in an extra hour. See you in the garden at NINE instead of EIGHT this weekend.

One does not simply WALK into the bean vines. (J/k, one totally does. But preferably with protective gear. I lost my hat walking these 20’.) ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago

Comment on Facebook

Impressive!

Gorgeous!!

One does not simply WALK into the bean vines. (J/k, one totally does. But preferably with protective gear. I lost my hat walking these 20’.) ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago
I posted a slightly earlier version of this graph last week, but heres an updated and corrected one. Im posting this because its really interesting to see the SHARP uptick in production over the last couple of weeks. You can see the red dots leap up to overtake 2020s numbers (our previous year to date in August benchmark). Why do we think were seeing this? Well, its always a bit of a roll of the dice in a garden the size of TJs garden. Were big enough to be a handful taking care of, but small enough that a few patches of powdery mildew, a handful of squash vine borers, or a tomato fungus can make a big impact on a monthly yield. But aside from luck, I think what were seeing is probably:
- working a lot harder to keep nitrogen levels up. We started the year with a soil test that told us our nitrogen was completely depleted and our phosphorus and potassium were in good shape. Weve been trying to keep up with fertilizing this summer to keep the nitrogen in better shape. 
- water management: we spent the early part of the spring/summer digging lots of mounds to keep our tomatoes feet out of the wet. We test our moisture levels regularly, and the tomatoes in particular have mostly been sitting at a really nice moisture level with very little additional watering. Mounds can be a little tricky water-wise, because its very hard to keep the moisture levels consistent-- they can vary vastly within one square foot. But where we got seedlings in the ground in June or earlier, they seem to be a net plus. (Theyre not working great for direct-seeding later in the year, though.)
- heat: theres not much we can do about this one. Were seeing much happier peppers this year now that we keep them permanently under shade cloth. We have been adding/removing shade cloth elsewhere to help manage heat/drying out, and that probably helps. And a couple of years ago we started picking tomatoes green and just barely blushing due to catbirds-- this also circumvents the very hot weather-- tomatoes dont turn when its too hot.
- volunteers helping treat for squash vine borers and powdery mildew. Weve had a big problem with these this year, but enthusiastic volunteers have saved a couple of rows I thought wed have to pull out entirely, and our squash harvest is starting to climb again. We also have a second planting of cucumbers which are just starting to yield. 

Whew, thats a lot! Do any of you keep garden records and have anything to add about your experiences of adapting to conditions to increase your yields?

I posted a slightly earlier version of this graph last week, but here's an updated and corrected one. I'm posting this because it's really interesting to see the SHARP uptick in production over the last couple of weeks. You can see the red dots leap up to overtake 2020's numbers (our previous "year to date in August" benchmark). Why do we think we're seeing this? Well, it's always a bit of a roll of the dice in a garden the size of TJ's garden. We're big enough to be a handful taking care of, but small enough that a few patches of powdery mildew, a handful of squash vine borers, or a tomato fungus can make a big impact on a monthly yield. But aside from luck, I think what we're seeing is probably:
- working a lot harder to keep nitrogen levels up. We started the year with a soil test that told us our nitrogen was completely depleted and our phosphorus and potassium were in good shape. We've been trying to keep up with fertilizing this summer to keep the nitrogen in better shape.
- water management: we spent the early part of the spring/summer digging lots of mounds to keep our tomatoes' feet out of the wet. We test our moisture levels regularly, and the tomatoes in particular have mostly been sitting at a really nice moisture level with very little additional watering. Mounds can be a little tricky water-wise, because it's very hard to keep the moisture levels consistent-- they can vary vastly within one square foot. But where we got seedlings in the ground in June or earlier, they seem to be a net plus. (They're not working great for direct-seeding later in the year, though.)
- heat: there's not much we can do about this one. We're seeing much happier peppers this year now that we keep them permanently under shade cloth. We have been adding/removing shade cloth elsewhere to help manage heat/drying out, and that probably helps. And a couple of years ago we started picking tomatoes green and just barely blushing due to catbirds-- this also circumvents the very hot weather-- tomatoes don't turn when it's too hot.
- volunteers helping treat for squash vine borers and powdery mildew. We've had a big problem with these this year, but enthusiastic volunteers have saved a couple of rows I thought we'd have to pull out entirely, and our squash harvest is starting to climb again. We also have a second planting of cucumbers which are just starting to yield.

Whew, that's a lot! Do any of you keep garden records and have anything to add about your experiences of adapting to conditions to increase your yields?
... See MoreSee Less

4 weeks ago

Comment on Facebook

We are struggling to keep up with our data this year— this one is from midweek and doesn’t count our massive late week BEAN harvest, but you can really see how the garden is taking off this month.

What a helpful update!

We had a great turnout and finished off the mountain of wood chips AND harvested a huge amount of squash, zucchini, tomatoes, beans and okra (last two not pictured).  THANKS EVERYBODY! What a great way to start off the school year!Image attachment

We had a great turnout and finished off the mountain of wood chips AND harvested a huge amount of squash, zucchini, tomatoes, beans and okra (last two not pictured). THANKS EVERYBODY! What a great way to start off the school year! ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Comment on Facebook

Great harvest!

Twenty wheelbarrow loads down, many more to go. Come on out and shovel! ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Comment on Facebook

Huge amount of mulch!

Heres your garden bounty photo of the week, with bonus data crunching! We just dropped off 64 pounds of produce today, and you can see the red dots on the graph for 2022-- we are above 2019 and 2021 for late August, and just under 2022s numbers and rising fast. Were at 357 pounds donated off-site this year. This is a bit more impressive if you know that we devoted our winter/spring crop to onsite donations for teachers and staff at the school-- thats why the graph starts later in the season this year.Image attachment

Here's your garden bounty photo of the week, with bonus data crunching! We just dropped off 64 pounds of produce today, and you can see the red dots on the graph for 2022-- we are above 2019 and 2021 for late August, and just under 2022's numbers and rising fast. We're at 357 pounds donated off-site this year. This is a bit more impressive if you know that we devoted our winter/spring crop to onsite donations for teachers and staff at the school-- that's why the graph starts later in the season this year. ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago
Join us in the garden next Saturday 8-10 to see some of this garden beauty for yourself.

Join us in the garden next Saturday 8-10 to see some of this garden beauty for yourself. ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Comment on Facebook

Amazing pictures from the garden!

Spectacular.

Did you know that this exotic looking flower is actually a native Virginia pollinator AND has delicious fruit? Come visit the garden between 10-noon tomorrow (Saturday) during the county fair, and you can tour our Plot Against Hunger vegetable garden with TJMS teachers and garden managers, and tour our native pollinator garden with our resident Master Naturalist. We will have packets of native pollinator seeds to give away— gathered by our students in our very own pollinator garden. 

Image description: a frilly, spiky pale lavender passionflower in the shade of our pollinator garden.

Did you know that this exotic looking flower is actually a native Virginia pollinator AND has delicious fruit? Come visit the garden between 10-noon tomorrow (Saturday) during the county fair, and you can tour our Plot Against Hunger vegetable garden with TJMS teachers and garden managers, and tour our native pollinator garden with our resident Master Naturalist. We will have packets of native pollinator seeds to give away— gathered by our students in our very own pollinator garden.

Image description: a frilly, spiky pale lavender passionflower in the shade of our pollinator garden.
... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Comment on Facebook

Wonderful plant. Grows very fast each year once temperatures get into the mid-70s. Requires sturdy structure to climb on. In my case it climbs on and completely overtakes other plants (not such a good idea). It spreads quickly and widely through underground roots. Fruits need time to fully mature and not be too sour, but excellent to make a syrup for example, especially if you end up with too many can can't figure out what to do with them. If you've ever eaten the tropical passion fruit, this is similar, but a native. It also attracts A LOT of pollinators and is also known as maypop.

Passionflower, Ironweed, and Joe Pye weed in the pollinator garden this week. #schoolgarden #pollinatorgarden #nativeplantsImage attachmentImage attachment

Passionflower, Ironweed, and Joe Pye weed in the pollinator garden this week. #schoolgarden #pollinatorgarden #nativeplants ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

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1 month ago

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1 month ago
It’s a glorious day in the garden— cool and sunny. Join us for a volunteer shift from 8-10 as we harvest for Plot Against Hunger/AFAC, plant winter crops, and weed.

It’s a glorious day in the garden— cool and sunny. Join us for a volunteer shift from 8-10 as we harvest for Plot Against Hunger/AFAC, plant winter crops, and weed. ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago
We are pinching back our basil today to prevent flowering, and we have a LOT of basil. If you’re in the mood for pizza tonight, drop by the garden in the next 30 minutes and take some home. ♥️🍕

We are pinching back our basil today to prevent flowering, and we have a LOT of basil. If you’re in the mood for pizza tonight, drop by the garden in the next 30 minutes and take some home. ♥️🍕 ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago

Pictures from the last Randolph Elementary food distribution of the summer. The first three pictures are our forty pounds of tomato, pepper, and squash donations. The rest are donations organized by others in the Randolph community. Next week we will be back to donating to AFAC. #plotagainsthunger #schoolgarden #communitygarden ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago

Comment on Facebook

What a lot of vegetables!

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Workdays on Saturdays 8-10AM

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