Hello fellow gardeners,
The bounty has arrived at the Hastings North Garden! I for one have started eating salad for breakfast -- it seems like the only way to keep up with all those greens.
Here are a few garden updates for June:
We're entering the hot stretch of summer and that means the beds get dried out very quickly. There's no official number, but your plants will probably appreciate a good soaking 3 times a week. Be sure to dig down a bit after watering to check just how much you've saturated the soil. I was speaking with a master gardener recently who said that pests (like aphids) target plants with weak root structures, which is often the result of insufficient watering. It's best to water in the cooler hours (early morning and evening) so you don't scald your plants.
If you'll be heading out of town, I recommend using the Hastings Garden Facebook page to send out a public request to have other gardeners water your beds. You can also pin a handmade sign to your bed asking for it to be watered, and noting the dates you'll be away.
Here's the link to the FB page: http://shiftinggrowth.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=764a1db14c3c23e7a865a5214&id=421a0e502d&e=46b9d57ae1.
As many of you know, the garden has seen some vandalism in the last couple weeks. Plants were pulled out of beds and thrown around, it seems, for no apparent reason. This is distressing and really frustrating, and it's something we'd like to end. Based on the public nature of the garden, and the fact that the hooliganism tends to happen late at night (on the weekends), it's unlikely anyone will be caught red-handed. The community police have been notified, and we'll do our best to continue to look out for individuals like this who clearly don't garden and are just looking to make a mess. This is a big challenge for a lot of community gardens in Vancouver, and I've reached out to a number of other garden administrators for their advice going forward. Unfortunately a fence just isn't an option, but guard dogs....hmmm, just thinking out loud.
We've welcomed a big batch of new gardeners this spring, and in doing so have emptied the waiting list. I have a handful of vacancies I'd like to fill, so please spread the word and/or pass along my email address to any friends or family who are interested in some local growing space.
GROWING TIPS: APHIDS
As mentioned, the aphids are here. These little green buddies tend to set up shop in leafy plants like kale and cabbage and nibble away at a plant's new growth. There are many opinions and counter-opinions on how to get rid of aphids, but here are a few of the easier methods:
- Crush them with your fingers -- barbaric, but effective.
- Use the water pressure from the hose to spray them off your plants. Some people swear by soapy water in a spray bottle.
- Encourage insects like ladybugs, which are sworn aphid-eaters.
- Plant garlic and onions and chives nearby. These are natural deterrents to the bug.
- Plant natural attractants like nasturtium, cosmos and zinnia, which will draw the pests away from your veggies. Enjoy the heat!
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