We hope everyone is enjoying the signs of spring. As a reminder, our first weed and greet is coming up on Wednesday, May 24th, from 6:00pm till 7:00pm. Please try to attend, as we’ll also have a special guest giving us a talk on microbial teas. If you cannot attend, do continue to pitch in by weeding or watering the common area plants and trees when you are visiting your own plot.
Speaking of them, the common areas are coming along, the asparagus is ready to cut, help yourself to a few before they go to flower. The same is true for the rhubarb and chives and oregano, feel free to start harvesting those or they will go to seed. Simon and Jen have already used some rhubarb to make a small batch of orange, ginger rhubarb preserves, based very loosely on this recipe.
Also, thanks to Matt and Jen for sharing some photo’s of the early returns in their bed – arugula, radish, spinach lettuce, garlic, and some snow peas that have just started!
It was a pleasant and sunny day to get the gardeners together to kick off the 2017 season! We reviewed several reminders and tips for the upcoming season. A brief summary of those is below:
Please remember that all weeds and plant materials that are disposed of in the black garbage carts must be in a plastic bag. We will be receiving the green carts later this year where all that can be thrown directly, but for now please use the plastic shopping bags that are in the shed.
When you are in the garden, please water some of the shared areas (herbs, trees, flowers, etc), as Ben did that as a personal project nearly every day. Especially if we get a hot spell, we will all need to pitch in more on that.
We do have permission to use the water tap on the west side by the daycare when we are short of water. Be sure it is fully turned off and not left to drip.
When you come in, if you see weeds growing up between the stones on the south entry please take a moment and grab the spray bottle of vinegar/salt and give them a spray. If they are sprayed regularly they will stay under control. New seeds blow in and start again so it is an endless job but if we stay on top of it, it helps.
Check the trees, hollyhocks and your bed for aphids and leaf cutters (trees). For aphids use the pepper spray from the shed. If there is a major infestation on something please notify Peter or Linda immediately for more aggressive treatment before it gets out of control.
The pump spray bottle with green on it is for pepper spray. Fill to the 1 liter mark, then add 2 tablespoons of the pepper oil that is in the jar. Close and shake. Pump the handle to create pressure and spray the plant from the underside as much as possible. Be careful to wear sunglasses or spray away from the wind. That pepper spray will burn your eyes. If the pressure drops just re-pump the handle. 1 liter will do 3-4 trees fully.
For leafcutters, if you see leaves folding over or with white foam, remove the damaged leaves and put in the garbage [and in plastic bags per #1], not the compost. It is best to do it in the early morning or evening when the caterpillars are in the leaves. During mid day they may be out munching and will just get another leaf to sleep in.
Picking veggies early and often produces more growth. If you leave to harvest all when it is large it grows a lot less. Also, if the growth is very crowded, you are more likely to get bugs. So if you are away, or just have too much to use, please put a green stick in your bed and advise the Community Food Donation people what they can take out of your garden for you.
We will be moving the cucumbers to the bed behind the Scouts shed where they will be more protected from the wind and hopefully do better. Please water and pick freely. The veggies for the donation will be planted along the front fence as well as Ben’s Memorial Bed. Please water those when you are in the garden and they will be harvested and donated weekly.
Since we are not doing compost this year we will be offering a workshop on microbial teas on May 24th during the weed and greet. Please attend if you can. More details to follow but save that date and be in the garden at 6.
Garden registration for the 2017 season will be held on Saturday, March 18, from 13:00-14:00 in the undercroft of St Barnabas Church. “Seedy Saturday” is also on at the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Centre from 10:00-15:00 the same day.
Returning gardeners or their proxies must register and pay bed rentals fees at this meeting. Rentals this year are $25 for a half bed, and $45 for a full bed.
Attached are three forms required for registration (we need them to be completed each year):
Please print and complete/sign the forms and bring them with you to the Kick-off meeting with cash or a cheque (payable to St Barnabas Anglican Church) for the annual bed rental. Gardeners who did not rent a bed last year should add the refundable bed deposit of $20 to the rental fee.
Also attached is the calendar of garden work days for 2017 [ Garden calendar 2017]. It’s similar to last year’s, and Wednesday weeding days coincide with farmers’ markets at HSCA.