Autumn in the Garden

Autumn in the Garden
Autumn in the Garden: Cosmos Forest for our chitinous and feathered friends

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dan's Video of the 2013 Garden Reconstruction

Dan Sherman posted the video of Sandy's Destruction and Our Reconstruction of the Garden in 2013 on YouTube at Richard's website. Copies will also be available at the Spring Meeting on March 16.  The film takes us from before the storm, to after the storm, through cleanup & reconstruction and finally to the restoration of the Garden's lushness in Summer -- all in a period of 10 minutes.

BEEseeching Valentines for Home Depot & Lowes

CAMPAIGN UPDATE from OCA (Organic Consumers Assn)  Feb. 14, 2014

Just the Beeginning

They showed up in bee costumes. Carrying Valentine’s Day cards and cookies. Singing Give bees a chance. To add a little theater to the mix, some of them staged bee die-ins.

Activists in Boston, Chicago, Eugene, Ore., Minneapolis, Washington D.C. and San Francisco converged on their local Home Depot and Lowe’s stores this week with this message: Show bees some love. Stop selling garden plants coated in bee-killing pesticides.

The demonstrations were part of a national Bee Week of Action
which included deliveries of valentines to managers of Home Depot and Lowe’s stores, coast to coast.

The actions, organized by Friends of the Earth, the Organic Consumers Association and 10 other groups, included collecting more than a half million signatures on petitions to Home Depot and Lowe’s, and sending letters to the CEOs of both companies.

Home Depot responded this week, to say the company is working on a policy to address neonics. We’re hopeful Lowe’s will reach out soon.

This week was just the beginning of what will be a sustained campaign to educate consumers and press retailers to replace bee-killing plants with organic, pesticide-free alternatives.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Alyssum - Not Just a Pretty Flower

Adult hoverfly on an alyssum flowerhead
Consider interplanting some alyssum in your plot this year to help control aphids.  Organic lettuce growers plant alyssum as an effective way to control this soft-bodied insect that snuggles in the folds of their lettuce (Flower Power Protects Organic Lettuce Fields).  And how do they do this?  By attracting hoverflies!  Although they resemble wasps & bees, these little Syrphidae are harmless with no stinger.  Well-fed by your pollen and nectar, they return the favor by laying their eggs nearby where their hungry larvae prey on your aphids. 

For more information on other plants and biological control, check out "Farmer Fred" Hoffman's Plants That Attract Beneficial Insects. Note the download offered at the top with more photos.

CALENDAR

2014

Feb. 9            Winter Potluck Dinner at St Charles AME Church 6 - 9 pm

March 2        Membership Due$ ‘Early Deadline’ to E. Tress -
                        $15 half plot / $30 full plot
March 16      Membership Due$ ‘Final Deadline’ to E. Tress -
                        $25 half plot / $50 full plot

March 16      Spring Member Meeting at Piermont Library 4-5:30 pm 

April 5           Spring Work Party  10 am - 2 pm
April 6           Spring Work Party   Noon - 3 pm

April TBD     New Member Orientation (Mandatory) time:  6 pm

May 6            Weed & clean your plot deadline
May 17          Herb Garden Renovation 9 am - 3 pm
May 31          Planting deadline for all plots

June 18        Solstice Work Party cleanup for Picnic (Rain date 6/19) 5 - 7 pm
June 21        Summer Solstice Picnic at Parelli Park 6 - 10 pm

Aug. 2          Mid-summer Work Party 9 -11 am OR 10 am - Noon
                        (Heat/Rain date Wed 8/6, 6 - 8 pm)

Sep. TBD     Tea in the Garden - an informal potluck tea (Rain date Sept. TBD)

Oct. TBD      Fall Member Meeting @ Piermont Library 6:30 – 8 pm
Oct. 18          Fall Work Party (Rain date 10/25) 10 am - 2 pm
Oct. 19          Fall Work Party (Rain date 10/26) Noon - 3 pm

Dec. 7            Winter cleaning & weeding deadline
Dec. 20         Winter Solstice Bonfire in Joan's driveway 6 - 8 am

*** Rain dates and cancellations will be posted on the Garden fence by the front gate.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Slug Glue and Heart Repair

Discover Magazine sported an article about a recent medical discovery.  Slug-Inspired Glue Can Heal a Broken Heart.  The next time you find one of these unwanted gastropods in your garden, you may wish to thank it for its contribution to modern medicine before you toss it to the geese in Parelli or put it in a container of soapy water!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Green Tomatoes

Green tomato season is approaching as Oct 15, first frost date nears.  If you have a good harvest of tomatoes still to ripen and a freeze threatens your tomato plants, you can harvest the green tomatoes and either ripen them inside or try Organic Gardening's Pickled Green Tomatoes which uses fresh tarragon and garlic.

To ripen green tomatoes inside, store them in a box, not allowing them to touch each other lest one start to decay and pass it on to the others.  If you have more than one layer, separate the layers with cardboard or newspaper. Check periodically for ripening (or decay) and harvest as needed.  One year we had fresh tomatoes from the garden until Thanksgiving using this method.  Others have had tomatoes even longer.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Gardening Articles Links

Gardener's Supply provides over 100 articles on Vegetable Gardening
Vegetable Gardening - 106 articles  One timely example:  Season-Extending Techniques   By using a few simple season-extending techniques and plant-protection devices, you can shield your plants from extremes of weather, and stretch your gardening season by two, three or even six months.  
 
Other gardening article categories such as Pests & Diseases, Indoor Gardening and Flower Gardening are in a bar to the left of the page.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

News Article on the Garden's Comeback after Sandy

Bill Cary visited the Garden August 25 and interviewed members about their growing season and the positive changes to our Garden for his Aug 31st article, After Sandy, Piermont Community Garden Roars Back to Life.

Stephanie, Dan, Maureen, Tim and daughters Naima & Isla, Colleen, Rob and Mary pose for photo by Joe Larese of The Journal News

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Why Is the Basil Looking So Poorly?

More than a few members have lamented "What's wrong with the basil?"  In January, Cornell warned gardeners about a new destructive disease of basil, Downy Mildew which first made its appearance in the US in 2007 down in Florida.  Take a look at their article Expect and Prepare for Downy Mildew in Basil where you will find some good photos of this disease.  Compare them to what you see on your basil.  I think we have Downy Mildew in the Garden, probably made worse by the heavy rains, evening overhead watering, and the winds we've had lately.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Can It Be Too Hot for Tomatoes, Peppers & Beans? Cooler Feet Might Help the Tomatoes!

Rhoda Burrows, PhD has an interesting article on The Effects of Heat on Vegetables -- ie: the failure of tomato & pepper & green bean fruit to set, squash flowers to be pollinated, lettuce to germinate, and the bitterness of cucumbers and the head disruption of broccoli and cauliflower.  She has a few suggestions on how to ameliorate the bad effects of high temps.

Some members have complained about the lack of fruit on their tomatoes while others see their fruit failing to ripen.

According to the ND Extension Fact Sheet "Tomatoes often produce more flowers at high temperatures, but above 80ยบ F pollen production is impaired and fruit set is decreased, especially if the high temperatures are accompanied by high humidity."

And Carly Fiske, eHow Contributer, in her article Tomatoes Will Not Ripen observes, "If air temperature rises about 85 Fahrenheit, tomato plants cannot produce the carotene and lycopene essential for ripe, red fruit. Roots need to be below 80 F.  If your region has temperatures above 85 F, shade your tomato plants to reduce temperature. Add mulch around the roots of the plants to protect roots from high heat."

These high temperatures are just the conditions we have suffered under this last week and earlier in the summer.  Hurricane Sandy destroyed much of the salt hay fields last year and nurseries were not able to provide us with the supply to mulch our tomatoes as we have in past years.  Both the lack of mulch and high temperatures this year are contributing to the poorer than usual tomato yield.  One possible and easy alternative to mulching with salt hay is to use composted manure which we can obtain free from Happel's Barn in Rockleigh, NJ.

Providing shade for the plants to reduce the temperature is a trickier solution which as a community we have not been forced to develop.  Any suggestions?

To understand better how the heat (and drought) is affecting the food supply in our country read the NY Times article of July 21, 2013 Our Coming Food Crisis.