Sunflower Contest

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 6.24.56 PM.pngSo far, seven young people have planted Mammoth sunflower seeds for our “Grow the Tallest Sunflower” contest.

If you would like to enter, come to the farm, 235 West Avenue, between 3 and 5 Thursday or Friday or from 9 to noon on Saturday and plant your seeds. There are free seeds for you to grow.

I hope to see you in the garden.

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Green Beans Experiment

Tomorrow  morning the ten to 12-year-old young gardeners will be garden scientists and conduct an experiment.

A farmer told me  if you cut the bush green beans down after an abundant harvest a second crop will grow and provide more green beans than if you just let the beans keeping producing on their own.

I love a good garden experiment so here’s what we will do:

Harvest all remaining green beans.

Cut all the bean plants back to five inches making sure to include some growth nodes. Fertilize and water.

If you want to know what happens, keep an eye on  plot #25.

 

What was in the Bug Jar?

There were two insects in the bug jar this morning.

The first was a leaf miner larvae.  It is a yellow larvae about a half inch long and, depending on the species, feeds on Swiss chard, spinach, cabbage, broccoli raab, potato, bean, tomatoes, peppers and beets.

You know you have them in the garden if the leaves of your plants have squiggly paths tunneled into them. To control,  remove the infected leaf (insect is inside) and throw it in the trash.

For more information: http://plantdiagnostics.umd.edu/level3.cfm?causeID=266

The other insect was the larvae of a white cabbage moth, which attacks all brassicas.

The specimens in the jar were desiccated so I suggest you look online to find photos.

If  you see them in the garden, pick them off and discard.

Cool as a Cucumber

Blueberries by Robert Frost

“You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
To the village, through Mortenson’s pasture to-day:
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!”

It’s good year for blueberries. My sister is bringing some berries from her garden today and some eggs from her chickens.

For lunch we are having a vegetables and pasta. The peppers, peas, beans, tomatoes, parsley, basil are all from my garden.

The tomatoes are the first of the season and fresh off the vine this morning. I held them in my hand and inhaled the aroma.

I love growing our own food.

Life is good.

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.

Family Gardening Program – Week Two

There is a lot to do in the garden this time of year.

Today 80  young gardeners worked on: starting a new flower bed, mulching the broccoli so it doesn’t bolt,  sowing beans, weeding and water. When each group finished their working bee, we relaxed under the trees with a glass of ice, cold basil lemonade made from herbs growing in our garden.

The basil lemonade was a hit. One camper said the flavor was “distinctive,” another camper thought it tasted “like the garden” and most campers enjoyed it and asked for second and thirds.

Here is the Recipe:

One packed cup  of basil leaves washed well. Put leaves into the blender with a cup of water and puree on high. Once done, put this mixture through a strainer and into a large pticher of lemonade. Add the basil mix little by little until you reach the flavor you enjoy. It is that easy and very refreshing.

EARTH MOVERS

We could use some help with the dirt pile near the parking lot. The goal is to level it off so we can plant flowers. It was hard work for the kids. Anyone willing to help, please do. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

PLANTS

If anyone is dividing plants, please think of us. We are creating a pollinator friendly garden.  The new bed is in full sun and we hope to  grow yarrow, coneflower, Liatris, evening primrose, phlox, and asters. If you have any of these plants and can share, they would be greatly appreciated. Thank you to all my generous gardening friends.

MAKING A BIRD BATH

At noon today adult gardeners made a concrete bird bath from a leaf.

Gna LeClair lead this project and started by making a sand dome on a sheet of plywood. This forms the bird bath. Plastic was spread over the dome and a hosta leaf was put face down on top.

Gina LeClair lead this project and started by making a sand dome on a sheet of plywood. This forms the  basin of the bird bath.
Plastic was spread over the dome and a hosta leaf was put face down on top.

Then you being to add the concrete on top of the host leaf.

Then you  adda moth textured concrete – not the kind with aggregate – on top of the hosta leaf.

Keep going until the leaf is completely covered.

Keep going until the leaf is completely covered. And then let it dry for at least 48 hours.

These baths look charming in a garden and attract butterflies and insect-eating birds.   I will take a photo of the finished project next week.

Hope to see you in the garden.  And thank you for contributing to the success of the garden.

Natalie, Master Gardener and Moreau Community Garden’s Garden  Coach

 

We Made A Scarecrow Today

You know the expression, it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it took a village to make this scarecrow.

Bob LeClair made the frame. The clothes came from the thrift shop. The houseplants we planted in the shoes came from my son,  Gina found the straw hat at a garage sale. The scarecrows’s stuffing was wood wool – packing material donated by Rocky Dale Nursery in Bristol, Vt.  and the buttons, felt and muslin came from the generous ladies in the craft room at the community center.  Thank you all.

The kids…about 60…  who are part of the Family Gardening Program participated in his construction.  It was a hot day but groups of kids worked hard to make him come alive. And, he looks darn good.

Here are some photos so you can see for yourself.

Here is the finished scarecrow.  That fine friendly face was made by Miss Nancy and her helpers.

Here is the finished scarecrow. That fine friendly face was made by Miss Nancy and her helpers.

We stuffed him with wood wool. It is easy to work with.

We stuffed him with wood wool. It is easy to work with.

We couldn't find boots so we laid his shoes with soil and planted two spider plants in them.

We couldn’t find boots so painted shoes purple,  filled his shoes with soil and planted two spider plants in them.

In the end he looked pretty darn happy.

In the end, he looked pretty darn happy and so did we.

Luna Moth

Luna mothI was very lucky this morning.

I was running errands and picking up groceries. Nothing special. I got talking to a friend who was checking out my purchases at the cash register.

She told me she saw something yellow in the parking lot and it turned out in was this moth. Some co-workers picked it up and moved it to a safer place behind the building, she said.

We went around to the woodsy area were it had been freed and it was still there in all its glory.

These moths live a very short time and I have only seen two in my lifetime. What a treat. Thanks Laura!