Monday, June 26, 2023

Summer FUN has Just Begun

Globe Turnips 22May2023
 FUN loves the end of May to the beginning of June, when the last of the cool weather crops have been harvested and the titan tunnels (thanks to Gardeners’ Supply) are put in place at Bee happy Garden. FUN had a great spring harvest with lots of buttercrunch lettuce, leaf lettuce, spinach, kale, collards, hakurei turnips, bok choy, purple top white globe turnips, and green onions. We would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Johnny Selected Seeds, Botanical Interest, and Harris Seeds for their generous seed donations.

The tender summer crops are well established, FUN has already harvested pounds and pounds of squash and cucumbers. We have planted 5 varieties of squash, 5 varieties of tomatoes, 7 varieties of peppers, 3 varieties of cucumbers and 3 varieties of green beans - all of which are growing like gangbusters. Check out the progress in the pictures below. 

We look forward to wonderful summer season as we introduce you to vegetables new to the Bee Happy Garden.

Bee Happy Entrance 26June2023
Bee Happy Entrance 24May2023

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

A FUN Start to the Spring Season

Seedling under grow lights 13Feb2023

      From grow rack...

Plants in cold frame 22Mar2023

     to cold frame...

Lettuce 29Mar2023

     to garden....

FUN has a great start on the growing season. Lettuce, snow peas and sugar snap peas, were the first crops we planted, followed by kale, spinach, turnips, collards and onions. One of the tomato varieties has out-grown the grow rack and is happily living in the dining room – that’s what you get for starting seeds too soon because you are so excited to begin. Inside, peppers are growing strong, 5 varieties of squash are thriving under the grow lights and cucumbers are just starting to emerge. 
Peace Garden 30Maar2023

The fantastic gardeners at Peace Garden are off to a great start with carrots, lettuce, spinach, garlic, and cilantro....and that's just in one of the beds.

We are looking forward to a FUN and beautiful season!

Friday, January 6, 2023

Have a FUN 2023!

 From start…                                                 to finish...

Seedlings Feb. 2022

Harvest July 27, 2022

                 FUN had a fantastic year, harvesting 1242 pounds of produce in Bee Happy Garden, almost 3 gallons of honey from our apiary, and 293 pounds of food by our wonderful gardeners at Peace Garden.

We started our seedlings in February, placing our first transplants in the ground in early spring with a few beds of kale, spinach and peas. In May, we planted the tender summer seedlings - 4 varieties of tomatoes, 7 varieties of peppers, 5 varieties of squash, cucumbers, tomatillos, sweet potato slips, and sowed seeds for green beans. We added more herbs – cilantro, Italian basil, lemon basil, Thai basil, parsley, rosemary, mint and peppermint. We ended the year with a prolific planting in September, harvesting mustard greens, kale, collards, broccoli, Swiss chard, and turnips until the first week of December!

Mini Jack Pumpkins
Baby Butternuts

Some things went well – our fall crops were phenomenal. Some things were a challenge – there were some very well-fed voles as they enjoyed our sweet potatoes, Baby Butternuts and Mini Jack pumpkins. You learn something new every season, make the best of it, and plan for the next year.

That’s what we are doing right now, planning for our next season. May your new year be bountiful, may you continue to grow, and may you always have FUN!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

FUN with Tromboncino

2 feet long!
One of the most interesting vegetables FUN grows is tromboncino squash (aka zucchino rampicante), an Italian heirloom of vining zucchini. It grows well in the shade and extremely well in the sun. As a Cucurbita moschata variety it is fairly disease and insect resistant (vine borers don’t like the spiny stems) in the humid Northern Virginia climate. Best of all, the food pantry clients love it!

Tromboncino vines

It needs a lot of space to spread and a strong trellis as it loves to climb, producing 15+ foot runners and long, slender fruit with a bulbous end. The necks are seedless so they are very easy to prepare for cooking. 

Sliced tromboncino

  It tastes like firm, mild zucchini and can be used in any dish that uses summer squash. The fruit can be left on the vine until the skin turns creamy-tan (like a butternut) and harvested as a winter squash. Great tasting on the grill, sauteed, or in pasta.

Tromboncino and rigatoni


Saturday, February 5, 2022

FUN for All

It’s been a while since we’ve posted an update – but now FUN is back and FUN-er than ever. Things have changed at the Bee Happy Garden, here’s a quick update.

As announced in May, a second set of beds was added, then a fence as some critters found our seedlings too succulent to resist. An efficient drip line irrigation system was installed, that not only saves time but saves water. Following manufacturing setbacks and shipping delays that everyone experienced during COVID, the much anticipated paved pathways were installed and completed in August. Soon after, high-sided raised beds were put in place. This provides an opportunity for our volunteers who use wheelchairs to work at a comfortable level.

Many, many thanks to the Tactical Landscaping Company who did a   phenomenal job installing the beautiful pavers. Heartfelt gratitude for the support of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, whose grant made the hardscape possible and who are doing amazing things every day to improve the quality of life for individuals and families impacted by paralysis.

Monday, May 17, 2021



To make a dream a reality takes time, dedication, hard work, AND the support of others. FUN-filled thanks and appreciation to Andrew whose Eagle Project helped turn a dream into reality.

The past Saturday, Andrew, fellow Scouts from Troop 875, friends and family, installed an additional 10 raised beds at the Bee Happy garden on the front lawn of First Christian Church. In  a few hours, this wonderful group of people constructed the beds, put them in place, filled them with soil and mixed in compost.  FUN is grateful that Andrew chose Bee Happy as his Eagle Project and thankful for all those who participated.

Immediately following the raised bed installation, a second set of amazing people - the DIG Garden Club from Bishop O’Connell High School along with volunteers from the local community – installed trellises, then planted seeds and seedlings. The garden is now filled with potential - many varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, peppers, squash and more. All food grown at Bee Happy will be donated to 2 food pantries within 1.5 miles of the garden…Spend Yourself Food Pantry at Crossroads Columbia Baptist Church and The Dar Al Hijrah Mosque Food Bank.

FUN is truly indebted to all those who helped us in our quest of Bee Happy Garden. Thanks to the Rotary Club of Bailey’s Crossroads for their financial support. Thanks to First Christian Church for the land, donations, and dedication to feeding the hungry. Thanks to Andrew and Troop 875, thanks to DIG garden Club, thanks to friends and family. Thanks to the seeds companies for their generous donations. Thanks, not just from FUN but from all those who will be helped through your support of this project.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

FUN Dreams Come True

FUN is happy, excited, and proud to announce that it has been awarded $9776 as part of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation National Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) 2020 2nd Cycle Direct Effect Quality of Life grants. Fifty-one grants totaling $925,492 were awarded. The Quality of Life Grants Program supports nonprofit organizations that empower individuals living with paralysis. Since the Quality of Life Grants Program’s inception, more than 3,300 grants totaling over $32 million have been awarded. Funding for this new cycle of grants were made possible through a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living (ACL grant #90PRRC0002-03-00). 

FUN will use the grant for the installation of paved pathways to create a barrier-free, fully inclusive vegetable garden at their Bee Happy site, 6165 Leesburg Pike. By providing accessible paths along with high-sided raised beds, FUN can offer volunteering opportunities for individuals living with paralysis and mobility limitations. 

We are grateful to the Reeve Foundation for their support. Sarah and RenĂ©e, co-founders of FUN are thrilled, “We are thankful that everyone who enjoys gardening and giving back to the community as much as we do, will now have the opportunity to do so. We are honored that the Reeve foundation endorsed our project and our commitment to inclusion, community engagement, and fulfilling opportunities for gardeners with paralysis.” All food grown in this garden will be donated to local food pantries, as part of FUN’s mission to address food insecurity within the Falls Church community.

“This past year has brought about many extreme challenges to the organizations that we work with and the people we collectively serve,” said Mark Bogosian, Director, Quality of Life Grants Program, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. “This cohort of grantees and their ever-important projects are a beacon of light as we navigate our way through a new year. There are still challenges ahead, but I know that together we will continue to move forward to overcome obstacles and barriers that affect the over 5.3 million Americans living with paralysis and their families and caregivers. I have complete confidence that these new projects will lead the way to a better tomorrow.” 

The Reeve Foundation National Paralysis Resource Center has several grants under the Quality of Life program awarding grants in different category areas, varying in different amounts. The Direct Effect Quality of Life grants program organizations up to $25,000 to support a wide range of projects and activities that will clearly impact individuals living with paralysis and their families. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for individuals and families impacted by paralysis. By uniting the brightest minds in the field, we are working tirelessly to accelerate scientific discovery across the field of spinal cord research by investing in labs across the globe. Additionally, through a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living, the Reeve Foundation’s national Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) promotes the health, well-being, and independence of people living with paralysis, providing comprehensive information, resources, and referral services assisting over 100,000 individuals and families since its launch in 2002. The Reeve Foundation is committed to elevating our community’s voices and needs to achieve greater representation and independence. We meet all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability and hold the BBB’s Charity Seal. For more information, please visit our Resource Center has several grants under the Quality of Life program awarding grants in different category areas, varying in different amounts. The Direct Effect Quality of Life grants program organizations up to $25,000 to support a wide range of projects and activities that will clearly impact individuals living with paralysis website at or call 800-225-0292.

Summer FUN has Just Begun

Globe Turnips 22May2023   FUN loves the end of May to the beginning of June, when the last of the cool weather crops have been harvested and...