Week 6: June 10 to 15 – Braving the Bugs


  • Trellises
  • Tomatoes
  • Potential leek pest and so far no sign of them at our site

Summary of the Week:

  • Buggiest nights of our lives
  • Prepared for the sweet potatoes
  • Planted
    • Tomatoes
    • Peppers
Happy Gardening.

Groups of tough gardeners braved the many mosquitoes this week to keep up with weeding and make new additions their individual beds. There were many new plant choices to add to the gardens, some starting from seeds and others needed to be transplanted. Healthy tomato plants of various varieties were added and given lots of space in the beds. Once the plants grow and become big enough, a tomato cage, trellis, or other support system will be necessary to keep the stalk sturdy and the tomatoes from drooping to the ground. Along with new tomatoes, we also planted bell peppers, hot peppers, various beans, and other treats.

Transplanting young tomatoes.

To keep moving and avoid the bugs as much as possible, we toured the other gardens and admired the no-till sites to learn more about trellises. There are many different ways to build or create a trellis for plants that need to climb or require support. Trellises can be in the form of wood stakes, wood structures, metal cages, twine, or you can get creative. We added tall, bamboo sticks for our shared peas in our garden. Trellises are functional but can also add to the aesthetics of the garden. As we saw with the no-till sites, some of the structures are the center or an integral aspect of the garden. If you’re interested in learning more about the many different ways to build a trellis, take a walk around Tommy Thompson when it isn’t quite so buggy and check out the functional and inventive ways that gardeners choose to trellis their plants.

The Teaching Garden trellises, placed at the base of the peas.
An example of a creative way to build a trellis.

On Thursday, with a breeze and other factors to help ward off the mosquitoes we were able to spend more time in the garden weeding and maintaining personal plots. We began preparing the garden for our sweet potato slips. Sweet potatoes are a southern plant that requires warm soil to be successful. To ensure that our sweet potatoes grow in a more northern climate, we created rows of mounded soil. By doing this to the soil, we are allowing the soil to warm up as much as possible before planting the sweet potatoes on the weekend and early next week. We did all of this work while watching a bright sunset that lit up the trees surrounding the site as a perfect ending to the day.

Preparing the bed for sweet potatoes.
Creating rows of mounded dirt for the sweet potatoes.

A closer look at the mounded dirt for the sweet potatoes.

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