Cleaning Up the Garden

We rolled up our sleeves this morning and really tidied up the garden.

Gina, Cecelia, Mary, Bill, Lois and a friend, Joe, Lucas, Tammy, Nick and Faith were all in the garden this morning. We cleared the early blight out of our plots. Remember when you clean up remove the roots and any tomatoes that drop. Early blight can overwinter on plant debris, so be thorough please.

And we weeded and weeded.

It was fun to do it as a group and we really got a lot accomplished.

In addition, I brought green beans, carrots, basil to the Moreau Community Center. I was hoping to meet the kind lady who cooked the produce for the campers this summer. She wasn’t there but I did learn her name…Laurie Collins. If you see her, please let her know how much I appreciate what she did.

There are still veggies growing like this pumpkin. giantp

We also have cabbage, Brussels sprouts, tomatillos, sunflowers and herbs coming along. Some other gardeners have carrots, potatoes, onions, cabbages, peppers and more growing.

It has been a wonderful season. I wish the early blight didn’t damage our tomatoes but I’m hopeful we can get on top of the problem by amending the soil and using organic fungicides next season.

We will need to meet a few more times once the cow manure arrives to spread it among the beds. And also for fun!

In September we are going to have a gathering. Details to follow. 🙂

Natalie

Butterflies, Herbs and Cleaning Up

I was in the garden today and Jeremy showed me these two swallowtail caterpillars on the dill in his plot. I had noticed another on parsley in another plot.swallowtailcaterpillars

An adult swallowtail lays eggs on plants that will provide food for the caterpillars. These include dill, parsley, fennel, Queen Anne’s Lace, and carrots which is one of the reasons I included some of these plants in our Family Gardening Program plots. Look around these plants for caterpillars and you may be lucky and see one.

From the time the eggs are laid to when the caterpillar creates a chrysalis is about 14 days. Once the chrysalis is formed, it takes about 2 more weeks before a butterfly emerges. You will know the chrysalis is nearing the time it will open when it becomes transparent. It is hard work for the butterfly to emerge and when it does it will stay in place for a while and dry its wings. This is a great time to get photos.

Communal Herb Garden

Plot34My first order of business this morning was moving herbs to plot #34. This will be the communal herb plot for all Moreau Community Garden gardeners. Right now dill, thyme, marjoram, cilantro, basil and tarragon are growing in the bed. Some will reseed, some won’t and others are hardy enough that they will come back next year.

Having a communal bed means we don’t all have to grow these herbs, gardeners can take a snippet or two as needed from the communal bed.

If you have a hardy herb to share — such as Greek oregano — please feel free to add it to plot 34. But don’t add any invasive herbs, such as mint or lemon balm. These would take over and defeat our goal.

Cleaning up after Early Blight

As you clean tomatoes that have early blight out of your plots, remember that you need to remove the roots as well. I noticed that some people are clearing their plots but not weeding or removing roots. Early Blight can overwinter on plant debris, so it is important that everyone be meticulous and do a good job cleaning our beds and the weeds around them.

We are expecting a delivery of cow manure. When it arrives, add it to your cleaned bed and work it into the soil. The nutrients and microbes in the manure will do wonders to improve the health of our garden.

The donation of the cow manure is coming from Todd Kusnierz – one of our Town Board members – and is truly appreciated. It will really help improve the soil.

Our Garden Today

camper7There’s plenty of great stuff going on at the Moreau Community Garden….and there are also some insects and diseases that need to be addressed.

Let’s start with the good.

Today gardeners in the Family Gardening Program harvested handfuls of cherry tomatoes, the last of the green beans and peppers, fistfuls of baby carrots and some sweet basil.camper3 campers2

camper1 Most of the harvest went into bags to go to the community center where they are eaten as snacks, but a few green beans were enjoyed right on the spot. YUM!

Tomato Taste Test

The gardeners also tried two different varieties of tomatoes in a taste test to determine which was better…Moskvich or Opalka. The children liked the Moskvich, a very meaty tomato.tasting

Garden Detectives

We also walked around the garden discussing problems. The gardeners looked at examples of Septoria Leaf Spot and Early Blight under a magnifying glass. I discussed the symptoms and what to look for on the plants. Once they knew the symptoms, I asked them to diagnose the problem in their plot of tomatoes.

It is like being a detective looking at clues.

They got it right, early blight had infected the plants. We cleaned the plants out of the plot and will do more to be certain to remove all plant debris, even the roots so it can’t overwinter.EarlyBlight2

We also spotted several parasitized tomato hornworms much to everyone’s amazement and, in some cases, horror. Certain wasps belonging to the Braconidae family lay eggs on the tomato hornworm. That is what those white eggs in the photo are. As the eggs hatch and develop, these wasps eat the tomato hornworm killing it.
hornworm1
We also saw Japanese beetles and squash bugs. If you have these in you garden, clean them up. Thank you.japbeetlesSquashbugs

Garden Meeting Rescheduled

Hi MCG gardeners – Because of the rain, we must postpone our meeting until Wednesday at 10 a.m.

I hope you can make it. We will be discussing Early Blight and Septoria Leaf Spot and how to tell the difference.
Bring your questions! We will talk about what we can do now and what we need to do next season.

Thursday at 10:30 – when the young gardeners can be there – we will have a tomato taste test of the Moskovich and Opalka tomatoes. . . and hopeful a Celebrity tomato or two.

See you in the garden.

Natalie

Tomato Alert – Early Blight!

I was in the garden this afternoon and noticed plot 9 has Early Blight. If that is your plot, please clean it up as soon as possible. We don’t want this disease to spread.

What does it look like? There are lesions on the leaves, stems and fruit. The lesions have concentric rings, like a target. Look for them on the stems and leaves.

What to do now: Remove the plants from the plot and place them in a plastic bag. Throw in the trash. Apply a mulch to keep the spores, which are in the soil, from splashing onto any remaining plants.

Future control of Early Blight depends on:
• crop rotation, that is not growing tomatoes in the same spot year after year.
• remove and throw away any diseased debris. Clean up is vital.
• staking to keep leaves off the ground
• mulching to protect from splashing fungi from the ground to the plant
• providing good air circulation around every plant
• weed since weeds can harbor diseases and insects.
• Water from below. If you water from above, time it so the plants dry before nightfall.

Moreau Community Garden Family Gardening Program Update

MCGAUG6When I arrived this morning, the garden was serene.

Soon gardeners arrived and started to tend their plots. MCGA6.13

And when the participants in the Family Gardening Program at the Moreau Community Garden arrived, things got even busier.

On today’s agenda:
• learning about a new garden pest
• harvesting beans, peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and basil
• monitoring our experiment with powdery mildew remedies

You may remember that last week we sprayed a milk mixture or a baking soda mixture on different plants infected with powdery mildew. Our goal was to see which of these home remedies worked the best.

Today, the gardeners walked back and forth between the two test beds and made an evaluation. While both remedies seemed to have an impact, the baking soda sprayed plants looked better this week, meaning they had less powdery mildew. We repeated the experiment and sprayed again with both mixtures and will report our results next week.

Tomato Hornworms

Last season’s gardeners warned me that tomato hornworms were a problem in the garden in 2012. And just this week, gardeners are reporting finding them again.

Today, about 15 gardeners learned what tomato hornworms look like, how to spot them on a plant and what to do if you do find one.

A few of the adult gardeners were surprised at how large these pests are. The four we found ranged in size from about four to six inches. They have good camouflage, but you can find them on a plant by looking for an area missing its leaves. And, then look on nearby branches. They are voracious eaters and can strip the leaves off an entire branch overnight.
tomatohornworm

What do you do if you find one? If it is parasitized with wasp eggs, just move it off your plant. Otherwise, remove them off the plant and place them in the trash.


Harvest Time

MCGA6.7MCGA6.9
Every week we have been harvesting the vegetables we grow and sending them over to the Moreau Community Center and today was no exception.

At the community center, adults have been preparing the vegetables as a snack for the young gardeners. This week they made zucchini bread. One of the counselors told me that the bread was a huge hit and one youngster said he never heard of the vegetable before but loved the “ZOO ZOO bread.” I love that he tried it.

They may make some more because we sent many, many fistfuls of zucchini, peppers, beans, cherry tomatoes and herbs to the center today.

If you haven’t visited the garden recently, here’s an image of its beauty for you to enjoy.MCGA6.4