Planning for the 2017 Season

We had our first planning meeting for the 2017 growing season. Here are some notes, plus a few things that didn’t get said during the meeting.

  • Smaller plots this year… 4 group plots, maybe 20 x 20?
    • Use the WordPress site to coordinate groups as it gets closer to planting time.
    • Work around vacation/travel times so someone will always be able to weed/harvest.
    • Have an area of eggplant – trying to keep the woodchuck family at bay!
  • Membership Fee: $5/person (same as last year)… to defray the cost of equipment, mesh, fencing,  etc.
  • Time commitment/responsibilities: 1-2 hours/week of weeding, harvesting, etc.
  • Planting date TBD… most likely a weekend day in mid/late May. If everyone comes, it will take less than an hour to get everything in the ground (like last year).
  • Will be sending out this year’s SOP in a few weeks.
  • Ground hog – AKA the only real pest in the garden. Save used biodegradable cat litter (wheat based, almond based, etc.; not clay litter) – this seemed to work well last year. Other deterrent ideas include a wall of plants in the Solanaceae family (eggplants, potatoes, etc.) or stakes (spaced 3-4″ apart).
  • Watering. We have an automatic sprinkler system (with timers!) so no one needs to come every day to water.
  • We should try using mesh ground covering around the plants to block the weeds instead of plastic so water doesn’t pool.
  • What to plant and when:
    • Contact John Mapel to see if he will have leftover plants he would like to donate, like last year.
    • consult the Farmer’s almanac: Worcester MA
    • Each group will decide what they want to plant. Last year we had tomatoes, peppers, kale, eggplant, swiss chard, various herbs, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, etc..
    • Think about bees and consider planting local flowers/plants for pollinators.

posted 04/06/2017

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Garden Update, 8/30/2016

The woodchuck experiment may be working… I’m keeping my fingers crossed. The Swiss Chard is growing, there are leaves on the broccoli plants and new leaves on some of the squash plants.

It’s tomato season! There are tomatoes ripening every day, so it’s time to make tomato sauce and eat lots of tomato salads. Some critter is taking bites out of the large tomatoes, but so far leaving the little ones alone.

There is lots of basil, sage and lemongrass. Please pick some.

Betsy

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Woodchuck Experiment

I’m trying an experiment. Mr Woodchuck has moved on to munching squash leaves and Swiss chard, and has mowed down Salvador’s cucumbers. But, so far he (that’s a gender neutral ‘he’) hasn’t touched anything surrounded by plastic. Maybe it’s nothing, or maybe it’s the surface or noise it makes? I’ve put down pieces of black plastic near two of the squash plants he has begun to eat. I also tried covering some of the squash plants with a lawn sheet. It hides some of the plants and blows around. Maybe it will make a difference??? There are plastic pegs anchoring the sheet, please don’t lose them if you pull the sheet back for picking. I’ve also tied bags to the stakes around Salvador’s cucumbers. I hope the movement will startle the woodchuck.

Donna – there weren’t any stakes attached to the construction roll you brought. But I’m sure we can use the stuff for something next year.

One of the sprinklers isn’t working well. I’ll look for a replacement.

I trimmed the crab grass next to the black plastic and found some hidden pepper plants!

We have eggplants coming. One will be ready to be picked soon. They are in the Japanese style, long and skinny.

Betsy

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Summer Picking Schedule

I’m picking pretty much every day except on the weekends – but I don’t like large zucchini or pickling cucumbers. If you do like them large (more than 1/2lb.), let me know and I’ll let some grow bigger. I’ll be on vacation the first two weeks of August, so here is a picking schedule to cover that time frame. If you pick on the weekends or when the Library is closed, you can still bring them to the Library for distribution… just put them outside the library door with a note.

Betsy

July 23/24 — Allison Coates
July 25 — Theresa Vinic
July 26 — Theresa Vinic
July 27 — Theresa Vinic
July 28 — Theresa Vinic
July 29 — Theresa Vinic
July 30/31 — Donna Roberts
Aug 1 — Donna Roberts
Aug 2 — Donna Roberts
Aug 3 — Donna Roberts
Aug 4 — Donna Roberts
Aug 5 — Donna Roberts
Aug 6/7 — Donna Roberts
Aug 8 — Alison Smith
Aug 9 — Alison Smith
Aug 10 — Alison Smith
Aug 11 — Alison Smith
Aug 12 — Alison Smith
Aug 13/14 — Donna Roberts
Aug 20/21 — Donna Roberts
Aug 27/28 — Donna Roberts

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Managing the harvest

A few of us have decided to use the Library as a central pick up spot for harvested vegetables. Anyone can harvest for themselves of course, but if you see anything in need of picking, bring it to the library and let everyone know there are veggies to be had. Does that work for everyone or do you have other suggestions? I suggest that we not harvest herbs except for our own use, unless someone asks for them specifically.

Betsy

Note: On Wednesday I noticed that the broccoli was growing nicely and getting full again. But, Mr. Woodchuck had a lovely feast. I’m happy that they are only eating the broccoli and sad that we won’t be eating any of our broccoli. Allison/Alison spread some kitty litter around the broccoli this afternoon. We’ll see if it helps at all.

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June 13th

Alison — You missed some beans yesterday. I cut off some more later on.

Delaney did an hour or so of spot weeding today but there was some kind of construction (or something with a bunch of big trucks) going on near the compost so she didn’t get a chance to dump the white bucket. She would greatly appreciate if anyone goes by later and could dump it for her 🙂

We’re going to try using the library as a central spot for picked veggies. Anyone can harvest for themselves of course, but if you see anything in need of picking, bring it to the library and let everyone know there are veggies to be had.

Betsy

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July 12 update: More zucchini and some pickle cucumbers!

Hi everyone!

Yesterday I picked a zucchini, one small cucumber, and some more beans, as well as some basil. The pickle cucumber plants have several small ones that will be ready to get soon. The basil plants are really full and have a lot of big leaves, so if you need any at all, go for it! There is one tomato plant that has a couple of large fruits that are still very green, but those might be ready to get soon (one of them fell off when I lifted it to take a closer look). I’m not sure how fast tomatoes mature from green to red…

I’m going to do some weeding today or tomorrow, as well.

Alison

 

NOTE: Donna spent two hours at the garden on Sunday and reported no animals in sight.  She cuts seeds off of cilantro – hopefully they will produce more cilantro and picked two zucchinis.  There are lots of blooms.  The hot sun this week will probably produce more zucchini to pick mid to late week. She pulled all the grass weeds around all of the tomato plants.  There is some basil to pick in the center of the garden. She didn’t pick up the animal deterrent – fox urine pellets, but will get it this week.   Not sure if we will see any broccoli because of the chewing.  Kale didn’t look too bad yesterday.

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July 6th updates

There are zucchini!!! I picked 11 zucchini (~6lbs) and brought them back to the library. Please come claim them… this is one of the reasons why you wanted a garden, right? There are also green beans to pick and a little bit of broccoli. Please don’t wait to pick the broccoli, it looks like it will flower very soon, esp. in this heat. Please pick herbs!

Kristen saw our neighborhood, friendly (?), corpulent woodchuck again. And several people have reported seeing turkeys. The plastic bags did not work well and they have floated all over the place. I’ve picked up some, but I’m ignoring the ones in the PI. Sorry!

Darby and others have done some weeding.

Betsy

 

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June 25th update

Allison Coates and Alison Smith did some weeding around the squash, spinach, and swiss chard. They trimmed flowers off the cilantro to encourage more leaves to grow instead. They checked the green beans, but none of them seemed ready yet. Maybe in another day or two!

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June 24th and 25th

Delaney spent 2.5 hours intensely weeding the last few rows of broccoli/cauliflower on Friday afternoon. Alison Smith and Alli Coates spent an hour or so Saturday morning weeding around the squash, spinach, and swiss chard. They also trimmed the flowers off the cilantro a bit to encourage more leaves to grow instead. They checked the green beans, but none of them seemed ready yet. Maybe in another day or two!

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