Friday, May 20, 2011

Here comes the weekend!

Smoky barbecues, patio chairs, tall cold drinks – summer’s on its way as the May long weekend rolls in! The weather is supposed to cooperate, so take an hour or two to come down to the gardens and see what’s happening.

As you arrive, notice the tidy arrangement of water barrels along the wall of the church. We’re still fine-tuning the set-up to make watering easier. For now, feel free to fill watering cans from the creek at the edge of the site.

Family Plots

If you have one of the family plots, you’ll see that some members have started a ditch along one side and a drain-away gulley down to the end of the site. Getting that ditch to go all around the garden would be a good idea.

Also, if someone can think of a clever way to put a tube or pipe in the drain-away ditch, that would be helpful. It would be nice if we could cover up the ditches with sod to make mowing easier for the church.

Finally, think about drainage as you plan your plots. Make at least one gulley in your bed to help the clay soil release its water down to the ditch. Use the soil to hill up your bed so that you have a high, dry mounds.

Communal Bed

Thanks to the Grades 1 and 2 classes from St. Thomas More School, four-year-old Andrew Zhang, and a few adult volunteers, one-third of the communal bed was planted on Thursday. Not much has come up yet, but you can admire their handiwork. Everyone was good and muddy by the end of the afternoon, and we all know each other a little better!

Barbara will take over planning the remainder of the garden after she returns from England on Tuesday If you’re interested in helping out with planting tomatoes, peppers, ground cherries, melons, cucumbers, squash, and beans, that work will probably start late in the week. We’ll keep you posted.

If you have time to volunteer over the weekend, here are some tasks that need to be done:

·         Finish building the pumpkin patch: Cheryl, Deb, Bill, and 25 youngsters made a great start in hauling the sod over to the new pumpkin patch. They found that both wheelbarrows and sleds work well. The goal is to build it up to knee-high and get rid of the sold pile, so if you have some time to volunteer, this is an important job. Once the bed is built, we’ll decide if we need to solar-cook it with clear plastic to kill the sod over two weeks, or if we can plant the pumpkins right away.

·         Dig gulleys and mound soil in the empty beds: The south and centre beds of the communal gardens still have piles of compost that need to be raked, and they need some gulleys to drain off the water. There should be a gulley along each of the raised paths. If you have a shovel and can take on this task, that would be great. We may need to add more drainage later, but we have to plan where the paths go first. Keep in mind that the water drains toward the parking lot and toward the back of the lot.

Tomato Time?

According to, night-time temperatures will be above 10 degrees from now until at least early June. So you can consider putting out your tomatoes, peppers, and cucurbits. A basic rule of thumb: If you have to wear gloves to go out at night, it’s too cold for tomatoes.

What does a distressed tomato look like?

·         New leaves are chartreuse: Instead of rich green, the youngest leaves are light green. This is a sign that the roots are too cold to absorb nutrients. The plant needs a dose of liquid fertilizer and something to warm the soil.

·         The leaves round upward like little canoes: Curling leaves is a reaction to the cold, kind of like shivering. Wrap the plant in clear plastic to make a mini greenhouse.

·         The stem turns red: Red-stemming means the plant can’t absorb minerals. Give liquid fertilizer till the stem turns green again.

Why are the lettuce and carrot beds covered?

Small seeds take a while to germinate. They have to stay moist the whole time. Covering seed beds with old towels or T-shirts helps prevent evaporation. After a week, we’ll remove the covers so that the rooted seeds can get sunlight.

Church Plant Sale

The Good Thief Church on Union Street is having a plant sale on Saturday, May 28. If you haven’t purchased all your veggies by then, you might want to check it out.


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