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

Purslane and Smartweed

There seem to be about a half-dozen different weeds that are determined to grow at the Saratoga Springs Community Garden at Wesley. I’ve written about lambsquarters and crabgrass before. Here are two more uninvited guests you might want to know.

The first pictured below is common purslane. It is an edible weed when small so pluck it as a seedling and bring it home for a salad garnish. Do not consider growing it pass a small plant size in your plot as it is difficult to eradicate once it has a foothold, can spread to three feet and produces numerous seeds. The weed has distinctive succulent foliage that is edged with a tint of red. Using a hoe with this plant isn’t advised as it can re-root if left on the soil.

I know some gardeners have let lambsquarters grow in their beds after hearing it is edible. It is no longer edible once tall and produces 50,000 seeds per plant. You might want to pull them out now.

Pictured below is Pennsylvania smartweed. Touching this plant causes dermatitis for some people. If you want to see an interesting website on how this plant was used medicinally, go to: http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/medicinal_plants/pages/smartweed.html

No matter how many times we weed, new ones will appear during the growing season. Don’t give up. It is important to weed as a single weed produces thousands of seeds, pulls nutrients and moisture away from desired plants, and provides shelter for insects making it harder for a gardener to grow strong, healthy plants.