Week 11: July 16, 19

Different techniques for trellising tomatoes

The teepee technique Image

Two stake technique

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Tomato cage

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Other notes on maintaining your tomato plants:

Suckering: 

Suckers are the shoots of growth that grow in the crux between the stem and an already established branch. It is best to prune these suckers as to promote air flow and not too much crowding, and also it allows the plant to give more nutrients to the fruit and not the growth of these new branches. To prune suckers just pinch off the small side shoot.It is best to snap them off when they are young.

 

Avoid touching tomato plants, harvesting, pruning, or trellising, when the plants are wet. Tomato plants are highly susceptible to disease, especially when wet.

 

While tomato plants are a fair amount of work in comparison to other plants in the garden, they are among the most rewarding. The taste test difference between a store bought tomato, shipped from far away, and a home gown tomato is remarkable. Once one grows a tomato plant, they rarely go back.

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Week 10: July 9, 12

 

Topics:

  • Urban gardening
  • Fungal disease in the garden: powdery mildew
  • Natural fungicide

 Summary of week’s activities:

  • HARVEST!
  • Building a self-watering container garden
  • Spraying squash leaves with natural fungicide
  • Weeding
  • Potato beetle battle continues

 

These weeks in July are the push time for gardeners: fighting weeds to give our vegetables the advantage, being sure to water, fighting pests and disease. But, as gardeners know, the rewards are worth the effort. In the Community Teaching Garden we are preoccupied with a nasty potato beetle infestation on the potatoes. We have had to resort to the tactic of killing the young. Every class we peruse the potatoes and remove the larvae and egg clusters. We put the larvae in a soapy water to drown them.

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We also are seeing a lot of powdery mildew on the squash leaves. Powdery mildew is a fungal disease which appears as a white spotty fuzz on squash leaves. To try and save the squash plants we cut the most infected leaves off and spray the rest of the leaves with a natural remedy. (Be sure that you do not put diseased leaves in the compost as this will risk contaminating next years compost). WE used a solution of milk and water, at a ratio of 1:9. The protein in the milk serves as a deterrent to the production and spread of the powdery mildew. We also created a spray of baking soda and water. We are conducting an experiment to see which will be most successful (we sprayed the milk solution on squash plants closer to the beltway side). 

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On the more positive report, the garden harvest is increasing each class! This week we have harvested raspberries, shelling and snow peas, zucchini, radishes, and lettuce.

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If you have not been at the garden in the past few days it is important that you water, weed and harvest. Also, be sure to check the group peas and raspberries!

Next Monday we are going to be pulling the garlic! Come to class and reap the bounty! 

 

Week 9: July 2, 5

Topics:

  • Green Mountain Compost
  • Container gardens
  • Burlap bag sale

Summary of week’s activities:

  • Harvest snow peas
  • Plants tomatoes
  • Fill containers with (our own) compost
  • De-and the garden shed
  • Enjoy a rainbow, beautiful sunset, full moon
  • Celebrate Denise’s Birthday
The peas are coming to fruit in the group bed. This bed did not have Green Mountain Compost added to it, so gardeners are encourages to check and harvest for snow peas, and later this week for shelling peas as well.
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Anouncements:

Update on the Green Mountain Compost situation: The results from extensive testing by Chittenden Solid Waste District will be made on Thursday, and gardeners will have a better idea of what we are dealing with and how to proceed. This is a situation that should stir up conversation and resiliency in our garden community.

The Friends of Burlington Gardens Burlap Bag Sale is this Saturday. This is a huge fundraiser for the Healthy City Youth Initiative, which is a program that uses a garden with elementary, middle and high school students as a classroom to teach about our food system, encourage and create healthy habits and develop life skills. For more information on the burlap bag sale: http://www.facebook.com/events/241807665936278/

Monday was also Denise’s birthday and Jess surprised her with a carrot cake, which we adorned with the 7 rasberries that were ripe enough to harvest from the raspberry patch!

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The night ended with a beautiful rainbow, sunset and a huge rising moon over Ethan Allen Homestead. One of the major benefits of being a gardener is that you are outside so much that you see and appreciate the natural beauty nearly every day!

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