CTG Week 8: June 22nd to June 28th – Garden Potluck & Mulching Techniques

Activities:

  • Mulching
  • Harvesting Garlic Scapes
  • Identifying and protecting against the cucumber beetle
  • Garden Potluck
Protecting against the Cucumber Beetle
Protecting against the Cucumber Beetle

This week the cucumber beetle was not the only bug we encountered in the teaching gardens.  The classes were plagued with mosquitoes but that didn’t stop us, we put on out mosquito nets and got to work.  The first task was to protect our cucumber plants from the pesky cucumber beetle.  The class took come time to examine a few of the beetles so that everyone in the class would be able to recognize them if they ever encountered them in future gardening experiences.   The beetles have black and yellow striped bodies, and can be quite challenging to catch.  The insect will take refuge in the soil at the base of the cucumber plant it it feels threatened.  This is where the handy tin foil comes into play.  Placing aluminum foil around the base of the cucumber plant has been shown to help protect your plant from the beetles.  Please see the following photo for the finished product.

An Example of the Foil Trap
An Example of the Foil Trap

Up next, some fun in the mulch, mulching is a gardener’s best friend, it not only protects against weeds but it also helps insulate the soil to keep it moist.  A few helpful tips about mulching: try to avoid using bark mulch in your vegetable garden.  Stick with straw, and remember there is a distinction between straw and hay.  A bail of hay is composed of the entire grass plant but straw is just the stalk of the plant.  Straw is better for garden mulch because it does not contain as many weeds.  When you mulch your garden remember to lay it on thick.  After applying the mulch you should not be able to see the ground underneath it, this is because if you can see the ground your weeds will still be able to get light from the sun.  Lastly, remember to give your plant some space.  You should leave about an inch and a half of room between your plant and the mulch, this promotes airflow around the plant and helps decrease the spread of any diseases contained in the hay.

Our Tomatoes after a Good Mulching
Our Tomatoes after a Good Mulching

The next activity had to be my personal favorite probably because it involved delicious vegetables.  Who doesn’t love garlic scapes?  You may not know that the garlic clove is not the only edible part of the garlic plant. The scapes can be quite delicious. Garlic scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant. The bud is removed in late June to encourage the bulbs to thicken up.  Lucky for us they taste just like garlic and can be used in any dish the same way garlic is used.

Garlic Scapes
Garlic Scapes

To close out the week we had our second garden potluck.  As usual the food was spectacular, and topped off with almost an entire course of pies yum.  As soon as I had finished I was already looking forward to the next one.

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