Time to Tuck in the Garden Beds for the Winter

Tucked in.jpgIt was a chilly, drizzling morning Saturday, but still we got so much done in the gardens.

Thank you all who came out and worked cleaning beds.  We stayed busy and enjoyed the homemade onion soup made from our own onions, fried dough, cookies and turmeric tea.

With the frosty temperatures forecast this week, everyone should be clearing out the last of the warm loving vegetables: basil, tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, eggplants. Harvest before the freezing temperatures.

Cool season veggies like carrots, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts do well when the weather gets nippy so – if you are a gardener in good standing – you can leave them for now.

Some gardens still need to be tended, but I trust it will be done by Oct. 22.

Our mandatory meeting is Oct. 24th at the Spring Street Gallery at 6 p.m. That is when you will be able to choose your garden beds for next season and hear about our plans for 2019.

See you in the gardens, Natalie

 

 

 

Participants Reap the Benefits of Harvesting Class

Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 10.50.56 AM

 

Master Gardener Kay Schlembach took gardeners through the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens last evening and gave them tips on when and how to harvest.  Participants were able to ask questions about harvesting their crops and learned the best time of day to pick the vegetables.

Do you know when?

Morning is preferred. Evening when it cools is second best.

Kay’s class is part of the community gardens’ adult programming organized by Margie Ingram.  The next two classes are:

Jam Making with Diane Whitten, which is open to adults and children. This class is tomorrow Saturday at 10 a.m. Space is limited.

The next adult class is being taught by Kim London and the topic is herbs. This class will be July 19 at 6:30 in the gardens.  All are welcome.

Girl Scouts Grow Food for Franklin Community Center Pantry

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 10.55.38 AM.pngBrownie troop 3031 has a plot in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens and recently donated green beans to the Franklin Community Center’s food pantry.

Troop leader Jen Kirchhnerr has found that recycled plastic containers are a great way to deliver the beans and other vegetables to the pantry.

These are the sort of container that strawberries, blueberries and the like are typically sold in at the supermarket.

Kirchhnerr cleans and washes the containers and reuses them when harvesting for the food pantry.

“They are a convenient size for handing out to a family,” she said.

It’s a good tip. If any gardeners have containers like these and would like to share them, you can leave the cleaned containers in the garden shed. We will use them when harvesting and sharing.

Thanks Jen for your tip!Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 10.55.19 AM

Launching a Squash Bug Campaign

You know you’re a plant geek when you lounge poolside, frozen watermelon mint lemonade in hand and research organic methods of trapping squash bugs.

One google search “Are squash bugs attracted to light?” brought a positive result.

Gardeners reported their porch lights attracted squash bugs and this got my wheels turning.

Maybe I could create a trap that lured squash bugs using a light source and somehow keep them from crawling back out.

So I took a large plastic soda bottle and cut the top one-third off. This funnel shape would be placed spout side down into the bottle. I had tiny tea lights that I could use as a light source and put one at the bottom.

With luck, the squash bugs would see light at the end of the funnel and follow it to their demise.

Then I headed to the community gardens. Martel gave me the OK to use her plot for the experiment. We caught squash bugs there in the last two days.

I was concerned the squash bugs, because of their size, could manage to get out of the trap so I used sticky Tanglefoot to coat the outside of the funnel. This helped also to create a seal between the funnel and the side of the bottle.

Next, I put some tape strips around the bottle to give the squash bugs something to crawl on. A ‘pathway’ to the top of the bottle and into the trap just in case the plastic bottle is too slick for them to cling to.

I dug a hole and inserted the base of the bottle. The hole is under the zucchini leaves as this is where squash bugs hang out.

Now, I wait.

Tomorrow morning I will head to the farm and count how many bugs we catch.

Our other experiment, the yellow cup faux blossom traps caught near 100 cucumber beetles in one plot alone.

 

 

A Gardener’s Trick for Day Lilies

Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 6.40.37 PMFour years ago, I acquired a lot of day lilies.  They had no labels. I didn’t know what color they were or any of their characteristics.

They were mysteries. And I would have to patiently wait for them to mature and flower before their secrets were revealed.

Mystery solved

This year, as the flowers unfolded the show was, and still is, spectacular. The bloom started in mid-July  and has been continuously dazzling. There are reds, corals, mauves, lemon yellows, many hues of oranges, strong yellows and an almost white. There are some with double petals and others with multiple colors. Some are lanky and others short and stout.  Some have frilly edges on petals or a margin of a different color. The display is stunning.

While all are beautiful, their placement in the garden could be better. When they were planted, I had no idea what color they were and, that considered, an amazing number are right just where they are. But a few would be better complimented by other flowers in a different part of the garden. Or the size of the scapes would make them more suitable as a front of the border plant rather than a back of the bed planting.

A Clever Trick

I could take photos each week to show the size and color and refer to these when transplanting. But, I had another solution taught to me by a wise gardener. Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 6.38.08 PMShe would tie a strand of embroidery thread to each scape indicating the flower color. That way when the flower faded, she could still tell its color.

 

In addition, I used blue thread to indicate long scapes and green for those with short scapes. When I transplant, I will know who can go further back in the border and who needs to be up front.

Meanwhile, the thread on this yellow day lily is barely noticeable.Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 6.42.07 PM

Clever trick isn’t it? Happy Gardening.