Monday, March 30, 2015

April 11th Work Party

Hi Gardeners.

Reserve the date.  There will be a work party to prepare the vacated plots for new gardeners.  The work party will be on April 11th from 1:00 to 3:00.  Plan to be there if you can make it.  A flyer for the party is posted on the toolshed.

The water has been turned on.  The water is traditionally turned on around April 1st, after the threat of a hard frost has passed.

I was over to test the temperature of the beds today.  The temperature of the raised bed is 60.  This is warm enough to sprout all but the most heat loving seeds.  Raised bed 2A (next to the fence) has been reserved for Produce for People.  If raised bed 1A is not assigned by early May, we can use it for an additional P4P plot. 

The temperature of the ground level P4P bed is 55.  Not quite warm enough to sprout many seeds, but certainly warm enough to take starts.  I started some lettuce seeds for P4P, and will put the starts out on the table next week.  I'm hardening off the starts this week, so they'll be ready to plant next week.

See you in the garden,


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Garden harvest

One good thing about Indian Summers is the harvest! Go Vestal school gardeners. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Back to School And back in the garden.

The diehard gardeners of Vestal having been coming out to help cleanup and harvest food.  Official clubs will start soon.  Thank you green thumbs for all your hard work! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cover Crops

Summer's over and the garden is winding down. One of the things you can do to prepare your garden plot for next year is to grow cover crops. A cover crop will help reinvigorate your soil with valuable nutrients, and in some instances the roots will aerate the soil. During the rainy season, the crops prevent the water from washing away all the vital nutrients your warm weather veggies need. Planting a crop will also help the abundant life found in humus, a necessity for healthy soil. A cover crop can be a group of different plants or just one plant that will grow in your garden bed through the winter. A few weeks before you begin to plant in the spring, till the cover crop into the soil. One of the best things you can do for a successful garden is to till the ground, loosening the soil. The OHSU Extension published this handy pdf on cover crops that you can check out here. The Portland Nursery also has a great cover crop guide, found here. Photo Credit: djfrantic

Companion Planting: Edible Flowers

Flowers are often overlooked because they seem too frivolous for a community garden plot. I’m of the mind that flowers enrich the soul with their beauty and too much isn’t enough. But if they get in the way of my tomatoes, that’s another story. If you love flowers yet need a good reason to grow them, consider edible flowers.

Calendula, nasturtium, chamomile, violets and roses are some common edible flowers. Calendula is particularly good for the skin and chamomile is known for its powers as a sleep aid. Many herbs have lovely flowers to add to your garden space. Sometimes planting bright flowers around fruits, like strawberries, will confuse predators and save your produce.

Many flowers are compatible with companion planting as well as being edible. Definitely check one of the online charts before planting any flowers next to your vegetables. You never know what may inhibit the growth of a specific plant.

When your plants have gone to seed, consider cutting off the bolting flowers for your bouquet. While you can eat many of the flowers from bolting plants such as kale, you would also do well to just cut off a few stems and stick them in a vase for a bit of garden grown beauty.

Resources:, NCSU,

Photo Credit: Matsuyuki

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Companion Planting: Corn!

No matter what size garden you have, space is always an issue. Each plant has a recommended spacing requirement, and many take up a good amount. In companion planting, corn is a real winner because you can grow beans up its stalk and cucumber (or squash or melons) in the ground surrounding it and enjoying the corn’s shade. This saves you the trouble of creating a trellis for your beans and the sprawling vegetable beneath mulches the ground. The beans restore the nitrogen in the soil that corn just eats right up.

Corn enjoys the company of pole beans, bush beans, cucumber, melons, peas, pumpkin, parsley, lettuce, potatoes and sunflowers. Plant well away from tomatoes as they share an identical pest with two names (tomato fruitworm and corn earworm).

Resources: Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte, Renee's Garden
Photo Credit: wheatfields

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Companion Planting : Tomatoes & Carrots

Vestal Community Gardener Caitlin Clark's advice for Companion Planting: Tomatoes & Carrots
Companion planting is a wonderful way of gardening that incorporates beneficial plants with unlikely partners who not only keep pests away, but also increases pollination, a must for any garden.
Tomatoes are a delicious and popular plant with a number of edible companion plants: cucumber, carrot, chives, onion, garlic, nasturtium and parsley. Marigold is a favorite companion flower for tomatoes, but opinion is divided about how beneficial the flower really is.
Did you know that all plants of the brassica family such as kale, cabbage and broccoli (and more!) actually repel tomatoes and shouldn’t be grown together? It’s okay if they’re in your plot, just keep them apart. Tomatoes also dislike growing near potatoes and fennel. Keep corn and tomatoes at a distance because they both attract the same pest and together they’re too much of a good thing for the corn earworm a.k.a. tomato fruitworm.
Asparagus and tomatoes are great friends and will enjoy being grown together as they both deter each other’s pests (nematodes and asparagus beetle).
If you’re planning to grow carrots near your tomatoes, go ahead and plant some onions or leeks nearby. All of these are friendly with each other. The onions and leeks repel the carrot fly and a number of tomato pests; rosemary and sage will also deter the carrot fly. Bush beans, pole beans, peas and lettuce are also beneficial to carrots.
Photo Credit: