2010 Season

Season-end Compost

Because we are returning the garden back to the Park for the winter, the remaining compost was bagged to be taken away.  But first I sifted it to extract usable soil, and got nearly a wheelbarrow full!  This from two months, the second of which I turned it naught, and it suffered from low night temperatures (which slow decomposition).

The sifted compost was spread over the empty garden and raked in.  The remainder filled over a bag, which then had to be divided amongst several bags because of its heaviness.



Fall Crop Update

The peak of the harvest is past, and yet we tried second plantings of some crops because we had the space, to see what would happen.  With about a month to go, here's their progress.

Cabbage & Cauliflower:  large leaves, producing well, but no sign of heads yet.

Carrots:  leafy fronds are doing well; no sign of poking out of the ground.

Beets:  alive but struggling.

Spinach:  mostly eaten by Something.

Peas:  half-height, base leaves yellowing, no sign of peas.

Lettuce:  looking good!  Might harvest some next week.

Also, here's an update on some first plantings:

Eggplant:  *continues* to produce, though more slowly.

Beans:  the bush beans produced another handful; the pole beans have disappointed.

Potatoes:  we pulled a single plant to obtain some potatoes for display at Town Day.  The number amidst the roots was extensive, and while mostly small-to-tiny, there was at least one big red one.  From just one plant!

Squash:  the tiny zucchini was accidently harvested; there's still a medium yellow squash; and the pattipan has several small fruits (not to mention flowers) which it thinks it has time to make bigger -- we'll see.

The mildew is back to some extent on the squash, and worse, has jumped to the other side of the garden and covered the collard leaves.

The rest of the greens (kale, chard, arugula and other herbs) still doing well.

Pesticides vs. Mildew

Mildew attacked the leaves of cucumber plants and zucchini (and other summer squash) plants this summer.  Despite this, we harvested abundant quantities of each, so one could just call this part of our ecological tithe, especially since we weren't eating the leaves.  Yet there was enough concern that we did try to address the problem.

We altered our watering, so as not to water from above near these plants (as well as the tomatoes, given the threat of tomato blight).  Water on leaves helps spread disease, and it's water into roots which counts.  We added a soaker hose in the area of these plants as well.

We also tried a couple pesticides.  The first was a dilute mixture of hydrogen peroxide.  The effectiveness was questionable, requiring multiple regular applications to seem to work.  The second was baking soda and soybean oil (vegetable oil) diluted in water:  about a tablespoon of baking soda with a half gallon of water; the oil helps the baking soda stick to the leaves.  A few days later, many of the leaves of the squash plants appeared free of mildew.  However, it is unclear how much of this is new growth unyet touched by mildew, since we cleared away the dead leaves.

Pole Beans Struggle

I expected the pole beans to have reached the top of the trellis by now, which the peas did.  While a few runners reach high, most are about halfway up.  Also, many of the leaves nearest the ground have yellowed, usually an indication of some nutrient deficiency.  The usual culprit is lack of nitrogen, but beans being legumes put nitrogen in the soil, as do the peas preceding them.  Alan added some chicken manure.


Open House, August 21 2010

August 21 2010 open house

The open house table

We held our first open house on the evening of August 21, 2010, in the early evening before the Friends of Robbins Farm Park Movie Night. About 50 visitors had a cracking time exploring the garden and sampling our cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, edamame, and Steven's savory marinated swiss chard. A grand night out!


Non-Plant Life In (or Near) the Garden

We found another tomato hornworm today- it was incredibly fat and happy.  One of the clues (aside from the stripped tomato branches) was the presence of what turns out to be worm poop on the ground.


Also, we had some visitors outside the fence.  We were worried about animals being able to make their way through the fence to munch on the veggies.  These pet bunnies were outside the fence causing the garden no harm.  One of them was even on a leash!

Compost yields again

Saturday we sifted the compost for the second time, extracting about half a wheelbarrow-full.  I was impressed with the quantity, given that most came from garden waste (including grass clippings from the borders).  The rest of the compost is decomposing well, except for the bamboo twigs (waste from setting up the bamboo trellis).


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