We did so much today! Sometimes you just need to commit yourself for hours on end… the results are stunning!

Suzanne with a patch of squash under siege from powdery mildew

Sadly, our squash fell victim to powdery mildew. (Powdery mildew is a fungus of the order Erysiphales that lives on the surface of (and gets its nutrients from) the leaf.)

It’s pretty gross/sad/fearsome. Suzanne did some research on it which she’ll post later. What I learned from her:

  • when watering squash, don’t just spray over the leaves, aim under the leaves and get the dirt. This limits the amount of water sitting on the leaf that allows gives the mildew an environment in which to grow and spread their spores.

    Powdery mildew.

  • it spreads easily, but can be combatted with a milk spray (which also sounds gross. Milk sitting out in the sun on plants… can’t smell too awesome. But what do I know.)
  • don’t compost the infected individuals. The spores can stay alive in there.
  • it REALLY takes over. And it’s not just squash, it’ll go for your cucumbers and melons too. It likes those vining fruiting plants!

So we ended up pulling out a few of the really affected plants to 1. open up space for some cold-hardy crops and 2. hopefully curb the spread. We’ll see how it works.

Suzanne pulling out a really mildew-y squash. Don't put them in the compost.

So that was part of today. It took a lot of work because the squash were so intertwined with each other it was hard to figure out which plants deserved to die. (Just kidding, but seriously, they had to go.) It would also probably be best if we had gotten rid of them all, but it’s hard to let go, so we’re going to try to salvage the remaining plants.

You may think it looks pretty (the bees do) but it's evil.

But removing those couple of squash plants opened up the garden considerably. It feels much more organized now. And we can move around in the garden! So we were able to cut out some of the bindweed (evil) that took over the fence-line, open up the view, let some little plants see the beautiful sun, clear some paths and reach some formerly unreachable corners…


Lydia building a path from salvaged tiles

Earlier this summer I was looking on Craigslist for free/cheap gardening supplies. I didn’t find any but I found out that there was a woman living near Tufts giving away old kitchen floor tiles. I offered to take a few off her hands, knowing we’d find SOMETHING to do with them. So today, when I had to take a break from priming the shed and inhaling fumes in the heat, I took a few of the tiles into the garden and laid them down in a spot where the grass was wearing away and getting muddy. AND IT WAS SO CUTE! Suzanne came over and we deemed it a good idea. So Mariah, Lydia and myself took turns digging up the dirt where the path goes and then we pressed the tiles into the dirt and packed them in.

A tile we unintentionally broke by stepping on it.

Some of the tiles were broken, some were whole, so we used our creative whims and used broken pieces to create “whole” stepping stones. We’ve also (accidentally) broken a few whole ones by stepping on them when they are not fully supported underneath but the effect is cool, so no worries! Ultimately, we want the “sidewalk” to reach what will someday be the official entrance (the gate closest to the shed). I also think it would be neat to keep salvaging tiles over the years and filling in the empty spaces with them. Every generation could add their touch!


And less exciting progress: The shed has been completely primed and is ready to be beautified (perhaps an event during Freshmen Orientation? I won’t be here but I know Mariah will!) We’re also hoping to finally get the roof on and the door straight this week. Once that happens, we can put shelves and hooks inside and start storing our tools there!

Also, since the fence is kind of ghetto-fabulous (it falls every which way on most days) we’ve lined part of it with some concrete blocks. We’ll remove those when we get the fence to stand up on its own (is that possible?) I’m thinking maybe making a raised bed out of the concrete blocks when we’re done using them as props? It could be cool.

But not as cool as this kid.

ohhh yeah.