Hot Times at the Southeast False Creek Garden

Hello fellow gardeners,

We're entering the sweet zone for summer gardening, when everything we planted in spring is fruiting and blossoming and growing like crazy. Snow peas, lettuces, even tomatoes are making their way from the garden to our plates. It's a feast!

Here are a few garden updates for July:

WATER

It's getting hot out there. Make sure you give your plants a good two to three soakings per week, ideally during the cooler shoulder times of the days.

You've probably noticed that the nozzles are subject to damage, and we thank you for being so on top of letting us know when one of them isn't working. There is a spare nozzle in the garden shed. If you're comfortable doing so, we encourage you to make use of this spare and change out the dud (if or when one of them breaks.)

And please, keep letting us know (through email or phone) when there's a water-related issue at the garden.

WEEDS

Big shout out to Nathan and the fine team of volunteers from Transformation City Church for their help weeding the site this month. Y'all rock!

GARDEN THEFT

Veg theft is a regular occurrence at many community gardens in this city, and ours has so far put up a pretty good record. That said, we've been hearing of a few instances of garden theft. There is no hard and fast solution to a problem like this––even though we'd love to put in some infrared cameras and all that!

What you can do if you see someone who obviously isn't a gardener taking from beds is to verbally remind them that our space is a community garden and not a take-what-you-want farm. Oftentimes it's this misconception that compels others to harvest wantonly. If you're not comfortable approaching individuals like this, no problem; we want to keep it friendly and fun for everyone. At the very least, let us know in an email if you see or experience any pilfering.

GROWING TIPS: EPIC TOMATOES + A POPSICLE RECIPE

Tomato plants are one of the highest yielding crops in the garden––here are three tricks to getting that yield even higher.

1. Cut back extra leaves. Thinning excess foliage will open up better air flow for eventual fruit, as well as concentrate the plant's energy toward flower (and fruit) production. I thin my vine variety tomatoes two to three times in a growing season.

2. Remove suckers. These are the shoot-like growths that emerge from the 'joints' of each branch (where the horizontal branch meets the vertical stalk). Cutting off suckers sends your plant's energy into the 'leader' (the topmost new growth) as well as fruit production. I remove suckers once a week during peak growing times like now.

3. Pollination assistance. Here's a technique I hadn't thought of, brought to you by one of my favourite Youtube gardeners.

And finally, because it's so darn hot out: honeydew and mint popsicles.