CTG 2014 Week 9: June 28th to July 3rd – No-Till Tour at Tommy Thompson, Battling Pesky Pests, and Garden Upkeep

Topics:

  • The Tommy Thompson No-Till Plots: A tour & discussion guided by Ron Krupp
  • Pest Control: Monitoring and eradicating the Colorado Potato Beetle
  • Hilling Potatoes

Activities:

  • General garden upkeep
  • Filling in leeks (EA)
  • Weeding!
Hello, gorgeous!
Hello, gorgeous!

As we all have daydreamed about the arriving holiday, which includes a day off of work (for some), BBQs, family and friends, and of course fireworks, the CTG gardens and their flourishing crops have certainly caught some of the great energy.  Now in their ninth week of the Community Teaching Garden program, our students have most certainly begun proving they’ve accrued some valuable knowledge.  It’s quite amazing to see how so many of them have begun to self-direct themselves as soon as they step in the garden and get right to work weeding, watering, harvesting, and caring for their robust veggies with great zeal.    Our recent tour of the no-till sites at the Tommy Thompson, led by the knowledgable Ron Krupp, definitely provided further inspiration for our gardeners to continue in their gardening ventures and cherish the learning experiences that will surely arise season to season.

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Who says trellises can’t be chic?
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Three Sister’s Garden in progress!

The Tommy Thompson No-Till Sites: A tour & discussion led by Ron Krupp

It is quite apparent to any who have visited the Tommy Thompson Community Garden that this oasis in Burlington’s Intervale is a unique gardening hub bursting with a strong sense of community, several extremely experienced gardeners and their techniques, and of course some amazing crops.   This Wednesday the CTG class was fortunate enough to receive a very interesting and informative tour of the no-till plots at the Tommy Thompson site from long-time gardener and author Ron Krupp.   As Ron explained, many of the plots in the no-till site have been gardened for several years by the same green-thumbs, including himself, and as the time has passed these gardens have expanded into some really exceptional landscapes.  Our tour began with a look at the recently tilled plots that are under the care of those participating in New Farms for New Americans, which welcome visitors to the garden with their flourishing Three Sister’s Gardens and diverse set of crops.  Next up was a detailed tour and explanation of Ron’s own garden, which was bursting with various kinds of veggies, some gorgeous poppies, culinary and medicinal herbs, and even some wild edible weeds like Lamb’s Quarters.   As he guided us through his crops, Ron stressed his appreciation for utilizing heirloom and wild varieties of the crops he cultivates because of the better supply of nutrients they offer. Ron’s tour continued on with some explanations of some of his own and his neighbors experiments and methods, including using old windows as cold frames for starting plants throughout the season, the uses and benefits of water compost, and lasagna gardening (yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like).    We can’t thank Ron enough for sharing his invaluable knowledge with us, it’s wonderful to know we have such great gardening neighbors!  If you are interested in learning more from the master himself,  check out Ron’s very entertaining books, The Woodchuck’s Guide to Gardening and Lifting the Yolk.  THe Woodchuck’s Guide to Gardening is currently available via the VCGN office, for more information visit: http://vcgn.org/woodchuck/

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Learning from the master
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Touring

Pest Control: Monitoring & Eradicating the Colorado Potato Beetle

Any experienced gardener knows that pests are apt to cause some strife more than once throughout the growing season, and this this reality is now being experienced by our own CTG students.  As Denise forewarned, pests like the Colorado Potato Beetle will surely wreak havoc on one’s crops if they aren’t closely monitored and disposed of on a regular basis.  Thus, it was without surprise that yet again we were tasked with eradicating the newly hatched larvae that were having a hay-day on our potato plants.  Pest control is certainly more time consuming when using organic gardening methods, and so it is important to be meticulous when managing pest populations.  Midst squeals of disgust and some sighs of sympathy, our students plucked beetles from leaves and placed them in jars of water.  Although we left no bug in sight, we will be sure to routinely check our potatoes in the weeks to follow to prohibit and deter further infestations.

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This is war…
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We love good compost, aka ‘Black Gold’.

Hilling Potatoes:

As our potato plants have begun to mature, Denise introduced the concept of ‘hilling’ to our Wednesday evening class.  Hilling potatoes often occurs when the plants have reached 8-10″ in height and is a method used to bring more soil around the base of the plant where the tubers will develop.  Using hoes, our students built the soil up around the plants being careful not to disrupt the establish root systems.  I think its safe to say there may be some potato salads in our CTG potluck future!

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Nice work, ladies!

With our week coming to a close, we are grateful to have some much needed precipitation for the gardens after a VERY hot week.    We hope you all enjoy the holiday, and don’t forget to include some fresh garden ingredients in your celebratory meals!

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Yet another beautiful sunset at the Intervale

 

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