Cool as a Cucumber

Family Gardening Program – Week Three

Here’s what we did today:

The five-year-olds watered the bean plants they planted a week ago and which are now a few inches tall. They were delighted. I let them sample green beans so they know what they are growing.

The older children watered the carrot bed and then thinned the plants, washed them and ate them. You always water carrots before thinning so you don’t disturb the roots of neighboring plants. It is work that needs to be done carefully and thoughtfully. And though it was a challenge at times with all the enthusiasm, I think the young gardeners enjoyed pulling the little baby carrots out  as much as they enjoyed eating them.

Swiss Chard, Kale, sugar snap peas were also sampled and most gardeners enjoyed them, especially the sugar snap peas. These are a big hit every time we grow them and will always be part of the children’s gardening program.  We harvested the above vegetables and sent them back to the Moreau Community Center for distribution along with some zucchini, radishes, turnips and cucumbers.

The biggest job of the day was trimming the wheelbarrow full of day lilies, leveling a planting area and getting every one of the plants in the ground. Special thanks to Delores for her help!

All that was done between 9:30 and noon by about 80 children who range in age from 5 to 10 years old.

Pretty impressive!

 

 

What is that beetle?

Jap Beetle

For the person who put the beetles in a jar asking for identification. These are Japanese Beetles.

An easy way to battle them without pesticides – which we don’t use in our community garden – is to get a pail of soapy water and put it directly under the plant being bothered. If you tap the leaf, the beetle drops into the water and drowns.

If you do this early in the day when the beetles are the least active, you will greatly reduce the number of beetles in short order.

 

Powdery Mildew = Take Action!

P1040721This is powdery mildew, a fungal disease, and I’ve spotted it in our garden.

Not only is it unappealing, it can reduce a plant’s production of vegetables and impact flavor.

What can we do?

We can control it, but not cure it once it appears. To start, remove the leaves most affected on the pumpkins, zucchini and squash. Throw them in the trash bin next to the rec building not the compost bins.

Don’t compost diseased leaves of any kind.

Next,  spread the vine or leaves so the air circulates around the plant. Good sun exposure and good air circulation should inhibit spore germination.

An Experiment

Last year participants in the Family Gardening Program tried an experiment and compared two methods touted online as slowing the spread of powdery mildew.

In one plot, we sprayed the remaining leaves and stem with a cow’s milk spray made with 3 parts whole milk and 7 parts water.

In another plot, we sprayed with a mix of 1 teaspoon baking soda in 1 quart water.

Both methods reportedly create an environment that inhibits the spread of this disease and are best started before powdery mildew appears.  In our experience last year, the milk was effective is slowing the progression of the disease.

For Future Reference: Gardeners can purchase resistant varieties at the start of the season. While resistant doesn’t mean the plant won’t get powdery mildew, it does mean they are less susceptible.

Basil Downy Mildew

The weather can be blamed – at least in part – for the occurrence of basil downy mildew in the garden.

If you aren’t sure your plants have it, here are the signs:

You notice the leaves are yellowing and then the plant gets brown areas. The underside of the leaf appears to be dirty with some white spots you can see with a magnifying glass.

For more information: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/BasilDowny.html

If your basil plant has it, harvest what you can and throw the rest of the plant in the trash….not the compost bins.

Next year, plant basil somewhere else in the garden.

Deadheading Knockout Roses

deadheadingrosesYes, I know you don’t HAVE to deadhead Knockout roses. “Their self-cleaning,” marketers say.

I know. I’ve heard that, too. And while it’s correct, it is only part of the story.

Knockouts will do fine with no deadheading. However, when you remove the roses that are past their prime, it signals the plant to begin the next bloom cycle. And that’s what I want, plenty of blooms. I don’t want seed heads.


Pleasant Morning

I was out in the garden early with a scissor and a basket. I chatted with neighbors walking their dogs, jogging and biking. The time went by quickly as I snipped off – on an angle – dozens of faded red rose blooms. When I was done with one side and moving to the next, I noticed how pretty even the faded blooms looked in the basket. Thus this photo…deadheadingknockouts

I’ll let you know when the next cycle of bloom begins.

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