Week 7: June 17 to 22 – Mulching and Maintaining Garden Beds

Topics:

  • Mulching
  • Maintaining cucurbits

Summary of the Week:

  • Learned about supporting and maintaining our plants as they grow and fight pests or diseases
  • Planted
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Cucumbers
    • Squash

The Community Teaching Garden beds are nearly full and many plants are looking healthy while others are beginning to pop up. To ensure that our plants remain healthy as they mature we learned about the various ways to maintain our gardens through preventative measures against weeds, pests, diseases, or fungus. Mulching is a good method to use in order to help prevent weeds from surrounding your plants and taking over your garden bed. There are several different materials that can be used for mulching in your garden and around the bed such as newspaper, burlap bags, straw, and wood chips. For inside the garden bed, straw is a good option. Place a layer of straw around your plants and remember to leave the area around the base of the stem uncovered to ensure that your plant does not rot. When mulching with straw around your plants, it is a good idea to wait until June when the soil has been able to gain warmth.

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Mulching around plants in garden beds.

Another important aspect of garden upkeep we learned about was preventing diseases and mold from taking over our plants. The cucurbits are at risk and there is an easy, organic remedy to face this problem. We tried a mixture of baking soda and water as a potential solution. With a spray bottle we lightly misted the plant leaves to ensure that we did not add too much unnecessary water. Hopefully this will work as a preventative measure for our zucchinis and cucumbers.

After a successful sweet potato slip sale at Red Wagon Plants a few weeks ago, it was time to add sweet potatoes to our garden. Sweet potatoes are started from slips, which are produced from full-grown sweet potatoes. The shared sweet potato transplants were planted in hills similar to regular potatoes and the slips are planted on their sides with the stem bent to face upward. Sweet potatoes are a more southern crop and enjoy warmth, which is helped by the hilling process.

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Working together to plant sweet potatoes.
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Planting the sweet potato on it’s side with the stem facing up.
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Rows of sweet potatoes.
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The planted sweet potatoes.

If you are interested in mulching your garden at home, the Burlap Coffee Bag Benefit Sale is this Saturday, June 22 at the COTS parking lot at 95 North Ave. in Burlington from 9 am to 1 pm. The sale benefits the Vermont Community Garden Network’s educational programs. Also, remember that next Saturday, June 29 the Community Teaching Garden will be having the second potluck of the season!

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Some beautiful radishes were harvested.
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Planting cucumbers.
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