Garlic Scape Pesto

While working in the garden I remembered that it’s time to harvest the garlic scapes.

Why do we harvest garlic scape? So the plant puts it energy into make bigger bulbs and not seed heads.

The scales are tasty…like a mild garlic. Everything tastes better with garlic, right?

I made a pesto that I can use on meat or fish, as a dip for crudités, on pasta, or I can make a butter of garlic scapes, thyme with a little lemon to slather on toasted bread and add to other recipes.

Here’s how I make pesto. Harvest and wash a dozen scapes before they flower. Chop into manageable lengths and add them to a food processor along a quarter cup pistachios, a quarter cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and about the same amount of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Process until smooth and add salt and pepper to taste.

To make the butter, I let butter soften to room temperature and add the finely chopped garlic scapes and thyme. Squeeze half a lemon into the mix and let it harden in the refrigerator. I use a glass container with a lid. When I want a garlicky flavor on whatever I am preparing…I scoop a small portion out.

Happy eating from the garden. Don’t you love this time of year?

Swallowtail caterpillars

If you’ve never seen a swallowtail caterpillar, look on the dill in plot number 34. They are there in all their glory.

Leave them be, maybe they will cocoon nearby and we can watch them transform into butterflies.

Someone put one in the Bug Jar to be identified and there was also a beetle that needed identification.

The beetle is a Chafer beetle, which has a mottled brown back. They are more of a problem in the grub stage when they eat vegetable roots in the garden. If you found the beetle in your plot, keep an eye open for whitish grubs. These are what do damage to our crops. If you find them, destroy them.

June 22: In the Garden

The Moreau Community Garden was very peaceful this morning. I could hear turkeys off in the distance and that’s about it.

I went about my business of taking care of the 10 plots I maintain for the Family Gardening Program that begins soon. And, I made some notes in my journal of what I did, what I saw, and any other information that helps keep track of what’s happening in the garden.

WEEDING

It’s a toss up right now for which is our most prevalent weed. It might be smart weed. It’s everywhere. Fortunately, it is easy to spot as it has a distinct reddish mark on the leaves.smartweed

I swear this weed can hide because when I am done weeding and start to water, I always find some that escaped my first round of weed patrol.

Our next most prevalent weed is this one. Lamb'squartersKnow what it is?

If you said Lamb’s Quarters, you’re right.

We also have red root pig weed and pictured below, crabgrass. crabgrassStay on top of the weeding and please pull out weeds from pathways, this is a favorite hiding place for insects.

INSECTS

I refreshed the spray bottle of neem oil this morning. I saw that some of you have cucumber beetles on your squash. Remember to spray the adults directly to eliminate this problem. Don’t spray when it is above 80 degrees. And check for reddish eggs on the underside of leaves. If you see these, remove them immediately and destroy.

GROWING STRONG

Here are some pictures to enjoy.

Kitpeas

6.22.14

kale.spinach

carrots6.22

tomato.peas

Thank you to Sara McKay for her help spreading wood chips. It is appreciated.

Hope to meet you in the garden, Natalie

Moreau Community Garden Gardeners

Your help is needed.

While in the garden this morning I notice that we need to spread the wood chips over the cardboard by the squash mounds near the picnic tables, the mounds need to be weeded, too. Anyone who can give a hand, it will be appreciated.

Also, when you weed your plots, do not leave the debris in the pathways. There is a bin for plant material. Pathways should be just wood chips. Thank you.

cuke beetle damageThe Neem oil is doing its job on the cucumber beetles. The plants are looking better now. If you notice yellow and black beetles on your cucurbits, spray them directly with the neem oil. You need contact to kill. And don’t spray if the temperatures are over 80 degrees.

Right Place, Right Time, Lucky Find

I was driving home from the supermarket and saw a pick-up truck loaded with large pieces of cardboard heading for the dump.

Just the night before, I was thinking how if we could rake back the wood chips on the weedy pathways, put cardboard down and then add fresh wood chips, we could eliminate the weeds that are taking over in some areas.

So I did what any gardener would do. I followed the pick-up into the dump and put the cardboard in my car. They are the height of patio doors and twice the width each! Perfect. (Isn’t it amazing what can make you happy!)

Let me know if you want a piece for the pathway around your bed. It is important to keep the weeds out of the paths as weeds harbor both insects and diseases. By smothering the weeds, we eliminate the issues.

See you in the garden later today.

Natalie, Master Gardener

Cutworms in the Garden

Several plots at the Moreau Community Garden have been visited by cutworms.

If you see a ring of yellow paper around your tomato plant, it was put there last night by fellow gardeners in an effort to keep cutworms from destroying your plants. If the cutworms already ate one of your plants, we replaced the dead tomato plant with another tomato plant we had on hand.

What are cutworms?

They are the caterpillars of night-flying moths. They are called cutworms because as they feed on stems and can cut down young seedlings of a variety of vegetables including bean, cabbage, carrot, celery, pea, pepper, potato, and tomato.

What do they look like?

Cutworms vary in color and can be brown, tan, green or gray and black. If you touch one, it will curl up. It is important to clear weeds from your plots and surrounding pathways as this is where the adult moths lay their eggs. The emerging caterpillars (cutworms) feed on the foliage or small roots of weeds or crops.

What can I do?

Most cutworm damage happens when the plants are small. Check you garden plot. If you can be there in the evening this is ideal as that is when they are most active. Sometimes, you can find the culprit in the morning if you run your hand over the soil near the chewed plant. They don’t travel far. Handpick them and get rid of them.

Pulling weeds helps eliminate egg-laying sites and the food source young larvae need to survive.

Another control is to make collars for the seedlings. The cardboard, aluminum foil, or paper barrier keep cutworms off the plants. Some gardeners recycle toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls for this purpose. Cut the rolls in three inch long sections and place around the stem, burying one end in the soil.

If you find cutworms in your plots, get on top of the problem swiftly as they can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time.

If you have other questions, let me know by leaving a comment below.

Natalie

Experiment: Disease Resistant Tomatoes

Gardeners want good results. So we enrich the soil to give plants the nutrients they need, we weed so there aren’t any competitors, and water regularly, monitor for insects and observe how the plants are doing.

There is something else you can do and that’s buying plants that are resistant to disease. This year I grew Defiant Hybrid Tomatoes and Jasper Hybrid F Tomatoes from seed because they are both resistant to some of the troublesome diseases we had in the community garden last season.

So there is no confusion. My tomato transplants are not bullet-proof. Resistant varieties are better able to ward off infection. They are – regrettably – not immune. It would be great to have a sure thing but that’s not how gardening goes.

The following descriptions are from the Totally Tomatoes catalog, which is where I purchased the seeds last winter. http://www.totallytomato.com

Defiant Hybrid – This variety cracks the genetic code to produce the first tomato bred for Late Blight resistance. This high yielding plant produces 6 to 8 ounce globe-shaped fruits that combine disease resistance with great old-fashioned tomato flavor.

Jasper Hybird F –
An outstanding disease resistance package results in extended harvests of this delightful little tomato, something you’ll appreciate after sampling the fruit. The small, round, 3/4 inch red fruits weigh less than ounce each. They have sweet, rich flavor and a pleasant creamy texture you’ll enjoy. The fruits are borne on small trusses, holding their quality for a long time on the plant and after picking, resisting cracking and rot. The indeterminate plants are extra vigorous and tall and will need the support of a trellis or cage. Youll find they require little or no fertilization and the plants overcome weather-related stresses with ease. Disease resistances include early blight, Septoria Leaf Spot, fusarium races 1 and the dreaded late blight. Enjoy these little candy fruits early, too, just 60 days from transplanting, 90 days from sowing seed.

These varieties are not be readily available at local garden centers which is why I grew them from seed. If we do get Early blight, these tomatoes should fare better than others.

Let’s see what happens. We can keep an eye on them and see how they fare compared to tomatoes in the rest of the garden.

See you in the garden, Natalie

Gardeners Appreciate Free Plants

_DSC0270_0924Many, many transplants of parsley, peas, thyme, sage, tomatoes, eggplants, broccoli and more were planted in the Moreau Community Garden today.

The plants were donated by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Saratoga Springs and were appreciated by gardeners who quickly found a place for them in their beds. The Family Gardening plots are now packed with vegetables and herbs with the promise of a great harvest in the months to come. Thank you.

Once community gardeners had their fill, the remaining plants were offered to families enjoying the town park with their children. Several children walked away tenderly holding a parsley plant for their home garden. Very sweet.

What a nice day.

SAWFLY LARVAE

To the person who left the caterpillar-looking larvae in the jar under the bulletin board: It is a sawfly larvae. I recommend treating the plants you found it on with an insecticidal soap. This isn’t the same as dishwashing soap, which can harm plants. You can get insecticidal soap at a garden center. If there are only a few larvae, hand pick them off. That is an easy solution.

DEBRIS

Gardeners, when you weed your beds or pull out sticks, etc. please don’t leave the debris in the pathways. Every gardener is responsible for keeping the pathways around their beds free of weeds, sticks and trash.

Garden Schedule

Dear Gardeners —

I will be in the garden planting my tender vegetables this Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. If you have any questions or would like company while you work on your plots, please join me.

My plan is to be in the garden on Thursdays though June, but the times will change. For example — On June 5th, I will be there in the evening. That’s our bird bath making day.

Starting in July and continuing through August, I will be in the garden Tuesdays with the children from the community center. I will present a short program on what is happening in our garden to the children that is relevant to all community gardeners. All gardeners are welcome to come and listen. After the children finish, I will give individual attention to any gardener who asks.

Get in touch if you would like the dates and times. On July 1, our first project will be making a scarecrow. So far, I have promises of a shirt, pants and burlap bag for the head. Bob LeClair is making the wooden frame. Thanks Bob. I still need lots of plastic bags to stuff with straw, a bale of straw, a hat, some gloves, a belt and boots. If you can donate something, let me know.

I hope to see you Thursday, Natalie, Master Gardener

Before the Rain…

My husband and I arrived early and had our hands in the earth by 8:15.

We could see the sky darkening. Undaunted, we planted carrots, cucumbers, kale, spinach, herbs, flowers and more.

We cleaned up between rows. When you weed your beds, throw the weeds in a bin. Don’t leave them or any debris from your beds in the pathways. Only wood chips should be in the pathways. This will become increasingly important as the season progresses.

By the time we were done the rain was starting so we packed up the tools and left.

Just in time, too. As we drove away we could hear the thunder, see the lightning and within minutes…a deluge of rain poured down.

But we felt good. It is satisfying to have the garden planted and mother nature watering her in.

Smiling….Natalie